Let’s assume, for the moment, that the discussion this afternoon about Matt Harvey potentially trying to pitch through a UCL tear was just that, talk. Harvey just found out today. He’s no dummy. He’ll make the right call for his career. And that is almost certainly going to be Tommy John surgery and a 2015 return.
Here’s your rotation, as of now: Jon Niese, Zack Wheeler, Dillon Gee, Jenrry Mejia, and maybe a battle between Carlos Torres and Rafael Montero for the fifth spot, with Noah Syndergaard looming.
That could be a good rotation, if everything goes right and everybody stays healthy. But that doesn’t happen.
So if you believed three pitching injuries ago that the Mets had some kind of pitching surplus, you surely can’t now.
Thus, the sobering reality: the Mets need to go out and get a free agent right fielder, left fielder, shortstop, and a reasonable catcher to step in should Travis d’Arnaud get hurt once again. This isn’t to assume he will, but assuming the guy who has topped out at around 300 plate appearances the past two seasons will be healthy and produce in his first full major league season assumes a lot.
So yes, the Mets once again have a built-in excuse for punting 2014, rather than acknowledging the financial problems of ownership. That’s how it works when a team neglects to add talent from the outside for years: one injury can derail an entire season’s plan. Again, though, when the plan can be derailed by an injury to a pitcher, something so fragile, it wasn’t a great plan to begin with, but rather one born of expediency.
Tommy John surgery for Harvey should have him healthy and ready to go for 2015. There’s reason for optimism in that case.
In the meantime, a $320 million debt against the team comes due in June 2014. The real cause of why there’s a good chance all the chatter about spending this winter was merely nonsense in search of a rationale to back away from it hangs in the balance. What happens with ownership is likely to have a far greater effect on how you’ll feel when you stand up and cheer in April 2015, as Matt Harvey hopefully makes his triumphant return for the mound.