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Beltran Has Knee Surgery - by Kevin Casey

It has been reported through numerous media outlets that Mets Center Fielder Carlos Beltran underwent knee surgery in Colorado yesterday and he is expected to miss up to 12 weeks. This news is rather troubling and came as a surprise. As we all know, Beltran was plagued with mysterious knee issues last season that caused him to miss the majority of the year. As I remember it, he was fine one day, then on the DL the next. Beltran came back at the end of last season, and it makes me wonder why did he do so? Did he cause further damage to the knee by playing at the end of the season? Reports coming in are indicating that when he attempted to increase his offseason training regiment in December, he experienced pain and was told by Mets medical personnel to rest. When the pain didn't subside with rest, Beltran went to his personal doctor in Colorado and he opted to have surgery to fix the knee. From this point on, we're presented with a legal case of he-said, she-said.

The Mets are angered by his decision to have surgery and are stating that it was a unilateral decision on his part and was against advisement from team doctors. After Beltran informed the Mets of his diagnosis, they allegedly asked him to wait and go for a third opinion and he did not adhere to their demands. Beltran has countered these allegations by saying that he was not told to put the surgery off and was actually wished good luck from Omar Minaya. The contract between Beltran and the Mets is apparently governed by New York Contract Law. Beltran's contract allegedly has a provision that Beltran cannot undergo an elective surgical procedure, only needed procedures, but does NOT have a provision that he must have any needed surgical procedures done under the care of the Mets team physician. If the Mets can show that this procedure was elective and not needed, Beltran will be found to have breached his contract and the Mets may rescind his contract and be released from any contractual obligations to Beltran going forward. To the contrary, it appears that this procedure was not elective and it was necessary because it was to repair the same knee that caused him to miss time last season.

Being a Met fan is never easy and there is never a dull moment. I do not blame Beltran for having this procedure done one bit. I do blame him for not having it done earlier so that he would not miss any time. However, it appears that it needed to be done. John Ricco, the Mets Assistant GM, in a conference call with reporters said that the team wanted Beltran to wait, investigate the diagnosis, and find possible surgical alternatives. In other words, if this surgery was bound to happen, the Mets wanted Beltran to wait so that he would miss more time. Or better yet, they wanted to find surgical alternatives so that Beltran would have played, or not played, all year long with only one good leg.

This whole mess doesn't make any sense to me. It does shine a bright light on some problems within the Mets organization, though. This was a clear vote of no confidence on the Mets medical staff from their most expensive position player. The Mets medical staff obviously dropped the ball by not diagnosing this earlier. They also dropped the ball last season with Reyes' calf injury that turned into a torn hammy, and Delgado's hip. There is no reason why one of the Mets' most notable players should be going to doctors outside the organization and the team needs to address this issue swiftly. The Mets need to overhaul their medical staff and bring in a physician that the players trust.

The biggest problem with this whole situation, however, is the apparent diagnosis that is coming out on Beltran's knee. Some outlets are reporting that Beltran is suffering from an arthritic knee. This could be a HUGE problem for the Mets. One of Beltran's major assets is his speed and his tremendous range in CF due to his speed. I'm not sure how a surgery will fix arthritis, and from what I know arthritis is a chronic problem. How is Beltran going to cover the huge outfield in Citi Field with an arthritic knee? He is one of the most under appreciated players in baseball and may very well be the best CF in the game. He will be impossible to replace, but $19 million per season is a lot for a player with only one leg. I'm sure more will come out, but right now I am very concerned.

2 comments:

  1. I just don't get why the Mets didn't just support Beltran instead of making this a bigger mess than it needed to be. I don't think Beltran is the type to hold a grudge or become disgruntled but at the same time, he is our best player and I would want to make sure he's happy as can be.

    The reason he didn't have surgery sooner is because the Mets medical staff told him to rehab and he took it upon himself to get checked out when he started experiencing pain. When Mets said he just needed to rest he went to his own doctor because he couldn't trust the staff and I don't blame him.

    The Mets need to sign an outfielder capable of starting. I like Pagan but he needs someone to battle him for playing. I'm hearing Jerry Hairston and I like that idea because he won't cost as much as someone like Ankiel and offers versatility to boost the bench even when Beltran is back. We'll see.

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  2. Thanks for the comment. I wholeheartedly agree that the Mets need to add an outfielder. I've been a strong proponent of signing Ankiel for a while now. He is superb defensively and he is a better, but more expensive 4th outfielder than Pagan. As for Beltran holding a grudge, I must respectfully disagree with you. As his first year showed, he is very sensitive to his public opinion. After winning the fans back in 2007-09, I feel that he was take offense to the Mets position of calling him out. I hope they can mend the fences, however the major problem regarding their medical staff remains. The Mets need to be proactive in preventing this type of embarrassment & the only way they can do this, I feel, is to bring in a medical team that is trusted by all of their players.

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