Time to deal the cards one more time.
Jason Vargas suffered a non-displaced fracture in his hand. He'll have surgery, which should only keep him out of the rotation for one turn through the rotation.
And its in Vargas' absence that the five aces will make their return.
Jason Vargas threw a bullpen this AM before heading back to NYC for Tuesday surgery on the broken hamate bone. Not sure if will miss a regular season start or not, but figure #Mets to be cautious.— David Lennon (@DPLennon) March 19, 2018
Think back to the winter after the Mets' 2015 pennant and you'll remember a fan base so optimistic about the future that they were hard to recognize as actual Mets fans. Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Steven Matz had just led the Mets to the World Series. With Zack Wheeler slated to return from Tommy John surgery for 2016, the Mets' hand looked stacked. Five number 1s; an unbeatable deal.
We know how that has worked out. Injuries and unfulfilled potential have left those five as a group of two sure things, and three major question marks. We all now what Harvey can be. We've seen glimpses of the potential that lay in the arms of Matz -- his August 14, 2016 flirtation with a no-hitter -- and Wheeler -- his 187 strikeout 2014 campaign -- but it hasn't amounted to much.
But with this latest opening comes a chance for the outlying enigmas of the rotation to grab an opportunity by the throat and not let it get away. There have been encouraging signs from all three -- Matz's early spring struggles notwithstanding -- and the talent has never been in question. If there is going to be a defining moment in these guys' careers, or in the legacy of this Mets rotation, this is probably it.
So until Vargas returns, the dream is alive. The promise of trump card after trump card still lingers. But for Harvey, Matz, and Wheeler, it's time to make it happen, or else its time for all of us to wake up and smell the coffee.