McDonald: “Bad Optics” And Lack Of Common-Sense Hurt The Mets More Than Injuries

So, the news came down to today and it’s bad for your New York Mets. The supposed lat strain Noah Syndergaard suffered yesterday, against the Nationals, turns out to be a partial lat tear and is out indefinitely.

On the bright side, apparently, the Mets are starting to run out of ailments, since this is the same injury which kept Steven Matz out two months in 2015, so we don’t have to brush up on our medical degrees for this one.

That said, the real problem with the Mets is not the injuries, but the eyes. Sandy Alderson coined it last year as ‘bad optics” and things are looking awful in Queens on this one.

Syndergaard was scratched from his start on Wednesday and then Thursday, complained of a sore bicep. He then threw Friday in Washington and declared himself healthy, and refused an MRI. “We can’t tie him down and throw him in a tube,” declared Alderson to reporters in DC, including NY Sports Day’s Rich Coutinho. Then he tears his lat yesterday.

You can see how this is bad optics. The Mets should have exerted more influence on a player in their employee. They can’t tie him down, but they could have put him on the disabled list as a precaution. Syndergaard would have no case on this one, because he already complained of a sore bicep. With the DL only being 10 days, the Mets could have sorted this thing out with their pitcher only missing one start.

The same could have been done with Yoenis Cespedes, who obviously came back too early from a hamstring strain and pulled it on Thursday, after he missed four games and played one. A disabled list stint would have had him miss only the weekend as he was able fully heal from his strain. Now it’s a pull and he is out probably until June.

Bad optics, indeed.

Injuries happen all the time in baseball. Adam Eaton is lost for the season with the Nationals with an ACL tear, but Washington didn’t sulk. Instead they punished the Mets yesterday for 23 runs. Yet it just seems injuries happen a lot more often at Citi Field. It’s been a chronic problem for years, in fact it’s been that way since they opened the place, as if there are suffering some curse of Shea Stadium.

Now the Mets can’t just shut Citi Field down and rebuild Shea next to it, but they have to do something here. According to Forbes, the Mets made $31.7 million last season, so you can think they would be able to take a few of those dollars and upgrade their training and medical standards.

But before we start spending Fred’s money, how about some common-sense protocols, like losing a player for a week and a half by putting him on the disabled list with a strain is much better than having him on the shelf for a month. Or how about keeping these players day-to-day means the Mets are playing shorthanded and frankly at a disadvantage. However, common-sense isn’t so common in Flushing.

The season is only a month old and there’s no reason to throw in the towel yet. Lucas Duda, Wilmer Flores and Brandon Nimmo are playing in rehab games, while Matz is starting to throw off the mound. There’s still plenty of time in the season, even if Syndergaard is out until the All-Star break

The Mets, though, need to look inward and think about the bigger picture. Syndergaard may have torn his lat anyway, even with a clean MRI and Cespedes could have pulled the hamstring again, even if he was out for 10 days. Injuries happen. But the club needs to give the appearance of doing everything they could.

That’s why this is bad optics and why this eye problem needs to be fixed immediately.

About the Author

Joe McDonald

Joe McDonald is the founder and former publisher of NY Sports Day. After selling to i15Media in 2020, he serves as the Editor-in-Chief and responsible for the editorial side of the publication. In the past, Joe was the managing editor of NY Sportscene magazine and assistant editor of Mets Inside Pitch. He has covered the Mets since 2004.

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