David Wright

Thor is the Story

There was a lot of stories and distractions today around the Mets. First, there were fans clamoring for the return of Jose Reyes. Then the Mets made it clear they had no interest in Reyes. Next, David Wright resumed baseball activities. Finally, Jenrry Mejia embarrassed Major League Baseball, the Mets, and himself with his second PED suspension THIS YEAR!

Noah Syndergaard took the mound Tuesday night and made himself the story. He was perfect through six innings, and he finished with an incredible line of 8.0 innings pitched, 9 strikeouts, 3 hits, and no walks. 

After Thor allowed the first single to potential trade target Will Venable, he allowed an infield single to Yangervis Solarte. On the Solarte single, Ruben Tejada tried to do too much. Rather than smother the ball, he tried a glove flip to Daniel Murphy to try to get the force out. Instead of a Web Gem, Tejada nearly put the ball into right field. Venable advanced to third on the play.  It was 2-0 with runners on first and third with no outs. 

Thor then threw down the gauntlet (sorry comic book fans if this is mixing metaphors). He got Matt Kemp to pop out and induced Justin Upton, another trade target, to hit into a 6-4-3 double play. Despite having only thrown 107 pitches, Thor was lifted after eight innings (perhaps due to the innings limit dilemma). Tyler Clippard made his Mets debut and worked his way around a leadoff double. 

After this inning, I finally put my son to bed. Growing up, there was a rule in my household: bed time was suspended until a Mets’ pitcher allowed their first hit. The longest bed time reprieve I remember was David Cone losing a no-hitter on a dribbler down the third base line that refused to go foul. I knew my son wouldn’t remember seeing Thir pitch a perfect game, but I would remember watching it with him. That would’ve made it all the more special maybe next time. 

When setting today’s lineup, Terry generally followed the platoon system. With the righty Shields on the mound, Collins went with Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Daniel Murphy. However, after his walk-off hit on Sunday, Juan Uribe was in the lineup. It should be noted that coming into the game Uribe had gone 2/5 with one walk and a triple against Shields. 

My belief is that this is the Mets’ best defensive infield alignment. Incredibly, Murphy was the defensive star of the game making two nice defensive plays whe the no-hitter was still viable. 

Kudos is also due to Lucas Duda, who hit a mammoth two run homerun in the first inning. It appears the pressure is off and the power is back. His other outs were hard hit balls. Curtis Granderson put the game away with a two run homerun in the eighth. 

However, the story of the game and th day was Thor, who pitched like an ace. It seems the stud muffins are pushing each other to be better. It’s incredible, and it’s the type of thing that drives a team towards the postseason. 

Step in the Wright Direction?

When the Uribe/Johnson trade went down, I lamented that it may be a sign David Wright was done for the year. Hopefully, today may be a sign I was wrong because Wright took grounders at Citi Field and felt great

For what it’s worth, there were doctors who believed Wright could return to play this season. However, this same physician said Wright would return sooner rather than later. To be fair, that is open-ended. 

Overall, doctors seem to agree baseball activities exacerbate spinal stenosis. Specifically, the rotation/twisting actions involved in swinging a bat exacerbate the spinal stenosis symptoms. Stephania Bell noted setbacks on the comeback trail are common. Therefore, while it is terrific Wright is taking grounders, it is notable that it was not reported he took batting practice or hitting off of a tee.  Even assuming he did and he’s 100% ready to resume play, he’s most likely going to need a lengthy rehab assignment. 

Wright has not picked up a bat in about three months. Accordingly, Wright probably needs his rehab assignment to be something akin to Spring Training. Keep in mind, this year the Mets position players reported on February 24th. With the season start date of April 6th, that means Wright originally had 41 days to get ready for the season, which doesn’t include any preparation he did on his own before the season. 

If Wright began a rehab assignment right now, he would be ready by September 7th (using the 41 day parameter). The Mets’ last game is October 4th. If the Mets want Wright to play before the playoffs, he’s going to need to begin his rehab assignment by August 24th, at the latest. Realistically, you would want him to play at least one week (possibly more) before the end of the season. With what he means to the team and the nature of his injury, I can’t imagine the Mets would accelerate his rehab assignment. 

The absolute deadline for Wright to begin a rehab assignment is quickly approaching. If all goes right, he just might make it. The slightest set back means he won’t. I pray he can do it because, when he’s right, he’s a huge upgrade over Uribe/Murphy. 

UPDATE: apparently Wright did hit off a tee while he was in LA. While this is much more promising, the tight time tables remain in place. My fingers are crossed. 

Did Sandy Make the Wright Move?

Unfortunately, I think the Juan Uribe trade is a sign that David Wright is done for the year. If I’m right, this trade becomes even better than we original thought (like the Oliver Perez trade). 

Spinal stenosis is a fickle thing. Each case is different, and, as such, treatments vary. By the Mets own admission, Wright’s injury is taking longer to heal than they thought. This article was on May 23rd. I’m not being critical of the Mets here with Wright. The Mets have subjected themselves to criticism with their handlings of injuries, but not here. 
For what it’s worth, Wright has guaranteed he will return. Sandy Alderson just announced Wright resumed baseball activities. Sandy then traded for a third baseman. Remember, we initially were informed he would return after the All Star Break. I just find it odd as we hear Wright is on his way back, the Mets add a third baseman. 

I will say even if the Mets truly believe Wright is coming back, the Mets need an insurance policy (I don’t mean the one the Mets have right now) because repetition could exacerbate the spinal stenosis. Also, if he comes back, you want to give him more rest than you normally would during the stretch run. 

Overall, I really hope I’m wrong. Since 2005, he has been the Mets. He was part of the rise of the 2006 team. He showed why the original dimensions of Citi Field were a joke. With the redesign of Citi Field and the team, both he and the Mets were once again supposed to take off. 

For the first time, we can realistically ask, “Is the end of David Wright’s career near?”  It doesn’t seem right.”  He still has five years left on his contract. He’s only 32 years old. He was on pace for a Hall of Fame career. He may now be the Mets’ Don Mattingly. That would be a shame. 

I want my son to see David Wright and remember it. I want us to go to Citi Field when his number is retired. I want us to go to Cooperstown to see him inducted in the Hall of Fame. Mostly, I now just want to see him play again. 

Mets in Same Position as 10 Years Ago

Did you ever hear of the saying, the more things change the more they stay the same? The saying drives me absolutely nuts. Inherently, something that is static cannot also be idle at the same time. However, for the first time I am starting to understand this saying.

I believe this season is starting to resemble 2005. Sure there was some optimism before that season with the signings of Carlos Beltran and Pedro Martinez. This was also going to be the first full season David Wright and Jose Reyes were going to play together. That team also had some holes: Doug Mientkiewicz had a great glove but not the bat to play 1B, Kaz Matsui was being shifted to play 2B after he showed he couldn’t play SS the prior year, and let’s not forget the closer was Braden Looper in a largely ineffective bullpen. However, I don’t know of anyone that expected the Mets to realistically make the playoffs that year.

At that point, the Mets fans were suffering. In 2001, the Mets rallied around the city, but they fell short of making the playoffs in an otherwise disappointing season. In 2002, we watched Steve Phillips attempt to recreate the team as an offensive juggernaut with the likes of Mo Vaughn, Roberto Alomar, Jeromy Burnitz, and Roger Cedeno. This lead to three years of just bad baseball. Now, the Mets fans were clamoring for a move to be made. We wanted to see Piazza go out on his last year with the Mets with a winner. At the Trading Deadline, the Mets found themselves only 4 games out of the Wild Card.

However, Omar Minaya stayed the course. The Mets made no trades. He kept his bullets for the offseason. If you recall, that was a magical offseason with the additions of Paul LoDuca, Carlos Delgado, Jose Valentin, Xavier Nady, Endy Chavez, Julio Franco, Pedro Feliciano, Duaner Sanchez, John Maine, Jorge Julio (was was then traded in season for El Duque), Darren Oliver, and Billy Wagner. Omar showing restraint permitted the Mets to build that great 2006 team the fans loved.

Now, Mets fans have been suffering longer than they were in 2005, and they are begging for just one bat (which I don’t think will do the trick). While Mets fans were disappointed in 2005, I don’t remember them being a distraught as they are now. I think the difference is trust. We trusted that ownership and Omar would spend the money to get the players that were needed. In fact, they just come off of a spending spree that netted Pedro and Beltran. Now, fans don’t trust that ownership will spend the money. I believe this is the trust gap that is the biggest sense of frustration with this team.

It’s a shame too because I remember 2005 being a fun season. So far, I think 2015 has been gut-wrenching with all the tight, low-scoring games. My only hope is that if the Mets don’t make a move now, they have a plan for what can be realistically accomplished this summer. There will be LF available who can really help the team in the short term, but the market is scarce on middle infielders. My fingers are crossed.  I want to be able to go to a playoff game with my father and son.

Realistic Immediate Moves

The Mets offense is officially offensive. As I tweeted last night, their runs per game is as follows:

April 4.35 runs per game

May 3.54 runs per game

June 2.96 runs per game

July 2.87 runs per game. 

This is unsustainable and had led to a -16 run differential. Things need to be fixed quickly to reverse these trends or the Mets run the risk of letting the season get away. For the purposes of this post, I’ll take the front office at face value and assume a trade can’t be competed just yet. Also, I’m not going to waste my breath here about bringing Conforto up to the majors (that’s for another time). The front office has made it clear he’s not getting called up. However, that does not mean something can’t be done now. 

First: Transfer Wright to the 60 day disabled list. He’s been gone for 60 days already. Not putting him on the 60 day DL is roster mismanagement. Once Wright is put on the 60 day DL, the Mets can call up someone not in the 40 man roster. 

Second: Call up Matt Reynolds (he’s not on the 40 man roster) and install him as the everyday SS. Let’s face it – since the day the Mets refused to resign Reyes, Tejada had been given several chances to become the everyday SS and failed. In this latest attempt, he had a triple slash line of .255/.322/.360 and a UZR of 0.8, i.e. he is bad at the plate and average in the field. CORRECTION: after posting this I learned Matt Reynolds is on the 7 day DL

Reynolds had a triple slash line of .270/.327/.410. I wasn’t able to find his UZR information, but scouts seem optimistic on his defense. If Reynolds minor league stats carry over, the Mets improve the SS position and the bench. If they don’t translate (the PCL is a hitter’s league after all), he had a cup of coffee. It’s not like his production would be so bad as to justify carrying Eric Campbell on the roster (side note: I’m sorry because Campbell works hard and really tries to help the team).  I know Reynolds isn’t on the 40 man roster, but so what?  Are you really afraid of losing 

Third: Outright Alex Torres and recall Logan Verrett. This would leave the Mets with only one lefty in the pen, Sean Gilmartin, who is not a LOOGY. However, Torres isn’t effective against lefties. Lately, he hadn’t been effective at all. In a small sample size, Verrett has been largely effective for the Mets. 

Fourth: Recall Dilson Herrera, bench Wilmer Flores, and release John Mayberry, Jr. In his last 10 games, Herrera is hitting .359 with a .390 OBP. He’s hot. Flores has been bad defensively and at the plate. However, he does have some pop in his bat and could be an effective PH. To make room for Herrera, Mayberry should be released. He just hasn’t hit. He’s taking up a valuable roster spot right now. 

Fifth: Call up Travis Taijeron and send down Danny Muno. I know I joked yesterday about Taijeron and the Mets need for more minor leaguers. However, this post is seeking drastic measures to help this team, which is best done by eliminating most of the bench. This season Taijeron’s triple slash is an eye opening .271/.395/.523. Why hasn’t he been called up?  Well he is not a highly thought of prospect having been drafted in the 11th round in 2011. Why send down Muno?  He’s bad at baseball. Travis Taijeron is not in the 40 man roster, but I am comfortable exposing Wilfredo Tovar to waivers. 

With all the machinations, the Mets have mostly retooled their bench (except Nieuwenhuis and Recker) and they find out what they have in Reynolds and Taijeron. Also, it creates a spot for with Nimmo or Conforto in AAA and possibly Gavin Cecchini as well. Maybe I’m wrong, but at least this is something.