Juan Lagares joins a crowded disabled list

LagaresThe 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.

16 comments for “Juan Lagares joins a crowded disabled list

  1. Eric
    June 17, 2016 at 9:45 am

    The only option I would consider other than trade would be the move of Walker and promotion of Herrera. The way the Mets micromanage their 40 man roster,
    a trade seems to be the only other option.

  2. Eraff
    June 17, 2016 at 9:52 am

    I’m guessing/hoping for a 2-3 week look-see with Dilson and Walker. I don’t feel I need to see more of Wilmer. I believe his best option is as a roaming sub/platoon/bench bat. It’s a stronger team if he’s a 350-450 ab rotation player—with more complete/higer upside guys at 600 ab pace.

    They need to identify whether Dislon is ready…if not, it’s a Deadline Trade for a guy like Valencia.

    The Wheeler Rehab Starts will be an interesting watch for Every Scout in Baseball.

  3. Jimmy P
    June 17, 2016 at 10:17 am

    Yes on Wheeler. I would not trade for him until my scouts saw him throw at least twice, in games.

    On Cecchini, the error problem Is serious. At this point, he is unthinkable as a SS solution. At this moment, he might be a better overall 2B than Herrera. This is also true of Flores.

    I’d love to imagine that Herrera is going to come in and do great. And he might get that shot. But it’s far from a sure thing. I am sympathetic to the club’s hesitancy.

    On Lagares, I think it’s one of those injuries where you minimize BP or stop it completely. I am surprised they let him hurt it in the cages. You want to save those bullets.

    BTW, nice to see Conforto and Walker back in the lineup … And not on the DL.

    • June 17, 2016 at 12:50 pm

      One thought that occurred to me while reading your post —

      Most studies tend to lump all TJ surgeries together and come up with a “success” rate of 75-80%, with success of returning to pitch in the majors. But what if we looked at specifically SP and specifically guys who pitched 100 innings, like Wheeler did in both 2013 and 2014, before injury — what would we see?

      Using the list at MLB Reports and concentrating on 2012-2013, here’s what I found:

      2013 surgeries
      Matt Harvey – came back to throw 189.1 IP in 2015 and taking a regular turn in 2016
      Jeremy Hefner – had 2nd surgery in 2014, now pitching poorly in PCL
      Jason Marquis – came back to throw 47.1 IP in 2015 at age 36 and does not appear to be playing this year
      Daniel Hudson – came back to pitch in 2014, 2015 and 2016 as a reliever. Doing quite well in that role this year
      Ramon Ortiz – had his second TJ surgery at age 40. Has not pitched in the majors but pitched overseas in both 2014 and 2015
      Gavin Floyd – Came back and made nine starts in 2014. Has pitched in both 2015 and 2016 but as a reliever
      Chad Billingsley – Came back to make 7 starts in 2015. Does not appear to be pitching anywhere this year
      John Ely – Pitched 100 innings in 2010 and then 15.1 over 2011 and 2012. Pitched in minors in both 2014 and 2015 but not active this year

      2012 surgeries
      Randy Wolf – came back to throw 25.2 IP at age 37 in 2014 and 34.2 last year. Not currently active
      Josh Tomlin – made it back for one game in 2014. Pitched 65.2 innings last year (think there was another non TJ injury) and taking a regular turn in 2016
      Colby Lewis – came back for 170.1 IP in 2014, 204.2 in 2015 and is taking a regular turn in 2016
      Felipe Paulino – came back for four starts in 2014. Currently pitching well in Triple-A
      Brandon Beachy – came back to make 5 starts in 2013 and made 2 starts in 2015. Other injuries have gotten him
      Charlie Morton – came back to make 20 starts in 2013. Has made 73 starts in the majors since returning
      Jose Contreras – came back to make 7 relief appearances at age 41 in 2013
      Cory Luebke – other injuries have gotten him. Came back to make 8 relief appearances this year
      Danny Duffy – came back to make five starts in 2013. Has made 56 starts/28 relief appearances since surgery
      Mike Pelfrey – came back to make 29 starts in 2013 and had made 77 starts since surgery
      Michael Pineda – came back to make 13 stars in 2014 and has made 53 starts since surgery
      Jeremy Bonderman – came back to throw 55 IP in 2013 but has not pitched since. Other injuries?
      Scott Baker – came back to make three starts in 2013. Threw 91.2 IP in 2014-15 while battling other injuries. Not pitching this year

      That’s 21 pitchers that are sort of similar to Wheeler. But a few of these guys were significantly older – Marquis, Ortiz, Wolf, Contreras and a couple were not very good – Ely, Paulino

      So that leaves us 15 guys

      Success – Harvey, Tomlin, Lewis, Morton, Duffy, Pelfrey, Pineda
      Bullpen – Hudson, Floyd, Luebke
      Washouts – Hefner, Billingsley, Beachy, Bonderman, Baker

      Is that good? Beats me

      I guess you’d have to compare it to a control group of guys who pitched 100+ IP but didn’t get surgery. I mean, pitchers get hurt in all kinds of ways and I wouldn’t hold the results of someone like Baker against Wheeler.

      If I was another team’s GM, I’d certainly be looking at Wheeler as a buy low opportunity. But that’s likely because I was bullish on him before the injury. It’ll be curious to see if he’s still on the team when August rolls around.

      • MattyMets
        June 17, 2016 at 1:34 pm

        Nice research, Brian. I was wondering what happened to Chad Billingsley. I’m really curious to see if Wheeler has corrected his mechanical flaw. He’s got electric stuff and I’m looking forward to watching him again. But as much as I like this kid, if he’s still throwing with that inverted W, I’d trade him before he blows out again.

        • Jimmy P
          June 17, 2016 at 2:12 pm

          I love Wheeler. And I am familiar with all the complaints, the high pitch, the control, and so on. But I believe in the arm and the grit. For no, the numbers about what he’s done in the past don’t tell the story about what he could do in the future.

          I would hate to trade him away. And would hate to sell low. I don’t want to flip him for a shot at Game 163 vs. Kershaw.

          • Chris F
            June 17, 2016 at 2:21 pm

            It is fascinating to compare the successes and failures, but we need to keep in mind each and every surgery is itself different (not just TJ) and each person responds only in the way their own body permits. We also need to keep in mind not all UCL tears are the same, so to get somewhere we would need to refine the data to only include the exact procedure and exact tear, although that would not eliminate how each individual heals and then loads the stress with how their pitch mechanics are.

            As for Wheeler. Ive been a vocal dissenter for some time. I wouldnt shed a tear if he were traded and the return was for a franchise 3rd baseman. What gives me some hop is that I believe he has been pitching injured the entire time he has been in the bigs. I think there is room for letting rope out see if the surgery did a full fix of his ailments. But when we see 22 pitch first innings and those fasballs that tail up and out from lefty hitters, then my fears are back. I so far cannot convince myself he is more than a solid #3 or #4 starter.

      • TexasGusCC
        June 17, 2016 at 6:22 pm

        Kris Medlen: Came back in 2012 and was excellent for the Braves. Came back in 2015 for the Royals and was ok, but this year has 7+ bb/9. Ouch!

        • June 17, 2016 at 7:16 pm

          I only looked at guys who had surgery in 2012-13 while Medlen had his in 2010 and 2014

  4. BK
    June 17, 2016 at 11:16 am

    Unless (or until) d’Arnaud and Duda come back healthy and hitting, patching one hole at 3B will do only so much for the offense. Mets third basemen have become the Spinal Tap drummers of baseball.

  5. MattyMets
    June 17, 2016 at 11:39 am

    BK, I love it. I think back to the 80s when there was George Brett, Mike Schmidt, Greg Nettles, et al. They don’t make third baseman like they used to. Though Adrian Beltre is building a case for the HOF.

    Injuries and playoff talk aside, I feel like this is a make or break season for TDA, Duda and Flores. Are these guys part of our future or not?

  6. Jimmy P
    June 17, 2016 at 11:43 am

    Once Duda starts needing to get paid, I’d let him walk. Some felt he should have been flipped last winter, and Murphy retained as 1B. It wasn’t my idea, but it had merit.

    • MattyMets
      June 17, 2016 at 11:52 am

      Jimmy – I had high hopes for Duda and I really like him. I thought he was going to be like Adam Dunn but with better defense and fewer strikeouts.

      • Jimmy P
        June 17, 2016 at 2:16 pm

        Duda can look so solid at times. The OBP and the power, love that sitting in the 5-spot. But other times … Not so much.

        Today, I’d say that when the salary inevitably goes way up — his overall numbers are good at his position — then he’ll become overpaid.

        But I can’t say that I have this guy figured out.

        • MattyMets
          June 17, 2016 at 3:44 pm

          2014 Duda I was ready to lock up long term. 2015 Duda was one of the streakiest players I’ve ever seen. 2016 Duda is injured. Unless he has a monster second half, I’m not sure he’s worth a big arb raise in 2017. Problem is, then who is our first baseman? Dom Smith? James Loney? Oy.

  7. Peter Hyatt
    June 17, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    I wonder if Nimmo has ever played first…

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