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.
The Mets placed Shawn Green 20 onto the disabled list Tuesday and recalled Ben Johnson,who entered the game later that night as a defensive replcement in the outfield. Johnson, whom the Mets received in the Heath Bell trade, wore the same No. 4 as he sported in spring training.
In the meantime shamed reliever Guillermo Mota 59 completed his 50-game juicing suspension and re-joins the Mets tonight in place of struggling bullpener Ambiorix Burgos 40.
Over the weekend we failed to mention the return from the disabled list of Orlando Hernandez 26 and the subsequent demotion of pitcher Jason Vargas 43.
For the second winter in a row, the Mets traded a soft-tossing starter who wore No. 40 for a hard-throwing young reliever who wears No. 50. While last year it was Jae Seo to Los Angeles for Duaner Sanchez, this time it’s Brian Bannister to Kansas City in exchange for Ambiorix Burgos.(Yes, we know Seo’s turn in No. 40 was a few changes ago, but we couldn’t resist all the spooky parallels). We’ll wish good luck to Bannister, who showed a lot of heart in an unexpected rookie campaign with the Mets, and hope that Burgos can cut down on those home runs allowed and wild pitches.
The Winter Meetings also brought word that ex-Met Howard Johnson would serve as the first-base coach next season, with Sandy Alomar crossing the diamond to third base to take the place of the departed Manny Acta. We’ll be watching to see which jersey Hojo turns up in, noting that his former No. 20 belongs today to outfielder Shawn Green.
More Numbers Confirmed: Thanks again to Gordon, who mailed along a scan of a scorecard from the opening series of the 1977 season including the listing of Ray Sadecki wearing No. 33. While this number wasn’t especially difficult to remember (that Sadecki wore 33 is in fact about the only thing we can recall of the guy) finding independent confirmation was a bit ornery and so we’re thankful to have it.
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.
Still no word on what number Shawn Green turns up in, but MBTN reader Michael points out it probably won’t be 25 as foolishly suggested below (that’s Pedro Feliciano’s these days). His guess: 9, for the odds-on favorite to be released to make room for him, Ricky Ledee, but we’ve thought it over and suddenly realize it could be 20, for Victor Diaz, the guy whose place on the 40-man roster disappeared overnight because of Green.
Green by the way will become the 45th Met this year, and the 797th of all time. While the 1967 record of 54 different players is probably safe, there’s a strong possibility that the all-time Metland population reaches 800 sometime in September. Back in 2003, when Tom Glavine became the 700th Met, we ran the following chronology of Milestone Mets and their Debut Dates:
100: Jimmie Schaffer (July 26, 1965)
200: Bill Sudakis (July 11, 1972)
300: Phil Mankowski (April 11, 1980)
400: Randy Milligan (Sept. 12, 1987)
500: Kelly Stinnett (April 5, 1994)
600: Lenny Harris (July 4, 1998)
700: Tom Glavine (March 31, 2003)
Just back from Big Shea where we were treated to a thrilling walk-off win that included a successful debut for new reliever Guillermo Mota, dressed in the No. 59 jersey he made famous as the involuntary sparring partner of Mike Piazza. Mota is only the third 59 in Met history but the second this year — last we saw Alay Soler, walking dejectedly off the mound at Yankee Stadium in early July, he was wearing 59 too. You have to go all the way back to 1980 and the debut of Ed Lynch to find the third.
Mota was acquired Monday for the everpopular Player to be Named Later. Royce Ring 43 was optioned to Norfolk to make room for Mota.
Shortly before Carlos Beltran’s heroics, the stadium scoreboard informed us that Shawn Greenwould be arriving shortly, acquired, along with $6.3 million, from the Diamondbacks, for AAA leftyEvan MacLane. One thing we shouldn’t expect is for Green’s No. 15 jersey to accompany him: That belongs to Beltran. May we suggest 25? Tune in Thursday to find out.