The 2017 season was a disaster for the New York Mets.
While they struggled on the field, the team’s biggest issue was once again keeping their players healthy. Yoenis Cespedes spent a chunk of time on the disabled list and Noah Syndergaard missed nearly five months with a lat injury.
Those injuries, coupled with a plethora of other injuries — including Matt Harvey, Jose Reyes, Steven Matz and Michael Conforto — represented a recurring trend for the organization, which has proved it can’t keep its players healthy.
Well, that trend may change in 2018. The Mets fired head trainer Ray Ramirez following the end of the 2017 season and will add two new positions to to the medical stadd, in addition to a new head trainer.
One of the positions will be a “high performance director, ” who will work closely with the rest of the medical staff to help keep players’ health entact.
“That will allow us to incorporate more technology related to exertion, recovery and a host of other things that we follow with biometrics,” General Manager Sandy Alderson said at the General Manager Meetings in Florida earlier this week.
Additionally, Alderson said that new manager Mickey Callaway and pitching coach Dave Eiland will keep close on tabs on the team’s starting pitchers over the winter.
The Mets lost starters Zack Wheeler, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Syndergaard, Harvey and Matz to signifcant time last year, which played a key factor in the team’s struggles. Jacob deGrom was the only starter to remain healthy last season.
“There will probably be a little more communication with them,” Alderson said. “A little better real-time knowledge of what they are doing.”
That the Mets are finally making an effort to give their players the best chance of staying healthy, which is a nice change of course for an organization that has struggled to do so for most of the 2000s.
General Manager Meetings Notes
The General Manager Meetings in Orlando, Fla., kicked off Monday and unofficially marked the beginning of the hot stove season. General managers from all 30 teams attend the meetings, along with agents of most free agent players. The meetings allow teams to discuss potential contracts for free agents, as well as trades with other teams.
Here are some of the latest rumors connected to the Mets:
The Mets may be intersted in first baseman Carlos Santana, according to reports from the meetings. Santana, who Callaway knows from their days in Cleveland, would be a huge upgrade at first base for the Mets.
However, the fact that New York is being connected with such a high-profile free agent first basemen suggests the team does not have confidence in Dominic Smith as an every day first baseman moving forward.
While Santana does not offer much in terms of defense, he is about as good as a bat available on the market. he has posted seven consecutive seasons with an on-base percenatge of .350 or higher and has hit 20 or more home runs five times in his career, including the past two seasons.
The Mets also may be interested in reunions with Jose Reyes, Neil Walker and Jay Bruce, according to Alderson.
Reyes, a Mets icon of sorts, would bring speed and versatility to the roster, while Walker and Bruce would each provide consistency and power to a lineup that needs both.
Walker and Bruce will probably be too pricey for the Mets, but Reyes may find himself back in Queens in 2018.
Alderson has hinted that the Mets may chase a bullpen arm or two this winter. The unit boasts a solid foundation of A.J. Ramos, Jeurys Familia and Jerry Blevins, but the team would be wise to seek another two quality arms to the bullpen.
The Mets have been connected to Bryan Shaw, who played under Callaway in Cleveland, though he may be out of the tema’s price range.
Reach reporter Zach Gewelb by e-mail at zgewe
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