So last year, the Mets were never once were any better than 11 games over .500, a point they reached just once, following a sweep of the Cubs in June. Their failure to exit that range-bound 6 or 7 over .500 while the rest of the division was worse during the season’s first months was the story of the year, until that club revealed all kind of other problems (injuries, underperformance, lapsed priorities and so on) when they ultimately revealed their level was not actually 6 or 7 games over but 6 or 7 games under.
So it’s with a small amount of trauma that I’ll note this team has so far twice had the opportunity to exceed last year’s high-water mark and twice failed to get there, and doing so with games that weren’t so fun to watch. We shouldn’t be losing to Paul Sewald, as nice a guy as he was (he once acknowledged me yelling “Sewald!” through the bullpen fence at the Cyclones park). If this is really to be as good a year as it looks like it can be, we can’t hover while the rest of the division struggles. Now’s not the time to hover–get to 20 over, a point at which hovering will likely get you to the playoffs.
Catching up again on the comings and goings, we saw Stephen Nogosek and his ridiculous 85 jersey come ago go, and recently welcomed back Jake Reed, who’s still wearing 72. James McCann’s broken hamate–a bad injury for a catcher who already can’t hit, I’d reckon–is out for several weeks and Patrick Mazeika is back. That’s notable only because Mazieka, unlike Nogosek or Reed, got reassigned a normal number and what was 76 last year is now 4.
While the Mets are busy signing their arbitration-eligible guys and pursuing even more relief pitchers (keep your eyes peeled for that METS GIVE HAND JOB headline in the Post), some of their guys are trying on new uni numbers.
Some of the activity relates to new reliever Trevor May who evidently will retain the same No. 65 he wore in his previous job with the Twins. That means a switch for newly re-signed bullpenner Robert Gsellman, who rosters now list in 44. I’ve railed against offensive-line numbers for major leaguers for some time now but there was something appropriate to the 65 hanging beneath the broad shoulders of Gsellman, as the digits mimic the unique spelling on the name above them: 65ELLMAN, right? It’s a gshame. On the other hand, Gsellman could probably stand to switch his career up in a lot of ways. Gselly inherits 44 from two-time Met (and three-time ex-Met), Rene Rivera who wore 44 briefly last year, and before than in 2016. Rivera also hung around their minors in 2008 but never appeared.
In a downward move that makes more sense, David Peterson has dropped 54 digits from his ridiculous 77 he wore last season and is now listed as 23. We’ll have to check and see what that means for coach Brian Schneider, who wore it last year and appears currently numberless on the roster.
Catching up on additional 40-man roster stuff, the Mets.com roster lists James McCann as expected in No. 33; utilityman Robel Garcia in 00; and the curiously acquired slugger Jose Martinez as 53, while pitching candidates Jacob Barnes, Sam McWilliams and Stephen Tarpley along with catcher Patrick Mazeika, remain unassigned. If these seeming assignments hold, look for pitching coach Jeremy Hefner and Mascot Mr Met to have a new assignments. And Hefner joins Schneider, Jeremy Accardo (59 reassigned to Carlos Carrasco), Dave Jauss, and Tony Tarasco as coaches awaiting new assignments.
Also on the radar: some guys who had assignments last year (Corey Oswalt 55, Drew Smith 62, Ali Sanchez 70) appear unassigned. I do hope this means more deflation.
In the first high-profile signing of the second Sandy Alderson Era, the Mets have reportedly agreed with free-agent catcher James McCann to a 4-year, $40 million deal, which for whatever reason hasn’t been officially announced yet. McCann wore No. 33 with the White Sox, digits most recently belonging the the returned and since cashiered Todd Frazier late last year.
Perhaps worn most famously by disgraced former All-Star Matt Harvey, 33 has also previously belonged to Met catchers Barry Lyons, Charlie O’Brien, Kelly Stinnett, Tim Spehr and Mike DiFelice. None of these guys were legit first stringers and until recently it looked like McCann would have a career like those guys. Stinnett (along with fellow ex-Met backstops Todd Pratt, Rick Wilkins and Travis d’Arnaud) in fact appear on McCann’s “Similar Batters” scores over at Baseball Reference, so I’m keeping my expectations appropriately in check. Fills a need, hits lefthanders, reportedly solid defensively and presumably saves the big money to gather in other free agents.
So confident were the Mets in McCann they made the deal ahead of the arrival of the actual general manager who we learned yesterday is Jared Porter. Jared is 41, served World Series-winning teams in Boston and Chicago and most recently was an assistant with the Diamondbacks. Sounds good to me.
And just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water… it’s JAUSS 2.
Jauss was Jerry Manuel’s former top lieutenant in 2010, and will serve the same role for Luis Rojas in 2021, succeeding Hensely Muelens. Jauss wore No. 56 back then; it currently belongs to assistant hitting coach Tom Slater.