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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Mendoza’s Mets

All right everyone, let’s get caught up before the winter meetings start and the big names start to arrive.

I can’t think they fired Buck Showalter only to wind up with a Yankee coach nobody’s ever heard of, so it seems like someone miscalculated the ease with which they’d gather in Craig Counsell. I was no fans of Counsell anyway so I’m glad he’s not here but in the end I’d have stayed with Buck all along.

Carlos Mendoza will wear No. 28, and said all the right things at his press conference, but we’ve heard plenty of good press conferences before.

Mendoza’s staff will include returning hero John Gibbons as bench coach, Jeremy Hefner remains as pitching coach and Eric Chavez mercifully becomes the hitting coach again. New to the staff is first-base coach Antoan Richardson and third base coach Mike Sarbaugh. None of these new guys have been assigned numbers yet; Gibbons wore 8 for the Mets until Gary Carter came along, then took 43 and 45.

There’s been the beginnings of moves for a bullpen and bench. Tyler Heineman, claimed off waivers from Toronto, is a defensive catcher who can’t hit. There’s Cooper Hummel, a multiposition player claimed on waivers from Seattle. Joey Wendle is another versatile player and could serve in the same role as Luis Guillorme did last year, hopefully minus the getting the hurt and not contributing upon his return.

Pitchers include a few relievers I’ve never heard of: Kyle Crick and Cole Sulser each signed to a minor league deal from Tampa Bay; Carlos Guzman, signed to a minor league deal from the Cubs; and Austin Adams, signed from Arizona. Then there’s Luis Severino, the one-time Yankee ace who was one of the worst pitchers in the league last year. Severino wore No. 40 in the Bronx; that currently belongs to Drew Smith.

In addition to Guillorme, Daniel Vogelbach, Trevor Gott, Sam Coonrod and Jeff Brigham we not tendered contracts and became free agents.

I don’t pretend to know what awaits the Mets on the free agent and trading markets but reports that the Yankees somehow have a leg up in the Yamamoto sweepstakes by reserving his No. 18 seems worth a thought here. The Mets could play that game too if they weren’t suddenly retiring every number. They in fact used 18–a number traditionally reserved for aces in Japan–for Takashi Kashiwada and Ryota Igarashi, though safe to say, neither was an ace. But both came years after Darryl Strawberry left Flushing in 1990 and nobody seemed to care.

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Bat & Field

Peyton Battenfield is his name, and he’s up for Jeff Brigham. The Mets acquired this guy from Cleveland on a waiver claim earlie rthis month. He’d gone 0-5, 5.19 for the Guardians. The Met roster lists Battenfield in No. 60, which was freed up when Ronny Mauricio took 10 upon his callup.

This weekend saw the Mets assured of having a losing record and shut out of the playoffs even though it seems like they’re playing as well as they have all year. Soon it’ll be hot stove under a new baseball poobah David Stearns.

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Let the Future Begin

So as it turns out, Ronny Mauricio is wearing 10 tonight, and batting last as the Mets host the Mariners. The projection engines don’t much like Mauricio (they see him as a low-OBP) but I’m always excited about a power-speed switch-hitter, the future is hard to predict, so let’s see how he does.

Going down for him is Danny Mendick who hasn’t done much to justify staying on the roster other than he can pitch. Also back up are Jose Butto and Brett Baty, whom the projection software likes but slumped into Mauricio territory.

Hoping all these guys thrive because they whacked the farm director and a bunch of honchos in the organization in a move that some say clears the deck for a new baseball chief but could leave them without a champion.

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Meet the New Middle Relief Corps

Well it looks like the mystery below has been settled on Twitter, or has it? Word now is that’s Marv Throneberry, based on his white sideburns. Here’s an image I found on the Internet. Could be him! Marv wore No. 2 as a Met but 55 seems like something they’d give a coach.

Back to the Mets and the astonishing return of Sean Reid-Foley! He appeared seemingly out of nowhere wearing No. 71 the other night; the 61 he used to have has been given to Michael Perez. Reid-Foley has been away since early last season with Tommy John surgery. I always thought this guy might be something, having come over for a name-brand pitcher in Steven Matz.

Another blast from the past, if you recall minor-league Mets, is Adam Kolarek, a lefty sidearmer wearing 66. Kolarek was a longshot prospect who got away and since been kicked around the league from Baltimore to Tampa to Los Angeles to Oakland to Atlanta, etc. The Mets got him from the Dodgers along with Phil Bickford in a cash deal at the deadline. A whole new middle-relief corps.

 

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Name that Met

This week we saw the arrival–and departure–of reliever Tyson Miller, becoming the first Met since Seth Lugo and the second overall to wear No. 67. We also witnessed the debut appearance of Sam Coonrod wearing No. 45. Coonrod spent the whole year injured.

The real action happened on Twitter where a mystery popped up over the Met pictured below in the No. 55 jersey in a 1984 Old Timers Game. He looks facially like Bill Monbouquette even though Bill wore 54 and wasn’t on the Mets’ staff in 1984.

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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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SHaMpionship Run

Welcome to SHaM Opening Night! (Second HAlf Mets) Many of us I’m sure will be missing the opener which is available to view only on Apple TV.

Not that it will necessarily be the kind of thing you shouldn’t miss. The less you saw of the First Half Mets the better. Who could have guessed that Tommy FHaM would be the Mets most reliable player? (He or Nimmo, I suppose). But I don’t have to tell you guys it was awful pitching that sunk us. Newcomers like Trevor Gott have the chance to improve that, if you want to be optimistic.

What will be interesting to watch I suppose is whether the SHaMs have another few 6-of-8 runs in them and get back into contention for a Wild Card, or revert to FHaM form and sell.

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Women and Children First

The Mets did the kindest thing they could and sprung Eduardo Escobar from this drifting shipwreck. The veteran infielder, who actually looked useful if redundant as a reserve, was traded to Anaheim last night for two minor league pitchers. It’s nice that Steve Cohen paid his salary on the way out which leads to a better haul of prospects in this case, /looks it up/ Coleman Crow and Landon Marceaux.

I didn’t get to see Vinny Nottoli make his Mets debut but he’s wearing the No. 68 most recently belonging to Adonis Medina. I have gotten a look at sidearmer Grant Hartwig, who is making history as the first Met to wear No. 93.

I haven’t put better baseball beyond this group but it’s looking more to me like the Escobar trade could be the first of several unloadings for this group, especially if the time comes for Mark Vientos and Ronny Mauricio to be contributors. Mauricio is listed in No. 60 but I could see him taking the newly available 10.

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