Archive for Who Is This Guy

Royal Flush

In some ways that was a more radical teardown than even I anticipated. For a time I was hoping to keep Justin Verlander in the hopes that he, Kodai Senga and Jose Quintana could be the start of a decent rotation for 2024. He got us two promising hitters instead. And how about that Dominic Leone trade? This was a guy we got off the trash heap in May and he brought back the Angels’ No. 9 prospect.

The problem with all this in-season wheeling and dealing is we’re left with a club that can’t beat the Royals. Thanks the the depletions of Tommy Pham and Mark Canha we’re running out palookas like Rafael Ortega (30) and Jonathan Arauz (19). We have new dudes in the bullpen I’ve hardly ever heard of like Reed Garrett (75) and Phil Bickford (50).

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Maxed Out

I’ll miss David Robertson and his reliable socks more than I’ll ever miss Max Scherzer and his reliable gopherballs.

Who knows whether Luisangel Acuna actually becomes a star; what we know was that Scherzer wasn’t one anymore. At best, he was a fading one whose 2024 looks pretty risky, so I’m glad he and all that money are gone.

Next up? Probably Tommy Pham and maybe Brooks Raley. Verlander? He might stay. Hopefully the rest of these guys give us a starting pitcher because I’m not looking forward to David Peterson and Tylor Megill.

Up from Syracuse to take Max’s place is Vinny Nottoli. Reed Garrett, No. 75, replaced Robertson.

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Goodbye Gary

I know I’ve been running behind schedule but I didn’t think I’d miss the entire Gary Sanchez Era. The Mets solved the problem of too many catchers today and designated the former Yankee for assignment. We’ve got to stop giving catchers No. 33, it did so little for James McCann.

Tomas Nido is back but he’s not about to be the starter any longer now that Francisco Alvarez has settled in. He’s pretty good. Brett Baty isn’t bad either though he may be having his first Big League slump. Mark Vientos? His swing looks long to me and I’m afraid he’s going to strike out too much. I’m a little scared to pull the plug on Tommy Pham yet.

I was in the stadium when Josh Walker made his first and still only appearance as a Met. He became the first 91 since Carlos Gomez broke it in in his brief return to the Mets in 2019.

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Catch Them While You Can

A flurry of fast-vanishing minor league palookas have inhabited the bullpen lately. We’ve seen Edwin Uceta (64), Zach Muckenhirn (71), and Dominic Leone (50), not to mention emergency starters Jose Butto and Denyi Reyes. Leone appeared so suddenly he beat the transactions column.

While inputting some of these guys I realized I’d neglected to mark the end of their predecessors like RJ Alvarez for Muckenhirn and the unforgettable Nate Fisher for Uceta. Early May seems too soon to be this deep into bullpen depth, but these guys are churning already. Only Leone is still up, now that Tommy Hunter and Stephen Nogosek are back from injury.

I’m not certain how the Mets shake themselves out of this malaise but more consistent work from the top three in the lineup would a place to start. They gave off “Worst Team Money Can Buy” vibes this week in Detroit.

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The Cookie Crumbles

As uninspiring his outings have tended to be, losing Carlos Carrasco to elbow problems is not what the Mets needed right now, seeing as they’ve already got two dudes in the rotation who might not have been in the blueprint, since Jose Quintana and Justin Verlander have yet to appear. Is Joey Lucchesi the next to appear? I’m not sure.

Last night (I didn’t stay up to watch) Jeff Brigham made his first Met appearance and struck out the only two guys he faced. Brigham came over in a small offseason trade with the Marlins and has some experience with them. He’s the immediate solution for Carrasco till his turn in the rotation comes up.

Also with the big club now are Edwin Uceta, who came up along with Brett Baty, when Tim Locastro went onto the disabled list. Uceta, whom the Mets acquired on a waiver claim from Pittsburgh, has been issued No. 64.

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Happy Ron Hodges Day & 50th Anniversary

The new beach towel attached to the sleeves of the Mets jersey looks even worse on the road, doesn’t it? Fortunately the Mets look a little better than that.

A 10-game West Coast road trip has gotten off to a promising start on Oakland although the Mets experienced the first roster churn of the year when Stephen Nogosek went down with an injury and Max Scherzer‘s start was delayed.

In Nogosek’s spot is Jimmy Yacobonis, whom I saw throwing in the bullpen yesterday wearing 42 in honor of Ron Hodges Day but who looks likely to turn up in the same 73 he wore in spring. That would appropriate for the 50th anniversary celebration of the Swingin’ A’s World Series championship being held in Oakland today. The Mets by the way aren’t going to bother with an Old-Timers day this year.

Adding Yacobonis to the 40-man roster meant designating the out-of-optins Dennis Santana for assignment; he looked okay to me so hopefully he clears and accepts a Syracuse appointment. Pitching instead of Scherzer this afternoon is Jose Butto who we saw briefly last year wearing No. 70.

 

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Losing Ugly

You wonder if this isn’t some psychic damage from having lost Diaz and Quintana and Verlander at inopportune moments, but the Mets look awful in Milwaukee so far.

Last night if you could bear to watch you saw Max Scherzer give up a buttload of hard hit balls and get relieved by Denyi Reyes, who was making his Mets debut. Reyes was in because Tommy Hunter went to the injured list after himself getting beaten up the day before. Reyes, who was signed as a minor league free agent and has a few innings of MLB experience with the Orioles, was wearing 72, last seen on the back of Jake Reed last season.

You’re bound to get thumped a few times over the course of a long season but you’d prefer they not be in a row during the season’s first week. It makes you look unprepared and that’s a thing that has to rankle Buck. Let’s hope they get out of Milwaukee with some dignity and a winning record.

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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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Zimmo!

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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