The Mets are starting to resemble a MASH unit, or at least the 2009 Mets – you know the team that relied on a late career Fernando Tatis to play every position but pitcher and catcher. It’s getting hard to keep track as there are now more Mets regulars on the DL than there are in the lineup. Fortunately, the pitchers are healthy and can hopefully keep the team in the hunt until either a few of these guys come back or Sandy Alderson brings in a bat via trade.
Juan Lagares went on the 15-day disabled list yesterday with a sprained left thumb, suffered on his diving catch on June 4. He’s tried to play through it, but a few weeks rest should help it heal properly. His DL stint is retroactive to June 15, so he’ll be back by the end of the month. Ty Kelly was again recalled from AAA Las Vegas to take his roster spot. The struggling Alejandro De Aza will see more playing time over the next two weeks.
Wilmer Flores left last night’s game with a bruised hand, but thankfully, x-rays were negative so he’s day-to-day. Neil Walker and Michael Conforto, both previously in that same category, appear to be back to health, as evidenced by their home runs last night against the Pirates.
The news is less encouraging for the other Mets on the DL. It was announced yesterday that David Wright will undergo neck surgery to repair a herniated disc. He’s currently on the 15-day DL, but will certainly miss at least a few months, if not the remainder of the season as he rests and rehabs. The best we can hope is that the surgery repairs his neck and that the rest and rehab prove helpful to his back as well. There’s always a chance we’ve seen the last of Wright as a Met, but would anyone bet against Captain America? Wright is determined and he’ll be back – if not this season, certainly next. Mercifully, the Mets have an insurance policy that will allow them recoup a large portion of his salary should he have an extended DL stay, as expected.
Flores will continue to see the bulk of the playing time at third base for now, but there are certainly other options. The Mets could trade for a third baseman or move Walker over to third and promote Dilson Herrera to play second. They could also call up Gavin Cecchini to play short and move Asdrubal Cabrera to the hot corner, or trade for a shortstop. Over the next month, the front office will monitor how well Flores continues to play, who’s available via trade, and how guys like Herrera and Cecchini are performing in Las Vegas.
Lucas Duda, on the DL since May 21st with a stress fracture in his lower back, is not expected back until after the All-Star break. Meanwhile, the veteran pick-up James Loney is handling first base. While he’s providing solid defense in the field and contact at the plate, this team misses that big power bat in the lineup.
Travis d’Arnaud is working is way back through rehab games at various minor league levels. He’s gotten a bunch of at bats and has caught a few games. It may take a little longer for his throwing arm to bounce back from the shoulder injury. He could be back as soon as a week, but possibly not until the end of the month. The way Kevin Plawecki and Rene Rivera have hit, the team could certainly use d’Arnaud’s bat. But let’s hope he hits like he did in 2015, not how he hit earlier this season.
Zack Wheeler, on the DL recovering from 2015 Tommy John surgery, is still on track to return to the team after the All-Star break. That could be a huge boon to the team as that would bump the versatile and still remarkably effective Bartolo Colon to the bullpen, where the recently shaky relief corps could use a steady hand. Provided the pitchers are all healthy at that point, Colon will also give the team the luxury of moving to a six-man rotation to get through the dog days of summer and limit the innings for Wheeler and Steven Matz.
The acquisitions of Loney and Kelly Johnson help and the Mets have some internal infield options, but depending on how things shake out over the next few weeks, Alderson may have to make a trade to bolster a weakened lineup. Thankfully, the rotation remains intact and the starters are keeping the club in almost every game. It’s been a rocky few weeks, but as we learned last year, it’s a long season and the team can turn this around.