Nearly two months ago, I wrote about the weird and inefficient way in which the Mets have handled injured players. The new collective bargaining agreement reduced the minimum stay on the disabled list from 15 to 10 days, which creates an incentive for teams and players to appropriately deal with injuries. With a 15-day minimum, teams and players would often hide or ignore minor injuries and the player would simply sit on the bench, eating up the utility of that roster spot.
Every team has seemed to take advantage of the new 10-day disabled list. That is, except the Mets. In my previous article, I listed a handful of examples. One was catcher Travis d'Arnaud, whose wrist was injured April 19 against the Phillies. He didn’t start in the next four games, but did appear as a pinch-hitter each game. He started on the 26th but could only make it through five innings. He left after six innings on May 2 against the Brewers. At the time of that writing — May 4 — d’Arnaud still hadn’t been put on the DL, but he finally went on May 5 and was activated on the 24th. Other examples included Yoenis Cespedes and Lucas Duda. Then there was the whole Noah Syndergaard situation in which he refused to undergo an MRI and the team said that was okay. He started a few days later and lasted 1 1/3 innings before exiting with a torn lat muscle.
Even broadcaster Ron Darling has criticized the Mets for their health woes. He blamed the trainers, as the Mets have had a revolving door in the infirmary.
That brings us to the latest issue. On Sunday against the Giants, Conforto was hit on the left wrist with a pitch. He has been held out of the lineup ever since. And, according to MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, the Mets still haven’t discussed putting him on the 10-day disabled list. For some simple math, Conforto has been out four days and the minimum stay on the disabled list is 10 days. That’s at least 40 percent inefficient! If the Mets had played it safe with Conforto and put him on the disabled list immediately, they would not have had a dead roster spot for four days. The Mets could have called up a player from Triple-A to have an extra bat off the bench. That might have, for instance, had an impact during Tuesday’s 6-3 loss to the Marlins.
The only upside to not placing a player on the disabled list is having that player available within the 10 days the player would otherwise be missing. If the injury only requires a week of rest, for instance, then the Mets technically would gain three days of time with the player in question on the active roster. That comes at the cost of that player’s roster spot being dead for the other seven days, though. Is it worth it? The Mets seem to be the only team on that side of the argument.