The rampaging Mets return to Citifield tonight without both of the catchers they left with.
With Kevin Plawecki joining Travis d’Arnaud on the disabled list, Jose Lobaton will catch, and Tomas Nido will back up.
Lobaton, the former National who wears the silly No. 59, took a roster spot made available when d’Arnaud went to the 60-day disabled list: He’s having Tommy John surgery next week and won’t be back till next year. Plawecki’s injury, a broken in his hand, is considered less serious. For now, Brandon Nimmo is back up (yay!) while Jacob Rhame goes to Vegas.
Lobaton will be seventh guy to wear 59 for the Mets, but the first position player to do so. Ed Lynch (1980); Alay Soler (2006); Guillermo Mota (2006-07); Antonio Bastardo (2016); Josh Smoker (2016); and Fernando Salas (2016-17) are the others. Lynch and Smoker wore the numbers only briefly.
The Mets also signed Johnny Monell (remember him?) and assigned him to the minors to address the organizational stress on the catching ranks. Monell wore No. 19 during his appearances in 2015.
I’ve been struck by the (mostly good) parallels between this year’s opening stretch and that of 2015, when the Mets unexpectedly took it to a Washington team that appeared a bit too confident in itself and rode it to a big April winning streak.
You’ll also recall it was a costly hot start then, and maybe now too, now that both events include an injury to Travis d’Arnaud. In 2015, d’Arnaud left us way too reliant on Kevin Plawecki whose own struggles helped to erase all the good of that 11-game win streak within a few months.
Plawecki’s older and maybe a little better today but he’s going to be the man for a while as the word on d’Arnaud is a bad elbow injury that may require the dreaded Tommy John surgery. That can’t be good for a guy who’ll be a free agent after next year, wasn’t a great throwing catcher to begin with, and whose prior injuries have prevented him from becoming much of the hitting star we’d imagined.
Tomas Nido, whom we saw briefly toward the end of last year, has been recalled and issued No. 3. You might recall his wearing 77 last year. You might remember No. 3 most recently on the back of Curtis Granderson.
Well here’s a couple more Mets to update you on. Phillip Evans, who sports a nice tan and can play several infield positions, is up with the club and wearing No. 72; and today comes world that Class AA catching prospect Tomas Nido is up and will wear No. 77.
Trying to make sense of these assignments is never easy, but 72 is simply the number Evans had in Spring Training and the Mets hardly bother to update it any more. That’s why Nido’s assignment is weird: He was No. 70 in Spring Training.
Further in-depth research by my crack team of researchers indicates Nido has a thing for No. 7, having worn it at several stops prior to New York including the World Futures game and at Binghamton this season, and maybe, 70 wasn’t doing it for him. Maybe 07 would have done it. But, he’s 77.
Both Evans and Nido are the second-ever residents of their numbers. Carolos Torres broke in 72 after Yoenis Cespedes’ arrival forced him out of 52. 77 belonged to the one and only DJ Carrasco, who after all this time may still be the worst free agent signing of the Sandy Alderson era.
A promoted minor league coach, Ryan Ellis, is up and wearing No. 60. I debate about including these types in the “official” record: It has always seemed to me that a manager should get 4 coaches: 1st and 3rd base, pitching and hitting, but that’s probably me being a cranky old man.
Well at least some worthy candidates are ascending to higher office around here.
The Mets on Friday added five young players to fill empty spots on their 40-man roster, protecting them from poachers at the forthcoming Rule 5 draft and technically, initiating the moment at which they are assigned a big-league uni number.
A quick glance at the Mets roster online indicates that last bit hasn’t happened yet so keep an eye out. In the meantime let’s welcome outfielder Wuilmer Becerra; catcher Tomas Nido; shortstop Amed Rosario; and pitchers Marcos Molina and Chris Flexen to the club.
If you want to handicap these assignments, it’s a safe bet the Mets will issue Rosario No. 1, matching both his rank of their prospects list and his Binghamton jersey. Helps also that Justin Ruggiano was outrighted recently. The others are down far enough in the minors still to establish much of a numerical identity: Molina was spotted most recently wearing 45 in Arizona Fall League action. St. Lucie teammates Becerra, Nido and Flexen wore 32, 13 and 33, respectively, this past season.
You can’t protect everyone so some say that pitching prospects Ricky Knapp and Paul Sewald, and outfielder Champ Stewart, are vulnerable to selection in the Rule 5 draft.
In part to make room for these guys the Mets have not only outrighted Ruggiano, but Eric Campbell and Jim Henderson. Campbell reportedly has a deal to play play for Hanshin in the Japan League next season. Sayonara, Soupy.