Satoru Komiyama

Mets Who Wore 17 After Keith Hernandez

Since 1989, you would tune into the occasional New York Mets broadcast, and you would hear Howie Rose incredulous another Mets player wearing the number 17. With the New York Mets announcing Keith Hernandez‘s 17 will now be retired, we will be forever robbed of those moments, but we can look back at the players who wore the number after Hernandez left the Mets.

David Cone – Cone would change his number from 44 to 17 in honor of his teammate. It would be the number Cone wore when he led the league in strikeouts and tied Tom Seaver‘s then National League record of 19 strikeouts in a game.

Jeff McKnight – McKnight became the first player assigned the number after Hernandez wore it, and you could argue it was even more of an eyesore because it was the year the Mets had the underscore jerseys. Believe it or not, McKnight just had a knack for wearing great numbers. He would also wear David Wright‘s 5, Jose Reyes‘ 7, Carlos Beltran‘s 15, and Darryl Strawberry‘s 18.

Bret Saberhagen – Saberhagen changed from his usual 18 with the Kansas City Royals and the number he first had with the Mets after his good friend Cone was traded to the Toronto BLue Jays. While Saberhagen did have some success with the Mets, he was probably the player least suited to wearing the number after the bleach incident.

Brent MayneAgain with the former Royals wearing 17. Mayne’s first hit with the Mets was a walk-off RBI single off Dennis Eckersley to take the opening series of the season. Even after that, he still couldn’t get recognized on the 7 line on the way to the park.

Luis Lopez – Lopez was a utility player for the Mets for three years including the beloved team. His biggest hit with the Mets was the time he punched Rey Ordonez on the team bus. Hearkening back to the team photo incident between Hernandez and Darryl Strawberry, this may be the most Hernandez moment any of the subsequent players to wear the number 17 ever had.

Mike Bordick – Bordick was supposed to be the key pickup for the Mets to replace the injured Ordonez at short. He gave us all hope as he homered in his first Mets at-bat, but things would end badly as he would be benched for Kurt Abbott in the World Series, and he would return to the Baltimore Orioles in free agency. Worse yet, 1999 postseason hero Melvin Mora, who was traded for Bordick, would go on to be a star for the Orioles.

Kevin Appier – With Cone, Saberhagen, and then Appier, it seemed Royals pitchers really liked wearing 17 with the Mets. Appier came to the then pennant winning Mets in the hopes of winning a World Series, but unfortunately, he is forever known as the key piece sent to the Angels for Mo Vaughn.

Satoru KomiyamaThat Japanese Greg Maddux never was close to that spending one forgettable winless season with the Mets before returning to Japan.

Graeme LloydLloyd was one of the few who thrived with the Yankees who pitched well for the Mets. He didn’t last a full season as he and many of the 2003 Mets who battled under Art Howe was moved at the trade deadline.

Wilson DelgadoMets fans were thrilled to obtain Delgado in 2004 as he would be the return for Roger Cedeno. Delgado played 42 games for the Mets in 2004. He’d never appear in a Major League game after that.

Dae-Sung KooA largely forgettable LOOGY who will forever live in Mets lore for that impossible double off of Randy Johnson followed by that mad dash home from second on a Reyes’ bunt.

Jose LimaThe 2006 Mets pitching staff was so injured that we’d get Lima Time! for four starts. After struggling mightily, this marked the end of his MLB career as he then played internationally.

David NewhanThere really isn’t much to tell with Newhan. In his one year with the Mets, he proved himself to be that classic Four-A guy who annihilated Triple-A pitching but struggled in the majors.

Fernando TatisOmar Minaya first signed Tatís as an amateur and would bring him to the Mets organization. Tatís rewarded Minaya’s faith by winning the 2008 NL Comeback Player of the Year. For a franchise known for “what ifs,” you can’t help but wonder if the Mets don’t collapse for a second straight season if Tatis didn’t injure his shoulder. While Tatís had many memorable moments with the Mets, perhaps, his most memorable was his being one of the few actually capable of hitting it over the Great Wall of Flushing.

After Tatis, the Mets had finally said enough was enough. They were taking the number 17 out of circulation like they had done in the past with Willie Mays‘ 24. That meant the number was not going to be worn again. That is, unless, the next Rickey Henderson came long. However, now, with the number being officially retired, no one will ever wear Hernandez’s 17 again.

 

Seiya Suzuki Well Worth A Gamble

Takahashi Kashiwada. Tsuyoshi Shinjo. Satoru Komiyama. Kazuo Matsui. Ryota Igarashi. With all due respect to Masato Yoshii, the New York Mets forays into Japan have typically ended very poorly.

While the process and luck has been bad, it’s meaningless when looking to any players out of Japan. Enter Seiya Suzuki.

The 27 year old Suzuki has been a great hitter in Japan with an OPS over 1.000 in three out of the last four seasons. In terms of age and production, it’s where Hideki Matsui was before coming to the New York Yankees.

Matsui thrived in New York. He was a two Time All-Star and a World Series MVP. Again, this means nothing as compared to Suzuki. All it does is just show a Japanese star in his prime can thrive in New York.

There seems to be a consensus Suzuki will sign for an AAV between $7 – $10 million per year. MLB Trade Rumors predicted Suzuki would sign for five years $55 million.

Some believe he’s a five tool player, and he’s the best player in Japan. Some wonder if he can translate his skills to Major League pitching. No one knows, but at that price, it’s worth the gamble for the Mets.

Remember, they don’t just need one outfielder; they need two. Right now, Brandon Nimmo is their only real Major League everyday outfielder on the roster.

As we see, the Mets options are flawed and limited. They need to re-sign Michael Conforto, and they still need another outfielder. No one on the free agent market has Suzuki’s upside.

When you need two outfielders in a thin free agent class, you need to take some calculated risks. If you’re the Mets, and you’re really going to go for it, $10 million to Suzuki is a worthwhile gamble.

Past history with Japanese players should mean nothing. All that matters is the Mets have a desperate need for an outfielder, they have money, and Suzuki could be great for them.