Playing Through Injuries is Bad, Brewers and Hader Will Rumble, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Playing Through Injuries is Bad, Brewers and Hader Will Rumble, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

It is usually treated as a hype moment in the offseason, but now it looms more like a threat: Cubs pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training one month from today. Don’t get me wrong, I’m always ready for baseball to return. But with the offseason having been one giant waiting game, the Cubs now have only one month left to do some stuff before pitchers and catchers report, and Spring Training officially kicks off …

  • Although most arbitration-eligible players around baseball agreed to deals yesterday (including all six Cubs), not all players agreed, and now, theoretically, will head to an arbitration next month to decide their salary. One of the biggest and most notable fights is in Milwaukee:

  • Recall, Josh Hader only just barely qualified as a Super Two this year – perhaps to the surprise of the Brewers – which may have mucked up their long-term financial planning. Even if they were to win, that $4.1 million payday for Hader translates to even more money over the next three years than it would have if he’d not been a Super Two. And if Hader wins at $6.4 million? The Brewers will be in a serious bind in the years ahead, because his price tag will very quickly reach his near market-rate, dramatically diminishing his value. Sooooooo … you might want to root for Hader in this one!
  • Other arbitration bits from Jeff Passan:

  • Although this article at FanGraphs is for fantasy purposes, and although it merely cements something you already know anecdotally, it’s still a very good read: when hitters play through injuries, it *consistently* saps their performance. The data is all there, is fairly robust, and it’s clear: by the time an injury is something the public knows about, and the guy plays through it, his performance is going to suffer. Bank on it. It’s perversely consistent. Guys simply don’t play as well when they’re playing hurt. SURPRISE!
  • Now, like I said, we all already know this. And sometimes the calculus for a team is, “Are we better with 80% of Kris Bryant or 100% of bench guy getting starts?” I understand it. But because the Cubs have so routinely been utterly hog plop the last five years at just sitting guys down for an extended period and GIVING THEM A CHANCE TO HEAL, I don’t really have much in the way of benefits of the doubt for these decisions. If the Cubs decide to let a guy play through an injury – as with Bryant’s shoulder and knee, Baez’s heel, Bote’s toe, Russell’s knuckle, Descalso’s ankle, Zobrist’s wrist, Rizzo’s back, and on and on – I’m going to be dubious as hell that it’s the right decision.
  • (On the flip side, the Cubs have tended to be very cautious with letting pitchers throw when they have any kind of discomfort, which I actually suspect is true of most teams. If the arm is compromised at all, it can get SO much worse with just a single pitch, and also, the performance difference is probably even more stark.)
  • Those official Spring Training dates, by the way:

  • I want to reiterate – beyond just the genius DH idea – what a good read this is, and how much about baseball is going to change (some for the better, some for the worse) over the next decade:

  • Likes: Electronic balls and strikes, improved strike zone, better pitcher/catcher communication, modified universal DH, expansion and expanded playoffs, de-juicing the baseball, in-game prop bets.
  • Dislikes: Realignment, shrinking season, all Mondays off, changing extra-innings rules (if too aggressive), reduced fastballs.


Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.