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Mets fans have been feeling kicked around for years.  Earlier this week was just another knockdown punch for an organization that was finally just staggering onto its feet.  

There was a hint of promise.  The team had finally brought up and raised its first legit homegrown ace since Dwight Gooden, the farm was full of young talented arms.  2014 was already showing some hints of promise.

And in a moment it was all taken.  


Waiting for news is the hardest part
Photo by Slgckgc, used under creative commons license.
Well, not all of it.  The farm is still loaded with young arms, so there is some promise for 2014.  But the promise is a lot dimmer now that Matt Harvey has a partially torn UCL and is on the shelf indefinitely.     He’s done for 2013, and the odds are good that he’ll need Tommy John surgery at some point.

No one wants to see the Mets' star pitcher go under the knife and while it is possible that the ligament will heal enough to be functional, it’s not that likely.  But with every single tick of the clock while the Mets and Harvey explore non-surgical options the amount of time that Mets fans are likely to wait grows.  This kind of injury takes a long time to properly heal on its own, and few — make that very few — of the people who take the time to let it heal this way are professional athletes, especially of the type who abuse the shoulder and elbow the way that a power pitcher does.

Typically the answer for professional pitchers is ligament replacement surgery, or Tommy John surgery, as it is more commonly known.  That means a 18-to-24-month window for full recovery, although some pitchers can make it back in as little as 12 months.   If that is what is going to be necessary for Matt Harvey, Mets fans would prefer he get the surgery tomorrow, so that while they might not have Harvey in 2014, they’d at least have him ready for 2015.

Still barring another big pitching injury 2014 at the moment it at least looks like the Mets can take some steps forward next season.  Dillon Gee and Jonathan Niese looks like a solid enough middle of the rotation guys,  and the youngsters down on the farm Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero and Jacob DeGrom will all have their shot to make the rotation in 2014.  The relief corps is evolving nicely too.

Losing Harvey for 2014 wouldn’t gut that, but without him, the Mets' rebuilding won’t be as easy this offseason.  Before the injury the Mets could have focused just on upgrading the offense, a move that would have made them far more competitive, possibly even putting them into the Wild Card mix.  Without Harvey, that’s a much bigger reach.  Heck even .500 will be a bigger reach.

Mets fans are in limbo right now, an uncomfortable place, but a familiar one for fans of this organization.  If Harvey needs Tommy John, so be it.  Fans can (and will) live with that.  Tommy John isn’t a career killer.  In fact most pitchers who have it come back even better (and a better Harvey would just be scary for opposing hitters).  However if he can come back without surgery, and come back faster so much the better.  Mets fans would love to see him back and at his best in 2014.

It’s the waiting.  It’s the uncertainty that bothers Mets fans more than anything else.  2013 is a  lost cause, but 2014 has some hope, but there’d be a lot more if they knew Harvey would be pitching for the team come April.  If not, get the cutting done so we can start dreaming of Spring 2015.