Why R.J. Alvarez Is A Half-Used Chap Stick and Thomas Szapucki Is Foreign Currency

We’re at a point in the Mets’ season where the injuries have piled up and so have the solutions, and my own failure to keep up has made the Mets roster resemble a junk drawer. You’re looking for something and you find an old watch, coins from a foreign country that you don’t collect, a half-a-dozen half-used Chap Sticks, leftover business cards from a job you no longer have, various pens and pencils, cheap earbud headphones that may or may not work and you definitely don’t want to stick back in your ear to find out.

What I’m trying to find in this drawer are the available numbers, so let’s start by gathering up the half-used Chap Sticks, or the guys DFAed in the flurry of recent and not-so-recent moves that I’d failed to completely catch up on.

Into the ziplock bag have gone designated-for-assignment Mets Travis Blankenhorn (27), R.J. Alvarez (71) , Patrick Mazeika (4), Jake Reed (72), Kramer Robertson (15), Chasen Shreve (43), Travis Jankowski (16), Yennsy Diaz (64), and Nick Plummer (18), making those numbers available. I put them in a ziplock because some have already latched back on line in the organization (like Jankowski and maybe Mazeika) so it’s not like their numbers are likely to be reassigned at least right away. Some Chap Sticks however went directly to the trash if they’ve already latched onto another organization (like Jake Reed) or been released (like Yennsy Diaz).

Those foreign coins I can’t spend and don’t collect are now in a separate pile reflecting number changes I’d failed to account for or through looking for additional free numbers are failed to realize till now. For example the database never reflected till now that Mazeika ever wore 4, I fixed that, or that Mason Williams was still “current” at 70, and forgot to note that Thomas Szapucki (63) was traded in the Ruf deal. No longer.

The used business cards are coaches who are tricky to get into the database due to a design error we haven’t yet fixed between the awesome Ultimate Mets Database, where I record and store these records (Note to self: Eric Chavez 51, Craig Bjornson 52, Glenn Sherlock 53, Wayne Kirby 54, Jeremy Hefner 55, Joey Cora 56). That’s because data is generated when players appear in games and coaches don’t appear in games…. We’re working on that and have a longterm solution in mind that will make both the data easier to find and also easier to display.

I’m doing all this clearing out in anticipation of meeting Yolmer Sanchez tonight in Philadelphia. Sanchez is a switch-hitting versatile reserve infielder who spent most of his career with the White Sox but whom was just DFA’ed by the Red Sox. He’s expected to joining the club tonight in Philly where another consequential series begins that’s even more important since the Braves gained much of what they lost when a compromised Mets squad lost 3 of 4 this week. That also means that Deven Marrero is about to turn into a Chap Stick, and the 24 hours of fans moaning and groaning on Twitter when they learned he was up and Baty wasn’t was a colossal waste of time and energy because too many people on #MetsTwitter are ignorant and don’t know it, which is one reason I’m cleaning my junk drawer this morning instead of wasting time on Twitter.

Now I have a better organized drawer and can say for sure that, barring any other changes, the available Met numbers as of now are:

  • 4
  • 7*
  • 8*
  • 15 (almost assuredly)
  • 16**
  • 18
  • 27
  • 43
  • 45
  • 50
  • 58
  • 63
  • 64
  • 66

And that, Sanchez will most likely appear in 15 or 18. My money’s on 15. The junk drawer is nearly clear.

*-Unlikely to be issued because they appear to be in number retirement limbo

**-Unlikely to be issued pending a September roster expansion

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  1. Gene F says:

    According to the official roster on mets.com, which is not always accurate, Sanchez will don the rare-for-a-position-player 43.

    • Jon Springer says:

      That would make sense if as with many Venezuelan infielders, Sanchez has worn 13 in the past, a tradition dating back to Davey Concepcion and Luis Aparicio. I believe Sanchez was 13 most recently in Boston. Guillorme is of Venezuelan descent and he’s 13. So was Jorge Velandia, Edgardo Alfonso, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Ronny Cedeno.

      • Edgy MD says:

        I’m getting the idea that, as the tradition of Venezuelan infielders in 13 continues, the source of the tradition gets retconned.

        ConcepciĆ³n wore it as a reference to Aparicio, but the next generation, characterized by Ozzie Guillen, understood themselves to be referencing not Aparicio but ConcepciĆ³n. Luis Guillorme isn’t referencing any of those (nor Edgardo Alfonzo, sadly), but Omar Vizquel.

        They understand there’s history, but like the kids they are when they start picking their numbers, they have trouble seeing history from before they were born.


  2. Chris says:

    Mazeika has been claimed by the Giants.

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