Son of a gun. Turns out that Michael Hermosillo’s forearm injury was bad enough to send him to the Injured List.
He’ll be swapped out today for outfielder Nick Martini:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 8, 2021
What particularly sucks here is that Hermosillo now really won’t get the chance for runway before the end of the season. No real opportunity to show what he would do with some starting time (which, hey, he wasn’t really getting anyway), or to ensure that he keeps a 40-man spot this offseason. I tend to think he will either way, but it would’ve been nice to see him getting the time that guys like Frank Schwindel, Patrick Wisdom, and Rafael Ortega are getting. I believe Hermosillo has just as much upside, and he’s only 26. The timing of the injury, and the Cubs’ decisions that preceded it, are frustrating.
It also sucks that Hermosillo played last night as a pinch-runner, which means there isn’t even any backdating here. So he’s out the full 10 days, at a minimum, at which point he could return for only the final two weeks of the season. Also, the fact that he was used last night and then IL’d today makes me wonder if he woke up feeling not great, and it became more clear – more than it was yesterday – that he was going to miss real time.
As for Martini, he’s been an up-down guy when the 40-man maneuvering permitted, and has hit .267/.387/.444 (127 wRC+) at Triple-A Iowa this year. The 31-year-old remains good depth to have in the organization, and he’ll likely be playing for his next minor league deal (i.e., whether with the Cubs or some other team, he’s going to get a shot to come to Spring Training for some club on a minor league deal).
Bench coach Andy Green said Hermosillo’s injury will take “a few weeks” to heal. That makes it a season-ending setback for the outfielder.
“It sucks,” Green said. “I think he’s the kind of guy who’s going to end up attacking this.”
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) September 8, 2021
The implication there is that the Cubs figured out – whether by scan or something else – between yesterday and today that the forearm strain was more significant than some kind of mild boo-boo. You likely can still presume he’ll be healthy in time for Spring Training, but there are challenges: (1) If you don’t keep him on the 40-man all offseason, he becomes a free agent (unless you could re-sign him on a minor league deal before he shops his services around, but why would he do that when he’s clearly at least a borderline 40-man guy?); and (2) he has no minor league options left. So even if the Cubs do keep him all offseason, come Spring Training, he either makes the Opening Day roster, or the Cubs have to expose him to waivers. AND, since he’s been outrighted before in his career, he can elect free agency the next time he’s outrighted – so you might keep him on the 40-man all offseason only to lose him anyway in late March.
That is all to say, this suckkkkkkkkks hard. Now the Cubs have to decide what they have in him without the benefit of much actual playing time at the big league level. I wonder if he’s a candidate for a winter league. Either way, you kinda hope he sticks, and then dominates so much in Spring Training that the decision to at least carry him as a bench guy is a really easy one. I’m just a believer in the upside there.
I am bummed about the Michael Hermosillo news to an irrational extent. There was no player in the system I was more interested in seeing get a big league run in the second half. The Cubs never really gave it to him because *reasons*, and now the injury. Damn it.
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) September 8, 2021