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.
Cue the montage…
MICKEY CHRISTOPHER CALLAWAY
March 29, 2018 – September 29, 2019
Callaway’s good will was all based on talk and theory. In theory, he was gonna be a great manager. In theory, he was gonna make a great difference. Oh, he’s made a difference, all right. Whatever the metrics are on managerial impact, you can’t watch this team on a going basis and not infer they are a reflection of a first-time manager who had no idea what he was getting himself into and has yet to come up with one.
—June 28, 2018
(Relieved of duties, 10/3/2019; named Angels pitching coach, 10/26/2019)
BROOKS CASEY POUNDERS
June 16, 2019 – June 29, 2019
“Next…do we have a Brooks Pounders here? A Brooks Pounders? Or maybe it’s a Pounders Brooks. I don’t want to seem culturally insensitive. The name was just scribbled on my attendance list.”
—June 16, 2019
(Free agent, 9/30/2019; currently unsigned)
PATRICK JOSHUA “P.J.” CONLON
May 7, 2018 – July 10, 2018
Conlon wasn’t around enough to give those folks the reward of a win, but he did collect his first hit. Which, it turns out, hastened his departure — he jammed his thumb, couldn’t feel his pitches, and was pulled in the fourth. And honestly, can you imagine a more perfect introduction to life as a Met than that?
—May 8, 2018
(Released, 7/25/2019; currently unsigned)
AARON SAMUEL ALTHERR
May 24, 2019 – August 23, 2019
I’d be at least a little confident in anybody the way the Mets have played. I was confident when Aaron Altherr pinch-hit in the ninth, and Aaron Altherr has literally FIVE base hits in SIXTY at-bats for THREE teams this season.
—August 22, 2019
(Free agent, 9/30/2019; signed with NC Dinos, 11/21/2019)
June 24, 2018 – July 9, 2018
Another Kevin, Kaczmarski, made his big-league debut and almost beat out a little trickler for a hit, one he would have been forgiven for slowly morphing into a sizzling line drive over the coming decades.
—June 24, 2018
RYAN PATRICK O’ROURKE
May 1, 2019 – May 4, 2019
Of course break out the Champagne of Beers on behalf of every Met reliever who wasn’t Chris Flexen. Let’s have a roll call to recognize Daniel Zamora, Seth Lugo, Edwin Diaz, Drew Gagnon, Ryan O’Rourke and Robert Gsellman, who kept the Brew Crew off the board from the eighth through the sixteenth.
—May 5, 2019
(Free agent, 8/8/2019; signed with Twins, 8/9/2019)
DONNIE SCOTT HART
August 4, 2019
Noah was succeeded to the mound by Donnie Hart, whom you’ve heard of now. Hart, a lefty who tossed a scoreless eighth, is the kind of August pickup available to contenders, someone cast off by some other organization (Milwaukee waived him). There will be no clever trades for Addison Reed or Fernando Salas as September approaches. Savvy grabs at the waiver wire and insightful scouting of the Atlantic League represent the best chances for fringe improvement. You gotta have an arm that you haven’t already shuttled up from Syracuse ten times before? Then you gotta have Hart.
—August 5, 2019
(Free agent, 11/1/2019; signed with A’s, 2/4/2020)
TIMOTHY LOUIS “Tim” PETERSON
May 30, 2018 – June 11, 2019
Zack Wheeler had been so good against the Pirates for seven scoreless innings and, more relevantly, Tim Peterson had been sharp for nine economical pitches in relief of a faltering Robert Gsellman one night after five zippy deliveries the night before. Peterson was already in, and he’s been in the zone in a way no emerging setup man has been since perhaps Jeurys Familia in 2014. Familia, on the other hand, threw 28 pitches the night before, barked at a baserunner who had done nothing wrong and has aged plenty over the past four years. Except Peterson is just some rookie and Familia is an established closer, and when you have an old, set-in-his-ways manager who has always hewed closely to roles…no, wait a second, that’s not Mickey Callaway, at least not the Mickey Callaway who was sold to us as an avatar of new age situational progressivism specifically where the bullpen was concerned.
—June 28, 2018
(Free agent, 9/30/2019; currently unsigned)
KEON DARELL BROXTON
March 28, 2019 – May 16, 2019
One more run was required to keep Saturday at 1:10 perfect and we weren’t about to be picky how we got it. Fortunately, the Mets proved there is more than one way to skin a Nat. With two out and the bases empty in the bottom of the eighth, Conforto doubled off of Tony Sipp, knee-nagged Jeff McNeil arose from the bench to absorb a pitch to his shoulder for the greater good and Keon Broxton took a big gulp out of Sipp, singling Conforto across the plate and the Mets into the lead. It wasn’t a home run, but other ways to score are also nice.
—April 6, 2019
(Traded to Orioles, 5/22/2019)
ERIC DRU HANHOLD
September 4, 2018 – September 9, 2018
The kiddie corps of Eric Hanhold, Tyler Bashlor, Daniel Zamora and Drew Smith was tasked with holding a contender at bay. The contender prevailed, thanks to Hanhold encountering a bit of bad bloop luck and Bashlor being taken practically to the World’s Fair Marina by Rhys Hoskins. Oh well. Good to see the youthful arms getting a chance nonetheless.
—September 8, 2018
(Selected off waivers by Orioles, 9/16/2019)
GAVIN GLENN CHRISTOPHER JOSEPH CECCHINI
September 11, 2016 – October 1, 2017
Cecchini has started one game in the big leagues, and in it he homered off Clayton Bleeping Kershaw. That would be enough of a career for most of us. Cecchini probably would like more.
—June 20, 2017
(Free agent, 11/4/2019; signed with Blue Jays, 1/17/2020)
DEVIN DOUGLAS MESORACO
May 8, 2018 – September 29, 2018
Mesoraco caught Wheeler for six uncharacteristically solid innings, which, unlike Cabrera’s double, did show up in the box score. Zack raved about Devin afterward, hinting perhaps that it does matter who does catch a pitcher. Maybe the chronically befuddled Steven Matz would have followed Wheeler’s effort with five fine innings sans Mesoraco (he was on his game in his previous start a week ago), but every little bit helps, and it now appears Devin is helping talented Met starters whose performance wasn’t living up to their curdled hype. That, like the Mets’ near-invincibility in Philly, is a narrative we can deal with until it’s proven otherwise inoperative.
—May 12, 2018
(Placed on restricted list, March 25, 2019)
CHRIS JAMES MAZZA
June 29, 2019 – September 29, 2019
The score by this point, as if one needed to be kept, was Mets 11 Twins 3. After Chris Mazza threw a serviceable inning of relief in very sharp striped socks, Minnesota answered by sending forth Ehire Adrianza to mop up. Don’t feel bad if your pre-Interleague series bullpen research yielded no usable intelligence on Adrianza. Ehire is a shortstop usually and served as Rocco Baldelli’s white flag on Wednesday. The first-place Twins were crying “UNCLE” in the face of the fourth-place Mets. Good luck holding off the Indians with that attitude. Three more runs on five more hits ensued. I’d say a position player’s presence on the mound made a mockery of the game, but the game already included the use of designated hitters, so why not go all the way?
—July 17, 2019
(Selected off waivers by Red Sox, 12/20/2019)
SAMUEL ONOFRIO “Sam” HAGGERTY
September 4, 2019 – September 29, 2019
Sam Haggerty was up next, and I liked the idea that Sam Haggerty could get his first big league hit in the biggest spot imaginable that wasn’t really he biggest spot imaginable except if you were sitting here in the eleventh inning on Closing Day, now edging into Closing Night. Except Haggerty wasn’t going to hit.
—September 30, 2019
(Selected off waivers by Mariners, 1/10/2020)
HECTOR FELIPE SANTIAGO
May 24, 2019 – June 14, 2019
I turned off the audio but kept Gameday on my knee, watching in horror as the newest Met, Hector Santiago, sprayed balls well out of the strike zone but somehow escaped the usual and fitting punishment for such antics.
—May 26, 2019
(Free agent, 6/18/2019; signed with White Sox, 6/20/2019)
May 8, 2019 – July 7, 2019
On Wednesday, the Mets couldn’t have started a less distinctive pitcher. His name was Wilmer Font. It is no knock on Wilmer Font to say that other than having fun with Wilmer’s last name and fondly recalling the last Met who shared Font’s first name, there was very little to say about Wilmer Font in advance of his first Met start. He was picked up because the Mets needed anybody, a description that neatly fits Wilmer Font, a former member of several other organizations who joined this one just the other day.
—May 9, 2019
(Sold to Blue Jays, 7/17/2019)
CARLOS IVÁN BELTRÁN
November 1, 2019 – January 16, 2020
As we look ahead to 2020 and our sixteenth season of blogging, we learn that the manager of our New York Mets will be Carlos Beltran, long removed from his playing days as a Met, not so long removed from playing in general. He is universally admired within the game, yet taking on a wholly new role. So are the Washington Nationals. They will be first-time defending world champions, charging out of the visitors dugout at Citi Field on March 26, taking on Carlos Beltran’s Mets. That’ll be Opening Day, when everything old and new traditionally merge into something else altogether.
—November 1, 2019
(Mutually agreed to part ways, 1/16/2020; currently unaffiliated)
ANDREW MILES “Drew” GAGNON
July 10, 2018 – September 25, 2019
Gagnon is in his eighth professional season, and with his third organization. Las Vegas marked the fourth season in a row he’d pitched in Triple-A. He had to have thought that the call was never going to come and the dream was never going to come true. And with good reason: he knew he’d become a roster-filler, and that 28-year-olds with marginal stuff are Plan H or I for big-league rotations. But the Mets specialize in Plan Is.
—July 10, 2018
(Released 11/22/2019; signed with KIA Tigers, 12/9/2019)
RUBEN DARIO TEJADA
April 7, 2010 – October 10, 2015
August 14, 2019 – August 20, 2019
Lugo wasn’t hit particularly hard — the Braves jerked some tough pitches over the infield, broke bats and still had balls fall in, and were gifted an extra out when Pete Alonso left first and Lugo didn’t cover on a grounder to recidivist Met Ruben Tejada, returning to duty as Jeff McNeil’s replacement. (I would have opted for Dilson Herrera, but that’s another post.)
(Free agent, 11/4/2019; signed with Blue Jays, 1/17/2020)
LUIS ARMANDO AVILÁN
March 31, 2019 – September 26, 2019
Luis Avilan’s music is “The Man Comes Around,” by Johnny Cash. It’s a vaguely apocalyptic song full of Biblical imagery, and strange to hear in a ballpark. Good to hear, or too odd a choice? I’ll need to think about that one.
—July 26, 2019
(Free agent, 10/31/2019; signed with Yankees, 1/22/2020)
JOSEPH MATTHEW “Joe” PANIK
August 9, 2019 – September 29, 2019
I am moderately satisfied to have a middle infielder of Panik’s pedigree among us. I was also moderately satisfied to have had middle infielders of Panik’s pedigree among us in other playoff chases: Tommy Herr in 1990; Mike Bordick in 2000; Luis Castillo in 2007. None of those names jump off the page as net Met positives a million or so years later, but at the moment of their respective acquisitions, they filled in nicely and filled holes ably. Panik probably isn’t a panacea, but for the time being, he’s all right.
—August 12, 2019
(Free agent, 10/31/2019; signed with Blue Jays, 1/18/2020)
CHRISTOPHER JOHN “Chris” FLEXEN
July 27, 2017 – August 24, 2019
Young Chris threw 57 pitches, almost of all them (at least the ones in the strike zone) scalded. Flexen entered at 10-6 in the fifth; he exited at 17-6 in the seventh. Only three of the seven runs he allowed were earned, but that seemed a technicality. Oh, and the Mets stopped scoring, transforming a potential slugfest into a standard-issue blowout of epic proportions, the kind in which you’re grateful nobody grabbed a lat muscle, yet you’re a little disappointed a catcher didn’t pitch. I got old just watching it and I’ve gotten even older just now reliving it.
—May 27, 2018
Designated for assignment, 12/6/2019; signed with Doosan Bears, 12/7/2019)
ADEINY HECHAVARRÍA BARRERA
May 4, 2019 – August 7, 2019
Ah, but just when you think you know what the Mets are going to do next, you know next to nothing. In the bottom of the ninth, Adeiny Hechavarria, the kind of versatile veteran presence every team needs on its roster, walked with one out (I could take or leave him, really, but his mere Metsian existence drives my partner to frothing, and that’s always fun to provoke).
—May 22, 2019
(Free agent, 8/16/2019; signed with Braves 8/16/2019)
CARLOS ARGELIS GOMEZ
May 13, 2007 – September 29, 2007
May 17, 2019 – June 29, 2019
On May 23, 2019, however, after an odyssey that stretched from Minneapolis through Milwaukee, Houston, Arlington, St. Petersburg and Syracuse, the prodigal son, as Gary Cohen was in the process of tabbing him, blazed around the bases, having just hit his second home park home run as a Met, his first in home blues at Citi Field. He thoughtfully brought Smith and Ramos along on his come-from-behind sprint to make it 6-4 for the rejuvenated Go-Go Mets. When Carlos Gomez homers in a Mets uniform for the first time in twelve years, you can be assured he does not trot.
—May 24, 2019
(Free agent, 7/3/2019; retired, 1/16/2020)
RAJAI LAVAE DAVIS
May 22, 2019 – September 29, 2019
Find someone who looks at you the way Davis looked at Urias’s one-and-two changeup…and then maybe get away from that person, because Davis smacked that pitch hard. Rajai meant no harm, however, except to the Dodgers. The veteran hitter produced a three-run pinch-double, clearing those bases of Mets and generating a 3-0 lead for Justin Wilson to protect in the ninth.
—September 15, 2019
(Free agent, 10/31/2019; signed with Acereros de Monclova, 2/13/2020)
THOMAS JAVIER “T.J.” RIVERA
August 10, 2016 – July 26, 2017
Rivera, whose name was all over the bottom of the ninth in the field and had imprinted itself upon the box score with two hits and two ribbies in regulation, batted second. As he came up, I found myself sorting through his brief MLB career to date and wondering, “Has he homered yet? I don’t think he has…has he?” I can now answer definitively that he has. The rookie from Lehman High School showed Melancon the Bronx the best way possible, via the left field grandstand. That’s where T.J. (or “T.” as his friends call him) deposited the Washington closer’s two-strike delivery for his first major league home run. The Mets were ahead again, 4-3.
—September 14, 2016
(Released, 3/9/2019; signed with Long Island Ducks, 7/6/2019)
JASON MATTHEW VARGAS
May 17, 2007 – July 3, 2007
April 28, 2018 – July 28, 2019
Nights like Tuesday, defined primarily by rain, futility and Jason Vargas, deserve to be evaluated not on how bad the Mets’ loss was mathematically, but how the elements that constitute the whole of the experience measure within the parameters of the carefully calibrated Jason Vargas Index. For those who have forgotten, here are the scales of the Jason Vargas Index:
• VERY VARGAS: Truly dismal
• SORT OF VARGAS: Could be better
• NOT AT ALL VARGAS: Perfectly lovely
—August 8, 2018
(Traded to Phillies, 7/29/2019)
TODD BRIAN FRAZIER
March 29, 2018 – September 29, 2019
I guess it’s laughable, sort of like promoting a Todd Frazier Batting Practice Pullover giveaway and then not giving away the Todd Frazier Batting Practice Pullovers as promised (never mind not having Todd Frazier around lately). But it might take a few decades and an intervening championship to find the funny in the defeat that followed the imploded promotion.
—June 3, 2018
(Free agent, 10/31/2019; signed with Rangers, 1/12/2020)
TRAVIS EMMANUEL d’ARNAUD
August 17, 2013 – April 27, 2019
It’s always cathartic to poke fun at the Mets’ inability to cure and communicate, but never mind that for the moment. I’m more interested in Travis d’Arnaud the player than Travis d’Arnaud the latest example of what always seems to go wrong. Travis d’Arnaud, you’ve surely noticed, was an essential part of this team when it was playing its best, which has made him an enormous part of this team when he hasn’t been playing at all.
—July 19, 2015
(Released, 5/3/2019; signed with Dodgers, 5/5/2019)
ZACHARY HARRISON “Zack” WHEELER
June 18, 2013 – September 26, 2019
I particularly liked what he answered when I asked him a process question concerning when he knows he has his “A” arsenal versus when he thinks he’s gonna have to figure things out as a game goes along. I used as an example how well he pitched at San Francisco last July, and midway through my question, I realized that was an extreme example because, duh, it was the Giants who decided they could spare him when they traded him for Ol’ Mercenary Head, a.k.a. Carlos Beltran. Thus I amended my question as I asked it to encompass that extenuating circumstance, and Zack was more than happy to volunteer that he was really “pumped up” that day and wanted to “shove it against ’em”. They were the ones who gave up on him, after all. He hadn’t forgotten and he wasn’t shy about remembering it now. The words might have differed coming out of different mouths, but I could hear echoes of Seaver or Martinez saying essentially the same thing.
—December 18, 2013
(Free agent, 10/31/2019; signed with Phillies, 12/4/2019)
JUAN OSVALDO LAGARES
April 23, 2013 – September 29, 2019
Juan got that first rally going Saturday night. He also got the second rally going, the one that culminated in Alonso’s two-RBI hit in the seventh. And he capped off the Mets’ third and final rally, tripling in Luis Guillorme in the eighth, providing the crucial insurance run every deGrom start requires before responsibility for its safety passes into the hands of the (gulp) bullpen. Good for Juan Lagares. And what’s good for Juan Lagares is good for the USA…or our orange and blue corner of it. Next time you see him crossing home plate, be sure to line up behind the bat boy and slap the man’s palm like you mean it.
—August 18, 2019
(Free agent, 11/1/2019; signed with Padres, 2/10/2020)
STEVEN A. “Steve” COHEN
Prospective Majority Owner & Eventual Control Person
December 4, 2019 – February 7, 2020
The best news about Cohen, in addition to his resources, is that he’s a Mets fan. Not a Mets fan because he already owns a minority stake in the Mets. Not a Mets fan in the sense that he politely applauds his investment. He’s a 63-year-old Mets fan originally from Great Neck, eight stops on the Port Washington line from Shea. I’ve read he attended games at the Polo Grounds, which means he’s old enough to remember the entirety of the Mets experience and young enough to not remember a time before the Mets. The latter shouldn’t feel like a positive, but after eleven seasons passing through the turnstiles of a ballpark whose guiding architectural principle was Ebbets Faux, I’ll take my chances on a baseball worldview shaped by love of the Mets and nobody else. The least encouraging news is that this deal is by no means done.
—December 5, 2019
(Highly complicated transaction termed too difficult to execute, 2/7/2020; maintains minority stake)