The Mets are off to their worst start ever and, no, it hasn’t been pretty. But I am crazy to think that the multiple obituaries in this morning’s papers are premature? Joel Sherman is calling for the fire sale. Tim Smith describes the apocalypse.
No, I don’t think it was reasonable to expect the Mets to challenge the Phillies this year, but I still believe that it’s a team that could play .500 ball or maybe a shade better if they get the breaks. If that was the doomsayers’ expectation, they shouldn’t be declaring the Mets dead right now because while 5-12 is bad, it’s not the sort of start that forecloses an 80-85 win season. If, rather, they predicted better, such a prediction was unreasonable in the first place. But hey, it’s New York and the Mets have played awful baseball, so you have to expect this sort of thing.
It’s the next phase that interests me the most. The phase in which a general manager with a demonstrated track record of not panicking, not bowing to media pressure, understanding sample sizes and, most importantly, understanding the market for high priced, soon-to-be-free-agent veterans (i.e. low) resists the increasing calls for a fire sale.
Think that will play well in the tabloids and on talk radio?
The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.
Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”
Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.
Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.