According to the Internet, and a rumor that seems to have been around for months now, the Mets are expected to announce that they’ve signed veteran reserve infielder Alex Cora to a 1-year contrract. Cora, a lefthanded hitter, is expected to be the primary middle infield defensive backup, and comes to the Mets with the kind of reputation for the intangibles Omar Minaya cannot resist.
Cora in his 11-year career has most frequently worn No. 3 and more recently, No. 13: With 3 recently surrendered by Damian Easley and 13 belonging nominally to potential late-season callup Billy Wagner, we’d bet (and bet big) he winds up in 3. It’s a nice wussyish benchwarming shortstop number after all, Ruth notwithstanding.
In other new-Met news, Marty Noble of mlb.com reports that Tim Redding knew that jersey No. 44 at one time belonged to David Cone (nice!) but that had 23 been available he’d have taken it instead for … Don Mattingly (what?).
Just as expected, Pedro Martinez‘s strained hammy landed him on the disabled list today. He’s expected to return in 4-to-6 weeks, or months, or whatever, and Nelson Figueroa was recalled from New Orleans to take his spot on the roster.
What was unexpected was seeing Figueroa try out the No. 27jersey so soon by throwing a pressure-free scoreless seventh inning in a 13-0 laugher over the hapless Marlins: A game providing much needed relief from the black mood I walked around in all day considering Tuesday’s debacle. The Mets emptied the bench of all but Raul Casanova, including the season debuts of Damian Easley and Brady Clark, and pitchers Pedro Feliciano and Billy Wagner.
The first shots of Figueroa in the bullpen also confirmed Mean Gene’s remark in the comments section the other day that catching instructor Sandy Alomar Jr. had switched from the 90 he wore in spring training to 58. This was despite the opening ceremonies annoucing him in 90.
Don’t forget the Mets by the Numbers book talk and signing at Barnes & Noble in Bayside 3 p.m. Saturday and the launch party at STOUT NYC this Sunday at 1 p.m. Hope to meet you there.
The Mets announced Friday that they’d signed veteran outfielder Brady Clark to a minor league deal and invited him to Spring Training. This would be the second Met go-round for Clark who arrived from the Reds in September 2002 as the fourth and final piece in the Shawn Estes trade.
Now, Shawn Estes may have been a rotten Met himself, but his trade brought a few decent talents to the organization: In addition to Clark, who stuck around only long enough to participate in the horrid month of September 2002 (but went on to have better success elsewhere), the Mets gathered in outfield reserve Raul Gonzalez, and a skinny lefty, Pedro Feliciano, who, depending upon how you count these things, is the Met with longest tenure heading to the 2008 season. To be technical, Jose Reyes is the longest with continuous service. Feliciano since 2002 was cut and reacquired not once but twice: He was claimed on waivers by the Tigers following that season but released and re-signed by the Mets the following spring. Feliciano would later be sold to the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks and re-signed again prior to the 2006 season. That trade also produced a minor league pitched, Elvin Andujar, who went nowhere.
But about Clark. Righthanded hitter with a decent glove and a chance to be the guy who replaces Damian Easley or pressures Olmedo Saenz for a reserve role. Wore No. 15 for his first go-round, so will be shopping for new digits now. Saenz by the way is listed as suiting up in No. 91, as indicated by the comment section in the below post.
After that horrific ankle injury — ever do something like that? It makes a noise — Mets never really adequately replaced Damian Easley.
There was irony, or something, in the Mets failing to make the playoffs given all the attention to Easley’s dubious ascension in the Guy With the Most games Never to Appear in the Postseason rankings. But you know, Jeff Conine didn’t turn out to be a very good replacement for Easley.
Far be it from me to take away attention from the horrendous performances of the bullpen, Jose Reyes, Tom Glavine, etc etc down the stretch … but when it all comes down to a single game, perhaps a guy who could whack the lefthanders a little more reliably may also have made a difference. All of which is a convoluted route to getting to the point you already knew: Easley will get another chance to end (um… or extend) his streak for playoff futility with the Mets in 2008. A one-year deal for Easley, along with a option renewal for Moises Alou 18, were announced by the Mets on Wednesday. Easley and Alou happened to be the first two new guys added to the roster last off-season too.
The Mets also purchased a catcher, Luis Alen, from the cool-hat-wearing Winnipeg Goldeyes of the independent Northern League. Alen isn’t likely to be a starting candidate on the Mets next year but it’s always fun to note the first appearance in the transaction agate of the hot stove season.
The Mets would be fools not to pretend to be interested in Alex Rodriguez, and for all we know, they are (just move Wright to first and flip Delgado at a loss for pitching. It’s not that unfathomable). With 13 tied up in Billy Wagner, we’d bet on Easley losing No. 3 so that A-Rod could have it here. Meantime, the idea that Jorge Posada turns up on our team was raised in the papers today. Just saying: Shawn Green is out. No. 20 is available.
In a move they hope will address the right-handed bench power in the absence of Damian Easley, the Mets this afternoon said they have acquired veteran Jeff Conine from Cincinnati for a duo of minor league scrubeenies. No word yet on what number Mr. Marlin will wear for the Mets but he’s most often been spotted in 18 and 19 with his other employers.
Guess here is that as a means of welcoming Conine to New York, the Mets will offer him 19, currently belonging to Sandy Alomar Jr. but of no real significance to him. (How significant Alomar is at all is a matter of debate). Moises Alou has 18 today and will tomorrow. Another solution is to give him “09″ (pronounced oh-nine) which would rhyme.
I might have preferred the Mets swing a deal for Detroit’s Craig Monroe, who’s younger and presumably still has upside. The issue I have with Conine is only that in the event Delgado doesn’t heal properly the Mets will be tempted to make him an everyday guy and we’ve seen too often already this year the downside to that. But, here’s to Mr. Marlin. Chime in if you have a uni number suggestion or confirmation.