Familia and Valdespin to Play Winter Ball; Dickey Has Torn Abdominal

By Matt Musico

Like teammates Elvin Ramirez and Justin Turner, Jeurys Familia and Jordany Valdespin will be playing winter ball once the season wraps up this afternoon. However, the bigger question is how they’ll be used during he winter months. Those questions were answered yesterday on MetsBlog.

Familia was originally slated to be a reliever in the Dominican Winter League, which would go hand-in-hand with what the Mets eventually project him to be in the Major Leagues, but his team wants him to be a starter, and Terry Collins shared with the media yesterday about the change in role for the young right-hander. Although his starts will be limited to protect his arm, his development as a reliever will be stunted for the time being.

Aug 5, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; New York Mets second baseman Jordany Valdespin (1) singles during the sixth inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

In 28 starts for Triple-A Buffalo this season, Familia went 9-9 with a 4.73 ERA, including 73 walks in 137 innings pitched. He made his first start at the Major League level on Monday against the Marlins, and he struggled through 4 innings of work, allowing 6 walks. Like Jenrry Mejia, getting more command of the strike zone should be the focus of his off-season training, and the ceiling is still high on the 22-year-old. However, if I were him and the organization told me I had a ticket to the Majors as a reliever, I wouldn’t be starting games in the Dominican League this winter.

As for Jordany Valdespin, he will not be playing the outfield in the Dominican, but his natural position of 2nd base instead. He appeared in 92 games for the Mets this season (34 starts), which only included 11 starts at his most comfortable position on the field. Valdespin has clubbed 8 home runs and driven in 26 runs in 202 plate appearances, sporting a .241 average and .286 on-base%. One of the things on his to-do list this winter will be trying to develop more patience at the plate. With him playing 2nd base, it begs us to ask the question if Daniel Murphy will be actively shopped this off-season. With the roster turnover that is likely to commence after the final out today, that seems to be the case. But, we’ll have more on that news in a bit.

After he earned a no-decision in his final start of the season last night against the Marlins, it turns out R.A. Dickey is human after all. It was revealed that the Cy Young hopeful has a torn abdominal muscle and will have it repaired on October 18th with a non-invasive surgical procedure. What we also found out was he suffered the injury back in April, but was able to keep it under wraps. Obviously, it wasn’t a significant injury because he was still able to go 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA and 230 strikeouts in 2012.

This situation reminds when Johan Santana threw a complete game shutout against the Marlins at the end of 2008 with a torn meniscus. A much different injury, yes, but amazing to think about nonetheless. Despite not getting a win last night, Dickey remains one of the front runners for the Cy Young award, as it’s become a two-man race with Gio Gonzalez. The knuckler remains in the top-5 of the league in most statistical categories, which in my eyes, should make him the favorite.

It has been a tough season (specifically the second half), but the last day of the season is always a sad day. Make sure to tune into at least some of the game tonight if you can, because we won’t be able to watch our Mets play a game that means something until next April. Let’s go Mets!