Last week came word the Mets had traded veteran backup catcher Vance Wilson 3 to Detroit for minor league infielder Anderson Hernandez;signed veteran backup infielder Miguel Cairo; and signed lefthanded reliever Dae-Sung Koo. That Wilson was the Met to go was surprising but, in our estimation, the right choice to make seeing as Jason Phillips 23 is younger, a better receiver and possesses more of an upside, notwithstanding his lousy sophomore year. One thing certain about Cairo is that you won’t see him in his customary No. 41: That’s unavailable. Aquiring Koo was a coup in that newspapers hinted he, like Beltran, was simply assumed to be a future Yankee. Heh. Said to have a sneaky arm that will trouble lefthanded hitters, Koo wore No. 15 with Orix of the Japan Pacific League — that will belong to Beltran for awhile.
Tag Archive for Vance Wilson
The Mets yesterday announced that nine players had been signed to minor league contracts and been invited to Spring Training. They include ancient slugger Andres Galarraga, who will turn 44 this summer — younger than The Francos at least (thanks Paul). It’s possible that the Big Cat makes the team, perhaps as the righthanded swinging half of a first base platoon, but he won’t be wearing his familiar No. 14 here. That’s retired.
Rehabbing Met bullpen veterans Grant Roberts 36 (photo at right by David Whitham); Scott Strickland 28 and Orber Moreno 49 were also retained with minor league contracts, as was outfielder Gerald Williams 21. Bringing back Williams would seem more pointless than usual, but for the news that Mike Cameron 44 is having surgery and will likely miss the first month of the year.
Also joining the mix to spell Cameron will be speedy backup Kerry Robinson, notable here for the fact he used to wear No. 0 while with the Cardinals. (Former Expo Ron Calloway,signed to a Major League deal earlier this week, will also be in the outfield mix.Calloway woreNo. 22 in Montreal/San Juan).
Other signees include pitcher Juan Padilla, a minor league vet who’s had coffee with the Yankees and Reds; Luis Garcia, a first baseman-outfielder who hit 32 HRs last year in the rare air of the PCL with the Dodgers’ organization; catchers Andy Dominique, a chunky minor league vet who made his debut last year with the Red Sox while Varitek served a suspension for getting in A-Rod’s girlish grill; and Ramon Castro, the former Marlins backup fighting a rape charge. Along with the news the Mets had re-signed veteran catcher Vance Wilson 3 to a 2005 contract, it appears a deal or two involving Jason Phillips 23 or That Piazza Guy may happen sooner or later.
Finally, there’s Marlon Anderson, No. 8 on your old Cardinal and Phillie rosters, a utility backup in the mold of Desi Relaford.
These guys will all report when Spring Training begins in six long weeks or so. Till then,Happy Holidays!
The McKnighthood of Jason Phillips
Mike Piazza’s punishment for his attempted assault of cowardly Dodger pitcher Guillermo Mota has created the potential for third-string backstop Jason Phillips cracking the roster in the early going. Should Phillips see action, it would be while wearing his third “official” different uniform number as a Met and his 4th overall: Quite an accomplishment for a guy with only 26 Major-League at-bats!
To explain: Phillips was called up to Mets in May of 2001 and issued a jersey — No. 3 — but did not appear in a game before being sent back to AA Binghamton. Later that year Phillips made his “official” Met debut in No. 26 — his No. 3 had in the meantime been issued to Vance Wilson. Twenty-six was issued to Marco Scutaro prior to Phillips’ September call-up of 2002 so Phillips instead wore No. 7. This spring, the Mets dressed superstar-in-waiting Jose Reyes in No. 7 and told Phillips to take No. 23, which would be his likely number the next time he appears as a Met. The Goggled One still has two more uni-switches ahead of him if he wants to catch all-time uni-number leader Jeff McKnight but he’s off to a great start!
MBTN is back from a two-week break, during which we missed some moves, but not much fun. Here’s a quick chronological rundown.
June 24: Optioned Dicky Gonzalez 39 to Norfolk; recalled Jerrod Riggan 38.
June 25: Optioned Riggan; recalled Grant Roberts 36.
June 26: Optioned Alex Escobar 25 to Norfolk; activated Jay Payton 44 from the DL.
June 30: Designated Darryl Hamilton 18 for assignment (See ya!); recalled Vance Wilson 3 from Norfolk.
July 3: Activated Edgardo Alfonzo 13 from the DL; placed Jorge Velandia 11 on the DL.
July 4: Activated Donne Wall 33 from the DL; optioned Roberts to Norfolk.