Been meaning to write a few things about this Mets team but their play this Spring has all but beaten the enthusiasm from me. We knew going in that the lack of depth and fielding would be the death of this team, I just didn't think it would be before March was out. The fact that the offense and the relief pitching have joined the above-mentioned atrocities in their pursuit of suck is also a concern. If the Mets are going to do anything this year, they're going to have to score a bunch and relieve very well. Mike Pelfrey is on our side after all.
Injuries to alleged keys to the season such as Ruben Tejada, David Wright and Tim Byrdak have hardly helped matters -- not to mention the fact that the owners go on trial this week trying to prove they were too stupid to have know Bernie Madoff was a fraud. That ought to be easy but the Mets will find a way to screw that up too.
In the meantime it's perhaps worth mentioning that the Mets have provided lefty longshot Josh Edgin with jersey No. 54 -- totally legit by the standards of this squad -- after he first arrived in camp wearing No. 87. The latter figure was the highest among campers at least according to the roster posted online. Edgin's a stocky lefty with a strong track record -- as long as you consider Class A a track -- who looks like he might assume Byrdak's role when the team goes North. That'd be something to get behind.
Go, Edgie. Go.
It's still early, but Lucas May is emerging as a leading candidate to win the Brad Emaus Award and graduate from a number in the 60s to something resembling a big-league uniform when training camp breaks. You may recall Emaus last year arrived in camp wearing No. 68 and left wearning No. 4. (Then busted and was subsequently sent away, but that's another story).
May, whom the Mets acquired as a minor league free agent this offseason, so far in his career had but a cup of joe in Kansas City two years ago and previously toiled as a minor leaguer with the Dodgers, who drafted him as an infielder in 2003, and more recently, the Diamondbacks. Among catchers competing for a reserve job in Mets camp this year, the right-handed hitting May is perhaps the best offensive threat among them, a skill he showed this afternoon with a ringing two-run double off the Marlins' Carlos Zambrano. Young incumbent Mike Nickeas and veteran Rob Johnson, also right-handed, are considered defensive specialists and could have an edge considering weak gloves at several other positions including the presumed No. 1 catcher (Josh Thole) as well as a thin pitching staff that could use any edge it can get. Vinny Rottino can hit, alledgedly, but he's more of a utility cornerman who packs a catcher's mitt in case of emergency. If Rottino makes the team, it's unlikely to be at the expense of the any of the aforementioned candidates.
In May's favor currently is the well-being of Scott Hairston, the only other right-handed bench candidate who can hit a little (Justin Turner a little too, but I don't see how he fits in unless injuries strike Wright, Davis or Murphy). May's current number assignment is 62 although 16 (Johnson's assignment), 33 (Rottino's) and the vacant 1 and 9 would look to be decent landing points from this distance.
The Hairston injury (and Andres Torres' soreness, you never know with these 30-somethings) may well also affect the outfield makeup too. It certainly looks better today than yesterday that Adam Loewen and/or Mike Baxter make the squad, and then there's the specter of Kirk Nieuwenhuis, the young outfielder the Mets hope they won't need so soon. Should he make the club, the Emaus Award is all his. He's wearing No. 72.
That's what we did to and from Hawaii and now I'm back. Mets coaches in the meantime are busy flying into new and kinda weird unis, as you guys were astutely noting below.
Hitting coach Dave Hudgens, whose No. 52 went to new reliever Ramon Ramirez, dropped a digit and is now wearing No. 51. First base coach Tom Goodwin has been assigned No. 26 and bullpen coach Ricky Bones takes 25. Tim Teufel, the new third-base coach, is wearing 18 for some reason (an homage to his tormentor and former teammate Darryl Strawberry?) and in a move generating some controversy, new bench coach Bob Geren becomes the first man assigned Jose Reyes' former No. 7.
Now if were up to me I wouldn't have given away 7 to just anyone -- I was hoping a guy like Reese Havens might be next -- but if you want to look for something significant about Geren there's this: The number with which he has the most equity isn't 7 but 17: That's what he wore as as manager of the A's (and also as a player with the Padres). Considering 17 was also theoretically available for these Mets, its another indication that the organization appears to have turned the corner on Keith Hernandez. That number isn't going anywhere. No. 8 in the meantime is making a return as a jersey patch honoring Gary Carter, as seen above. Looks nice.
Finally a note on Tom Goodwin. As he explains in this article, Goodwin was one of those players who was wearing 42 as a tribute to Jackie Robinson but was not grandfathered in when Bud Selig made a show of retiring his number leaguewide in 1998. Thanks to EdgyDC for unearthing that.
Meantime, batting practice pitcher Eric Langill and bullpen coach Dave Racianello, previously listed as wearing 53 and 54 respectively, have been reassigned 78 and 79, respectively.