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.
Father’s Day is coming up, and since you already got Dear Old Dad the handy book version of Mets by the Numbers(you did, didn’t you?), and you know how much fun that was, don’t be stumped for a follow-up. My friend and co-author for that work, Matthew Silverman, is out with a fresh take on 100 Things Mets Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die (Triumph, 2010).
This revised and updated copy, which tells the story of the Mets in 100 bite-sized chunks, is loaded with fresh picks at the scabs of recent seasons (the Shea closing ceremony, a Molina vs. Scioscia debate) amid essential pieces on Met trivia, Met stories and Met activity, from Buckner to Benson (Anna, of course). You can find it your local bookstore, or on-line, or get a copy personally inscribed by the busiest Mets writer on the web at MetSilverman.com.
Had a great time over the weekend down in Baltimore where the Mets finally did what they’re supposed to do to a struggling team: Kick ’em while they’re down. The city was filthy with Met fans including a duo I spotted Sunday wearing jerseys bearing the names and numbers of Kelly Stinnett and Dave Telgheder. (In their 1995 versions: 33 and 40, respectively). I don’t know why I didn’t shoot a photo of these guys or at least say hi, but if you’re out there: I tip my hat to you.
Not that a team whose history would produce such fans ought to be taking pity on anyone, but it was kind of sad to see Baltimore so beaten down as a baseball town. I was a Marylander when that park opened and you couldn’t buy a seat weeks in advance: Here they were badly outnumbered by the enemy and the place was half-empty. If there was a franchise that cried out for the kind of jolt Bobby Valentine could provide, this is it. Then again, the Angelos-led organization fumbled away a previous great leader in Davey Johnson.
The Mets on Tuesday placed utilityman Damian Easley 3 on the bereavement list as he attends to his ill father at his home in California. While you send your best to the Easley family, meet Chip Ambres, the outfielder recalled from AAA New Orleans to take Easley’s roster slot. I believe the rules governing bereavement stipulate Easley will be out for a minimum of 3 days and a maximum of 7.
Ambres, who was having an excellent season for the Zephyrs, suited up last night in He’s the 23rd No. 36 in team history, the first since No. 36.Kelly Stinnett a year ago (I’d forgotten we had him too) and the first outfielder in that number.
Quick update on the first Met Uni Controversy of the 06 offseason: Veteran outfielder Moises Alousigned a 1-year deal today and was presented with the No. 18 jersey. That number belonged last season to Jose Valentin, who was also re-signed recently. Newsday relates that Valentin willingly surrendered the digits after learning who asked for them: “You tell him he’s got the number.”
The guess here is that Valentin resurfaces in No. 22, a number that last season belonged to Xavier Nady then to Michael Tucker.
In other news the Mets dealt Nov. 15 for outfielder Ben Johnson (No. 4) and pitcher Jon Adkins (No. 57) of the Padres: Going to Petco are relievers Heath Bell 19 and Royce Ring 43. Should Johnson make the roster, he could remain in No. 4 since it doesn’t appear Chris Woodward is coming back. The Mets further cleared their roster of homegrown relief prospects by sending a pair of hard-throwers, Henry Owens and Matt Lindstrom, to Florida for two lefty projects: Jason Vargas and Adam Bostick. Owens made a brief appearance for the Mets last season wearing No. 36; we might have smelled a deal cooking in back in September when the Mets issued that number to a backup catcher, Kelly Stinnett. Vargas, who wore No. 56 for the Marlins last season is the guy with the best chance to make something of himself though he hasn’t done so yet. Bostick has yet to crack the majors.
Also: Vetejourneyutilityman Damion Easley was added as a free agent. Easley’s been everywhere, man, but most recently in Arizona and Florida, he was wearing No. 2. That number currently belongs to coach Sandy Alomar.
By now everyone knows the Mets will be Pedro-less for the playoffs but let’s be honest: That doesn’t surprise us. He hasn’t been healthy for a long while, and though it would be nice if the Real Pedro was with us, we’ve been more concerned about the lineup than the pitching all year long, even while they made it look easy and now, especially, as they make it look difficult.
Stuff we neglected to mention recently: Ramon Castro 11 returned from the disabled list Sept. 12; Kelly Stinnett 36 was designated for assigment Sept. 27 and Phillip Humber 49 made his big-league debut Sept. 24. Along with the return of Mike Pelfrey 34 to the (nominally) active roster, the ’06 Mets have 36 active players on their roster at once, which ties them with three other Met clubs for the second-most ever, according to Met roster historian Jason:
The only time they’ve had more was in 1967 (38 active). Too bad they didn’t recall Henry Owens & Alay Soler, they could have tied their franchise record! The only other players left on the 40-man are Matt Lindstrom & Ruben Gotay.
Active Players on September Rosters:
36…………..1974, 1985, 2002, 2006
35…………..1965, 1980, 1984, 1987, 1998, 1999
34…………..1966, 1969, 1971, 1982, 1983, 2001
33…………..1970, 1972, 1981, 1989, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003
32…………..1963, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1990, 1992, 1993, 2004, 2005
30…………..1968, 1979, 1986, 1988, 1995
The Mets yesterday made the Anderson Hernandez promotion official, temporarily sending down lefty Dave Williams 32 to make room for him. Williams is expected to return in time for his next start. The recall comes in time to make Hernandez, who was dressed in No. 1, eligible for the postseason roster, along with the 12 other current position players and disablees Cliff Floyd 30 and Ramon Castro 11.
Having not called up recent signee Kelly Stinnett suggests the team is confident in Castro’s return, though reports this morning say Stinnett’s likely to be recalled now that rosters are exandable and Norfolk’s season is winding to a close.
Shawn Green arrived tonight and is in the lineup wearing No. 20, most recently belonging to Victor Diaz,who was sprung to make room for Green on the 40. Disappointing would-be spare part Ricky Ledee 9 was released to make room for him.
The Mets in the meantime had more injury news to share: Ramon Castro 11, who suffered a setback in his rehab assignment earlier this week, was tranferred to the 60-day disabled list making any chance he’ll rejoin the Mets this year a longshot. Telegraphing doubts both in Castro’s return and Mike DiFelice’s usefulness, the Norfolk Tides signed veteran backstop Kelly Stinnett,who played for the Mets 11 years ago wearing No. 33.Prediction, DiFelice bequeaths the No. 6 jersey to Stinnett in no time, or the Mets go fish for another backup and soon.
Also, they said Orlando Hernandez 26 would skip his next turn, giving Brian Bannister a start for the first time since pulling a hammy in San Francisco in April. You should remember him as No. 40.That means lefty project Oliver Perez will likely get Tom Glavine’s scheduled start on Saturday: Perez is currently wearing No. 47 in Norfolk, and was 48 and 59 in Pittsburgh. The Mets following Thursday’s win sent Lastings Milledge 44 down to Norfolk to make room for Bannister. Wow.