The veteran received new anti-inflammatory medication on Monday to combat pain from a bone bruise under his left kneecap. The relief did not come as quickly as he had hoped. Cuddyer said he wants to make a decision “relatively soon” about whether or not to go on the disabled list, according to the New York Daily News. For the time being the Mets have designated Cuddyer as a part-time outfielder and pinch hitter off the bench.
Cuddyer didn’t play on Monday in the Mets’ 7-2 loss to the Nationals. Considerations of the DL are the Mets’ giving Cuddyer’s bone bruise time to heal. The treatment was Cuddyer’s last-ditch effort to avoid the DL and see how the knee felt.
Cuddyer was injured on June 30 while running out a hit. The 36-year-old has struggled this season, being in and out of the lineup. Cuddyer has failed to live up to the expectations of his contract. He is hitting just .250 with 73 strikeouts and only eight home runs.
It’s unclear who would replace Cuddyer from the Mets’ Triple-A outfit. Darrell Ceciliani is the first name to come to mind from the Las Vegas 51’s, but he is on the seven-day disabled list himself. Ceciliani doesn’t possess much home run power (only five homers), but he can hit to the gap and cover ground quickly on defense. The Mets need offense, and it doesn’t appear Ceciliani is the best option at this point.
Perhaps the best option is hot outfield prospect, Michael Conforto. Conforto was drafted by the Mets in the first round of the 2014 Draft, and he has all the tools necessary to succeed. Conforto’s hit .317 this season for the B-Mets, pounded 5 homers, 12 doubles, and boasts a slugging percentage of .518. He’s done all that despite only being with the B-Mets since May 30.
It doesn’t do the Mets any good to wait any longer. The time is now for Conforto (if, in fact, Cuddyer does go on the DL). There’s the obvious question of Major League help versus player development. Conforto does have some growing to do at 22 to succeed at the Major League level: increase the average and hit the long ball with more consistency. As with any call-up, Conforto will need time to adjust.
The Mets need instant offense. If Conforto can limit his strikeouts and become a reliable bat (and get the Mets to the playoffs), Mets fans may be enjoying postseason baseball before long.