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Injuries Are Just the Nature of the Biz in the Bullpen and Other Bullets

Analysis and Commentary, Chicago Cubs News

hector rondon cubsToday is The Wife’s first day back to work after the arrival of The Littlest Girl, who does not start daycare until February. That means I’m going to get a whole lot of time with The Littlest Girl over the next couple months, which is almost exclusively a great thing. I remember this time with The Little Girl and The Little Boy, and it’s time you never get back. I am really excited about the kind of closeness you can only get in these quiet moments.

Honesty dictates, though, that I admit there is anxiety about fully completing the duties of my job while simultaneously taking advantage of this opportunity to spend so much close time with The Littlest Girl. I imagine it’s going to be a process until we both find our rhythm. She’s currently bouncing in and out of a doze while I type this, and I expect I will have to stop and start these Bullets many times before they are completed.

And, yup – as I type that, it sounds like she needs my attention …

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  • In a great piece on the bullpen (it’s about a range of things, and worth a read), Sahadev Sharma netted a quote from Theo Epstein that caught my eye: “With relievers, it’s very rare to have someone who is healthy year after year without a DL stint. So they’re all either coming off a year in which they have a DL stint or they’re maybe a year or two away from going on the DL for something.” When the Cubs acquired Wade Davis this week for Jorge Soler, some had concerns about Davis’s two stints on the DL last year for forearm and flexor tendon issues, as the best indicator of future arm injuries for pitchers tends to be past injuries. But, then again, even setting aside the fact that Davis was nails after returning from the second injury, is his situation even that uncommon? As Epstein suggests, when you’re looking at a one or two-year time horizon, aren’t pretty much all relievers on the DL at some point?
  • Consider one formulation of the Cubs’ projected current bullpen (roughly speaking, as this will undergo many changes by the end of Spring Training): Davis (time on the DL last year), Rondon (DL last year), Strop (DL last year), Edwards (DL in 2015), Uehara (DL last year), Duensing (DL last year), Grimm (DL in 2015), and Smith (minor league DL last year). Literally every single pitcher in that group of eight has spent time on the DL within the last two seasons. I’d imagine that’s not too unique around baseball, either, given that DL’ing a reliever is slightly easier than a starter (though it becomes even easier for starters now that the disabled list is just 10 days), and many relievers become relievers because they’ve dealt with injury issues. To be sure, elbow and shoulder injuries are the ones that most concern you going forward, but the broader point here is that, when looking back at a reliever’s experience, you’ll probably always be able to say, “Yeah, but he’s been hurt before, so …. “

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  • This is random and cool:

  • For the record, that would be Mike Montgomery, Wade Davis, and Koji Uehara, with whom the Cubs are close on a deal.
  • Speaking of that deal, we’ll have more when it’s finalized, but these are extremely fun bits:


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  • A random thought on the Cardinals signing Dexter Fowler, and thus losing their first round pick in 2017: wouldn’t it just be the most awful kind of perfect if, after the signing was complete, MLB came out and said, “OK, Cardinals, now your punishment for hacking the Astros is the loss of your highest pick in the 2017 Draft!” I wouldn’t call that a likely thing to happen (and, even if it did, MLB might just frame it as “loss of a second round pick” anyway), but I also wouldn’t characterize that kind of thing being brokered behind the scenes as “absolutely impossible.”
  • Kris Bryant is getting more deserved security:

  • Heh. I chuckled:


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Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor of Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation.

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