What’s Wrong with Travis d’Arnaud?

David Wright has strained ligaments in his shoulder that may or may not require surgery. That’s the big injury news coming out of Metsville. Or is it?

We already knew Wright was done for the year, and now we know he might need surgery. Will it have any effect on Wright’s 2015 campaign? The year the Mets finally are postseason contenders? Who knows? Probably not, if I had to guess.

More quietly, it was announced that Travis d’Arnaud would also be “observed” by a doctor. Why? That’s not been disclosed. The public explanation is that he’s “banged up.” Another unidentified spokesperson mentioned that d’Arnaud had flu symptoms. And there’s speculation that the Mets don’t want to “tip off” the Astros on d’Arnaud’s injury. What? Does that make any sense at all?

The theory is that if the Astros know d’Arnaud is hurting, they’ll run all day on him. Well, maybe so, but won’t they be able to figure that out on their own? And MLB teams don’t prepare quite like NFL teams — it’s not like Houston will be practicing a custom running game all week to expose d’Arnaud’s issue (whatever it is). It’s pretty simple in baseball — you see the catcher can’t throw you out, so you run. Ask Mike Piazza how that works.

Here’s my conspiracy theory: d’Arnaud may have a serious arm injury — one that will require, say, Tommy John surgery. Or worse. Never mind the Astros finding out and leveraging the information in the last three games of a meaningless season — the Mets wouldn’t want ANYONE in MLB to know d’Arnaud is damaged goods, because then he’s untradeable (and teams would have that info as leverage in trade talks regarding catchers going to the Mets). Further, they don’t want fans to know, either, because that could affect season ticket sales.

Maybe I’m reading too much into this. Maybe d’Arnaud is indeed, simply “banged up” or not feeling well due to a stomach bug. But when you combine his poor throwing in the second half with this new non-information and secrecy … and knowing the Mets’ past history in publicly dealing with bad injury news … well, it makes one wonder.

What do you think? Are the Mets hiding something big regarding d’Arnaud’s health? If there IS really bad news about d’Arnaud — such as something that could keep him out for a bulk of, if not the entire, 2015 season — how might it affect the Mets’ offseason planning? How do you think not having d’Arnaud would affect the Mets’ hopes in 2015?

Post your thoughts in the comments.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Yeats September 25, 2014 at 11:24 pm
    The Mehts for years now have a history of this Bill Belichick-esque behavior… too bad they haven’t similar results, eh?

    All teams disappoint fans when they don’t play well. But the good teams – the good organizations – respect the fans; their Mehts don’t seem to do that.

    At least Charlie O. Finley was creative.

  2. DanS September 25, 2014 at 11:44 pm
    Just read on Rotoworld that d’Arnaud has “elbow issues.” Not the best news for a catcher or for the Mets. It looks like Travis may be one of those players who just can’t stay on the field. Too bad: not much of a catcher but he was beginning to show his offensive potential. We have to wish him well.
  3. Dan Capwell September 26, 2014 at 9:30 am
    Oh man Joe, did you have to be THAT right?
    • Joe Janish September 26, 2014 at 11:39 am
      Sorry. But if it walks like a duck, acts like a duck …
  4. Dan42 September 26, 2014 at 4:43 pm
    If it’s elbow issues, and he’s had symptoms for most of the second half, why (besides trying to plug holes in the dike) did they let him keep playing?
    • DanS September 26, 2014 at 7:57 pm
      Why did they keep playing David Wright, who had shoulder issues a good part of the season? This is the Mets, remember. The track record of this ownership, as it with so many other things, is nothing to be proud of.
      • DanB September 26, 2014 at 8:36 pm
        Dan (nice name),
        It appears the SVP of ticket sales lost her edge since giving birth. As result, the Mets had to continue playing Wright and TD’A despite injuries to increase ticket sales and to pay the mortgage. You can blame her for the Met’s injury problems.
        • argonbunnies September 27, 2014 at 12:46 am
          It’s true. I was just lamenting the lack of inane Mets promotions in my inbox when I got the news that for the price of a regular ticket I could go see the gritty team captain gut it out on the field with one arm falling off! Needless to say, I rushed right out there to watch Wright’s determined, if futile, efforts to reach pitches on the outside corner. After all, losing with heart is the Mets Way!
  5. argonbunnies September 27, 2014 at 12:43 am
    I assume the severity was unknown and someone wanted to mute the issue to avoid a panic. This means the elbow COULD have been seriously damaged… fortunately I just read that it’s bone chips and the clean-out surgery isn’t a big deal.

    Joe, is it at all normal for this (elbow bone chips) to happen to a non-pitcher? Does it indicate something amiss with Travis’s conditioning and/or mechanics?

    Of course the Mets let him play through it in a lost season. That’s the way the link from player to trainer to manager to doctor to management has always worked here, and I don’t have any new thoughts about who’s most at fault.

    The guy I’m worried about is Wright. “Stretched out” ligaments that you can actually see on an MRI — that means tears. And ligament tears don’t just heal back exactly the way they were. The ligament will forever be more “stretchy”. It is possible that by strengthening the muscles in the area, Wright can render this stretchiness a non-issue, but I have no idea what a hitter’s front shoulder requires for a good swing.

    • Joe Janish September 29, 2014 at 2:40 pm
      I wouldn’t say it’s unusual for a non-pitcher to have an elbow ailment like this. Pitchers get them more often because they generally throw the baseball incorrectly and dangerously more than players.

      Yes, it’s an indication that d’Arnaud’s mechanics are amiss / dangerous. Almost all catchers at every level throw with a dangerous form that puts almost all of the stress of the throw on the elbow. The inane instruction to “throw from the ear” is the main cause. By purposely removing shoulder rotation from the throw, all velocity has to be done by the elbow. Most likely, d’Arnaud spent considerable time working on his throwing, and may have also done long-tossing to “strengthen” his arm (that’s what they call it, “strengthening”; I call it “destroying”). The more one throws with bad mechanics — regardless of position — the faster the route to the operating table.

      I’m not sure about D-Wright’s injury. I don’t know enough about the injury, nor about how the shoulder works, nor about the kinetics of a baseball swing to know what he needs to do.