Setting aside everything that is going on THIS year, specifically, there is an aspect of this time of year that is the absolute worst: surprising injuries. It happens every year, particularly for pitchers: they start ramping up for the season, and something that was maybe not feeling great last year or over the offseason starts to feel worse. They go in for the checkup, and boom, it’s a major injury.
I’m speaking only generically at the moment, because we don’t know EXACTLY what happened to Chicago Cubs reliever Codi Heuer, but this doesn’t look good:
Well this doesn't look good. All the best to Cubs reliever Codi Heuer on the recovery. pic.twitter.com/Ch96YkW46h
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) March 8, 2022
That’s arm surgery of some kind, and if it is even remotely significant, Heuer’s 2022 season could be over before it begins. Eff.
The 25-year-old reliever, who came to the Cubs in the Craig Kimbrel trade together with Nick Madrigal, was set to serve as a primary setup arm (at a minimum) in the Cubs’ bullpen this year. This is potentially a really significant blow to the Cubs’ bullpen, which, like every other group, is gonna have to be surprisingly great this year if the Cubs are going to compete. Heuer is a hard-throwing, late-inning option who was fantastic for the White Sox in 2020, and then was pretty darn good for the Cubs after the Kimbrel trade. Lot of upside, too.
Pending the seriousness of the surgery, we could see the Cubs even more eager to sign a free agent setup man or two whenever things open back up. Otherwise, Heuer’s absence will create opportunities for the many promising young relief arms the Cubs have. This is, by no stretch, good news. But at least the Cubs have interesting guys they might want to give looks to anyway. And injuries do happen.
This time of year sucks for this stuff. And now Heuer can’t even start rehabbing with the team because of the lockout.
UPDATE: Sure enough, it’s the bad one. Tommy John surgery for Heuer, per the Tribune. That means Heuer will miss all of the 2022 season, and probably won’t debut in 2023 until sometime after Opening Day. This blows. No way around it.