Ahead of Monday’s doubleheader against the Philadelphia Phillies, the Mets made a flurry of roster moves, largely to supplement the pitching staff. One of the moves, however, was emblematic of this gloomy and injured season.
After seven seasons in the major leagues without a stint on the disabled list, third baseman Todd Frazier is in for his second one of the year. He missed a month earlier this season with a left hamstring strain and will now miss an unspecified amount of time with a left rib cage muscle strain.
“The older I get, I still feel like I’m in control of my body and then something like this happens,” he said before Monday’s first game. “It stinks.”
The Mets brought up the utility man Ty Kelly from Class AAA Las Vegas to take Frazier’s spot on the roster.
Signed to a two-year, $17 million contract this winter, Frazier, 32, is one of the Mets’ six off-season free agent signings over the age of 30 that has not worked out well. Frazier was hitting .217 with 10 home runs and a .685 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 61 games.
Outfielder Jay Bruce, 31, was in the midst of the worst season of his career when he landed on the disabled list three weeks ago with a sore right hip. Also on the disabled list is starting pitcher Jason Vargas, 35, who was struggling mightily even when he was healthy.
Relief pitcher Anthony Swarzak, 32, missed two months with an oblique strain and entered the day with a 6.46 earned run average. The little-used infielder Jose Reyes, 35, entered the day hitting .175. First baseman Adrian Gonzalez, 36, was released last month.
The results have not been much better for many of the players that were on the roster before this winter. Coming back from shoulder surgery, outfielder Michael Conforto has shown only glimpses of his old hitting prowess. Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes has been out since mid-May with more vexing leg injuries.
Recovering from a strained ligament in his throwing hand since late May, starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard is close to returning after making a minor league rehabilitation start on Sunday.
As of July 6, the Mets, with a new medical staff and all, were third in the majors this season with 792 games missed due to injury, according to ManGamesLost.com.
The absence and struggles of key players have led to many losses and much frustration for the Mets and their fans.
“It’s nobody’s fault but our own as players,” Frazier said. “Everybody works out hard, myself included. These things happen, but they’re happening at a rapid pace. Maybe I need to change up what I’m doing in the off-season. Maybe I need to work out a little earlier or a little later.”
Asked how much time Frazier might miss, Mets Manager Mickey Callaway answered in a way that captured the unreliability of the season: “We’ve seen what’s happened with some of our D.L. stints this year, and it’s hard to guess how long they’re going to be. From what the doctor says, it’s a very mild rib muscle strain that the shot should take care of pretty quickly.”
Frazier felt some discomfort in his left side during his first at-bat in Sunday’s game, and it kept getting worse with each turn at the plate. He received a magnetic resonance imaging examination and a cortisone injection.
Frazier cannot return until after the All-Star break. The roster will likely begin changing after then, as the Mets are poised to trade away players ahead of the July 31 trade deadline.
Outfielder Brandon Nimmo said he was disappointed not to be named to the All-Star team when rosters were announced on Sunday (he may still have a chance as an injury replacement). Despite a recent hitting skid, he was still second among National League outfielders with a .901 O.P.S. on Sunday. “I want to be a part of the All-Star game, but I want to earn it,” he said.