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justin ruggiano featureBad news on the Justin Ruggiano front: the veteran outfielder who has played well this year when not battling an injury is done for the season.

The Cubs announced that Ruggiano has had season-ending ankle surgery, which involved an arthroscopic debridement procedure. Essentially, that’s getting in there and removing dead tissue and other crap that’s give you discomfort. To my completely unmedical mind, that sounds a lot less serious than repairing torn tendons and what-have-you.

In any case, the season-ending surgery means the Cubs could be in for a tough tender decision. Ruggiano, 32, made $2 million this year in his first go around with arbitration, and is eligible twice more for arbitration, if the Cubs choose to tender him a contract by the first week of December.

Ruggiano certainly earned this year’s salary, but now with an uncertain health future, the Cubs will have to decide whether to risk tendering him a contract – which could be worth $3 million or so in 2015. If you knew you were getting the healthy version of Ruggiano, I don’t think that’s a tough decision at all. Hopefully, even if he doesn’t play again this year, he can show progress in his rehab, and give the Cubs a good idea of where he’s at before the tender deadline.

Other 4th/5th outfield options the Cubs will have under control include Chris Coghlan (or starting, obviously), Ryan Sweeney, Junior Lake, and whoever winds up on the free agent market (Chris Denorfia, as an example, strikes me as this front office’s type, given the versatility, leadership, and bounce-back range).

 

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