COMMENTARY | On the surface, the 2013 season is another lost one for the New York Mets.
With a 58-71 record, they'll likely finish under .500 for the fifth consecutive year, something fans in New York are not happy about.
However, when you look deeper into the Mets' roster, it's a lot easier to see why this season has, in many ways, been a step in the right direction. Top prospects Travis d'Arnaud, Wilmer Flores, and Zack Wheeler are all performing well in their first bit of action in the major leagues; Juan Lagares may have even played himself into the starting center field job in 2014.
New York had a tough start to the season, but unlike in recent years, Terry Collins' club gained momentum as the months continued to get closer to September. The struggles of Ike Davis continued, but David Wright was having a good year, as was Dillon Gee and Jeremy Hefner. Even Jenrry Mejia re-emerged as a potential piece for the future.
At the top of it all, Matt Harvey had become the ace the franchise would need for its next championship run.
Then, for a brief moment, that all came to a halt at Citi Field on August 26. After allowing a career-high 13 hits to the Detroit Tigers in an August 24 loss, Harvey underwent an MRI. His forearm soreness revealed a partial tear in his ulnar collateral ligament. His final prognosis won't be determined for a couple weeks, but odds are the new Met ace will be headed for Tommy John surgery. That would also mean the next Harvey Day wouldn't be until 2015.
While a lot can be said about how Harvey's reported forearm soreness could have been handled by the Mets' medical staff, I'm not going to get into those details. What is important to me right now is the punch in the gut every Mets fan received when he or she heard this news. In the span of a month, three starting pitchers (Hefner, Mejia, and now Harvey) have had their seasons end because of injury.
Losing Hefner and Mejia were big blows to the rotation, but neither one compare to losing Harvey and possibly losing him for all of 2014, as well. His 9-5 record doesn't do him any justice, but his 2.27 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, and 191 strikeouts in 178.1 innings pitched do. He brought the attitude needed to handle New York and being at the top of a rotation for a team in a big market.
Just when the Mets have found that pitcher they need to help them get to the next level, he's taken away from them. It almost makes me think that Mets fans aren't supposed to have nice things.
Trying to find some silver lining, this most likely won't be the end of Matt Harvey's young career. If he does go under the knife, odds say he'll make a full recovery, thanks to modern medicine. However, upon his return in 2015, his innings will once again be monitored closely, meaning we won't see him free from restrictions until 2016.
This injury was not only a punch in the gut to the fan base but also to the front office. With the strides the team has made this season and the pieces they have in place, Sandy Alderson was planning to make a push this winter to help New York compete for a playoff spot in 2014. Now that Harvey will likely be sidelined for an extended period of time, they'll have to reassess which players they are willing to part with in a trade.
Thankfully, the greatest player depth in the Mets organization is on the pitcher's mound. Minor leaguers Rafael Montero, Jacob deGrom, and Noah Syndergaard are all not far away from helping the team in the big leagues. The old adage is that a team can never have enough pitching, and the recent injuries to New York's staff are clear proof of that.
The news of Harvey's injury immediately put me in a bad mood. The leader of the pitching staff is now out of commission, and they'll have to find a replacement for the emotional lift he gave his squad every fifth day. Maybe Wheeler can provide that, but only time will tell.
This injury puts a damper on New York's plans for the immediate future, but it'll have to move on quickly. The game of baseball has no feelings, and it won't wait for key players to come back from injury before the next game is played.
Matt Musico's Mets opinion has been featured on MLB Trade Rumors, MetsBlog, Amazin' Avenue, Mets Merized Online, and Rising Apple. He currently serves as Executive Editor of MetsMinors.net.
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