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Poll

What Number Should They Issue to 'Fartinez'?
6
12%
8
18%
12
6%
16
6%
18
6%
22
12%
24
6%
26
0%
27
0%
28
0%
29
0%
30
0%
38
0%
39
0%
43
0%
44
12%
47
0%
49
0%
58
12%
Other?
12%
Total votes: 17

 

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Mets by the Numbers

The Mets Website That Counts

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Head Injuries

After a remarkably plodding six years under Trax, 29 has again run wild.Should have known as soon as I complained about the glut of lousy middle infielders on the Mets we'd be doomed to encounter still more.

David Wright's beaning and subsequent disabled-listing prompted the Mets to recall veteran mediocre minor-league warrior Andy Green -- and on the same night reach back into this year's troubling history to summon Wilson Valdez when it finally became clear, after months of applauding the effort, that Alex Cora's look-ma-no-thumbs act had caused way more trouble than it could ever solve.

Imagine if you would that Cora resisted the hero urge and submitted to surgery when he initially injured that thumb. Assuming Jose Reyes is forthcoming and the Mets are honest, it may have prompted them to make a better effort to get a capable shortstop in there than the parade of Valdezes and Argenies and Berroas they spent all season embarrassed about, and maybe the Mets in turn don't suffer the relentless offensive and defensive consequences of playing more than half a year with a one-handed shortstop. It would have mattered.

OK, then. They dressed Green in No. 29, quickly on its way to becoming the new No. 6. He's the seventh wearer of that uni since Steve Trachsel left town, and the third this year. Interestingly, it could force Robinson Cancel into a fourth jersey in the event he is recalled (and with Brian Schneider around, being a AAA catcher ain't so bad). Valdez is back in the No. 4 he'd briefly lost to Angel Berroa.

There will be a quiz at the end, and we'll all fail.

* * *

Quick note to let you know that Amazin' Tuesday is on its way back to Two Boots Tavern, this Tuesday, the 25th, and again on Sept. 15. I will be out of town and will miss this month's event but organizers have more than made up for my presense and will welcome you there. Go! 

 

It's the Magic Number

In an attempt to add more offense the Mets on Thursday recalled Robinson Cancel, the chubby hero of a few of 2008's most inspiring victories, and designated Elmer Dessens for assignment.

Strangely, the Mets issued Cancel No. 29, even though the No. 40 he'd worn most recently was available (he'd worn 40 after first receiving 4, then seeing the Mets re-issue that number to Argenis Reyes. Cancel however wore 4 again this spring only to see the Mets issue that number twice this year (to Wilson Valdez and now Angel Berroa).

At any rate, No. 29 grants Cancel entry into the exclusive Three-Number Club whose membership is listed below. As for Dessens, he didn't pitch so badly while not buried in the pen, and so barely had an impact other than having become the team's first ever No. 64.

I had a short panic attack the other day worried that Omar Minaya would attempt to rehabilitate his mangled image by making a large and unnecessary trade at the deadline for Roy Halladay (32 is available, you know) but that's mostly subsided. How about an actual hitter though?

The Three Number Club (updated!)

Jeff McKnight 5, 7, 15, 17, 18

Kevin Collins 1, 10, 16, 19

Ed Lynch 34, 35, 36, 59

Darrel Sutherland 43, 45, 47

Cleon Jones 34, 12, 21

John Stephenson 12, 19, 49

Jim Hickman 6, 9, 27

Mike Jorgensen 10, 16, 22

Hank Webb 22, 29, 30

Hubie Brooks 62, 39, 7

Clint Hurdle 7, 13, 33

Chuck Carr 1, 7, 21

Kevin Elster 2, 15, 21

Charlie O’Brien 5, 22, 33

Ron Darling 12, 15, 44

Jason Phillips 7, 23, 26

David Cone 16, 17, 44

Jae Seo 40, 38, 26

Roger Craig 13, 36, 38

Lee Mazzilli 12, 16, 13

Pedro Feliciano 55, 39, 25

Mike DiFelice 6, 33, 9

Marlon Anderson 18, 23, 9

Ramon Martinez 22, 26, 6 

Robinson Cancel 4, 40, 29

Anderson Hernandez 1, 4, 11

Let's Go SHaMs!

If Marlon Anderson were alive today, he might be distributing his teammates worksheets with the number 45 written on it. Maybe even 50. Those look to be the minimum of the remaining 75 games the Mets are going to have to win if they hope to have any shot at postseason baseball.

Forty-five wins is an even .600 winning percentage and would get the Mets only to 87 wins for the season; 50 wins would make for a sizzling .667 clip and 92 wins. Ninety-two was the magic figure that Marlon Anderson suggested the Mets shoot for when they were floundering at 30-32 and had 100 games left to play last season: a .620 winning percentage. Then as now, the Mets were in fourth place leading only Washington in NL East. They of course fell short of that goal but it took an extraordinary collapse to do it. The advantage this season? 6.5 games out of first place, instead of 7.5 games back last season.

Tall order? For the Mets, you said it. But in the spirit of giving us all some hope, I'm not putting it past the SHaMs: The Second Half Mets.

Hey, why not? The incremental improvements have already begun: Angel Berroa was last seen hitting .136 and wearing No. 14 for the Yankees. But for the Mets, the 2003 rookie of the year and former teammate of Carlos Beltran, represents a clear improvement over the again-demoted Argenis Reyes and will allow Alex Cora to take the days off he so obviously needs. Anything that gets the Mets back to Jose Reyes better than they've scuffled without him so far is real improvement.

Berroa's promotion hasn't been officially announced just yet: Easy enough to predict however he'll be wearing No. 4, which he wore in his glory year with the Royals and is available. (EDIT: Dispatches from Atlanta say Berroa is with the team and is wearing No. 4. Go me...)

From here, we can look forward to additions right through deadline season: Reyes, Beltran, Delgado, Maine. Wagner. A streak or two you know this team might find in it. Let's Go SHaMs: Fifty to go.

Don't forget to join me, Greg Prince, Paul Lukas, Matthew Silverman and a barful of hungry Mets fans as Two Boots Tavern presents AMAZIN' TUESDAY, next Tuesday, July 21 at 7pm. Present a Mets baseball card for your first drink free! Pizza and Rheingold specials, Mets-Nats game on the big screens, memorabilia, giveaways and presentations!

Night in the Ruts

Way to stick it to the Cardinals, fellas.

Tonight's beatdown included the return of reserve middle infielder Argenis Reyes to the team, who stepped in for lefty Jon Switzer (and hopefully won't stay for too long). And despite his former No. 4 being made available by this week's designation of Wilson Valdez, Reyes suited up instead in No. 11.

But the news on Reyes is what he wasn't wearing a few weeks back with AAA Buffalo. Yes, he went to the disabled list with injuries related to taking a shot in the onions while not wearing a cup.

 

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For You and Me, For Liberty

So the Mets today went ahead and called up Fernando Martinez from Buffalo and started the 20-year-old in right field against the Nationals. He was issued No. 26 -- a number Met fans of my generation will probably always associate with Dave Kingman. Some commenters have already speculated that won't be a long-term placement, given Ramon Martinez had a one-game appearance in 26 only a week ago, and I suppose I wouldn't be surprised at some point for a change. I get a single-digit or teens feel from him. But we'll see.

He was recalled to take the place of Ryan Church, now an unhappy resident of the disabled list. He's joined there by Jose Reyes whose absense -- along with Ramon Martinez's shaky credentials as a capable backup -- prommpted the Mets to make a deal with the Indians for their AAA shortstop, Wilson Valdez, once they agreed on the number of balls that make up a bag. Valdez was issued No. 4.

The Mets went and won handily, getting an RBI groundout from Fartinez, a three-run homer from Gary Sheffield, doubles from Ramon Martinez and Omir Santos, and a complete-game from Livan Hernandez. None of these men were in even the wildest imaginations of Met fans as recently as March.

Nice Catch

Thanks for this, anyway, Andy.Sorry for the lack of updates last week: I had a story about the bullpen woes and Omar's future on the unemployment line loaded and ready to blast a week ago, but then they started accomplishing good things, and I decided maybe it was best to give it the "no-hitter treatment" while it lasted.

But the forthcoming addition of Luis Ayala to the Met scrolls, and Billy Wagner's latest setback, are noteworthy enough to briefly interrupt my winning streak silence.

Though Ayala has been worked pretty hard -- he's in Heilman/Feliciano territory as far as appearances are concerned -- I like this deal if only because anything could help and he came so cheap.

One only needs to look at the uni numbers to see Anderson Hernandez had no future here. As a late-season callup in 2005 and opening day starter at second-base in 2006, Anderson wore No. 1, but he was stripped of that by the time the Mets acquired Luis Castillo and reappeared in No. 4. That number was subsequently issued to Robinson Cancel, and then to Argenis Reyes: Losing two numbers, to three guys, in less than a year, is a condition rarely recovered from. As for Ayala, he's No. 56 with Nationals: That uni currently belongs to Mets' bullpen pitcher Juan Lopez.

The update we didn't record was the unsurprising demotion of Carlos Muniz for John Maine last Wednesday.

 

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Cancel That (Update)

The Mets prior to Friday's game recalled catcher Robinson Cancel (again) and designated Chris Aguila for assignment (again). This facilitates more pinch-hitting opportunities for Ramon Castro but invited a new uni controversy as Cancel returns only to find the No. 4 jersey occupied by twitchy new infielder Argenis Reyes.

Reyes appeared in the game wearing 4 -- and readers Rich and Zach report seeing Cancel warming up Muiniz in the bullpen wearing No. 40 ("guess they FINALLY gave up on Burgos wearing a Jersey anytime soon," sez Rich). Cancel would become the first position player to wear 40 since the infamous Tony Tarasco in 2002. Most recently, 40 was exchanged between Brian Bannister to Ambiorix Burgos when they were exchanged for one another.

Seven in a row, and once again, we prevailed vs. the other guy's ace. Willie was right after all -- these guys are all winners!

Sorry to hear about Bob Klapisch: Maybe not the favorite writer of Mets fans, but his Worst Team Money Can Buy is the prematurely definitive story of a sorry era in Mets history, and probably more interesting today than it was back then, if only as a relic of Old Media.

You Gotta Bereave

The Mets on Wednesday placed Raul Casanova on the bereavement list and in what figures to be a sort-term solution, called beefy AAA catcher Robinson Cancel to the big club to take his place. Cancel last played Major League ball nine years ago with the Brewers and was signed by the Mets system a year ago out of the Northern League.

Mets.com lists Cancel as wearing No. 4, which if true (I missed pictures from todays game) means the Met tailors worked pretty hard stitching a few yards of fabric to the No. 4 jersey from its most recent occupant, bantamweight infielder Anderson Hernandez. Cancel is wishfully listed at 190.

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Minus 88

Will the indignities ever end for Ben Johnson? Here's a guy who, a year ago at this time, was optimistically looked upon as an up-and-comer with a shot at stealing at least a part-time job in the Mets outfield. While visions of another Xavier Nady were a stretch, Johnson, like Nady, was a young outfielder with some nascent skills acquired in a trade with the Padres. His chances of making the team last spring were reflected in his slot on the 40-man roster and the dignified uni number, 4.

But after a year spent mainly nursing injuries in AAA and flubbing what seldom chances he got with the Mets (5 hits in 27 at-bats), the Mets assigned No. 4 to weak-hitting infielder Anderson Hernandez and Johnson was released this winter. Heath Bell, the relief pitcher traded to San Diego for Johnson, had in the meantime had established himself as one of the league's top set-up men, not that the Mets could have used one of those last season. Cough.

Recently re-signed to a minor league deal by the Mets, Johnson is reporting to camp this week in No. 92. Not that we've ever kept these kinds of records but if there's a larger drop from one camp the next than 88 digits, we'd like to know.

They Are What They Is

With the New Orleans Zephyrs swept out of the AAA playoffs over the weekend, representatives of the losers arrived in time to see — and participate — in the worst display of Met baseball since the Art Howe Era.

Soft-tossing righty Brian Lawrence 54 stepped in and registered what we can only hope would be the last outing of his Mets career, coughing up a 4-run lead to Washington. Joe Smith 35 is back, but the velocity he sidearmed with earlier this year apparently didn’t come along with him. Ramon Castro 11 didn’t have the health to stick through short-season games with Brooklyn but is back here anyway. Weak-hitting utilityman David Newhan? Yes, he’s back too, still torturing Keith Hernandez in No. 17.

Perhaps the only interesting returnee from a unicentric standpoint is infielder Anderson Hernandez, who we last saw wearing No. 1 in July. Hernandez was recalled only to discover the Mets had issued No. 1 to Luis Castillo during Hernandez’ stay in New Orleans. No. 4 was hanging in his locker this time around. When he gets into a game, he’ll become the Mets’ 14th 15th player to wear No. 4, and the first since Chris Woodward a year ago Ben Johnson earlier this year. (Props to Gene, below for the correction).

Only time will tell whether this latest stumble is just another stumble or the beginnings of an historic collapse, but you can bet we’ll be here hating ourselves for watching every minute of it!

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