It’s Bob Klapisch who, after spending a bit of time yesterday afternoon on Twitter playing armchair orthopedic surgeon, decided that the Mets are to blame for not seeing the alleged warning signs leading to Matt Harvey’s diagnosis:
There are a million questions trailing in his wake, starting with the Mets’ passive response to the lingering forearm tightness Harvey had been experiencing since July. Warrior that he is, Harvey downplayed the discomfort, telling his bosses it was nothing unusual, nothing more than the cost of doing business with nuclear heat. But given the Mets’ abysmal record of managing injuries, why weren’t they proactive when it was clear Harvey wasn’t improving? … the Mets should’ve taken control of the situation and not waited until late Sunday when Harvey’s pain finally became acute.
All pitchers get some soreness. Harvey is a young kid who didn’t think it was a big deal and there was nothing objective the Mets could see that would suggest injury. Blaming the Mets by going back, as Klapisch does, to some of their medical misdiagnosis a few years ago smacks of scapegoating and a failure to appreciate that there simply are injuries that happen despite everyone doing the right thing. And no, putting a baseball player in an MRI tube every time he’s sore is not the right thing.
Of course my favorite part of this column is when Klapisch mentions Harvey posing nude in ESPN the Magazine a couple of months ago:
Already he’s big and brash and gutsy enough to pose in ESPN The Magazine’s Body Issue. It wasn’t the smartest decision he’ll ever make, but it told you plenty about the kid’s self-confidence.
You’ll recall that Klapisch wrote a hand-wringing, unintentionally hilarious “Harvey shouldn’t want to be known as the naked pitcher” column at the time. Here he seems to lump in the posing nude with Harvey’s toughness and self confidence. A toughness and self confidence he now blames for Harvey not speaking up about his sore arm.
Which just goes to show: when a columnist decides on a meme, be it “the Mets’ doctors suck” or “posing nude is a horrible thing to do,” they will take every opportunity to shoehorn developments into those memes as a means of saying “see, I told you so.” And about 97.5% of the time it is utter baloney.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.