In 13 years of chronicling Mets uni numbers I've been wrong lots of times but rarely when accompanied by the confidence with which I predicted Kirk Nieuwenhuis would show up in No. 22 I made below. It just seemed like a logical intersection of his minor league digits and current availability. Anyway, if you happen come across an inkling of the significance of No. 9, if there is any, please let me know. I should say by the way I have very little against 9 and think it looks great on an outfielder. The Mets in general look great without the black, don't they? I don't mean to get all Howie Rose on you.
In the meantime, I've been informed by mbtn reader Jason that bullpen catcher Dave Racianello is back wearing 54, which he's had for years now. Not sure what that 79 thing was all about.
Now that Andres Torres has evoked memories of Ken Henderson -- that of the vetreran outfielder acquired in an offseason trade who hurts himself almost immediately -- the Mets, short on outfielders to begin with, look to recall Kirk Nieuwenhuis from AAA while Torres rehabs his calf. Again.
Depending on whether the Mets' seamstresses can fit NIEUWENHUIS on the back of a shirt -- at 11 letters, it ties SCHOENEWIES and is one behind all-time leader ISRINGHAUSEN -- the Mets will also need to put a number on it. It's likely that number would be 22, which is not only currently vacant on the Mets' roster but is also Kirk's current digits at Buffalo. I have to think the Mets were holding in in reserve for him, especially that he's on the 40. Welcome to the show, Kirk!
On a related note, how great do those numbers and NOBs look now that they're free of the cursed black dropshadow? Looking good so far Mets!
The Mets begin their 50th anniversary season Thursday amid modest expectations befitting a squad with thin starting pitching, shaky defense and Jason Bay in the middle of the lineup, but if everything goes right, they might also be fun to watch too. I'm optimistic of a good start at any rate. It's the Mets' 50th season and MBTN's 13th.
As I'm sure you all know by now, the banged up foursome of Andres Torres, David Wright, Scott Hairston and Tim Byrdak all healed in time to answer the bell and comprise a squad of 25 we probably could have predicted back in December. It's further encouraging to see Ike Davis and Johan Santana are among them.
And so today we welcome the returnees back, and the new ones the best of luck. Officially joining the All-Time Numerical Roster for the first time are players Andres Torres 56, Ronny Cedeno 13, Frank Francisco 48, Ramon Ramirez 52 and Jon Rauch 60; and coaches Bob Geren 7, Ricky Bones 25, Tom Goodwin 26 and batting practice pitcher Eric Langill 78. Returning in new numbers are Mike Nickeas, now wearing 4; Tim Teufel, now coaching and wearing No. 18 and bullpen catcher Dave Racianello, in 79. I'll be updating the rosters shortly please let me know if you come across any errors.
Let's Go Mets! Anything can happen!
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.
Like the Mets, I'm also flying South this weekend. Only quite a bit West too.
So updates will be infrequent while I take the fam to visit the home of Sid Fernandez, Benny Agbayani, Carlos Diaz, Tyler Yates and the birthplace of Ron Darling. If you happen to see whether my imagined Tim Teufel-Ruben Tejada duel takes place and/or can fill in any other blanks below during the first week of Spring Training, just note so in the comments. Thanks and see you soon!
I was a freshman in college the night the Mets traded for Gary Carter. The news so excited me that I goaded one of my roommates to stay up all night and celebrate, which for us meant wandering aimlessly around campus all night until stealing a fresh morning newspaper from a bundle left outside a store on Main Street at first light just to read about it. There was never any doubt that his arrival would transform a promising team into an excellent one, and help me realize a dream I'd harbored all my life until then. That was the power of Gary Carter.
When I presented Gary Carter with a copy of the Mets by the Numbers book at an event in 2008 his thank-you and his handshake were so warm and sincere I could barely believe he meant them. What an impression he made. Marty Noble writing on MLB.com today presents an obituary as forceful and oddly offputting as the Kid himself. What a character.
|Player, pos (*-NRI)||Notes|
|1||Vacant||Available for Tejada if he switches?|
|2||Justin Turner, inf||Revealed on Twitter he was born at 2:22|
|3||Josh Satin, inf|
|4||Mike Nickeas, C||Switches from 13 to accommodate Ronny Cedeno|
|5||David Wright, 3B|
|6||Omar Quintanilla*, inf||Wore 6 previously with Colorado|
|7||vacant||Treading carefully with Reyes' old number|
|8||vacant||Maybe this is the year they honor Carter?|
|9||vacant||Was Ronny Paulino|
|10||Terry Collins, mgr|
|11||Ruben Tejada, inf||Could he switch (1, 9) for coach Tim Teufel?|
|12||Scott Hairston, of|
|13||Ronny Cedeno, inf|
|14||retired (Gil Hodges)|
|15||Val Pascucci*, of|
|16||Rob Johnson*, C|
|17||vacant||Would be 2 years straight, something's up|
|18||vacant||Just saying: Hard to honor Carter, Hernandez and not Straw|
|19||Daniel Hererra*, rp|
|20||Adam Loewen*, of||Ike Davis (29) has asked about acquiring 20 previously|
|21||Lucas Duda, of|
|22||vacant||Was Willie Harris|
|23||Mike Baxter*, of|
|24||vacant||Limbo for Willie Mays|
|25||vacant||Was Chin-lung Hu.|
|26||vacant||Was Fernando Martinez|
|27||Pedro Beato, rp|
|28||Daniel Murphy, inf|
|29||Ike Davis, 1B|
|30||Josh Thole, C|
|31||vacant||Limbo for Mike Piazza (and John Franco, kind of)|
|32||Jenrry Meija||Remember him?|
|33||Vinny Rottino*, of|
|34||Mike Pelfrey, sp|
|35||Dillon Gee, sp|
|36||Chuck James*, rp|
|37||retired (Casey Stengel)|
|38||Garrett Olson*, rp||Was Capuano|
|39||Bobby Parnell, rp|
|40||Tim Byrdak, rp|
|41||retired (Tom Seaver)|
|42||retired-MLB (Jackie Robinson)|
|44||Jason Bay||He should really change this|
|46||Manny Acosta, rp|
|47||Miguel Batista, sp|
|48||Frank Francisco, rp||Would be first closer in 48 since Randy Myers (or Heilman)|
|49||Jon Niese, sp|
|50||vacant||"belongs to the fans" in 50th anniversary season|
|52||Ramon Ramirez, rp||Mets roster also lists hitting coach Dave Hudgens in 52 (his 2011 uni). Ramirez was 52 for Giants last year|
|53||Jeremy Heffner, rp||Mets roster also lists bullpen catcher Eric Langill in 53|
|54||Dave Racianello, bullpen coach|
|55||vacant||Likely a coach|
|56||Andres Torres, of||Same number he wore with Giants last year|
|57||Johan Santana, sp|
|58||Fernando Cabrera*, rp|
|59||Dan Warthen, pitching coach|
|60||Jon Rauch, rp||Same number with Diamondbacks, Twins last year|
|61||Jordanny Valdespin, inf|
|62||Lucas May, C|
|63||Chris Schwinden, sp|
|64||Josh Stinson, rp|
|65||Zach Lutz, inf|
|66||Armando Rodriguez, rp|
|67||Cesar Puello, of|
|68||Matt den Decker*, of||Remarked on Twitter he prefers 17 (his college number)|
|70||Matt Harvey*, sp|
|71||Wilmer Flores, inf|
|72||Kirk Niewenhuis, of|
|73||Robert Carson, rp|
|74||Reese Havens, inf|
|75||Juerys Familia, sp|
|76||Juan Lagares, of|
|77||DJ Carrasco, rp|
That's what the current numerical roster looks like, see the notes column for further info.
Just as we suspected, the Mets this morning posted new uni numbers:
73 Robert Carson
75 Juerys Familia
48 Frank Francisco
53 Jeremy Heffner
52 Ramon Ramirez
60 Jon Rauch
Mike Nickeas switches from 13 to 4 and Ronny Cedeno takes 13
71 Wilmer Flores
74 Reese Havens
61 Jordanny Valdespin
76 Juan Lagares
67 Cesar Puello
56 Andres Torres
72 Kirk Nieuwenhuis
Non-roster Invitees with new assignments:
58 Fernando Cabrera
70 Matt Harvey
36 Chuck James
38 Garrett Olson
16 Rob Johnson
62 Lucas May
6 Omar Quintanilla
68 Matt den Decker
20 Adam Loewen
33 Vinny Rottino
Worth noting: Still no 17. 6 back in circulation again, and belonging to a scrub who's likely to see at least a few innings on the big league roster this year. Top prospects occupying the 70s.
Coaches Tom Goodwin, Tim Teufel, Bob Geren and Ricky Bones still have not received assignments, although its kind of interesting to see Ramirez and Heffner occupying traditional coaching numbers. More on this soon!