javier baez defenseI tried not to even have any kind of hopes or expectations about the recovery timeline for Javier Baez after he broke his left ring finger yesterday, so I don’t really have a reaction to the news that he is expected to miss anywhere from four to eight weeks (Cubs.com, ESPN).

That’s a wide range, and, if Baez were back in just a month, maybe you’re not feeling too terrible about his injury. If it’s two months, that stings a whole lot more. Like I said when the injury first happened, there’s a lot of variability with hand/finger injuries when it comes to baseball players and their return. Baez will be evaluated more in the coming days.

The timing is terrible in more ways the one.

First, there was Baez’s probably-imminent return to the big leagues, perhaps as soon as next week. Starting regularly at third base, the Cubs were opening up a path for him to come up and contribute regularly. Given how well he was hitting and how the approach was looking, it’s entirely possible that he could have come up and made a real impact on the offense. Now, if that’s going to happen, it won’t be for a while – after the finger heals, and after Baez gets back into the swing of things.

And then there’s the other bad timing: if the Cubs were hoping to use – or at least wanted the option of using – Baez as a trade piece in a significant July move, they’ll now have (at most) a very narrow band of time to show teams that Baez is healthy and continuing his offensive strides. It might not be enough, and I’d say the odds that Baez remains in the organization past July (however low or high those odds may have been) just increased quite a bit.

Hopefully Baez is able to come back on the earlier side of the estimates, and puts in some good work in July, giving the Cubs a range of options going forward.

That said, and, to be perfectly candid: I had let myself get pretty excited about the prospect of Baez returning to the big league team within the next 10 days or so. It’s going to take me a minute to be un-bummed about this.

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