Monday, March 12, 2012

Understatement of the Day: "Obviously This Will Impact Our Left-Handed Relief"

Sandy Alderson is referring to Tim Byrdak, who undergoes knee surgery Tuesday and could be out until late May. Considering Byrdak is the Mets' only lefty reliever, his injury does a lot more than "impact" left-handed relief - it eliminates it for the Mets.

You see, the Mets have no quality lefthanded reliever to replace Byrdak. They are reduced to looking at the likes of C.J. Nitkowski and Chuck James. Nitkowski last pitched in MLB in 2005. He's spent much of the time since in Japan. James has pitched 10 innings in the majors since 2008.

It's always possible that the Mets will end up with a heartwarming comeback story along the lines of R.A. Dickey or Jason Isringhausen. But these stories work best when an enterprising GM is willing to explore all avenues to improve his team.

They don't work nearly as well when they are the ONLY avenues for improving the team.

I think letting Jose Reyes go was a big mistake, but at least a case could be made that he is a big injury risk, even if the real reason had more to do with not having the money.

But where is the case with having no depth anywhere on the team? Of being unable to replace Byrdak, who is making $900,000? 

Injuries are inevitable. Especially with the Mets of the last few years. Even when Omar Minaya had big payrolls, the Mets still managed to have less depth than they should have.

David Wright's injury is also problematic, but it's hard for any team to have a ready replacement for someone like Wright. The main thing the Mets can do is try to get him healthy.

But having no solid potential replacements for Byrdak should have been avoidable. Instead, it's probably just the first time this year we will find out just how deep the payroll problems go.

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