The week has been one to forget for the Mets. Their last win came on April 20th and the club has seemingly generated more negative headlines than hits or runs in the same time frame.
The tip of the iceberg appeared coincidentally during that last win; when Yoenis Cespedes first showed signs of a hamstring impairment exiting the game early. So too did Lucas Duda and Travis d’Arnaud, only after Wilmer Flores was actually hospitalized for a joint infection. Not so much a ‘WIN’ after all.
Call it what you want; A cramp, a ‘shock’, pull, strain. Regardless of the label, a hamstring is an injury that should not and must not ever be pushed or rushed. The prudent move, which has been beaten to death all week on social media and in print, was to put the slugger on the DL. Instead, the Mets waited, and waited, and ignored what they knew. He shouldn’t have been on the field.
Some fault the medical staff, the strength and conditioning staff, some the general manager, and some Terry Collins. At this point it does not matter the cause, because it is done. In a seemingly pointless post-game tirade yesterday, Collins was his usual consistently inconsistent self.
Collins said, “You can write all you want that well, we should have put him on the DL. Well, we didn’t, because we didn’t think it was necessary, because he said he was going to be able to play.”
Since when is it up to the player? Once an injury is sustained, a player performs ‘return to play’ protocol that are watched by staff, trainers, players and team officials. Judging by what we saw yesterday, who would have witnessed such an occurrence and given the choice to the player?
Later in the rant when asked about a new time frame for Cespedes Collins stated, “He is out best hitter…we need him, and we don’t need him to play before he is ready.” Ironically, Collins and the club should have heeded his own advice.
In another timeless twist, the Mets also ‘mistakenly’ failed to disclose correct and/or accurate information regarding one of their pitchers. The ripple effects of those actions have snowballed, as little white ‘miscommunications’ often do, and placed the team at a competitive disadvantage yet again and caused a manageable situation to worsen and become sour.
Noah Syndergaard was scratched from Thursday’s start due to biceps tendinitis and/or arm fatigue. The purposefully vague diagnosis leaves plenty of room for interpretation. And at this point, given the Mets track record, why shouldn’t we speculate?
Apparently, during his bullpen session over the weekend as well as Wednesday he reported discomfort. Syndergaard was originally slated to pitch Wednesday before Tuesday’s postponement. After the game was called, Noah was announced as Wednesday night’s starter with Robert Gsellman‘s spot being skipped due to off-days according to team personnel.
However, just a few hours prior to Wednesday’s game the Mets announced that they ‘mistakenly’ announced Gsellman would be skipped, and he was in fact starting. We can only speculate that it was at that time Harvey was informed of the possibility of starting on Thursday. We do know, before he was told, he had already completed his workout regimen which according to him left him feeling tight and “not really physically prepared for starting today.”
This quote ironically came only seconds after the skippers tirade about “No more excuses” came to an end.
I can understand writing the wrong name of a starter in a lineup, or mistyping a name in a press release, but it is not acceptable nor probable that the words ‘skipping a start’ could be invoked erroneously. Particularly when Syndergaard disclosed he was on two rounds of anti-inflammatory medicine over the past week. Regardless of the purpose, the actions of the club were deceptive to the fan base who may be purchasing tickets solely on the basis of seeing a particular player compete.
Now, injuries and conditions arise and happen. All Mets fans are clearly well aware of this fact. However, an organization must handle and disclose them with prudence and honestly for the well being of the players. Sure, they were likely worried about the ramifications and ripple effect that type of an announcement may have had on an already irate fan base, but wouldn’t they rather that than taking actions that would deceive not only said fan-base, but people who are employed by periodicals and networks to cover the team?
This looming condition could also explain the delay in announcement of a corresponding move for Matt Reynolds. It also makes the choice of demoting the likes of Sean Gilmartin, who now happens to be on his way back to join the team, all the more curious. Knowing Syndergaard was in limbo regarding his next start and would possibly necessitate an early exit, why carry three catchers instead of a bullpen long man or someone capable of a spot start?
Prudence could have thwarted all of this. Not the losing streak, but the bad optics that have littered the papers all week. Once the discomfort was reported over the weekend, a 10-day DL stint for Noah would have put him on track to pitch Monday in Atlanta instead of generating negative headlines for an understandable lack of decorum in the clubhouse with the media. He is likely more frustrated that all of us.
The early season troubles of the club and rash of injuries are plenty to stew on for the fanbase. There is no need to add fuel to the fire by deliberately withholding information and dishonestly citing ‘mistakes’ regarding rotation announcements and repeatedly keeping the team at a competitive disadvantage with the wait-and-see injury approach when more viable and sensible options are present.
Injuries happen, players can both over and under perform for stretches, and teams can go on winning and losing streaks. None of those things necessitate or excuse dishonesty or lack of disclosure that also results in a team not showing up with a full roster to compete.