Mets Injury Protocol is Hindering Team’s Performance

The Mets have surely had their share of injuries since the 2010 season. It seems like the injury situation on the Mets gets worse by the year. Jerry Crasnick of ESPN wrote a story regarding the injuries the Mets sustain yearly.

The Mets have lost the second most wins above replacement to the disabled list from 2010-2016 according to Nathan Currier of Roughly 25% of their payroll from 2010-2016 was on the disabled list. This year they have lost Noah Syndergaard, Yoenis Cespedes, and Jeurys Familia for significant time. Those three were arguable three of the best Mets from the 2015-2016 Mets.

At what point do the Mets stop acting like they’re cursed by the baseball gods and realize they have a serious issue on their hands.

In Crasnick’s article, he has unnamed Mets officials tell him “the Mets’ approach leads to communication breakdowns, mixed signals or a lack of trust between the team and its players. The Mets are a successful, profitable organization. But no organization, over a protracted period of time, has more significant players on the disabled list. There’s a failing across the board. And what changes have been instituted, if any?

This goes beyond just Sandy Alderson. Remember the Carlos Beltran knee incident? I’ll quickly jog your memory. Beltran got a knee surgery during the 2009-2010 offseason without asking the Mets about it. The Mets were upset he did not wait and considered ways to avoid paying Beltran while he was on the DL. Here is the full story on ESPN.  

Sandy Alderson did take responsibility for the injuries but multiple sources told Crasnick the problem was Jeff Wilpon. A person who worked in the Mets internal operation said “Jeff gets in the middle of everything that’s going on, and he ends up doing more damage. He meddles. I can’t come up with a more appropriate term.”

Jeff Wilpon has tried to been as involved with the club as he can and that is an issue. Pedro Martinez criticized Wilpon for this and accused him of trying to make him pitch while injured. There was the issue with Beltran as well. The Mets hesitance with putting Cespedes on the DL last year was likely influenced by the Wilpons.

The Mets need a massive shift in their handling of injuries and the way they train players. Mike Barwis, a friend of Fred Wilpon, took over the team’s offseason workout program in 2014. Barwis is a strength trainer and is very aggressive.

Have the Mets benefited from their connection with Barwis or has the aggressive football-like workout regimen made the Mets more susceptible to muscular injuries?

The healthiest person on the team the last few years has been Curtis Granderson. Granderson tries to avoid over-training in the off-season and does mostly swimming. He also drinks a ton of water he told to James Wagner of the New York Times.

Many teams have made overhauling changes to their medical structures. The Mets need 2017 to hold a model to them if nothing else does. Clearly something that they are doing is not working. The change may be something as simple as following Granderson’s example or it might be something more along the lines of getting ownership to be less meddling. Regardless, if this year has not taught us anything, it is that change needs to happen.

The Mets are indeed considering a change that follows a recent trend set by the Houston Astros and Pittsburgh Pirates, who have hired directors of performance or sports scientists.

“Having a director of performance sciences is a relatively new idea that’s been adopted by a handful of teams,” Alderson said. “It makes sense to have someone who coordinates all of the various training and rehabilitation disciplines.”

Thoughts From Mike M.

I’ve been doing research for an article on this topic by talking to anonymous players that have played in the Mets minor league system and they echo the same concerns the unnamed Mets official did in Crasnick’s article.

Repeatedly I’ve been told of miscommunication and/or lack of communication between players, coaches and medical staff in the Mets minor leagues. But, it’s not just simply a communication issue, it’s also the Mets organization pushing players when they are aware of the players injury and the severity of it. We’ve certainly seen that with the major league team and I was told of similar cases in the minors.

It’s the fun thing for Mets fans to joke about firing Ray Ramirez, though the reality is that the problem goes far beyond him and it’s not just limited to the major league team.

The issue of handling players injuries, taking them seriously and allowing for the proper recovery time is an organization wide problem that needs to be fixed.

About Dilip Sridhar 291 Articles
I became a Mets fan in the 2008 season. Since the Alderson regime, I've embraced saber-metrics and advanced stats to back up my eye tests. I study computer science at Stony Brook