The past few weeks the Mets were beginning to get injured players back and were set to have their starting lineup together that that had thought they would have in 2021 on an steady basis. That feeling became a fleeting notion last night when Francisco Lindor left the game which has been diagnosed as a right oblique strain and today Jacob deGrom was shut down with with right forearm tightness.
The Mets ace pitcher felt that during a side session and an MRI has come back clean but the team said that he will not pitch until that tightness disappears. This is a severe blow to the Mets whose team’s core is based on their strong rotation anchored by the best pitcher in the sport. Taijuan Walker and Marcus Stroman are still there but this deGrom news coupled with the unknown return date of both Carlos Carrasco and Noah Syndergaard may make the team target a starting pitcher at the trading deadline rather than a bat.
Speaking of bats, the Mets will be be missing Francisco Lindor for a bit as he was put on the injured list with a right oblique strain he suffered in Friday night’s game in Pittsburgh. These types of injuries MUST be treated carefully as a relapse could end a season for a player. Doctors tell me Lindor will miss at a minimum of 4 to 6 weeks It also deprives the Mets of a Gold Glove at short and I am thinking we will see a combo of Luis Guillorme and Jose Peraza as Jonathan Villar is an option as well but the defensive metrics of Peraza and Guillorme are far better than Villar at the shortstop position.
The team is hoping the return of JD Davis will help to replace Lindor’s bat and give them another middle of the order guy which could allow Pete Alonso to move up to the #2 spot of the order giving them a power bat right behind Brandon Nimmo who is constantly getting on-base. They certainly have defensive depth at shortstop but missing Lindor’s bat will put more pressure on guys like Michael Conforto and Jeff McNeil to get their high octane bats going.
Lindor is certainly a tough loss but the deGrom issue is far more troubling. It puts the Met rotation for now with Marcus Stroman, Taijuan Walker followed by a bunch of question marks. Tylor Megill who has pitched well plus Carlos Carrasco and Noah Syndergaard who are 2 unknown quantities even if they return in the next few weeks. But replacing deGrom is an impossible task as he owns a 1,08 ERA with 146 strikeouts in 92 innings. Your best hope is the tightness will subside with anti-inflammatory medication.
But if it does not, it may mean that big trading deadline move will need to be a starting pitcher especially considering the deadline will arrive well before we get a look at how Carrasco and Thor look. In one day the Mets had their fortunes turned and they must get representative games from the players replacing deGrom and Lindor. Quite honestly, they have done that all year better than most teams in baseball. They will need to continue that trend if they will hold on to that 3 game lead in the NL East.