Not that Adrian Gonzalez was going to turn their season around, but the timing of the Mets releasing the 36-year-old first baseman after Sunday night’s game – even with three strikeouts – seems a little odd.
For a team in desperate need of offense, why would you release a player who is third in RBI with 26, especially with the leader Asdrubal Cabrera leaving Sunday’s game with an apparent hamstring injury and the second-ranked player in Yoenis Cespedes suffering a setback in his rehab and is out indefinitely?
Bringing up Dominic Smith, who wasn’t impressive in his trial last season, doesn’t appear to be the answer, especially when the Mets are also throwing out the idea of trying Jay Bruce and Jose Bautista at first base.
Smith, who was injured and missed most of spring training because of a strained quad muscle, never had the opportunity to compete with Gonzalez and learn from the All-Star.
As is often the case with GM Sandy Alderson, the announcement was made after the media availability to Gonzalez was over and reporters didn’t have a chance to speak with him.
As far as Cespedes goes, there’s no timetable for his return any longer. Cespedes played in a rehab game Friday with Double-A Binghamton without incident and sustained a setback Saturday. He’s now in Port St. Lucie working with the Mets’ rehabilitation staff.
“We had been excited about the prospect of getting him back in a few days,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “But we can’t let these injuries stop us from doing what we need to do. We have other Major League players who can step up and get the job done, and that’s what we need to do.
“As this continues to move forward, and it continues to drag on, there has to be a level of understanding that it’s maybe something you battle throughout the rest of your career.
“But I don’t think we’re at that point yet. The goal is still to get him to where he can be out there and feel normal.’’
Cespedes missed 81 games last season and has already missed 24 with more games coming off the schedule on a daily basis.