Francisco Rodriguez entered tonight's game with a 3.09 ERA and a 3.76 FIP (what's this?). He left the game with a 3.72 ERA. In a season in which injuries revealed the underlying depth issues that have made Omar Minaya's Mets so disappointing, a typically high-wired inning gone awry revealed the unexceptional Francisco Rodriguez, who will, in all likelihood, collect 43 million dollars over the next three years. Remember those articles about how Rodriguez's velocity somehow went down intentionally last season and how he couldn't wait to crank it up again? It never went back up. The Mets will be paying a good, not great, reliever star position-player money for the next three seasons. And that was Minaya's good move of the offseason. That was also the good news from tonight.
As I am sure you have all heard by now, Jose Reyes tore his already injured hamstring trying to run, making surgery all but certain. What gets lost in the talk about pitch counts, inning caps, Verducci effect, and "bad mechanics," is the single biggest deterrent to pitcher injuries, the pitcher's judgment. Similarly, while it's reckless to blame the training staff, the doctors, or whoever else in what can probably be labeled as a massive mishandling, one thing seems obvious: no one knows Jose Reyes' body and its limitations better than Jose Reyes. That's why reports of Reyes pushing himself to dispel the doubts of teammates and media members calling him lazy are angering, and it's probably why it has reached this point. While I don't know whether the team ignored Reyes or pushed him too hard in his rehab, it certainly seems that way, and fan perception is probably more important than reality to the organization at this point. This post is not crescendoing into some thundering condemnation of team management, because by now it's pretty apparent that any delay in their firings is just penny-pinching. I just want to reflect on what a season this has been, in which the Mets can be swept by the Nationals in the most embarrassing fashion possible, then hold a post-game press conference to announce the career-threatening mismanagement of their star player's leg injuries.