Jul 08

Harvey Made Right Call On Surgery

Mets’ pitcher Matt Harvey unquestionably made the right decision to undergo surgery for treatment of the thorasic outlet syndrome in his pitching shoulder. It was the best option for his pitching and financial future, and to the Mets for the remainder of this season and beyond.

Dr. Robert Thompson is expected to perform the procedure next week in St. Louis. The surgery, which would entail removing one of his ribs, is designed to relieve pressure on the nerves and blood vessels in the space between the neck and shoulder. The increased pressure caused numbness in his arm and fingers.

HARVEY: Made right choice (Getty)

HARVEY: Made right choice (Getty)

Harvey’s options were surgery or a nerve-blocking injection, the latter being a temporary solution with surgery eventually required.

Harvey’s agent, Scott Boras, whose comments last year on the pitcher’s innings limit created a stir, strongly advocated the surgery to ESPN: “The doctors clearly recommended that he have this done, mainly so that he can be ready for ’17.’

“The rehab on this is six months. Now, if there was a small window of a season, you might be able to take a shot. It’s actually Botox, which relaxes the muscles. That’s not a long-term solution. `The only way this is going to be treated appropriately –  and obviously, we don’t want to do anything to affect next year – is to get this surgically taken care of.”

That’s the understandable driving force behind the decision. This was chosen to set up Harvey for his turn at free agency. Had he chosen the injection and gotten through the season, that would be great. But, if it only lasted a few months and he had the surgery later this year, or in the offseason, or next year, all or most of 2017, could be lost. That would leave Harvey with one year to make an impression on his future suitors when he hits the free agent market after the 2018 season.

And, nobody knows how he’ll pitch coming off surgery. If you’re Harvey – not to mention the Mets or any team that would go after him – you want two years to make an impression. That’s why Harvey’s decision is a no-brainer. But, how does losing Harvey help the Mets the rest of this year?

Knowing the Mets won’t have him in the second half enables GM Sandy Alderson to freely pursue another arm before the July 31 trade deadline, even if it jacks up the asking price. That’s preferable to waiting through at least two Harvey starts before hitting the market late, which would increase the price even more.

This also allows manager Terry Collins to determine his rotation now and eliminates the inevitable questioning and excuse making after each of his starts. And, who would want to see Harvey go down for surgery in a September pennant-race game or the playoffs?

Harvey hasn’t pitched well, going 4-10 with a 4.86 ERA in 17 starts, and this ailment is an obvious explanation. Harvey frequently complained about not having his mechanics, but not having feelings in his arm and fingers could explain a change in mechanics.

However, left unanswered is why Harvey hadn’t complained about a lack of feeling before his disastrous start on Monday. Boras’ answer to that question explains both the good, and bad, about Harvey.

His bulldog approach on the mound, for example, his eight innings in Game 5 of the World Series, is to be applauded. It’s the spirit that defines an ace. That’s the good.

But, here’s the bad, as delivered by Boras.

“He’s felt this way since spring training, but he wanted to gut it out, try to do it, until finally, he’s going, ‘Look, I’m just feeling like I don’t feel the baseball the same.’ Once we heard that, I was like, ‘Maybe we have a TOS situation,’ and got him over to Dr. Thompson.”

Sounds plausible, but it underscores the increasingly, maddening, “I’ll do what I feel like” aspect that has defined Harvey’s short career. It also raises the inevitable question of what could have happened had this been discovered a month or two earlier.

If he had surgery in May or June perhaps he could have come back in late August, or September, or even the playoffs.

We’ll never know.

May 06

Rushing Wright Would Be Wrong

The Mets would be wrong to rush David Wright off the disabled list. Manager Terry Collins said Wright’s pulled right hamstring is making gradual progress, and the projection is he could get into a minor league rehab game this weekend and activated next week.

“He’s starting to speed things up, which is a good sign,” Collins told reporters at Citi Field.

WRIGHT: Take it easy. (AP)

WRIGHT: Take it easy. (AP)

Sounds good, but haven’t we heard similar projections from the Mets over the years, and this includes on Wright?

Thank you, but no.

I would rather wait and see Wright the following week if it means having him intact for the remainder of the season. Hamstrings are an extremely tricky and unpredictable injury. Wright not only has to stretch out the hamstring, but test it running, with start-and-stop moves and changing directions while running.

The conventional wisdom on hamstring injuries is – and remember when this first happened the prognosis was a tight hamstring – whatever the original timeframe simply add a week.

Sure, I would like to see Wright out next week. Hell, I wanted to see him a week ago. But, what I don’t want is to see him hurt again.

No need to rush.

Aug 27

The Perfect Scenario For Announcing Wright’s Extension

In his most forceful comments to date, Mets GM Sandy Alderson, while speaking to season ticket holders yesterday expressed optimism about bringing back David Wright and R.A. Dickey. However, it must be noted optimism and guarantees are two different things.

WRIGHT: Be creative. (AP)

“I fully expect that David Wright and R.A. Dickey will be here not only next year, but long term,” Alderson said. “As you all know, we have options on both those players and it’s not our intention to simply rely on those options and go into next season and deal with their free agency after 2013. We’re going to deal with it up front while we still have a little bit of room to maneuver. But we’re committed to trying to bring those two back. I hope they’ll both be back and I’m excited about the possibilities they will be.”

Sounds warm and fuzzy, now make it happen.

We all know this season turned disappointing after a post-break free fall. The Mets went from being eight games over .500 in the first half to a dozen under recently. There have been reports the Mets won’t be big spenders in the free-agent market and we all know there are precious few chips they have to trade.

On the surface, it appears to be another long, bleak winter. So, do something about it.

Prior to the last home game of the season, it would be great if the Mets announced Wright’s extension, and for the icing, also name him captain. It won’t erase another losing season, but it might provide a glowing optimism for winter.


Jul 04

Mets Chat Room; Need to fix a late-inning leak.

Game #82 at Nationals

Ten walk-off losses for a season sounds high, let alone 10 for the first half. That’s the number after Frankie Rodriguez’s latest meltdown yesterday.

“The worst performance I ever had in my life,’’ he called yesterday afternoon’s ninth inning, which for all practical purposes was over before Adam Dunn’s game-tying drive off the wall.

Walking Cristian Guzman on four pitches to open the ninth was as bad a sign as there is.

Rodriguez’s implosion made Stephen Strasburg a footnote and threw away what would have been RA Dickey’s seventh win.

Ten walk-off losses out of 36 is way to high a percentage and is something the Mets must address immediately. For all the talk about the eighth inning, a band-aid needed to be put on the ninth, too.

“We have our issues,’’ manager Jerry Manuel said. “We can’t have an issue at the end of the game.’’

But, they do.

While the Mets’ bullpen is an issue heading into the break, so to is Jose Reyes’ health. Reyes, who has a strained right oblique, won’t play again today at Washington and is now questionable for the Reds series starting tomorrow at Citi Field.

Feb 04

Feb. 4.10: What swagger?

I’ve read in several places where the Mets need a swagger. Sounds nice. Would be a good thing. Where do you get it?

It’s not like there’s a market that sells the stuff. All players have confidence, otherwise they can’t be a professional athlete. But, only a few have that bubbling cockiness, that swagger, that Darryl Strawberry and Ray Knight and Keith Hernandez had with the 86 Mets.

These Mets don’t have an abundance of players with that quality. And, what brings that quality to the surface collectively is winning.

We know the Mets, as a team, don’t have a swagger, and they won’t until they win. It’s great to hear Strawberry talking about the Mets needing a swagger, but it’s all moot until they win.