What is a bone spur? According to the Mayo Clinic:

“Bone spurs are bony projections that develop along the edges of bones. Bone spurs (osteophytes) often form where bones meet each other — in your joints. They can also form on the bones of your spine. The main cause of bone spurs is the joint damage associated with osteoarthritis. Most bone spurs cause no symptoms and may go undetected for years. They may not require treatment. Decisions about treatment depend on where spurs are situated and how they affect your health.”

That last part is key for our baseball discussion.

Bone spurs can cause all kinds of issues such as tearing a ligament, if it’s in the wrong spot. However, some pitchers go years with bone spurs and never have surgery to remove them. It all depends where the spur is. Is the spur floating near an area of concern or is it in an innocuous spot? It is often possible for a pitcher to have a bone spur, pitch for six months, and then have surgery during the offseason. Happens all the time.

Let’s talk Mets.

I’ve previously discussed the Mets arms and my concerns (Daily Trends May, 12th). Looks like those concerns are coming to fruition.

Steven Matz has long had arm issues. He’s having more issues now as he deals with a bone spur in his elbow. According to Newsday, the bone spur that Matz has is “not in an area that “poses a threat to the ligament.” That’s good news. Further good news for Matz is that an MRI showed no structural damage with his elbow. However, there’s no denying the fact that during his last start he simply fell apart in the last inning of work with his fastball dropping some 3-4 mph as he allowed six runs in the 5th inning. Matz admitted after the game that he was unable to finish off his pitches, though he tried to minimize the impact the elbow had on his performance. “…the doctor said the ligament and everything was great, so that peace of mind is great to have… It’s just something that I’m going to have to battle through,” Matz said. The question becomes; will the Mets allow Matz to work through the bone spur? Even though the spur doesn’t appear to currently be in an area of immediate danger, his long track record of ill health has to be a factor here. That’s why the specter of surgery is “part of the conversation.” 

Noah Syndergaard routinely hit 99 and 100 mph in his start Monday night. The velocity was there. However, his control was a complete mess. Noah allowed five runs in just three innings, but it was how it happened that caused so much concern. He was throwing the ball all over the place. He walked three, a season worst. He threw a wild pitch, he allowed seven hits. He allowed five stolen bases (he has allowed 28 steals this season double that of any other hurler in baseball). He really couldn’t have been more out of sorts. Going back over two starts he’s allowed 15 hits and three walks leading to a 2.00 WHIP. There’s also the fact that Syndergaard left his last start with “elbow tightness.” I know it’s two starts and his velocity was still there. Fair. But he didn’t look right, and that elbow…

After the game the story broke that Syndergaard, who has been denying any arm woes despite a myriad of tests on his arm, does indeed have an arm issue. Maybe.

“There’s nothing structurally wrong with my elbow at all,” Syndergaard said.

Manager Terry Collins said, “I don’t really know what his [issue] is.”

Syndergaard and his manager both stated that the elbow was not an issue Monday night.


Newsday is reporting that Syndergaard has a bone spur, just like Matz. Both guys have an issue with their arm that could end in the following outcomes.

1 – Both men could be fine and pitch at all-star levels all season long.

2 – Both men could be OK and struggle to pitch at all-star levels.

3 – Both could end up hitting the disabled list for a short period of time.

4 – Both could end up hitting the disabled list for a long period of time.

5 – Both could end up on the doctor’s table for surgery.

At this point I have to warn you, again, about the following.

A – Be very careful drafting/rostering a guy (Matz) who has long had arm issues. Throwing a baseball might be the most unnatural thing to do in all of sports. Eventually, everyone breaks down. If that player is already breaking down, why take the chance on rostering said player unless you’re at the point where it makes sense to do so (late rounds of a draft, low cost in an action). Certainly don’t ever go all-in on a guy with a track record like this (that’s directly for you folks that spent an early draft pick on Stephen Strasburg).

B – Be very careful drafting/rostering a guy (Syndergaard) that is doing something we’ve never seen before, i.e. a starting pitcher throwing his slider 91-93 mph. We’ve never seen a starter be able to do that long-term. As I’ve asked before, is Syndergaard the first man in the 150-year history of baseball to do that, or is he destined to blow out his arm?

Time will tell.

As of now I don’t think you can get fair value for either Mets’ arm, so it would seem that holding on to both and hoping things are OK might be all you’re left with. Matz likely won’t bring much, pretty stuck there, but if someone comes to you offering you near full value for Syndergaard… you need to listen long and hard to that offer.


*The following list of players are guys that Ray recommends as daily plays.

CATCHER: Buster Posey faces Kendall Graveman who has allowed a .308/.340/.453 slash line to righties this season. In his last nine starts he’s allowed seven homers. Posey is batting .290 at home this season and he’s batting .304 in June.   

FIRST BASE: Erik Johnson has allowed, get this, 12 homers in five starts this season. Seriously he has. Fire up Mark Trumbo.  

SECOND BASE: Anthony Rendon has hits in six of seven games. He’s walked three times in four games. He’s scored four times in three games. He’s hit .353 with a homer against Matt Harvey over 17 at-bats.

THIRD BASE: Martin Prado has hit .415 on the road this season with a .989 OPS. He’s hitting .328 at night. He’s batting .455 with a homer against Mike Pelfrey (10-for-22).  

SHORTSTOP: Elvis Andrus has 11 hits in 25 at-bats against CC Sabathia (.440 average). He’s ripping up lefties this season batting .375 with a sterling .972 OPS against them.
OUTFIELD: Giancarlo Stanton has crushed Mike Pelfrey going 9-for-19 with two homers (that’s a 1.460 OPS folks). Stanton has finally awoken from his slumber and over the last six games he has two homers, six RBI and has scored seven times.

OUTFIELD: Matt Kemp has hit .341-2-10 with a 1.035 OPS over 47 plate appearances against Ubaldo Jimenez. Nuff said.

OUTFIELD: Nelson Cruz has a .312/.387/.688 slash line against lefties with 10 homers and 20 RBI in just 93 at-bats. He faces Jonathon Niese. Who do you think will win that battle?    


Ray Flowers can be heard Monday through Friday, 7 PM EDT and Friday on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87). You can also hear Ray Sunday nights at 7 PM on the channel talking fantasy sports. Follow Ray’s work at Fantasy Alarm and on Twitter (@baseballguys).