Archive for Uni Controversies

When I’m 64

So there it is. Carlos Mendoza today said he’d give up the No. 28 that reminded him of fleeting moments of youthful glory as a ballplayer so that JD Martinez will feel comfortable in his new home. Mendoza is switching to 64, which I fear is a little too undignified for a big-league manager. It also means third-base coach Mike Sarbaugh will need to find another number. 50 is theoretically available as its Phil Bickford whose been designated for assignment by the Mets to make room for Martinez on the 40.

Mendoza it should go without saying is the first No. 64 to manage the Mets and wearer of the highest-ever number among managers, knocking Frank Howard and Joe Frazier from the lead. Behold the sacred list.

Manager Years Number
1. Casey Stengel 1962-65 37
2. Wes Westrum 1965-67 9
3. Salty Parker 1967 54
4. Gil Hodges 1968-71 14
5. Yogi Berra 1972-75 8
6. Roy McMillan 1975 51
7. Joe Frazier 1976-77 55
8. Joe Torre 1977-81 9
9. George Bamberger 1982-83 31
10. Frank Howard 1983 55
11. Davey Johnson 1984-1990 5
12. Bud Harrelson 1990-91 3
13. Mike Cubbage 1991 4
14. Jeff Torborg 1992-93 10
15. Dallas Green 1993-96 46
16. Bobby Valentine 1996-2002 2
17. Art Howe 2003-2004 18
18. Willie Randolph 2005-2008 12
19. Jerry Manuel 2008-2010 53
20. Terry Collins 2011-2017 10
21. Mickey Callaway 2018-2019 36/26*
22. Carlos Beltran 2020** 15
23. Luis Rojas 2020-2021 19
24. Buck Showalter 2022-2023 11
25. Carlos Mendoza 2024 64***

*-Switched to 26 upon announcement of Jerry Koosman retirement, 9/24/19

**-Did not appear in a game.

***-switched from 28 before the season

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Decision time

It’s not even go time but Carlos Mendoza is faced with a tough managerial decision. Does he give up No. 28 to newly arriving DH JD Martinez?

Martinez reportedly signed last night; he’s worn 28 most of his career including at his last three playing addresses. I never heard exactly why Mendoza preferred 28 but he could easily step aside and into one of the numbers opening up as he cuts minor leaguers. He could in fact cut Zack Short should he want to wear 74. Gotta view every move suspiciously from here on out.

That’s all the time I have this morning. More soon.

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Spring Has Sprung

So you may as well junk the post below, it contained little that wasn’t contradicted by the numerical roster dropped today by the club. Here’s your Spring roster, countdown style, or count up, if you prefer.

The news here as I see it is Luis Severino taking over Drew Smith‘s No. 40, forcing Smith into 33 and membership in the three-number club. (He was also 62 you may recall). Also noting that our friend Dr. Grant Hartwig has moved down in the world, from 93 all the way to 56. Sean Manaea takes 59, Adrian Houser 35 and Harrison Bader 44.

Looks like this year they tried to move the coaches to the 60s and those that didn’t are double-booked with a player.

It’s all below, hopefully without massive errors. NRIs in italics, coaches in blue.

Number Name Notes
0 Adam Ottavino, P
1 Jeff McNeil, INF-OF
2 Omar Narvaez, C
3 Tomas Nido, C
4 Francisco Alvarez, C
5 Unassigned (David Wright)
6 Starling Marte, OF
8 Unassigned (Gary Carter)
9 Brandon Nimmo, OF
10 Ronny Mauricio, INF
11 Jose Iglesias, INF 
12 Francisco Lindor, SS
13 Joey Wendle, INF
14 Retired Gil Hodges
15 Tyrone Taylor, OF
17 Retired Keith Hernandez
19 Shintaro Fujinami, P
20 Pete Alonso, 1B
21 Ben Gamel, OF
22 Brett Baty, 3B
23 David Peterson, P
24 Retired Willie Mays
25 Brooks Raley, P
26 Ji Man Choi, IB/DH
27 Mark Vientos, 3B
28 Carlos Mendoza, manager
29 DJ Stewart, OF
30 Jake Diekman, P
31 Retired Mike Piazza
32 Max Kranick, P
33 Drew Smith, P new number (was 40)
34 Kodai Senga, P
35 Adrian Houser, P
36 Retired Jerry Koosman
37 Retired Casey Stengel
38 Tylor Megill, P
39 Edwin Diaz, P
40 Luis Severino, P
41 Retired Tom Seaver
42 Retired Jackie Robinson
43 Trayce Thompson, OF
44 Harrison Bader, OF
45 Cole Sulser, P
46 Johan Ramirez, P
47 Joey Lucchesi, P
49 Yacksel Rios, P
50 Phil Bickford, P
51 Michael Tonkin, P 
52 Jorge Lopez, P
53 Chad Smith, P
54 Austin Adams, P
55 Kyle Crick, P
56 Grant Hartwig, P New number (was 93)
57 Taylor Kohlwey, OF
58 Rylan Bannon, INF 
59 Sean Manaea, P
60 Jeremy Barnes, hitting coach
61 Eric Chavez, hitting coach
62 Jose Quintana, P
63 Glenn Sherlock, catching & strategy coach
64 Mike Sarbaugh, 3rd base coach
65 Jeremy Hefner, pitching coach
66 Antoan Richardson, 1st base coach
67 Jose Rosado, bullpen coach
68 John Gibbons, bench coach 
70 Jose Butto, P
71 Sean Reid-Foley, P
72 Alex Ramirez, OF
73 Luisangel Acuna, INF
74 Zack Short, INF
75 Reed Garrett, P
76 Aaron Meyers, BP pitcher
77 Dave Racaniello, bullpen catcher
78 Eric Langill, bullpen catcher
79 Danny Barnes, strategy coach
81 Danny Young, P
82 Austin Allen, C
83 Yolmer Sanchez, INF
88 Cam Robinson, P
89 Drew Gilbert, OF
90 Jett Williams, INF
91 Josh Walker, P
92 Eric Orze, P
93 Dominic Hamel, P
94 Nate Lavender, P
95 Kevin Parada, C
96 Christian Scott, P
97 Mike Vasil, P
98 Hayden Senger, C
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Super Bowling

Hi, did you know the Mets begin camp this week? It’s been awhile since the last update… I kept waiting for them to get a guy I’d heard of but little luck in that department.

My Super Bowl Sunday read on the ’24 Mets is that they will have a hard time keeping up with the pitching of Atlanta or Philadelphia but hopefully can hit with them, portending lots of 7-6 victories. If they’re in it still come July then they go get the starters they need.

So who are these guys? And what number are they gonna wear? Here’s an early breakdown of the 40-man roster with little help from the Mets’ roster pages.

Tyrone Taylor appears to be issued No. 15. He’s the speedy reserve outfielder we picked up from Milwaukee along with pitcher Adrian Houser, for Coleman Crow, one of the guys we got from the Angels in the Eduardo Escobar trade. I’m getting a Collin Cowgill vibe from Tyrone, hopefully his results are better.

As for Houser, he’s among a bunch of guys–three-fifths of the projected starting rotation–waiting to be assigned uniform numbers. Houser wore 37 in Milwaukee so he’s looking at a change. Taylor was 15 there.

Free-agent infielder Joey Wendle is shown with 18, his number with Miami. Give the Mets’ plans to retire 18 for Darryl Strawberry this summer, it’s a good bet this doesn’t last.

The Mets will be the 9th team for journeyman lefty sidearmer Jake Diekman, who appears to be bound for No. 35. He signed a 1-year+option deal with the Mets.

You know the roster is unreliable when there’s huge swaths of unclaimed digits but two guys assigned the same number. That’s what’s going on with No. 48 where two free agents–outfielder Harrison Bader and reliever Jorge Lopez— both have a claim. Lopez wore 48 with Minnesota and Baltimore. Bader wore 48 with St. Louis. Either guy would be the Mets first 48 since Jacob deGrom.

Free agent reliever Michael Tonkin is listed in 59. I suppose he’s the Mets’ answer to losing Luis Guillorme to the Braves.

Rounding out the 40-man roster but without assigned numbers are starting pitchers Houser, Sean Manaea and Luis Severino; former Pittsburgh reliever Max Kranick; infielder Zack Short; and reliever Yohan Ramirez. They are all new  to the Mets this year. Youngsters Alex Ramirez and Luisangel Acuna will also be assigned numbers too.

Manaea has worn 55 most often in his career and that would appear to be available here. Severino was 40 with the Yankees; that belongs to Drew Smith now.

Finally there’s free agent reliever Shintaro Fujinami. The Mets haven’t even made his signing official a week+ after the news got out but I’m hoping he joins so as to have a No. 11 on the mound. When he joins there will be a guy whacked. I’d reckon one of Reed Garrett, Grant Hartwig or Josh Walker but who knows.

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Then oftentimes unreliable winter Mets roster has been updated.

Headlining the data is a change for Drew Smith, who appears to be surrendering No. 62 to new arrival Jose Quintana and moving to No. 40 vacated recently by Chris Bassitt. Quintana we noted has been a 62 for most of his career.

Another controversy appears to have worked out by giving Tommy Pham 28, with Darin Ruf now listed in the 33 made available by James McCann‘s departure.

Then there’s a few guys who hadn’t been listed with numbers now having them. Lefty Brooks Raley is 25; that number belonged most recently to Tyler Naquin. Omar Narvaez is taking the 2 formerly with Dom Smith. (Dom appears to be going back to No. 22 with Washington, if their roster is to be trusted).

Then there’s info on a few guys who appear to be retaining whatever they wore last year and shouldn’t necessarily be trusted. Pitcher Jeff Brigham is 43, same as he was in Florida; the number is vacant so we’ll go with it. But I doubt Danny Mendick keeps to No. 20 he’s listed in, so you gotta take this info with a grain of salt until camp opens.

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We are Pham-i-lee

Catching up on recent Mets news, the club signed outlaw/outfielder Tommy Pham to a one-year deal and lists him wearing No. 28, which is unfortunate for Darin Ruf who’s the incumbent reserve outfielder/DH who also wears 28. Pham’s been a bit of an inconsistent performer who’s been moved around a bit; I thought he might have been a candidate to acquire last summer when he played for the Reds, but he wound up going to Boston instead.

Pham’s worn 28 with St. Louis, San Diego and Cincinnati so in the rare event he and Ruf both make the club I’d guess Pham takes 28.

You can probably search the archives of this site and find me advocating to move Jeff McKnight McNeil, who seemed at times unhappy and miscast, but I’m pleased to have been proven wrong. He signed a four-year extension this week that’ll keep him in blue and orange through age 35 and heightens the chance he, along with Brandon Nimmo, will be long tenured one-team-only Mets.

Barring injuries, Nimmo will no doubt overtake Todd Hundley as the club’s most prolific No. 9 of all time–he’s still about 1 season’s worth of games and at-bats behind Hundley and already leads all 9s in on-base percentage and runs scored.

McNeil’s shot at uni number immortality would seem to be the best three-numbered Met of all time. Ron Darling probably holds that title today.


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Feliz Narváez

Despite being handed a seemingly critical role for the 2023 Mets, Omar Narváez hasn’t gotten the try-on-the-jersey-for-the-cameras business yet.

Thanks in part to the merciful jettisoning of James McCann, the Venezuelan vet will presumably be our starting catcher most nights while serving as a sensei to a young Venezuelan catcher, Francisco Alvarez. Longtime reader Stu below brought up the question of what Narváez would wear; he was 10 the last three seasons in Milwaukee, but spent three years wearing 38 for the White Sox and one year in Seattle wearing 22.

As I tend do when these questions come in I check to see what guidance the Mets’ official roster would provide and the answer is often inconclusive. But in this case it’s also weird. The roster page lists Narváez as 10, as it does Eduardo Escobar who wore it last year and remains a Met for now. But when I click down on Escobar, look what comes up:



I’d like to think the Mets have folks working hard as me making this accurate but I’m sure some AI software glitch is to blame. I don’t think the Mets are giving away 5 ever again.

As to Narváez it looks like the available numbers are 2, 7, 15, 16, 18, 25, 29, 30, 33, 40, 43, 44, 45, 46, 48, before we get into the 50s. Alvarez may want one of those lower numbers himself. It’d be cool if Narváez gets 15, and Alvarez takes 16, while Escobar stays in 10.

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Would You Dare?

Japan’s Kodai Senga is reportedly en route to Flushing as you know, and he’ll be wearing a different number than the 41 he rocked while a member of the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks. I think there’s a good shot he winds up wearing 18, a number traditionally associated with Ace pitchers in Japan, and happens to be available since Nick Plummer departed.

One other available number comes to mind: 48. Do you think the Mets ought to mothball Jacob deGrom‘s number, or give it away? deGrom is a special case of his class of pitchers. Steven Matz‘s 32, Matt Harvey‘s 33 and Noah Syndergaard‘s 34 all found their way onto other guys’ backs pretty rapidly. Me, I’d be okay if the Mets reissued 48 but would feel better were it for an organization comer and not some reliever who bounces between Syracuse and New York.

Is there an appropriate period of time before you’d issue it again? One full season seems appropriate. By then at least the Rangers will have won the World Series.


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I couldn’t be happier the Mets were able to retain Brandon Nimmo, who was something of a small superstar last year and a rare centerfield commodity on the market. His 8-year deal would practically assure he stays a Met throughout his career even if he’s destined to wind up in left field.

The Mets also added veteran reliever David Robertson to a 1-year deal, shoring up a bullpen that appears to be losing Trevor May, Seth Lugo and maybe also Adam Ottavino though it doesn’t appear that any of those palookas have a deal with someone else yet. But Trevor Williams just signed with Washington. Drew Smith will be back.

The new bullpen will have a bunch of new faces. There’s John Curtiss who was signed last offseason, spent 2022 recovering from elbow surgery, and still hasn’t been assigned a number.

Also on the 40 are brief visitors from last season Bryce Montes de Oca (63), Yoan Lopez (44), and Stephen Nogosek (85). Plus new guys awaiting number assignments: Jeff Brigham, Zach Greene (pinched from the Yankees in Rule 5), Stephen Ridings (waiver claim from the Yankees); Brooks Raley (trade with Tampa Bay), Tayler Saucedo (waiver claim from Toronto), and William Woods (waiver claim from Atlanta).

Elieser Hernandez might fulfill the Trevor Williams role. He came over with Brigham from the Marlins in a skirt-Rule-5 trade that cost the Mets fancypants prospect Jake Magnum.

The Mets already list Robertson as No. 30–that’s been his figure for most of his career and supersedes what we were discussing below about Raley taking 30. As pointed out in the below comments, Raley is now listed in 43, most recently belonging to unforgettable infielder Yolmer Sanchez.




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The Replacements

Here’s a quick exchange with friend of MBTN Dave on Twitter.

I confess to being somewhat ignorant of the 11-year career of Jose Quintana other than his involvement in a big trade between the White Sox (where he was an All-Star in 2016) and the Cubs, who coughed up the then big prospect Eloy Jimenez to get him. He’s a lefty from Columbia who’s worn 62 or 63 throughout his career which included subsequent stops with the Angels, Giants, Pirates and most recently, the 2022 Cardinals where he wore 62 and 63, not certain in which order. Here’s a fun fact: He was originally signed as an amateur free agent by the Mets. Now he’s essentially Taijuan Walker‘s replacement. I liked Walker, now he’s a Philly. Diabolical.

So let’s say Quintana keeps 62, and Drew Smith changes to something he prefers.

The Mets you may have seen made another deal, coughing up a lefty minor leaguer Keyshawn Eskew to the Rays for lefty reliever Brooks Raley. Raley who wore 30 last year with the Rays — but neglected to wear a pride patch and didn’t bother to get vaxxed — looks to be this year’s Joely Rodriguez. Joely wore 30 too.

I gotta say I’m not too excited about this guy.


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