Grote to the Max

There’s a lot to talk about since my last update including the City Connect unis (should have used more 7-train purple, don’t like the hats but better than I feared they’d be) the “new” black look (terrible), the new guys (the miraculous Luis Torrens and the dazzling Jose Iglesias), and the old guys (Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden, rocketed to eternity). Then there’s the whole month-of-May thing where it’s plausible the Mets might not have won any games and it seemed at times our rookie manager, whom I liked in April, was getting in over his head.

But what we should be talking about is what happens after we die.

Take Jerry Grote. He’s a Met Hall of Famer who passed away in April, and the the Mets haven’t done a thing to remember him, beyond (I assume) a pregame scoreboard video. Yet there’s a patch for Grote’s longtime teammate and fellow Mets Hall of Famer Bud Harrelson there.

The Mets haven’t missed the opportunity to pay tribute to a late Hall of Famer yet (though Tommie Agee‘s patch was a one-day thing). Yeah with the new sponsor patch taking up most of the available real estate it might take some creative arrangement but in this era where Steve Cohen cannot wait to deify Met stars from the past you’d think this was too good an opportunity to miss but so far its crickets.

Back to Iglesias for a moment: I was surprised he didn’t come north with the team in March and it was obvious a versatile infielder who could actually play the infield belonged on the team. Now he’s getting starts ahead of Jeff McNeil who looks like he’s getting the Daniel Vogelbach Treatment. I was also mildly surprised to see them cut ties with Omar Narvaez, despite his performance, being a David Stearns Milwaukee stock.

Goodbye Omar. You won’t be getting a sleeve patch either.

 

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Great Scott

Promising pitching prospect Christian Scott is arriving even sooner than I would have guessed and without an obvious need for a starter (unless they cut bait on Adrian Houser or something). Clubhouse video from Florida, where Scott will start tomorrow, shows he will wear No. 45, which belonged last to Sam Coonrod (it belonged to Cole Sulser in Spring Training, only to see him turn up in 54 for his ineffective appearances).

I’m glad they are giving Scott a pitcher number to begin his career and so won’t have him looking like a clown as they’ve forced Jose Butto into with that unseemly No. 70. Butto should go to the clubhouse and demand No. 21 while its still available. He’s a good enough pitcher to pull that off.

Yesterday we saw Danny Young become the all-time Mets leader in wins by a guy wearing No. 81. If you remembered that Johneshwy Fargas was the first to wear 81, you win a prize of some kind.

These Mets have a little scrappiness about them that I like, with a better-than-expected bullpen and a streaky offense that’s not afraid to come from behind like inferior versions of the Mets. But I’m concerned with offense out of the catching position, we were much better off before Alvarez went down and he wasn’t even hot.

Catching up on the downroster churn:

Michael Tonkin was DFA’ed for Julio Teheran, and traded to the Twins

Yohan Ramirez was DFA’ed for Cole Sulser, and signed with the Orioles

Julio Teheran was DFA’ed for Dedniel Nunez and wound up with the Cubs

Tyler Jay was DFA’ed for a returning Michael Tonkin, and re-upped with Syracuse

Kolton Ingram was DFA’ed for Tomas Nido, and re-upped with Syracuse

Michael Tonkin was DFA’ed a second time as Sean Reid-Foley returns, and lands with the Yankees

Zack Short was DFA’ed as JD Martinez arrives,

 

 

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Wicked Gravity

I forgot how tiresome it is to be cycling in 3 new guys every week onto the roster, only to see them disappear in a few days. This is life on the butt-end of the Mets bullpen, especially in this era of 5-inning starts.

This week as you know we welcomed in Julio Teheran, who gave us what little he had and was summarily cashiered for Dedniel Nunez, who pitched pretty well but still found himself on a plane back to Syracuse so that Tyler Jay can get a shot, until he goes a few innings or we need a starter again. Cole Sulser is so far defying gravity.

I seriously never of Tyler Jay before a hour ago. I looked it up to discover he was once a 1st round pick, but more recently spotted slinging in independent ball. He’ll be the guy in the 74 jersey–only the second since Chris Mazza and those socks. Nunez wore 72. Teheran, who’s been DFA’ed, may or may not return in No. 49.

We’re rained out in Atlanta tonight. I like how we played in this series so far. Not scared. Maybe this team has a comeback bug.

 

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Just Like Starting Over

I think the Mets looked pretty unprepared out there but want to give them a small pass because the conditions were so awful it turned a team we thought would hit and not pitch the other way around. And we won a series in Cincinnati, the last victory being the most satisfying game yet so maybe they’re coming around.

Then again we’re in Atlanta.

Pitching tonight is Julio Teheran, who will be wearing No. 49. Also in the bullpen for the first time, “Cowboy” Cole Sulser, who was recalled when Yohan Ramirez was DFAed. Sulser has been issued No. 54.

RIP Jerry Grote and Pat Zachry.

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People Get Ready

There’s rain in the forecast on Thursday and high winds expected on Friday, so if you’re crazy enough to consider Citi Field in March, please dress accordingly. (Oh, I see Thursday has been called already).

The Mets for their part will be wearing the ugly new uniforms designed for them by Nike. The nameplates are way too small (as is the new Bud Harrelson patch), and all of it is ironed on and not stitched like Abner Doubleday intended. Seriously I’d sooner see them return to no nameplates than participate in this farce. It just doesn’t look right.

It’s sort of the same with these Mets. I’m expecting they’ll be at or close to .500 this year. The starting pitching might hold together but might not. The lineup should put points on the board but there’s questions there too (Marte, Bader and McNeil; I think Baty has nowhere to go but up). And the bullpen is the bullpen. We also don’t know how Mendoza will manage managing.

Joining the Mets for the first time will be Zack Short in 21 (thanks guys for the updates), Harrison Bader (44), Joey Wendle (13), JD Martinez (28), and Tyrone Taylor (15). New pitchers: Jake Deikman (30); Adrian Houser (35); Jorge Lopez (52); Sean Manaea (59); Yohan Ramirez (46); Luis Severino (40); amd Michael Tonkin (51).

New staff: Carlos Mendoza (64); John Gibbons (68); Antoan Richardson (66); Mike Sarbaugh (88); and Jose Rosado (67). Sarbaugh was in 64 and took 88 when Mendoza moved up for JD Martinez.

Let’s play ball! On Friday!

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When I’m 64

So there it is. Carlos Mendoza today said he’d give up the No. 28 that reminded him of fleeting moments of youthful glory as a ballplayer so that JD Martinez will feel comfortable in his new home. Mendoza is switching to 64, which I fear is a little too undignified for a big-league manager. It also means third-base coach Mike Sarbaugh will need to find another number. 50 is theoretically available as its Phil Bickford whose been designated for assignment by the Mets to make room for Martinez on the 40.

Mendoza it should go without saying is the first No. 64 to manage the Mets and wearer of the highest-ever number among managers, knocking Frank Howard and Joe Frazier from the lead. Behold the sacred list.

Manager Years Number
1. Casey Stengel 1962-65 37
2. Wes Westrum 1965-67 9
3. Salty Parker 1967 54
4. Gil Hodges 1968-71 14
5. Yogi Berra 1972-75 8
6. Roy McMillan 1975 51
7. Joe Frazier 1976-77 55
8. Joe Torre 1977-81 9
9. George Bamberger 1982-83 31
10. Frank Howard 1983 55
11. Davey Johnson 1984-1990 5
12. Bud Harrelson 1990-91 3
13. Mike Cubbage 1991 4
14. Jeff Torborg 1992-93 10
15. Dallas Green 1993-96 46
16. Bobby Valentine 1996-2002 2
17. Art Howe 2003-2004 18
18. Willie Randolph 2005-2008 12
19. Jerry Manuel 2008-2010 53
20. Terry Collins 2011-2017 10
21. Mickey Callaway 2018-2019 36/26*
22. Carlos Beltran 2020** 15
23. Luis Rojas 2020-2021 19
24. Buck Showalter 2022-2023 11
25. Carlos Mendoza 2024 64***

*-Switched to 26 upon announcement of Jerry Koosman retirement, 9/24/19

**-Did not appear in a game.

***-switched from 28 before the season

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Decision time

It’s not even go time but Carlos Mendoza is faced with a tough managerial decision. Does he give up No. 28 to newly arriving DH JD Martinez?

Martinez reportedly signed last night; he’s worn 28 most of his career including at his last three playing addresses. I never heard exactly why Mendoza preferred 28 but he could easily step aside and into one of the numbers opening up as he cuts minor leaguers. He could in fact cut Zack Short should he want to wear 74. Gotta view every move suspiciously from here on out.

That’s all the time I have this morning. More soon.

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25 Years

It was 25 years ago this week (the 22nd actually) that the Mets by the Numbers project first published on the Internet. The earliest versions of the site seem to have vanished but here’s an archived page from 2001 where I discuss the arrival of Jerrod Riggan and the demotion of Donne Wall. And then the return of Donne Wall. It was riveting stuff.

When I started this project I was single; today I’m married almost 20 years and my son is picking a college. I was anxious back then to participate in this new internet thing and was full of energy from the excitement of falling back in love baseball again after taking much of the 90s off.

I had been turned off by the fall of the Mets would-be dynasty. I was living outside the Sportschannel/WOR belt, and I was angry about the strike. When I moved to NYC, the Mets helped me find my way in the city and I fell hard for Bobby Valentine. I’d spent a few months combing through yearbooks and scorecards with the idea I could find the uni number of every one of the roughly 600 guys who played for the Mets through then. I badly missed that goal when I first published but it was better than what else existed at the time, which was nothing.

Against every rule of writing a blog, I’ve gone through period of frequent updates and months of nothing, then again “blogs” didn’t really exist in 1999. Purely by coincidence this site launched within weeks of the Ultimate Mets Database and when Paul Lukas started writing about sports uniforms for the Village Voice. Countless websites have come and gone since then, all three survive (although Paul is planning to retire).

Happy birthday to all of us.

 

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Who Will DH?

Just kicking this list back to the top and adding another DH candidate, Luke Voit, at 99. Who’s your DH(s) this year?

Number Name Notes
0 Adam Ottavino, P
1 Jeff McNeil, INF-OF
2 Omar Narvaez, C
3 Tomas Nido, C
4 Francisco Alvarez, C
5 Unassigned (David Wright)
6 Starling Marte, OF
7
8 Unassigned (Gary Carter)
9 Brandon Nimmo, OF
10 Ronny Mauricio, INF
11 Jose Iglesias, INF 
12 Francisco Lindor, SS
13 Joey Wendle, INF
14 Retired Gil Hodges
15 Tyrone Taylor, OF
16
17 Retired Keith Hernandez
18
19 Shintaro Fujinami, P
20 Pete Alonso, 1B
21 Ben Gamel, OF
22 Brett Baty, 3B
23 David Peterson, P
24 Retired Willie Mays
25 Brooks Raley, P
26 Ji Man Choi, IB/DH
27 Mark Vientos, 3B
28 Carlos Mendoza, manager
29 DJ Stewart, OF
30 Jake Diekman, P
31 Retired Mike Piazza
32 Max Kranick, P
33 Drew Smith, P new number (was 40)
34 Kodai Senga, P
35 Adrian Houser, P
36 Retired Jerry Koosman
37 Retired Casey Stengel
38 Tylor Megill, P
39 Edwin Diaz, P
40 Luis Severino, P
41 Retired Tom Seaver
42 Retired Jackie Robinson
43 Trayce Thompson, OF
44 Harrison Bader, OF
45 Cole Sulser, P
46 Johan Ramirez, P
47 Joey Lucchesi, P
48
49 Yacksel Rios, P
50 Phil Bickford, P
51 Michael Tonkin, P 
52 Jorge Lopez, P
53 Chad Smith, P
54 Austin Adams, P
55 Kyle Crick, P
56 Grant Hartwig, P New number (was 93)
57 Taylor Kohlwey, OF
58 Rylan Bannon, INF 
59 Sean Manaea, P
60 Jeremy Barnes, hitting coach
61 Eric Chavez, hitting coach
62 Jose Quintana, P
63 Glenn Sherlock, catching & strategy coach
64 Mike Sarbaugh, 3rd base coach
65 Jeremy Hefner, pitching coach
66 Antoan Richardson, 1st base coach
67 Jose Rosado, bullpen coach
68 John Gibbons, bench coach 
69
70 Jose Butto, P
71 Sean Reid-Foley, P
72 Alex Ramirez, OF
73 Luisangel Acuna, INF
74 Zack Short, INF
75 Reed Garrett, P
76 Aaron Meyers, BP pitcher
77 Dave Racaniello, bullpen catcher
78 Eric Langill, bullpen catcher
79 Danny Barnes, strategy coach
80
81 Danny Young, P
82 Austin Allen, C
83 Yolmer Sanchez, INF
84
85
86
87
88 Cam Robinson, P
89 Drew Gilbert, OF
90 Jett Williams, INF
91 Josh Walker, P
92 Eric Orze, P
93 Dominic Hamel, P
94 Nate Lavender, P
95 Kevin Parada, C
96 Christian Scott, P
97 Mike Vasil, P
98 Hayden Senger, C
99 Luke Voit, 1B/DH
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Mets Make A Choice

Suspicious I say that we go and sign Ji Man Choi only hours after Daniel Vogelbach goes off the board. Both are rotund lefty sluggers who can’t be counted on as much beyond DHing and signed minor league deals (Vogelbach with Toronto). Who knows how the DH role will play out for the Mets this year. I’m not entirely sold on Mark Vientos or DJ Stewart quite yet. Not to suggest Choi is anything but a backup plan.

Choi inherits the empty No. 26, all but removing available normal digits. Unless they are moved to issue No. 7 which they better do before Ed Kranepool visits a hospital again given how anxious Steve Cohen is to beat numbers out of circulation. I’ve said this before but this is all Marcus Stroman’s fault for suggesting 7 was a sacred number for Jose Reyes, and it hasn’t been reissued since.

Happy President’s Day. Baseball games begin this week.

 

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