Posts Tagged ‘Injury’

 

By Steven Inmanlucasdudatravisdarnaud2kkhqgxhhwhm

As Met fans, tell me if you’ve heard this before, the Mets ability to score runs consistently, will come down to the success of Lucas Duda and Travis d’Arnaud. The major league careers to date for both players have been roller coasters, with 2016 being hopefully closest to the low point. Both hitters battled injuries and ineffectiveness all of last season to the point where they lost their starting jobs to inferior offensive players, at a time when the Mets really needed more offense. It’s no coincidence that both Duda and d’Arnaud combined for 11 homers, 38 RBI and less than 100 hits while the Mets finished just 25th in runs last season. The two had their best seasons offensively in 2015 where the Mets finished middle of the pack in runs. For the most part, health permitting, the Mets have an idea of what they’re going to get out of Yoenis Cespedes, Asdrubal Cabrera and Neil Walker. Duda and d’Arnaud when they’re swinging the bats well lengthen the lineup and allow those middle of the order hitters to possibly see an extra plate appearance a game with guys on base.

There isn’t a ton of stability in this Met lineup. Curtis Granderson is getting up there in age, Michael Conforto likely doesn’t have everyday plate appearances after the Mets completely botched the Jay Bruce situation and we all know the issues David Wright is going through to stay healthy. After the poor offensive season this group had as a whole, combined with all the question marks going into 2017, make Duda and d’Arnaud the Mets biggest x-factors offensively in ’17.

Besides the Mets need for these two to perform, 2017 is a HUGE year for both players.

Lucas Duda is set to become a free agent after the 2017 season and the free agent market has recently evolved into one that doesn’t reward all or nothing power hitters. Chris Carter, who tied for the NL lead in homers last season with 42, was non-tendered months ago and now can’t find an everyday job. The same goes for clubhouse favorite Mike Napoli. The Mets can’t even trade slugger Jay Bruce without eating some of his $13M remaining on his contract. Teams don’t value these  less athletic, non-versatile players anymore despite their enormous power. For Lucas Duda to find an everyday job in 2018 and beyond he is going to need to have a career year and show that he is more than just a power threat when healthy. The Mets have top prospects Peter Alonso and Dominic Smith getting closer and closer to the Mets 1st base job so the writing is on the wall for a Duda departure, especially after he turned down a contract extension a few seasons ago. Duda slashed just .229/.302/.412 a season ago but he has put up healthy OBP’s with impressive power numbers in the past. While the Mets need Duda to perform in 2017, he needs a big year even more.

Like Duda, Travis d’Arnaud also badly needs a breakout season. The former top prospect has never been able to stay healthy at the major or minor league level. The backstop has struggled defensively and has shown he is unable to throw out runners to date. There are plenty of offensive minded catchers in the game and there is nothing wrong with that but d’Arnaud hit just .247/.307/.323 last season after a strong 2015. Even when d’Arnaud was healthy he lost at-bats to backup Rene Rivera, who the pitchers preferred to throw to. The two catchers offensive potentials are vastly different but the Mets didn’t seem to regret Rivera taking over for d’Arnaud down the stretch, which is terrifying considering Rivera is a career .213/.264/.332 hitter across 8 major league seasons. It seems as if the Mets are willing to give d’Arnaud another chance as the Mets starting catcher but it would surprise no one if this was his last chance. It’s no secret the Mets were interested in Jonathan Lucroy last summer and were willing to include d’Arnaud in a deal for him. Travis d’Arnaud’s upside is still of an elite offensive catcher (albeit with defensive issues) but the catcher will never be able to show off those skills if he doesn’t stay healthy this year. The Mets are a better and deeper team when d’Arnaud is hitting. Whether or not you believe in RBI as a legit stat, the Mets were 8-2 in ’16 when d’Arnaud drove in a run. The Mets are going to need d’Arnaud to drive in a run (or runs) in more than 10 games if they want to be a decent offensive club.

It’s pretty clear to any baseball fan that the New York Mets will rely heavily on their pitching in 2017 but without Duda and d’Arnaud contributing to this offense the Mets will remain an unbalanced team that will continue to be forced to search for offensive help.

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By Steven Inman

When the Mets got swept by the Nationals last week, Met fans thought that this team was in major trouble due to a lack of offensive firepower. It seemed like no matter who Dusty Baker summoned to the mound for the Nats, they were going to put up a zero. Once the Mets returned home to face the Cubs everything changed. The Mets began clicking offensively and while middle of the order hitters Yoenis Cespedes and Neil Walker began playing the home run ball again, the key to the Mets recent turnaround is the re-emergence of Travis d’Arnaud.

Bronx, Baseball, MLB, New York Yankees, Mets, Yankee Stadium, Subway Series

While the Mets called up their former spark plug Jose Reyes on Tuesday, the hitter that makes the Mets go now is actually d’Arnaud.

Last season when Travis d’Arnaud returned from the disabled list, the team took off. Yes obviously acquiring Yoenis Cespedes last year and then re-signing him this winter was crucial but this offense just seems to click when the Mets catcher is hitting. The Mets are 10-4 this season when Travis gets a hit, but just 4-7 when he doesn’t. He was 8-13 with a homer and 4 RBI during the Mets 5-game win streak.  Travis d’Arnaud put up 12 homers in just 239 at-bats last season. The backstop recently changed his stance to help him drive the ball better but for Travis it really comes down to him just staying on the field. It’s hard to get into a rhythm offensively when you miss a month or two every year.

Many thought the Mets were fine without d’Arnaud with Kevin Plawecki getting a real shot to be the everyday catcher. Plawecki badly struggled offensively and his throwing behind the plate wasn’t much better than d’Arnaud’s. Rene Rivera has been solid defensively in spot duty and Noah Syndergaard loves throwing to him but the Mets simply need Travis’ bat in the lineup. While d’Arnaud’s defense leaves much to be desired, his offensive potential could give the Mets a solid lineup the rest of the summer, even without making a trade. If #18 can stay healthy the Mets have a shot at catching the Nationals and winning their second straight National League East crown.

By Steven Inman

If you haven’t noticed, the Mets season is at a crossroads. The Mets offense is at a point where it’s hard to expect runs no matter who is on the mound for the opposing team. While losing Lucas Duda and David Wright has hurt, the rest of the team just hasn’t produced offensively. The Mets were counting on Michael Conforto and Yoenis Cespedes to carry the load like they did in the second half of last season. Cespedes has cooled off dramatically since a hot April and Conforto is in the minor leagues after not being able to adjust to pitchers strictly throwing him breaking balls. The Mets have really had no answers on how to fix this lineup internally. Since then the Mets have brought back Jose Reyes.01-terry-collins-080915-getty-ftrjpg_dduuxh7xyqfg1ckk33738rts9

No matter what you think of Reyes’ off the field issues, it’s pretty clear that this isn’t the same Reyes that won a batting title in his last tour with the Amazins.  Reyes was never a gold glove caliber shortstop by any means, but his defense has dramatically regressed over the last few years with the Marlins, Blue Jays and Rockies. Now the Mets are relying on Reyes to be the dynamic spark plug he once was along with learning third base, a position he has never played in the big leagues. Reyes is a good enough athlete where he could adapt to third base or even the outfield but the Mets wouldn’t be asking this of Reyes if the guys in the lineup were producing. It seems pretty desperate to bring in Reyes and hope he can be the Reyes of old and not just an old Reyes. Expect him to be up at Citi Field next week.

Washington just swept the Mets and while there is still half a season still to be played, it’s hard to imagine the Mets offense being good enough to hang with Dusty Baker’s club down the stretch. The Nationals clearly look like the better team and the Mets starting pitching looks tired. It may be because of all the extra pitches the young starters endured in the postseason or perhaps some nagging injuries that we haven’t been made aware of but this rotation just isn’t the same as it was last year. That doesn’t mean the Mets should regret throwing their arms deep in the playoffs by any means but it’s clear that there’s some fatigue.

Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz are both dealing with bone spurs in their elbows. While the Mets doctors have ensured the team that pitching through these injuries won’t make their elbows worse, you often see players develop new injuries trying to overcompensate from the pain they are dealing with.  Steven Matz has basically stopped throwing his slider in June, you have to wonder if that pitch was causing him pain. Matt Harvey hasn’t been the same elite pitcher this season and Jacob deGrom’s velocity has been down most of the season. Bartolo Colon at the ripe age of 43 is still pitching as strong as ever.

While there is still plenty of baseball to be played, the Mets are in a very dangerous part of their season as we head towards the All-Star Break…

By Steven Inman

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Photo from NY Post

 

On Monday, Lucas Duda was placed on the disabled list with a stress fracture in his back. Duda wasn’t hitting much recently but the Mets offense could use all the help it could get. Only the Braves and the Padres have scored less runs than the Mets (73 runs) in May.

Duda is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. David Wright had the same injury a few seasons ago and winded up missing a little over 2 months. The Mets are going to have to find some offense at first base. While the trade market hasn’t fully developed yet the Mets do have a few alternatives to Duda. Here are some of their options.

David Wright: With David Wright’s recent throwing issues this could make some sense. It seems inevitable at some point now that David Wright will eventually wind up at first base before his contract is up but the captain has struggled with preparation before games due to his well documented back problems. Adding a new wrinkle like learning a new position after 13 years in the majors might be too much for the veteran to handle right now. Plus then the Mets would have to find someone capable of playing third base every day.

Wright could be an option long-term for the Mets at first base, just not now.

Michael Conforto: At this point, this seems to be Terry Collins preferred option. It would present an opportunity to free Juan Lagares to roam center field every day again and allow Yoenis Cespedes to move back to left field while keeping Conforto’s bat in the lineup. Other than Cespedes, Conforto has been the Mets most consistent bat all season, so making him learn a brand new position doesn’t make a ton of sense either. Conforto, 23, has played a very solid left field for the Mets to start the season. The Mets should leave Conforto alone and let him continue to get better in left field.

Wilmer Flores: Wilmer is expected to be activated from the disabled list on Friday and he should get the first look at playing first everyday with Duda out. Flores has badly struggled this season adjusting to a bench role. If Flores hits the way he did last season, expect him to be the everyday first basemen until Duda is ready to return. The Mets likely won’t consider outside options unless Flores fails to hit as the first basemen.

Eric Campbell: While Campbell has proven to be a very versatile player for the Mets, he hasn’t hit at all since his rookie season, with a career slash line of .227/.316/.320. Campbell has played first in all five games since Duda went down. The Mets can and should do better here.

Ty Kelly: Mike Puma of the NY Post called Kelly “Campbell with more speed” on twitter. If that’s truly the case, not sure why the Mets would want another Eric Campbell on the roster. While the switch hitter raked in Las Vegas, Kelly will probably not be in the first base competition unless he can impress coming off the bench for now.

James Loney: The veteran first basemen is currently in Triple-A in the Padres system. He is a solid defensive first basemen who has 10 years of big league experience under his belt with the Dodgers, Red Sox and Rays. The lefty bat has been playing some right field as a way to become more versatile for a big league team. Loney has never been a big power hitter but he has always hit for a high average. Loney has an opt-out that would allow him to leave El Paso if a club was willing to put him on their big league roster. Loney is a perfect fit for the Mets, as he hits for a high average, especially against right-handers. He has hit .340/.372/.425 in 41 games in the Pacific Coast League this season. Plus Loney’s contact skills could work well off the bench as a pinch hitter once Duda returns. The Mets would only need to pay the prorated version of the league minimum since the Rays are still on the hook for Loney’s $9.66 million 2016 salary.

Juan Uribe: While Uribe didn’t hit well for the Mets when he came to New York last season, the Mets seemed to take off when he and Kelly Johnson were traded to Queens from Atlanta. Uribe hasn’t hit much with the Indians (.237/.305/.342) but he is a versatile player who could play some first along with filling in for David Wright at third. Uribe is only making $4M this season so he could be an option for the Mets but the Indians are unlikely to sell off a clubhouse leader while they are in the race.

Dom Smith: Many think that Dominic Smith is the heir apparent to Lucas Duda at first base. The lefty bat was the Mets first round pick back in 2013. Coincidentally some scouts believe Smith is a very similar player to Loney. Smith, 20, has hit solidly in 44 Double-A games but likely isn’t ready for the big leagues. Smith isn’t an option to fill the Mets first base hole right now.

Who should get the first crack at the Mets first base gig?

By Steven Inman

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Photo from NY Post

The Mets have gotten off to a hot start this year despite getting very little out of key players such as David Wright, Curtis Granderson and Travis d’Arnaud. With that said the most difficult start to the season for any Met has to be from Matt Harvey. After dominating the Royals for the first 8 innings in Game 5 of the World Series, Harvey has been largely ineffective this season.

It’s really unknown how and why Harvey has a 5.77 ERA and has given up 65 hits in just 48.1 innings. It could be just a slow start, or an injury that Matt isn’t revealing to the Mets, or perhaps fatigue from such a large number of innings in 2015. Regardless at this point it’s probably best for the Mets to place Matt Harvey on the disabled list to regroup.

There is a reason why teams place innings limits on their young pitchers and while it isn’t clear if Harvey throwing 216 innings (including postseason) last season coming off Tommy John surgery is the reason for his 2016 struggles, it didn’t help him.

Stephen Strasburg, who Matt Harvey has often been compared to, went through a very similar ordeal that Harvey is experiencing now. The Nationals right-hander was badly struggling to start last season, his first 10 starts included a 6.55 ERA and opponents were hitting .325 off him. The Nationals placed him on the disabled list for about a month and when he returned he was dominant. Whether it was the rest or being able to take a step back to refine his mechanics, something changed for Strasburg. Since coming off the DL last June, Strasburg is 15-2 with 2.20 ERA and 185 strikeouts in 143.0 innings.

Strasburg and Harvey aren’t the only two pitchers to struggle coming back from Tommy John. Left-handers Patrick Corbin and Matt Moore both looked like they were on the cusp of stardom before they went under the knife. Both have struggled with command since returning and while that hasn’t added to their walk totals, it has caused both to give up home runs at an alarming pace this season.

While Tommy John is now a common occurrence for pitchers, no starter had ever come back from the surgery and thrown as many innings as Harvey. The Mets are in uncharted waters here so it is probably best if they play it safe.
As of right now the Mets are not planning on placing Harvey on the DL or skipping his start. He is expected to pitch Tuesday in Washington.

While Matt has been a soldier for the Mets, never asking for his start to be skipped or blaming his struggles on a defense that hasn’t helped him much, it’s probably in the Mets best interest to place Harvey on the disabled list. It’s a long season and the Mets can get by without one of their star right-handers while he gets himself right.

At the end of the day this season for the Mets is about finishing what they started last year and that’s winning the World Series and the Amazins can’t get that done without Matt Harvey at his best.

By Steven Inman

Michael Cuddyer and the Mets have had trouble putting the ball in play on most nights

Michael Cuddyer and the Mets have had trouble putting the ball in play on most nights

With the Mets hanging around the Nationals for first place in the N.L. East there is plenty to be happy about in Metland. However the team has obvious holes up and down the lineup and all of the talk from media and fans has been about what the club should do to fix these offensive problems. While adding a big bat to bolster the lineup couldn’t hurt it isn’t something the club is likely to do so we should simply stop talking about it.

After being no-hit in ugly fashion by Chris Heston, the trade talk around the club will only get louder.

This Met club is at the absolute max their payroll is going to be at for awhile so talking about adding payroll is just a waste of breathe. The team also isn’t going to give up a Steven Matz or a Noah Syndergaard to get that big bat so we really are just wasting our time talking about outside additions.

The Mets will be getting reinforcements when Dilson Herrera and Travis d’Arnaud are activated off the DL this week. If Travis can get into a rhythm and get back to the way he was hitting pre-injury, then that is a huge bat to help a struggling Met offense. It isn’t known if Herrera will be back with the big league club immediately or if he will be optioned to Las Vegas (AAA) for a little while.

Ideally the Mets will get Daniel Murphy back too in the next couple of weeks but the lineup is going to be an issue for the club all year. They aren’t trading Jon Niese or Dillon Gee to acquire the offense they are going to need. That is just a pipe dream as those two pitchers don’t have any value. Any trade involving either pitcher is just to dump salary. If the Mets make anymore offensive changes, expect them to be internal. Maybe things change as we get closer to the trade deadline on July 31st but that is what to expect from the Mets at the moment.

The talk around this team should be about what they do have, and what they are getting back not what they don’t have or what they can’t afford. The Mets have an elite pitching staff and if the club is able to scratch out just four runs that should be enough to win on a majority of nights. It is not ideal but the Giants won multiple championships with great pitching and that ability to scratch out runs, there is no reason the Mets can’t do the same when healthy.

Everyone in the game of baseball is rooting for a quick David Wright return

Everyone in the game of baseball is rooting for a quick David Wright return

By Steven Inman

In another sad turn for the Mets All-Star captain, 3B David Wright will be shut down indefinitely with spinal stenosis. It’s a diagnosis that doesn’t come up all that often in baseball but it did force former Met Lenny Dykstra into an early retirement.

The Mets hope that Wright won’t need surgery, instead praying that rehab could fix the issue but that is hardly a guarantee. This is an injury that very few professional players have really dealt with so its really an unknown when the Mets third basemen could be back.

Remember Wright was originally on the DL for a hamstring strain and has only played in eight games this season.

This is a very serious injury that could put one of the best hitters in Mets franchise history on the bench indefinitely. Wright is the all-time hit leader for the Mets with 1,713 knocks but you now have to worry about his baseball mortality. Wright obviously wants to be back and if he can rehab this injury and be back soon he will.

Obviously this is a very gloomy situation for Wright and the 2015 Mets who really can’t score runs. That being said this could be even worse news for future Met teams.

Wright, 32, is due $87 million over the next five seasons. If they are going to be juggling Wright in and out of the lineup for the next couple of years than the contract would obviously look like a major mistake. That isn’t even including the $20 million Wright is owed in 2015, a season that is looking like a lost campaign for Captain America.

If the Mets are going to keep having payrolls around $100 million or less than an injured Wright making $20 million a year will cripple them for the duration of the contract. It will make Wright feel even worse about his situation as fans will be waiting for the day when the Mets stop paying him. It is hard to imagine that scenario when Wright signed his big contract a couple of winters ago.

Although it was before my time as a baseball fan it reminds me of what the Yankees went through with Don Mattingly. Donnie Baseball was one of the best players in the majors in his prime but his team wasn’t winning so he never got the recognition he deserved. Mattingly had serious back problems later in his career that zapped his power and the former MVP retired from the game he loved at the age of 34, right when before his Yankees started their dynasty. Wright has had his power zapped as he has gotten older and now he is facing his toughest challenge as a pro, right when the Mets have enough pitching to compete for playoff spots.

Everyone should hope the Mets get lucky for once and this injury doesn’t keep Wright out as long as many think.