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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

Pointless Diatribes

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For the Record

If recent dispatches from Port St. Ledger are any indication, David Waldstein of the Times seems determined to wrest the title of Uni Number Beatwriter Champion from Marty Noble.

Today he gets Hisanori Takahashi on the record discussing what we'd already reported here -- he's got eyes for the vacant No. 21 jersey, and not the 47 they've outfitted him in already. The other day Waldstein explored whether Jerry Manuel would consider changing his jersey number to 3 so as to mimic the Yankees' Joe Girardi and his pretentious switch from 27 to 28 this spring. As if Joe shouldn't really get to the point and change his jersey number to 208 million.

That piece sparked an even dumber post on the Bats blog where Jim Luttrell tries to zing the Mets by demonstrating he hasn't realized the 21-day disabled list is long since dead and once again raises the issue of retiring Mets jerseys (Harrelson?)

 

 

One Of Our Submarines

Bazooka Joe SmithIt may not ever come to anything but happened to notice when the Mets today moved to claim lefthanded pitcher Jay Marshall off waivers from the Athletics. Marshall, a true submariner in the Chad Bradford style, continues a trend among Omar Minaya's Mets teams to include or at least invite a few trick pitchers to camp each year. Marshall this spring will join the lefty-righty siderarm tandem of Pedro Feliciano and Sean Green (and another candidate with an unusual offering, knuckleballer R.A. Dickey). There was Joe Smith and Bradford before that, and guys like Steve Schmoll and Shingo Takatsu were given a shot.

Is this a good thing? I'm not entirely sure. While Feliciano has become one of the Mets' best weapons vs. rival lefty sluggers and Green and Smith often got grounders when they needed them I'd prefer sometimes they could achieve these successes without also tempting the Mets to try and solve all their problems with matchups and specialists. It can grind games to a halt, for one thing, and all seems so delicate: One specialist springs a leak, and suddenly the whole ship is sinking. We've seen it before.

On the other hand, sidearmers are fun to watch when they're going well and the Mets' desire to bring these creatures in house indicates some evidence they have a plan, and I like that kind of reassurance.

Innis in the Morning 

At any rate, surely we're in a Golden Age for Met sideslingers. I barely remember a one from my childhood when guys like Kent Tekulve, Elias Sosa and Dan Quisenberry were someone else's property. David Cone was known to get sideways occasionally, and Jeff Innis was a durable middle-inning submariner for a long stretch, -- and there was Jesse --but I'm going blank after that, although I'm sure I'm overlooking a few. Little help?

 

Hall Monitor

As much as I hated his two years with the Mets (and vice versa I'm sure) I take no pleasure in knowing that baseball writers denied Smilin' Robbie Alomar election to the Hall of Fame. Alomar's shortfall was one of a half-dozen disappointments the voters delivered today and another blow to the dignity of the Hall of Fame -- an institution that's become harder and harder to take seriously every year.

Andre Dawson -- a borderline guy but a feared hitter with counting-stat bonafides -- got in while Tim Raines, Bert Blyleven, Alan Trammell, Barry Larkin and Edgar Martinez ought to have but didn't. As for Alomar, he was a no-brainer even before he arrived with the Mets and his skills summarily went down the toilet. It's easy to forget his attitiude never won raves even when he was playing well and that his skills never returned even after the Mets cut him loose.

* * *

I got citation from the Police the other day -- The Mets Police.

* * *

A MLB.com story mentioned that Jason Bay chose 44 as a tribute to a boyhood idol, Eric Davis. Now there's a guy whose route to the Hall of Fame took a sudden wrong turn.

 

Give Me Relief

The Times this afternoon reports that the Mets are close to a deal with Japanese reliever Ryota Igarashi of the Yakult Swallows. From what I've read Igarashi is either a righthander with a deceptive motion and good control, or a wild righty who throws mad heat, but should be considered to be a late-inning relief candidate in any disguise. All the photos I've seen indicates he prefers to wear No. 53, which happens to be Jerry Manuel's number. In other words, if the Mets don't get off to a hot start, he can have it on Memorial Day.

 

I made the mistake of listening to WFAN while I moved the car last night and was blown away by the fire of stupidity Mike Francessa was stoking among fans competing with one another to be the most wounded by the news that the Phillies were to acquire Roy Halladay (at the cost of Cliff Lee, a multiyear, multimillion extension and some prospects) and the Red Sox had signed John Lackey for five years and $85 million. Ira on the Car Phone announced his intention to stay away from CitiField forever and demanded the Mets part with Jose Reyes (cuz we need less offense) while Francessa just let him talk.

 

Now.

 

My confidence in the Mets' ability to do the right thing for the club is shaky at best, but that's mainly due to those occasions when they kowtow to the demands of Francessa's listeners and columnist hacks like John Harper of the Daily News (THE METS MUST SIGN LACKEY he demands as hunting season opens and "THE METS NEVER HAD A CHANCE" he taunts at the end). The JJ Putz trade, which I'll never stop maligning, was a perfect example. If this tricky offseason has shown anything so far it's that the Mets haven't turned themselves inside out only to create the illusion they've solved their problems or to win a meaningless competition to make the biggest offseason splash.

 

They can certainly do a better job standing up for themselves in the meantime, but I'm glad they aren't getting pushed around, so far. Kudos too to the Phils for boldly making the moves they feel they have to to stay on top. It wouldn't be any fun to know your opponents weren't also trying.

 

Turkey Stew

Happy thanksgiving! There is a 21-pounder in the brine now and half the guests can't make it so I may have to open a Brooklyn outpost of Capriotti's. If you ever find yourself hungry in Delaware, I'd suggest you memorize those locations.

So the new uniform announcement came and went in time for your holiday shopping derby, without a runway fashion show nor any of the garish alternates the Mets had asked about earlier this year. Of course they screwed up the new creamy pinstriper by including the unnecessary black dropshadows (and names on back, I'm pretty sure) and failed to throw out the black completely, though that was a little much to dream for an organization that only now has come to realize that Met fans wanted some Mets with their new stadium.

I try not to get angry anymore. I think it might be best at this point to look around at the people you're spending Thanksgiving with and realize the Mets are run by a group not unlike them -- peculiar unto itself, kind of hard to explain to outsiders, and at times, just completely, astonishingly, bewilderingly, irritatingly, embarrassingly, mind-bogglingly clueless. Spending 81 holidays a year with them would probably drive you crazy at some point too.

If you haven't seen it yet, The Miracle Has Landed, an offshoot of SABR's Biography Project focusing on the 1969 Mets, is out now from Maple Street Press. I contributed two chapters including an interview with reserve infielder Kevin Collins, who I'm happy to report was absolutely thrilled to learn that he was the first player in team history to wear four different uniform numbers. But the book's real highlights are contributions from some terrific folks like Matt Silverman (who co-wrote my book and co-edited this project); Greg Prince; and my friend Edward Hoyt. Being associated with these guys as friends and collaborators is something I have to be thankful for in what was otherwise a rough year to be a Met supporter. Thanks also to all the regular contributors to the chatter at this site including Alex. And to my web guy David Moore, with whom I hope to complete another site overhaul this offseason. 

We have more new coaches! Say hello to new third base guy Chip Hale (No. 5 with the Diamondbacks last season) and bench coach Dave Jauss (No. 50 with the Orioles last year). We'll update that info as it comes in.

Murder By Numbers

The Mets today said that bitching about changes to the 2010 uniforms will begin in December, later than originally scheduled, but timed to coincide with the period during which fans will bitch about the players acquired to wear them, so it will all work out.

 

With that in mind, the following chart may help you navigate the upcoming shopping season, with a selection of free agents and potential tredees mentioned in recent rumors and speculation, their most recent uni number, and our analysis of the chances they maintain it with the Mets.

Apologies for the ugly chart. They don't pay me enough here to fix it.

 

Rumored Guy     Current Team    Uni No.     Available?     Notes

 

Joel Pineiro        St. Louis   35    Sorta     Technically belongs to Lance Broadway

Brandon Phillips Cincinnati   4     Yes       Wilson Valdez not on the 40

Aaron Harang     Cincinnati   39   No         Bobby Parnell could switch

Matt Holliday     St. Louis     5/15 Neither  Wright and Beltran won’t switch

Jason Bay         Boston       44   Sort of    Tim Redding cannot make demands

John Lackey     Anaheim     41    Nope     Don’t ask

Ryan Doumit     Pittsburgh   41   No         See Above

Randy Wolf       Los Angeles 21 Yes         Delgado won’t return

Jason Marquis  Colorado 21 Yes         See above

Roy Halladay     Toronto     32   Yes         Unissued in 2009

Benji Molina     San Francisco 1 No         For now; Castillo is rumored to go

 

Your Move, Creep

"I had a guaranteed military sale with ED-209. Renovation program! Spare parts for 25 years! Who cared if it worked or not?”
--Dick Jones, Robocop


I was reminded of this remark while reading a recent article on Amazin’ Avenue that sought to determine where Omar Minaya’s allegiances stood in the age-old debate between Scouts and Stats. It’s a provocative piece and more evidence, as if you needed some, that the best writing on the Mets these days is being done everyday by losers like you and me who simply devote more thought to the team than the usual suspects with better access.

But back to Dick Jones for a moment. I thought of him because it was clear that in the JJ Putz trade referenced in the above article, limiting the scope of Omar’s motivations for making that deal to Scouting or Statistics, or even a combination of them, sort of misses the larger point of having made that move primarily to make a show of displeasure with the 2008 bullpen and a scapegoat of Aaron Heilman, scouts and stats be damned. As long as it created the illusion that the Mets had become bulletproof, who cared if it worked it not?

Now that it’s become clear that committing five players and $10 million to a fat closer with arm trouble while gambling on a lineup with too many holes and a rotation with too many questions left us with nothing more than a set-up reliever who more or less is the equivalent of Heilman, while providing an explosive bounty for the Mariners who just might wind up re-signing Putz, maybe Omar ought to listen less to the usual suspects and their demands for dramatic fixes to last year’s problems, and care about what works or not.

Here’s your million dollars, Putz. Now go away.

Numeric content coming soon, I promise!

150 Days, But Who's Counting

Baseball is a very humbling game. Just saying, Joe. And you don't ask Shelly Duncan for his number, you take it while he's drunk.

With the offseason officially underway and the countdown to April 5 already begun, two future ex-Mets already filed for free agency and as far as I'm concerned can beat it. See you later, Carlos Delgado and Brian Schneider.

Delgado is obviously a terrific talent and really made the difference in 2006 but like way too many Omarian acquisitions his best days were behind him and he spent entirely too much time nursing injuries and maybe a few grudges as a Met. He made pretty clear in 2005 he didn't care to be here anyway. Schneider in the meantime might be one of the most overlooked busts the Mets have ever had. In any other year, his 2009 stinking-up-of-the-joint would make him the target of vicious fan abuse and a major concern in the offense. But amid all the other bad news and bad players, he just about got away with it. Schneider's 2008 was pretty rotten as well.

We'll see what the Mets have in mind regarding the potential replacements for these guys, but I wouldn't kill them for looking into what it might take to pry catcher Chris Iannetta from the Rockies. I tend to think the Mets might be best off holding their noses and getting Daniel Murphy a right-handed hitting platoonmate at first base while waiting to mix in promising prospect Ike Davis at first base. Garrett Atkins? Xavier Nady? Let's think on it.

 

 

All You Zombies Show Your Faces

Quick note to inform everyone we're still here, wearing our Phillie Phanatic Underoos and puzzling over the perceived lack of conviction among Met fans for rooting interests this World Series. We had some computer issues, busy work schedules and sickness, but will have new Met related stuff up soon.

 

Hey Met fans: Root for the Phillies. The way I see it, the Phils beat the Mets, they may as well beat everyone. And they're the only team this postseason -- certainly the first to face the Yankees -- that hasn't gone around playing the kind of embarrassing baseball we've already seen too much of this year. So if you're still on the fence, don't let rhe media trick you into buying Mets-Phillies as an overwrought drama in the vein of Red Sox-Yankees: Support your league, take what consolation you can in acknowledging the Mets fell to a terrific team, and hope the Phillies get their Phil this time around (if ever) and subsequently begin the the kind of sad death-spiral that all multichampionship teams eventually encounter.

We've Been Having Fun All Summer Long

MBTN Player of the Year, Luis CastilloOh, you SHaMs, you. Way back at the All-Star Break when we naiively dreamed you had a run in you, we speculated it would take at least 45 victories out of the final 75 games for a realistic shot at the postseason, and a sizzling 50 wins to be safe.

To my horror, my anger, and eventually my acceptance, the Second Half Mets went and lost 47 of their next 75. Only a freak 3-game sweep against the mailed-it-in Astros this weekend stemmed the bleeding at 92 losses, and assured the SHaMs wouldn't reach the magical 50-loss post-all-star-break plateau.

Still, it's a pathetic showing thoughout, and tragic to have missed such a great opportunity to be the kind of up-against-it underdog the fans could get behind. The question shouldn't be, "Has any team ever lost so many players to injury?" It ought to be "Has any team ever lost so many players to injury and failed to replace even one of them adequately?" Right? We got Jerry's passive skippering, a parade of nondescript clockpunchers and a team that until the end preferred to play Schneider over Thole, and anybody over Evans, while even the regulars loafed about, made ridiculously costly errors, threw ball four eight times a night, whiffed with runners on third, bunted in every situation except those that might drive in a run, and indifferently flew out to medium right while while gift-wrapping signature moments for nearly every team they played down the stretch.

Hey, Mets: BOOOOOOO!

Yeah, take that.

It's obvious that Jerry ought to be fired. He hasn't gotten though to the players, the team barely had a single good run all year, and his passive managing style ("Hey. let's go out there and try not to lose!") drives me crazy and doesn't work. Omar should have been whacked last season for sitting on his hands while the Mets shanked a second gimmee putt, and the strenuous, reactive fiasco of acquiring not one but two faltering closers last offseason only to see the SS Met spring a few hundred other leaks, many of them completely foreseeable and potentially preventable (starting pitching, Brian Schneider, right field) should be answered for as well.

They won't be. Instead the Mets are making a show of blaming a development staff for failing to make major-league ready replacements of the 16-year-olds they signed in 2005. That and promising to try and do better. Hey, good luck, Mets!

I'm going to go ahead and name Luis Castillo the MBTN Player of the Year for 2009. He atoned for a bad season in 2008, he committed the signature screwup in a season jammed with them, but most of all, he really loved to bunt. May his example of improvement through desperation revisit the Mets in 2010.

There were 52 53 Mets in 2009, including 26 first-time players. The Number of the Year is 29: Issued to three of those 26 newbies, and one repeater who I've   already forgotten was a 2009 Met: Emil Brown, Andy Green, Robinson Cancel and Tobi Stoner.

We'll be back to keep current with the hot stove and other stuff too! For now, go Jets!

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