Just 68 games into the season, the Mets have already suffered through a full season’s worth of injuries. The team has seen about half of its expected opening day roster on the disabled list already, including two starting pitchers, three every day players, five relievers and several prospects. There’s also been a lengthy PED suspension, a bereavement leave and two paternity leaves. Thanks primarily to its remarkable pitching depth and a weak division, the Mets have managed to stay in first place nearly the entire season so far. Imagine how good this team could be if it ever gets close to full strength.
See You Next Year
Following a promising first full season in the majors, righty fireballer Zack Wheeler tore his ulnar collateral ligament and underwent Tommy John surgery on March 25. He will certainly miss the entire season in recovery, if not spring training and the first month or so of next year as we just witnessed with Bobby Parnell. If he comes back strong, the Mets rotation could seriously be the best in baseball next year. Thankfully, we’ve had the depth to deal with this enormous setback this season, plugging in rookie sensation Noah Syndergaard in his place.
Reliever Josh Edgin established himself as one of the better late inning lefties in the league last season. Unfortunately, he suffered the same fate as Wheeler, also undergoing TJ surgery in March. He will also miss the remainder of the season rehabbing his surgically repaired arm. At first this seemed a major blow to a team that only went into spring training with one solid lefty in the pen. But, give Sandy Alderson credit for nimbly bringing Jerry Blevins, Alex Torres and Sean Gilmartin into the fold.
Outfield prospect Cesar Puello may have gotten a shot at the big league roster this year had he performed in Las Vegas, however the enigmatic player suffered a stress fracture in his back and has been parked on the 60-day disabled list. If he manages to make it back this year, we certainly won’t be seeing him in Queens.
Poor Jeremy Hefner. Already on the outside looking in, coming off Tommy John surgery and trying to find a spot amid an army of young power arms, the righty suffered the worst possible setback in his recovery – retearing his ulnar collateral ligament. After undergoing a second TJ surgery, it will be a hard climb for Hefner to make it back to the bigs, especially on this team. Sadly, we may have seen the last of him as a Met.
The biggest question mark regarding Met injuries is our captain, longest tenured player and third base mainstay David Wright. Diagnosed with spinal stenosis, Wright has been undergoing intensive physical therapy, alternating with rest. While it’s been very tough to get a prognosis on his condition, both short and long term, the latest reports have him rejoining the team after the All-Star break. That’s still a ways off and we’ll hopefully get a better sense of how he’s feeling and how the condition impacts David’s swing, fielding, throwing and running. Of particular concern of course is the swing, as Wright relies quite a bit on torque in his swing – more Walt Hriniak than Charlie Lau. If he can come back strong for the second half it would provide an immeasurable boost to this team – both in the lineup and the clubhouse.
Also uncertain is the status of five pitchers. Left reliever Jerry Blevins, who was lights out early in the season in a set-up role, is currently sitting on the 60-day DL after suffering a left forearm fracture when he got hit by a batted ball. Unfortunately, Jerry suffered a setback in his recovery and if he makes it back at all this season it won’t be until at least mid-August.
Hard-throwing righty reliever Vic Black was a terrific contributor last season but hasn’t been healthy enough to join the team in 2015. A series of injuries from a herniate disk in his neck to shoulder stiffness have kept him on the DL. Recently Black was regaining his velocity and starting to look good in a triple A rehab assignment , but was forced into a few days rest following a bout of stiffness in his back. He’ll hopefully be back soon, but we’ve been hearing that for a while now.
Journeyman Buddy Carlyle, who was effective last year out of the pen but struggled early on this season, was placed on the DL with back spasms about a month ago. Given the log jam in the bullpen, Buddy may get reassigned to Las Vegas when he’s ready. A similar fate may be awaiting righty Erik Goeddel, who’s been on the DL since June 12 with elbow strain. Hopefully, it’s nothing too serious.
The last wild card on the DL is starting pitching prospect Rafael Montero, on the DL since April 30 with rotator cuff inflammation. Shoulder pain is never to be taken lightly, especially for a young up-and-comer so the organization is taking a cautious approach here. And they can afford to given that his role with the team is uncertain at the moment.
See You Soon
The good news is that Daniel Murphy is slated to return to the lineup Tuesday for the Milwaukee series. Just as he was in the midst of a red hot hitting streak, Murph went down with a left quad strain and hit the 15-day disabled list on June 5.
While it hasn’t been announced officially, the logical and speculative move is to put him at the hot corner and leave the second baseman of the future and superior defender Dilson Herrera at the keystone. This gives us a better defensive front as Murph is stronger at third and it also potentially increases his value should he be traded in July (not so likely now that Wright is injured, but you never know) or signed to a free agent contract after the season (hopefully for draft pick compensation). Speculation aside, it will be a big boost to the Mets’ lineup to welcome back one of their stronger hitters.
Last year’s theatrical and wild-haired closer, Jennry Mejia is nearing the end of his 60-game PED suspension and will soon rejoin the bullpen in what will surely be a setup role. For the first time in…ever? (waiting for the comments), the Mets will have three experienced closers in the bullpen. A back end of 2015 closer Jeurys Familia, 2014 closer Mejia and 2013 closer Bobby Parnell could resemble last year’s Kansas City Royals, shutting teams down after six innings. That could be a major weapon for this team as we get into the dog days of summer and hopefully a playoff hunt.