Tag: billy wagner

Mets Injuries: Not Bad Luck

After having his knee examined, Oliver Perez has been shut down and scheduled for season-ending surgery because of patella tendon tendinosis. No word on whether he will have his head examined.

Johan Santana will have elbow surgery.

J.J. Putz has been shut down for the season, due to new fraying in his elbow near the ulnar collateral ligament and a slight tear in his right forearm. He will NOT have surgery to correct the condition.

No word on Carlos Beltran , Carlos Delgado, John Maine, nor Jose Reyes.

There are others on the DL and/or lost for the season, but I mentioned the above for a specific reason. Can you find the common thread?

If not, I’ll make it plain and simple: in each of the above cases, the player’s original injury was misdiagnosed and/or rehab was mishandled.

In other words, all this talk about the Mets being “unlucky” because of all the major injuries suffered is a bunch of bull. Maybe some of it is luck, but at least half of it is due to incompetence.

Though, I tend not to fault the Mets’ medical staff — I have a hunch they know what they’re doing, and making the proper recommendations. In the end, the doctors and trainers have no control over whether a player goes back on the field or to the disabled list — that decision is made by the front office.

If you’ve been paying attention since spring training, you don’t need me to re-hash each individual case and point out where the team went wrong. And it goes back further than the spring — last year’s handling of Ryan Church and Billy Wagner are the most obvious examples from 2008 (you can put Maine in there as well).

In every case, a player continued to play despite an injury. Now, we know that all athletes have to learn to play with pain, and can often play through injuries without causing further damage. But over the past several years, the Mets have been grossly negligent in the evaluation and assessment of injuries.

We know this because:

– the manager, general manager, and player are rarely ever on the same page in terms of information
– the general manager cannot “remember” serious injuries to vital players
– the manager has admitted to allowing injured players to talk him into letting them on the field
– the team has admitted to hiding injuries and allowing players to continue to play through them
– the team has consistently waited too long to place players on the DL
– cortisone shots have been administered so frequently and easily it has become an industry joke
– more than one player has sought a second opinion from outside doctors, without the team’s recommendation
– Maine, Putz, Reyes, Beltran, Delgado, and Church all experienced failure in the rehab process

The only successful injury rehabilitation in the past year was Billy Wagner’s recovery from Tommy John surgery. Is it any coincidence that Wagner, for the most part, rehabbed on his own, at his home in Virginia?

Yes, there is some luck involved in a player becoming injured, and recovering from injury. But bad luck is not a valid explanation for this level of medical failure. In addition to personnel moves, the Mets need to make sweeping changes in the way they a) prepare and condition their ballplayers; b) evaluate and assess all injuries; and c) make determinations based on the recommendations of their medical staff.

** UPDATE **

David Lennon at Newsday has written a similar, more in-depth piece. Good thing to see the professional journalists are seeing things similarly to the fans and bloggers.


Mets May Acquire Dan Murphy Clone


If the Mets had access to stem cell technology, they’d likely have a team of scientists working feverishly in the lab on a Daniel Murphy clone. After all, the businesslike young man has been a fan favorite, is home-grown, and — most importantly — has remained healthy all season.

But of course, there is no stem cell lab at Citi Field, and the Mets’ Latin American scouting syndicate does not extend into Brazil, so cloning is not an option. However, they may have accomplished the next-best thing.

Several reports suggest that one of the two “players to be named later” in the Billy Wagner deal is a lefthanded-hitting outfielder / first baseman named


Mets Forgot About Johan Santana’s Elbow

During the team’s conference call with the press today, Ben Shpigel asked Omar Minaya if Johan Santana’s elbow issue was related in any way to the discomfort he felt back in February. Minaya was stunned by the question — he had not remembered the elbow problem, stating that “spring training was a long time ago”. Later, Minaya said that the “spring training problem” had “more to do with Santana’s knee”.

Wow … and we wonder why the Mets’ medical issues have been such a problem this year. If the team can’t remember their $137.5M investment and ace pitcher had elbow issues, how can they possibly deal with the phyical problems of “lesser” players?

Now we understand why Jose Reyes played on a bad hammy, Carlos Beltran on a bad knee, and J.J. Putz with a bad elbow (among others) — the Mets simply “forgot” those players were injured!

Another strange quote by Minaya … after being asked why Santana wasn’t shut down earlier in the season — since he hasn’t thrown in between starts since June — Minaya’s response was:

“That’s why we’re shutting him down now. … After his last start is when he brought it up.”

Um …. huh?

In any case, Johan Santana was seen by Dr. David Altcheck, and the result of the examination is that Santana has bone chips in his elbow. He will have season-ending surgery to remove the chips.

There has been no confirmation one way or the other as to whether Santana had an MRI — only that he saw Dr. Altcheck. Strange, no?

Minaya also announced that Oliver Perez would be heading back to New York to have his knee examined. No word on whether Perez would also have his head examined, unfortunately.

Further, Minaya confirmed the Billy Wagner trade, and said that both Pat Misch and Nick Evans would be activated.

Finally, J.J. Putz will NOT pitch tonight in Brooklyn as scheduled. The Mets are going to “play it safe” with Putz and have him wait a little longer before throwing in a live game.


Billy Wagner Agrees to Trade?

TheRopolitans has three sources confirming that Billy Wagner has agreed to a trade to the Boston Red Sox.

So far no official word from the Mets, though it could be coming soon.

No word on who the PTBNL will be, either. But since the Red Sox are taking on all of the rest of Wagner’s contract, and presumably agreeing to the lefthander’s demands regarding his option and arbitration, I get the feeling that the players will not be top-10 prospects.

Strange deal for the Red Sox, considering these caveats:

– Wagner can only pitch once every 3 days
– Wagner insisted that his option for next year NOT be picked up, so he can become a free agent
Wagner also insisted that he not be offered arbitration, so the team who signs him won’t relinquish a draft pick
– The Red Sox are taking on all of the rest of Wagner’s 2009 salary (roughly $2.7M + $1M buyout)

A healthy Wagner who can set up for Jonathan Papelbon 3-4 times a week could be a difference-maker. But a recovering Wagner who can only pitch one or possibly twice a week at most is not likely to have an impact on the stretch run.

Trading Wags means the Mets get his $2.7M off the books plus the $1M buyout that they would have had to pay if they chose not to pick up his $8M option. However, it also means the Mets will need to think long and hard about picking up J.J. Putz’s $8.6M option — if they don’t, then who is the setup man in 2010?

We won’t know how to evaulate this trade until the players coming from Boston are identified; I imagine we won’t hear about them until after the season.

** UPDATE **

Via Twitter, Bart Hubbach of the NY Post suggests that the Mets will receive two AA players, and that the Bosox WILL offer Wags arbitration (and thus get the draft picks when he signs elsewhere). Per Hubbach:

The Mets are getting two AA-level prospects. The Red Sox agreed to decline Wagner’s option but are retaining draft-pick compensation.

The top prospect on the Red Sox AA team (the Portland Sea Dogs) is 22-year-old 1B Lars Anderson, but I doubt they’d give him up for a one-month rental.


David Lefort of Boston.com has this to say about the players going to the Mets:

It is not expected that any more than one of the two players the Sox are giving up will come from the 40-man roster, and neither is considered an upper-tier prospect.

Translation: the Mets are likely to receive filler material. I’m betting on RHP Bryce Cox and catcher Juan Apodaca. Time will tell.


Mets Game 121: Loss to Braves

Braves 3 Mets 2

So strange to feel indifferent with Chipper Jones and the Braves in Flushing.

I tried really hard to care about this game, but just couldn’t get anything going — much like the Mets offense.

Kenshin Kawakami held the Mets to one run on seven hits through seven strong innings, pitching just a bit better than Johan Santana. Santana pitched well, but just well enough to lose, allowing 3 runs on 9 hits.


Fernando Tatis grounded out with the bases drunk in the first, the first of only two rallies by the home team on the evening. With that, the Mets are 4-for-49 this season with bases loaded and two outs.

Mets pitching threatened to go an entire game without walking a batter, until Francisco Rodriguez entered and handed two free passes.

Luis Castillo collected another two hits and is now hitting .312 — good for ninth in the NL.

Strange to see the Braves bunt in the ninth after K-Rod walked the leadoff hitter. I’d never give outs to Frankie Fantastic, and especially not when he might be struggling.

Billy Wagner made his 2009 debut in the 8th and pitched an easy 1-2-3 inning, hitting as high as 96 MPH on the SNY radar gun. If he’s throwing a legit 96, I see no reason to trade him now unless he brings back serious prospects. Pick up the option and shop him all winter … and shop K-Rod as well. It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to have them both in 2010.

Wags was throwing with a slightly low elbow on several of his pitches, which is a mild concern. He needs to make sure he gets on top of the ball at release.

When was the last time you heard entrance music for a reliever in the 8th inning? Pretty cool … and emotional.

Many pundits criticized the Braves for acquiring Adam LaRoche, but the guy is hitting a shade under .400 since re-joining Atlanta. The Braves’ defense was that he is a second-half hitter and strong finisher. Well played.

Next Mets Game

The Mets begin a four-game series against the Phillies on Friday night at 7:10 PM. This is the Mets’ big chance to get back into the race … if they sweep the Phils, they’ll be back to within single digits of first place. Mike Pelfrey faces Cole Hamels.


Mets Release Livan Hernandez

According to MetsBlog, the Mets have released Livan Hernandez and activated Billy Wagner from the DL.

Though Livan has struggled mightily in his last three starts, I’m mildly surprised if only because I don’t know who is going to take his spot in the rotation. Nelson Figueroa? Tim Redding? After seeing two three-inning starts by Bobby Parnell, and getting lucky to get 5 innings out of Ollie Perez, you’d think the Mets would reserve those two for long duty.

Hopefully this clears the way for the Mets to promote Lance Broadway or Tobi Stoner to get a look-see. Today happens to be Broadway’s 26th birthday, and though he’s been awful in AAA, you’d have to think he has a better shot at making the 2010 roster than Tim Redding.

Looking forward to seeing Billy Wagner in action … if he can crank it up to 95 MPH, the Mets will have a nice trading piece — or setup man for next year.


What To Do With Billy Wagner (and JJ Putz)

Reports are that Billy Wagner is throwing 94 MPH and, barring a setback in Florida on Friday, could return to Flushing as soon as Sunday.

Naturally, the plan will be to showcase the lefthander, in the hopes of pulling off a late-season trade. But it should also be an audition for next year.


Cavalry Updates

In the old westerns, there would be an image of the cavalry arriving from the distance. But the men on horses would be moving TOWARD the camera, not AWAY.

In the case of the Mets, it appears the cavalry is moving away from our point-of-view. Or perhaps it is an optical illusion.

Carlos Delgado, who had been “very close” to returning, has suffered a setback — a strained oblique. His hip feels great, though. Yee ha. According to the new face of the Mets John Ricco:

“The thought is possibly in a couple of weeks he could be back swinging”

Well super-duper. A “couple” weeks takes us into September. And “swinging” is not necessarily “playing”.

While Billy Wagner is pitching well and should be joining the Mets this weekend in Flushing, there is no news on John Maine nor J.J. Putz. Further, Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes remain in New York, rather in Florida rehabbing. And we’re all on the edge of our seats wondering what’s going on with Ramon Martinez … I mean, how long does it take to heal from a dislocated pinky?

In regard to all the disabled players, and the fact there are less than 50 games left in the season, Ricco went on to provide this breaking news:

“You’re going to run out of days at some point”

Ricco may speak slightly more eloquently than Omar Minaya, but the messages are just as mixed and useless.