Yesterday afternoon, Major League Baseball announced RHP Jenrry Mejia had been suspended 80 games for the use of stanozolol, a performance enhancing drug.
“I understand everything about it, but you know what? There are 24 other guys in that locker room who need him, too,’’ Terry Collins said of Mejia before Saturday’s game. “That’s why it’s real disappointing.’’
Mejia will be eligible to be activated on July 6 when the Mets play the Giants in San Francisco.
“Everybody in baseball has done their best to try to clean up this game as much as possible,” David Wright angrily said after Saturday night’s loss to the Braves, “and as much as it hurts, as we love Jenrry as a teammate, you make a mistake, you’re going to be punished. He messed up. He needs to be punished.’
“The good news is it seems like the program is working. We’re trying to weed out the people that gain an unfair advantage, unfortunately this time it’s a teammate,” Wright continued.
Mejia – who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a sore elbow last Monday – will also be ineligible for the playoffs and cannot receive a postseason share, should the Mets get in (Read the entire rule here).
“We’re extremely disappointed,’’ Collins said. “We came into this whole thing in spring training with huge expectations and the back end of our bullpen being very, very strong. We’re all shocked and disappointed. Now we’ve got to retool, and that’s tough to do when you are in season.”
“It’s about all 25 guys,’’ Collins continued. “Injuries are injuries, we get that, but this is something we hoped we could avoid, obviously through the education that’s been given to these guys in recent years. Now all of a sudden the other guys on this team are saying, ‘What are we going to do now?’ We went into it thinking we could get through the next couple of weeks with what we got and all of a sudden you’re looking at the next three months.
Just a month ago, there was both stability and certainty in the Mets bullpen. People knew their roles, and the only issue was who among Jack Leathersich, Sean Gilmartin, Dario Alvarez, and Scott Rice might win the second left-handed relief job in the bullpen. In just 30 days, the bullpen has completely transformed thanks to the absence of Josh Edgin, Vic Black and Jenrry Mejia, three legitimate lynchpins in what was once considered a strong and developing bullpen.
Certainly, Mejia’s suspension was unforeseen, but, the end result really isn’t about hurting himself. This hurts the team, and it goes against that exact message Wright, Collins and the front office has been trying to preach all winter and throughout spring training. Sure, the Mets are fortunate to be deep enough to compensate for this loss during the regular season, but what if the Mets get to the playoffs? They’ll have to reshuffle the deck again.
I don’t think any assumptions can be made, and this is a topic for late June and early July, but because Mejia can’t be counted on in the playoffs, I see no reason why the Mets should install him as their closer again when he gets back under normal circumstances. By then, Black and Bobby Parnell should be back and everyone’s role should be defined. To install Mejia as the closer only to have to replace him again for a potential playoff run could put them at a major disadvantage.
Of course, get there first…