With the new collective bargaining agreement, the minimum stay on the disabled list was shortened from 15 days to 10 days as a way to incentivize players and their teams to stop hiding and playing through injuries. If a player had a minor injury that he and/or the team felt would only take a week or so to get through, the player would simply sit on the bench for that period of time, essentially nullifying the utility of one spot on the roster. With the 10-day disabled list, that isn’t as much of an issue now.
The Mets, however, have been very averse to putting players on the disabled list still. Travis d'Arnaud is a good example. The catcher suffered a wrist injury on April 19 against the Phillies. He didn’t start from April 20-23, but appeared in all four games as a pinch-hitter. After a team off-day, d’Arnaud started on the 26th but only lasted five innings. On May 2, d’Arnaud left after six innings against the Brewers. The Mets didn’t put him in the lineup yesterday nor is he in tonight’s starting lineup. As D.J. Short suggested, the Mets could put him on the disabled list, which would free up a roster spot that the club is otherwise using sub-optimally.
d’Arnaud isn’t the only example. Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes left the Mets’ April 20 game against the Phillies with a cramp in his left hamstring. He was held out of the lineup for the next five days and returned on the 26th. He started both on the 26th and 27th, but went on the disabled list on the 28th. The next day, the Mets refused to tell the media the exact severity of the injury, instead vaguely saying it was a “non-serious” injury. Usually, with hamstring strains, the team tells the media whether it’s a Grade 1, 2, or 3 strain with a Grade 3 strain being the most severe.
Lucas Duda hyperextended his left elbow on April 19 against the Phillies. The Mets held him out on the 20th, then placed him on the disabled list on the 21st.
This is all in conjunction with the Noah Syndergaard situation. Syndergaard was scratched from his start on April 27 with biceps tendinitis. On the 29th, the right-hander refused to undergo an MRI, which the team allowed for some reason. On the 30th, Syndergaard started but lasted only 1 1/3 innings in what turned out to be a 23-5 drubbing by the Nationals. He was diagnosed with a torn lat muscle.
The Mets are very passive when it comes to their injured players. They wait a long time before placing them on the disabled list, completely ignoring the added incentives for them to do so. By continuing to use banged-up players, they increase the risk of those injured players exacerbating their injuries. And they allow some of their players to dictate medical treatment as evidenced by the Syndergaard case. Why have medical personnel on staff if you’re not going to use them, especially when it comes to your most important players?
Winners of 87 games last year, the Mets enter Thursday’s action 12-15, good for fourth place in the NL East. How many of those losses might have been wins if the club had a more proactive approach to player health?