So much for the idea that turning the calendar from 2009 to 2010 would be all it took to get the Mets back on track. The team announced Wednesday that center fielder Carlos Beltran's knee, which cost him a good chunk of last season, was experiencing pain during offseason workouts and decided to have surgery with a doctor in Colorado. He's expected to return to baseball activities in 12 weeks, per a statement the Mets released on Wednesday.
That time frame takes you past Opening Day and there's no indication of how long Beltran will go from baseball activities to actually playing baseball. Based on past Mets projected return dates, you've got to assume that 12 weeks means at least 16 and that there will be a few more bumps along the way. But we're just getting warmed up, because it gets worse from there.
The Mets are reportedly investigating whether or not Beltran is in violation of his contract for choosing to have the surgery. It was not performed by a team doctor, although they knew he was consulting outside physicians, and, more importantly, was performed without the blessing of the team. What good they think could come of fining Beltran or trying to void his contract for a medical procedure is unknown, but what's known is that the Mets can't hope of contending with Angel Pagan doing a Beltran impression this season.
If they were looking to throw some of the money they got from their sponsorship deal with SpongeTech toward a potential replacement, they'll have to look elsewhere. The Mets are suing the makers of a soap-filled sponge for bouncing $400,000 in checks which begs the question of why they thought the makers of a soap-filled sponge had $400,000 to burn in the first place.
Given everything that went down with Beltran and other players last season, you can't blame a guy for going outside the team's medical staff when it came to doing the thing he felt was best. It's his body, after all. The Mets have expressed their anger, they should let cooler heads prevail and try to get back to building up a team that could weather the early storm and keep the Mets breathing until Beltran returns.
Expect more twists and turns and an awkward Omar Minaya press conference or two before all is said and done. Retro might not have been the look the Mets were going for, but it is the one they seem to be getting.