Mets RHP Rafael Montero has a complete tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and will undergo Tommy John surgery, he said Friday.
Montero dealt with pain in the elbow during Tuesday's outing against the Cardinals, when he allowed two runs (one earned) in 1/3 of an inning.
The 27-year-old Montero, who is out of options, was unlikely to make the 25-man Opening Day roster as one of seven or eight relievers.
With Montero being out of options, the Mets would've had to pass him through waivers if he didn't make the roster, which made him a potential trade candidate before Opening Day.
However, the above is now moot with him headed for surgery that comes with a 12-to-18 month recovery period. Montero will be placed on the 60-day disabled list, while not counting against the 40-man roster.
Montero struggled mightily during Spring Training, with a 9.00 ERA and 2.00 WHIP in 9.0 innings (seven appearances).
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Montero was once a highly-touted prospect -- a strike-thrower with impeccable command who walked just 35 batters in 155.1 innings between Double-A and Triple-A in 2013 while posting a 2.78 ERA and 1.10 WHIP.
But he has never been able to put it together at the major league level. And his Tommy John surgery might mean the end of his Mets career.
2013 was the final season before Montero's major league debut. And since then, something changed. The strike-thrower with terrific command was often afraid to throw strikes, which was maddening for his coaches and manager, and for the fans watching him nibble.
Aside from a tiny sample during a lost season for him in 2015, Montero was brutal in each of his seasons with the Mets. He had a 4.06 ERA (5.14 FIP) and 1.51 WHIP in 44.1 innings in 2014, an 8.05 ERA (6.30 FIP) and 2.05 WHIP in 19 innings in 2016, and a 5.52 ERA (4.37 FIP) and 1.74 WHIP in 119 innings in 2017.
While Montero's 4.37 FIP last season (5.52 ERA) suggests he was a bit unlucky, he still walked an unmanageable 5.1 batters per 9 as his strikeout rate (8.6) continued to dip.
Mixed in with Montero's ineffectiveness was his lost season in 2015, when he barely pitched even though he didn't have a detectable injury -- which led then-manager Terry Collins to take a special trip to Port St. Lucie to challenge him.
What Montero did in the minors wasn't a mirage. Somewhere inside him is that guy with impeccable command and a solid fastball. But with the Mets having so many other seemingly better bullpen options, they couldn't have possibly justified carrying him on the Opening Day roster. And it's unfortunate that it was a major injury that made the decision for them.