The Oscars were handed out Sunday night. Thus, per Monday morning-after tradition , the Academy pauses to remember those Mets who have, in the baseball sense, left us in the past year.
ADAM ROBERT WILK
May 7, 2017
Adam Wilk did the best he could under the circumstances, which were on a par with the weather and score. Wilk shouldn’t have wound up (or been working from the stretch) on Citi Field’s mound Sunday. That was Harvey’s assignment. Harvey, in our own historical montage, wants the ball, takes the ball, throws the ball past batters and we roar with approval. Hard to cue up that image lately.
—May 8, 2017
(Selected off waivers by Twins, 5/10/2017)
NEIL ANDREW RAMIREZ
May 20, 2017 – July 18, 2017
The Mets furnished a splendid lineup of speakers, though the first one didn’t show. Terry Collins was going to talk to us, but we were told he couldn’t make it. I fantasized he was too busy unconditionally releasing Neil Ramirez, but maybe he was just too tired from the previous night’s late flight from Miami.
—July 1, 2017
(Free agent, 7/24/2017; signed with Nationals, 7/27/2017)
TRAVIS NATHANIEL TAIJERON
August 26, 2017 – October 1, 2017
You saw Taijeron come to bat with two on and one out in a tied ninth inning and the best you could hope for was an echo of a September cameo past. Esix Snead won a game under similar circumstances in September 2002. Craig Brazell won a game kind of like this in September 2004. And now, in September 2017, it was Travis Taijeron’s turn. He lined a ball that confounded Jace Peterson in left (and cleverly avoided Ender Inciarte in center), driving home Plawecki’s pinch-runner Juan Lagares for the 4-3 Mets victory. Soon, you’ll mostly forget about it. Someday, though, it might resonate like crazy.
—September 27, 2017
(Free agent, 11/6/2017; signed with Dodgers, 11/20/2017)
TYLER STEPHEN PILL
May 27, 2017 – July 27, 2017
I had hoped Tyler Pill might be Grover Powell. Grover Powell’s first major league start, for the Mets in 1963, was a complete game shutout, which didn’t happen for Mets rookies every day in 1963, nor, come to think of it, today. Before long, Tyler Pill 2017, who reacted well to the lights in Flushing for 5⅓ innings, appeared more to my eyes as a proximate ringer for Rick Anderson 1986. Do you remember Rick Anderson’s major league debut? Came up to the team you’d think least likely in need of a spot start and spot-started his heart out — 7 IP, 0 ER — before his bullpen blew both his and the team’s win. There’d be no W next to Pill’s name mainly because Asdrubal Cabrera uncharacteristically chose Tuesday night to ever so briefly be the reluctant reincarnation of Luis Castillo.
—May 31, 2017
(Free agent, 11/6/2017; signed with Diamondbacks, 1/15/2018)
TOMASO ANTHONY “Tommy” MILONE
May 10, 2017 – September 20, 2017
Tommy Milone has a 5-0 lead and pitches like he wants to make the Nationals regret ever giving up on him. Through four innings, Tommy and the Mets are cruising. Milone’s revenge fantasy predictably disintegrates in the fifth, an inning he can’t get out of. No decision for Tommy, but a decent choice by Terry Collins when he replaces his Quadruple-A starter at the first sign of trouble with Hansel Robles.
—August 27, 2017
(Free agent, 10/26/2017; signed with Nationals, 12/16/2017)
NORICHIKA “Nori” AOKI
September 2, 2017 – October 1, 2017
Nori Aoki seems to be in decent shape. The Mets’ right fielder du jour collected three hits, drove in two runs and stole a base in the Mets’ intermittently competitive 8-6 Sunday loss. This should earn him a regular starting job for at least a half-week since he doesn’t seem terrible and the Mets clearly don’t have anybody else.
—September 3, 2017
(Released, 10/30/2017; signed with Yakult Swallows, 1/20/2018)
CHASEN DAVID BRADFORD
May 25, 2017 – September 30, 2017
It was never clear whether he wanted to be called Chasen or Chase. By the time it became a question, everyone was too low and numb to particularly care what he wanted.
—January 18, 2018
(Selected off waivers by Mariners, 1/19/2018)
JOSHUA MICHAEL “Josh” SMOKER
August 19, 2016 – September 30, 2017
Every reliever, including newcomer Josh Smoker, was culpable, as was everybody who wore a glove solely for decorative purposes, as well as everybody who carried a bat to ward off evil spirits, because they certainly weren’t using them to knock in runs.
—August 20, 2016
(Traded to Pirates, 1/31/2018)
NOEL FERNANDO SALAS
September 1, 2016 – August 5, 2017
What to do with a 1-0 loss? Throw stuff? Suck it up? Shrug? There are no wrong answers. It is the baseball epitome of close but no cigar. I’m not sure of the appeal of cigars, but one run sure sounded good on Wednesday. One Met run, that is. There was one National run, and it sounded, if you’ll excuse the expression, devastating. Wilson Ramos hit a solo home run off Fernando Salas in the seventh inning in Washington and it felt like we had just gotten our ash kicked beyond the point of surgical repair. All that was required of the Mets in their subsequent two innings of batting was a single run to change the tenor of the late afternoon, but some days a molehill is a mountain.
—September 15, 2016
(Released, 8/16/2017; signed with Angels, 8/20/2017)
ERIK VAN NORMAN GOEDDEL
September 1, 2014 – September 25, 2017
On Saturday, when my buddy Dan pointed out Goeddel was warming up, I groaned louder than I had at the sight of Edgin. Goeddel is to me what the Great Gazoo was on The Flintstones. Gazoo couldn’t be seen by most of Bedrock. Goeddel’s uselessness seemed until very recently to have escaped the notice of every Mets observer but myself. Every game he enters, our esteemed announcers are telling me what an absolutely outstanding job he’s done out of the bullpen. All I remember is five runs in a third of an inning. I don’t know which third of an inning or who scored the five runs. To invoke Bill Maher for the second consecutive month, I don’t know it for a fact, I just know it’s true. As someone who values an actual fact, I’ll go with this one: Goeddel got out of the fifth.
—September 19, 2016
(Free agent, 11/6/2017; signed with Rangers, 12/19/2017)
MATTHEW WILLIAM “Matt” REYNOLDS
May 17, 2016 – October 1, 2017
He was safe at first
Brew Crew brain cramps
Proved the worst
Home from third
Broke the tie
Oh my word
What at last
Hath turned the worm
To what can we
—June 11, 2016
(Sold to Nationals, 2/12/2018)
SEAN PATRICK GILMARTIN
April 10, 2015 – April 30, 2017
Now that Collins and Mike Matheny were legitimately low on personnel, a technically dull game was promising to get incredibly interesting. Matheny would eventually turn to starter Carlos Martinez. Terry went with perpetual mystery guest Sean Gilmartin, a pitcher whose identity would surely stump Dorothy Kilgallen, Arlene Francis and Bennett Cerf. Gilmartin, in case you’ve forgotten, is the pitcher who keeps pitching for the Mets because he was obtained in the Rule 5 draft. Rule 5 specifies that you must keep Sean Gilmartin on your roster all year long. Rule 6 delineates that you keep forgetting who Sean Gilmartin is. Gilmartin pitches very well for someone who barely exists.
—July 20, 2015
(Selected off waivers by Cardinals, 6/11/2017)
April 30, 2016 – August 16, 2017
The combination of deGrom and René Rivera seemed to click as well as Syndergaard-Rivera, Matz-Rivera and Harvey-Rivera. The staff ERA with Rene behind the plate is 1.91; it’s 3.20 for the team overall. Can somebody be everybody’s personal catcher?
—June 2, 2016
(Selected off waivers by Cubs, 8/19/2017)
JOSHUA WAYNE “Josh” EDGIN
July 13, 2012 – July 28, 2017
We braced for Bryce. Edgin threw ball one. Harper of the .400-plus batting average and .500-plus on-base percentage then fouled one off. The next pitch to the former and possibly future MVP was miraculously bounced back toward the mound. Josh grabbed it, flung it accurately to d’Arnaud for the force and then stood by while Travis relayed it to new first baseman T.J. Rivera to create a 1-2-3 game- and skid-ending double play. If a team not at bat can be said to have forged a walkoff win, this was it. The Mets didn’t break a tie and they didn’t storm from behind. They stayed from ahead. Sometimes that’s what you have to do. And when you’ve done it the way these Mets did, you know how good it feels.
—April 29, 2017
(Free agent, 10/4/2017; signed with Orioles, 11/27/2017)
NEIL MARTIN WALKER
April 3, 2016 – August 11, 2017
Neil Walker’s a good, solid second baseman who is a perfectly serviceable hitter, sometimes a very productive one. But we can stop kidding ourselves that he is an overall upgrade over the Daniel Murphy who exists right now, essentially the same Daniel Murphy who swallowed two postseason series whole last October. At this stage of 2016, taking Walker over Murphy is like choosing the respectable court-appointed lawyer who looked good in a suit over Joe Pesci in My Cousin Vinny. Murphy’s methods as a Met may have been as unorthodox as Vincent Gambini’s in defending Ralph Macchio and friend in Alabama, but who drove off with the pennant and Marisa Tomei as the closing credits rolled?
—July 10, 2016
(Traded to Brewers, 8/12/2017)
ADDISON DEVON REED
September 1, 2015 – July 28, 2017
Addison Reed, mostly unhittable in 2016, was completely unhittable in the eighth. As is his peculiar trait, Reed walked off the field with his cap brim pushed back on his head in such a fashion that I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s filming Bowery Boys shorts in the offseason.
—June 22, 2016
(Traded to Red Sox, 7/28/2017)
March 31, 2014 – August 17, 2017
You gawk at Curtis Granderson working the veritable rope line like a small-state governor seeking his third term. When it comes to fan relations, Curtis is running unopposed, yet takes nothing for granted. If you were eight years old and your teacher asked you to draw a “really good baseball player,” you’d draw Curtis Granderson. When Curtis Granderson was eight, I imagine, he started making lists of what he’d do when he became that really good baseball player. I’ve never seen anyone embrace those types of self-imposed responsibilities more diligently. He greets little kids as pals. He smiles broadly at ladies of a certain vintage. He signs anything and poses with everyone. He takes his time and is never perfunctory. It’s so beyond too good to be true it makes me cynically wonder what the hell he’s up to.
—August 15, 2015
(Traded to Dodgers, 8/19/2017)
LUCAS CHRISTOPHER DUDA
September 1, 2010 – July 26, 2017
Lucas always strikes me as…I don’t want to say not quite human, but there’s something about Duda’s demeanor that suggests he was developed in a laboratory, then forgotten about by science. When it was mentioned during the San Diego series that Lucas hailed from Southern California, I was genuinely surprised. I don’t think of Lucas Duda as being from anywhere. I just assume he materialized one day on the Mets’ organizational chart and they kept routinely promoting him, sort of like Milton in Office Space. Nevertheless, Duda is listed on the roster as real and he hit a real, long shot on Thursday night that wasn’t a big deal on the surface, but I noticed that when he returned to the dugout — and his sensors told him to cooperate with the forthcoming human horseplay — they started in with the towels. My first instinct was to scoff that trailing by eight runs, the Mets should put the kibosh on their silly celebrations. My second instinct, however, countermanded that call. I decided it was a positive sign that the bench was engaged in a game that was about to be lost. If they haven’t truly given up when down, 9-1, maybe they won’t give up as a matter of course in whatever remains of this season. Not giving up can pay off. Rattling a capricious closer can pay off. Keeping slight but daunting deficits from widening can pay off. Insisting on a replay review can pay off. It’s the little things that become big things, and the biggest thing was Duda swinging at Rodriguez’s first pitch and beaming it toward his home planet, or at least Wauwatosa. The 2-0 defeat to which the Mets were sentenced was commuted in the space of eight pitches: one to Murphy, six to Wright, one to Duda. One less than the same trio needed to torpedo Rivera.
—July 26, 2014
(Traded to Rays, 7/27/2017)