It’s that time of the Spring when injuries start to pop-up for key players around the league.
Most of the time, the injuries are of the short-term/ramping-back-up nature (not unlike Jon Lester’s dead arm last Spring), but every now and then something more serious does occur.
It’s difficult to ignore likelihood and severity (in terms of effect on a season) of these injuries, because, frankly, they are very common. The best thing to do is to build a team with a lot of depth, start playing and hope for the best. Happy Monday!
Here’s some news from around the league …
- Madison Bumgarner missed his start on Sunday against the San Diego Padres, due to discomfort in both his rib cage and left foot. He apparently, “felt something” in his chest, while taking batting practice, and has been dealing with the nagging pain in his foot all offseason long (maybe it was horse-related). He did receive an MRI on his chest, which ruled out anything too serious, but he is scheduled to miss his next start out of precaution, nonetheless. The Giants opening day starter is projected to be a 4.5-5 WAR player in 2016, so his health is as crucial to the Giants’ success as anyone.
- The St. Louis Cardinals will be without all-star shortstop Jhonny Peralta for the first few months of the season, because of a thumb injury, and they are currently searching for his replacement. Although the Cardinals haven’t committed to a anyone just yet, they have given prospect Aledmys Diaz four starts at short so far this Spring. Although he is just 25 and delivers a solid defensive performance (from most reports), the Cardinals don’t seem particularly eager to hand the job over to him. The team is apparently still weighing internal alternatives (Greg Garcia), as well as players in other systems (Ruben Tejada, or Nick Ahmed).
- Nick Cafardo runs down a series of interesting topics at the Boston Globe, including whether or not Hanley Ramirez will be a capable first baseman by the end of Spring Training. Working hard on his picks (on balls in the dirt) Ramirez has the confidence of his coaches, but he’ll have to prove it on the field.
- The Miami Marlins are reportedly filing a grievance against the Washington Nationals, because, in their view, the Nats are not paying Dan Jennings enough money. If that sounds strange, allow me to explain. Dan Jennings was the former GM-turned-manager of the Marlins in 2015. After the season, though, the Marlins fired Jennings, which means they owe him the difference between his old salary ($1.5 million) and whatever his new salary would be. The thing is, his new salary with the Nationals as a special assistant to the GM is just $100,000 – something the Marlins see as way too low. While the Marlins may technically be correct, and these types of shenanigans are always possible, you just so rarely see them actually play out. And, following their own logic, maybe the Marlins will decide to pay Edwin Jackson a bit more money, saving the Cubs a few million in the process. (Except they won’t, because why would they if they don’t have to?)
- Speaking of the Nationals, Mike Rizzo may soon see his time come to end as General Manager, due to a shortly expiring contract. According to Barry Svrulga of the Washington Post, Rizzo’s contract has a June 15 deadline to pick up a two-year option to keep him on as GM through the 2018 season. If it is not exercised, though, Rizzo’s contract will expire and he would finish out the season as a lame duck GM. Of course, the contract may well get picked up or a new one can be ironed out beforehand. I’d expect to hear more on the matter sooner rather than later. It’s just interesting to think about executive contract provisions that are out there that we might not know much about, especially as we remain hopeful that a new deal with Theo Epstein gets done soon.
- Mets right-hander and presumptive rotational mainstay Jacob deGrom has been scratched from his start on Monday with back stiffness. According to Adam Rubin of ESPN, deGrom is not alarmed and blames the bus and his “new soft mattress,” for the pain. Although this does sound particularly precautionary, players are rarely ever immediately concerned and this is the second time deGrom has been slowed this spring (tweak to a muscle in his left thigh). After netting 8.7 WAR in his first two seasons at the Major League level, a healthy deGrom figures to have another monster season for the Mets in 2016.
- Yesterday, David Laurila addressed a series of interesting topics in his Sunday Notes. Among them, you’ll find new information on Rick Porcello’s league leading spin rate, Byung Ho Park’s expected production for the Minnesota Twins (after hitting 53 home runs in the KBO last year and an awesome song and dance) and Daniel Nava’s resurgence with the Angels.