For all the strikes the Mets have against them this year, their biggest single issue continues to be team health.
Yes, Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, and Francisco Rodriguez all wear different uniforms now. Yes, they are buried in a mountain of debt following the Bernie Madoff debacle, and overall mismanagement by Saul Katz and the Wilpons. But if you look at this team, position-by-position, they can be competitive…
…they can stay healthy. They have some good players (David Wright, Ike Davis, Lucas Duda) and pitchers (Johan Santana, R.A. Dickey, Ramon Ramirez), but they have to be on the field to be effective. As much as the Mets will miss Reyes and Beltran, even they couldn’t stay on the field for the last 3 years.
Compare the following players to the ones that occupied each position for most of last season. Most positions will get an upgrade or stay the same:
C: Josh Thole (same)
1B: Ike Davis (upgrade – he only played in a handful of games before getting hurt)
2B: Daniel Murphy (offensive upgrade)
SS: Ruben Tejada (downgrade)
3B: David Wright (same)
LF: Jason Bay (same)
CF: Andres Torres (same/slight defensive upgrade)
RF: Lucas Duda (defensive downgrade/same offense, potentially)
Starting rotation: replacing Capuano with Santana (upgrade)
Bullpen: 3 veteran additions (upgrade)
On paper, this looks like a pretty nice roster…
…they can stay healthy.
Just like 2009, 2010, and 2011. And since they are so lacking in depth, health is paramount in 2012. So far in Spring Training, however, it’s been more of the same. More injuries, more initial misdiagnoses, more frustration. Even manager Terry Collins couldn’t hide his aggravation when he found out yet another Met, Tejada, couldn’t play.
Does anyone know what the cause is for these injury woes? Is it the medical staff, the ownership, the managment? Does anyone know what the solution is? Find a new medical staff? Practice over-caution with every nagging injury? Or is it just bad luck or law of averages? Maybe they just happen to have a roster full of injury-prone players. Does anyone know for sure?
One thing is for sure – it’s hard to win ballgames when half your starting lineup is in the trainer’s room.