On Monday night, the Mets reached past the .500 mark for the first time since May 2 after sweeping the Miami Marlins in a doubleheader at Citi Field with a 6-2 victory in the day and a 5-4 victory in the nightcap. They improved to 57-56 for the season.
What’s not to like about the Mets right now? They perform well all across the board these days from hitting, pitching and defense. They find ways to win every game these days, including hitting three straight home runs in the seventh inning to rally for a 5-4 Game 2 victory. There’s a different hero every game. It’s no wonder why they won 11 of the last 12 games and 17 of 23 games since the post-All-Star break. They are 2 ½ games out of a wild-card spot. It’s been remarkable, even if the Mets are beating awful teams to put themselves in the position they are in.
But. Yeah, there’s always a but when it comes to the Mets. There’s always calamity around the corner. It’s like the Mets being Wile E. Coyote when it comes to despair.
The latest bad news came when the Mets placed Robinson Cano on the injured list with a torn hamstring strain after undergoing MRI. It comes to shock of no one after he limped off with a strained left hamstring in the Mets’ 13-2 beating of the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday.
With 49 games to go, my money is on Cano not playing again this season despite him not having to undergo surgery. Hamstrings don’t heal quickly, and there’s no way he can be productive when he has been hurt this season. At this point, he’s better off getting ready for next season.
His first season with the Mets turned out to be a forgettable one. Not only he hasn’t produced the way the Mets envisioned or hustle at times, but he played hurt this entire season. He made an appearance on the injured list twice because of a strained left quadriceps and left calf this season. His injuries may explain why he is hitting .252 with 10 HRs and 32 RBIs.
Despite Cano’s struggles, he could have redeemed himself with a great finish by leading the Mets to the playoffs in the final two months. He found his hitting groove by hitting home runs and getting on base lately. He helped spark the Mets’ turnaround by hitting .289 with six home runs and 14 RBIs.
It seemed like everything was going his way. That’s why this injury is so frustrating for him and the Mets.
Cano is not the player he was obviously with the Yankees or even with the Seattle Mariners. In fact, he turned out to be a shell of himself after having injuries. There was a reason he was a throw-in for the Mets to acquire Edwin Diaz from the Mariners. Still, he serves a need in the batting order. He is capable of hitting a home run or getting the big hit. His experience shows he knows how to handle the wars of a pennant race.
The Mets can be fine without him if Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso and Michael Conforto continue to hit well as they are during this stretch. Still, no one can discount what Cano can still bring when he has his head right along with his health.
The Mets knew what they got themselves into with Cano when they acquired him. They knew his body was breaking down with age, so him being hurt shouldn’t surprise them. He still has four more years to go in his contract, so the Mets have to grin and bear it with his chronic injuries.
Give Cano this: He played this season. That’s something Jed Lowrie couldn’t say. It’s interesting the Mets have no idea where he is. It’s like he has been banished from the team.
Still, no one gets rewarded for playing through injuries. Fans want production, especially for a player like Cano that makes a fortune.
Cano would love to be healthy and productive, but his body clearly isn’t willing. He’s already 36 years old, and it’s not going to get any younger or better. He might as well be useless at this point. It’s an albatross contract the Mets can’t live it down.
The Mets gave up Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn to the Mariners for Diaz and Cano. The team’s only saving grace is if both former Mets prospects are busts to avoid being ridiculed for making this trade. This trade is not the worst trade in franchise history, but it’s one of the worst trades in franchise history considering Diaz may not have the makeup to pitch in New York and Cano is old and constantly hurt.
For Cano to get hurt that likely ends his season, it sums up his season as a whole where nothing went rightfor him.
This could also be what life will be for him as a Met for the next four years.