And the news is as bad as it can come for the New York Mets.
The team announced today Jeurys Familia underwent surgery to repair that blood clot in his shoulder which will keep him out at least “several months” according to general manager Sandy Alderson, but quite possibly the whole season.
“I don’t have the results of the surgery, but we do believe that this is something that’s going to keep him out several months,” Alderson said to reporters in Milwaukee. “It’s possible he’ll be back by the end of the year, it’s possible that he won’t. We just don’t know at this point.”
If Alderson is sounding a lot like baseball’s version of Sean Spicer, you can probably forgive him, as the injury karma truck backed up again and took a dump on the Mets door.
More importantly, you have to wonder if this injury is just too much for this club. Sure, they went through it last season, but this seems to be different.
Unlike 2016, the Mets were able to go through the whole season with their back of the bullpen intact. They pieced together replacements as the losses mounted. Lucas Duda went out and the team signed James Loney. Without David Wright, a chance to bring back Jose Reyes occurred. Even when the starting pitching started to break down both Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman came up from the minors and fit in beautifully.
This year, well not so much. There just isn’t a reliever out there who the Mets can bring in right now to replace Familia. Closer is a premium position and there just aren’t too many sitting out there, unless the Mets are looking to sign Eric Gagne, who is playing with the Long Island Ducks. And if the Mets had a replacement in the minors, don’t you think he would be here now?
Sure, Addison Reed can handle the ninth, but he doesn’t look the same as last season, as well.
And because the starting pitching has been so spotty, the bullpen has been overused this early in the season. So you can see why Mets Nation took a collective gulp when the club released the news of the blood clot yesterday.
Yes, it’s still early and the Mets are just a game under .500, but without the horses, things can go south very quickly. This team already lost 10 of 11 last month and was able to claw back, but you have to wonder if they can do it again, especially without Familia, who was the one constant for the Mets the past two seasons.
And remember, when closers’ blow games, they tend to be more soul crushing than other losses. If the bullpen just starts blowing leads, it will be extremely tough for the Mets to let it roll off their backs.
If the Mets are able to tread water for the next few months, Alderson will go out and get a reliever or two. He did it two years ago with trades for Tyler Clippard and Reed and last year with Fernando Salas. But teams are not going to give up valuable relievers until at least the All-Star Break and if last year is any indication, there will be a premium for those arms.
So you have to wonder if this is the breaking point for the Mets? Can they brush off the Familia injury like they did with others over the past two seasons?
Only time will tell.