Caught With Our Pants Down, Again: So David Wright “avoided” the DL today despite his continuing battle with a herniated disc in his neck. The first round of anti-inflammatory medication didn’t work. Surprise, Surprise. Now the Mets are giving the poor guy another injection in his neck, and they will re-evaluate his condition in 48 hours. Keep in mind, David hasn’t played since Friday 5/27. The Mets insistence on perpetually playing shorthanded is getting to be ridiculous. The only real surprise here is that David made it through the first 50 games of the season without a DL stint.
Listen, I understand the difficult situation the Mets are in with David. There was no way the Mets were going to formally declare David Wright “dead” before the season even started and trade for an heir apparent like say Todd Frazier. But the truth is we all knew David had no chance of making it through this season injury free, and the Mets did not appropriately prepare for this inevitable situation. Nobody expected Wilmer Flores to completely stop producing at the plate. But it wasn’t fair or realistic to appoint Wilmer the backup at every single infield position and have Eric Campbell on double deck. That strategy was completely and utterly absurd from day one and anyone who disagrees should get their head checked. Now we are in the same position as last season. If David goes on the DL, we are going to run a subpar lineup out there on a regular basis. If he stays on the roster, then we wind up playing long stretches shorthanded, and we already have a weak bench. But the bottom line is, the subpar lineup option is better than playing shorthanded. We should put him on the DL, backdate the stint to Friday, and see where he’s at next week. And in the meantime, our front office needs to find a reasonable stopgap solution at third base, and they need to work quickly. It sounds like cantankerous old Terry wants nothing to do with Neil Walker at third base and Dilson Herrera at second base. Or maybe the front office is frowning upon that option. I don’t know. What I do know is they better act fast. Ben Zobrist or Daniel Murphy would be pretty useful for this team right about now. Whoops!
Can’t Be Done Without The DH: In the long run, it’s going to be incredibly challenging for the Mets to continue carrying David Wright on this roster without the option of the Designated Hitter. It just doesn’t appear to be feasible in the NL. Sure we kind of did it last season, and we made it to the World Series. We are doing it right now as I type. But can we really do this long term? Can we build a roster riddled with uncertainty where nobody knows David’s status on any given day and nobody knows what position they are going to play if somebody goes down at the same time as David? The permanent state of infield musical chairs is not sustainable. Maybe it’s sustainable for a stretch of two months, but it’s not sustainable for this organization in the long term.
Is This Almost The End?: Where does the latest David injury leave us? Well it undoubtedly leaves us in a state of limbo. There’s really no escaping the Wright purgatory in 2016. Maybe he will return to the lineup on Friday. Maybe a backdated DL stint is inevitable. Maybe this neck injury will nag all season long. It’s just so challenging for this team to continue to play with this clear and obvious roster handicap. And when I use the word “handicap” I’m obviously not talking about Wright’s performance. When he’s played, he’s produced at a fine level. The handicap comes in the form of roster management, and at some point we need a resolution on that front.
It’s really sad quite frankly. I’m 28. I’m a late 90’s and 2000’s Mets fan. I watched Mike Piazza come to the end of his baseball road. I watched his bat speed slow down and his skills diminish. I saw Johan Santana get injured and never really come back. Jose Reyes battled injuries forever. But I never watched a Mets player as prominent as David deteriorate due to injury at the level that he has. It’s so awful. The guy works so hard, and his body just won’t cooperate. There’s seemingly nothing he can do to stay in playing condition. I genuinely don’t think this is a battle he can win. We’ve seen many players in MLB history try to beat injuries in the past. It’s a losing battle. Will he retire? Will he continue to try and triumph over his physical challenges? I don’t know. I admire his perseverance no matter what path he chooses to follow. But the continuously running injury storyline is sad and frankly demoralizing for a lifelong Mets and Wright fan such as myself.
P.S. – I love you David. I’m sorry I gained too much weight since high school to wear the child’s XL Wright jersey I once rocked so frequently. I’m also sorry I spilled sausage and pepper grease all over the jersey. Now it’s just a small greasy piece of polyester that lives in my mother’s basement. I’m also sorry for any time I may have said you weren’t clutch, cursed your name, or referred to you as a corpse or dead man (including in the title of this post). Please forgive me and get well soon. I want to win this season, and I want you there to be gently carried off the field into the sunset. Pray for David.