Just because every team faces their share of spring training injuries doesn’t mean it’s easier when your team suffers theirs. In recent seasons, the New York Mets have had several what we believed to be key players go down with injuries in spring training before even playing a down for the club.
In 2018, Jason Vargas got hurt in a spring training game. The next year, it was Jed Lowrie’s turn to suffer what has become the absolute worst minor leg injury in the history of the world. Then came the 2020 season when the club lost Noah Syndergaard in March to Tommy John Surgery.
The Syndergaard situation was a little different from the other two as he actually played for the Mets before. So is the missing-in-action status of Seth Lugo to start the 2021 season.
More related to why the Thursday therapy chair has me in it this week is the ailment to Carlos Carrasco. I was oh so excited to acquire him this winter. One of baseball’s most underrated starters for the last few seasons, fate intervened and crushed the hope of seeing a full season of Cookie.
Tell me doc, the Mets will be okay without Carlos Carrasco
The Mets were well-prepared for an injury to Carrasco—a guy many expected to open the season as the number two starter. This now means the depth can be put to the test. We’ll ask Taijuan Walker to step up and be more than possibly the best fourth starter in the league. He’s now a third starter with much higher expectations.
This single injury dropped the Mets from having possibly the third or fourth-best rotation in baseball down a few notches. Carrasco was that important to the club’s success this year.
Instead of letting guys like David Peterson and Joey Lucchesi fight to keep their rotation spot, New York will depend on them to be successful.
Don’t tell me it’s like acquiring a guy at the trade deadline
All fans in all sports don’t need to hear “it’s like acquiring a guy at the trade deadline.” Nonsense. The Mets planned to open the season with Carrasco in the rotation. Trade deadline acquisitions are meant to get you over the hump and supplement your weaknesses.
Already without Syndergaard to begin the year—a fact we have known for months if not an entire year at this point—it’s a huge blow to the team to have Carrasco out. He’s not a young guy at this point in his career. Injuries are much tougher to recover from.
The worst fear of all is that the relationship with Carrasco turns out the exact same way it did with Vargas and Lowrie. Two of the more disliked employees of this team in recent seasons, it’s always best to get a first look early on in the year.
Making a mid-season debut does bring excitement much like a surprise entrant at the Royal Rumble. However, especially for a pitcher, I have to imagine it’s tougher to feel prepared. Pitchers are creatures of habit and routine. They are making their regular season debut minus a month of spring training action.
I can’t imagine how this benefits anyone other than the people who manufacture sports therapist couches. Typically, I find, it takes too long to warm up for the season and by that point, pitchers are off their rhythm and the year has been lost.
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I’ll stay positive with the Carrasco injury news. We’ll get to see a potential diamond in the rough demerge as a starter. We’ll get to laugh at the mispronunciation of Lucchesi’s last name on sports talk radio. Until told otherwise, I’ll hold out hope we see a lot of Carrasco this year pitching healthily and effectively.