More on Canario's Surgeries, Davis's Absence, and Amaya's Foot - Sorry About This

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More on Canario’s Surgeries, Davis’s Absence, and Amaya’s Foot – Sorry About This

Chicago Cubs

I just did not feel like writing this. Freak injuries to top Cubs prospects … that is about as un-fun as a topic can possibly get. But it’s the job, and I assume you all want to know the latest information, even if you aren’t going to enjoy it.

First, on outfield prospect Alexander Canario, who suffered a seriously broken ankle and a shoulder dislocation after a misstep on first base in the Dominican Republic. His team doctor there has updated the situation to confirm that Canario will need surgery not only on the broken ankle but also on the shoulder:

We can all play armchair doctors on the recovery timeline based on what’s out there about these kinds of surgeries generally, but I don’t know how helpful that is, because we’re talking about a guy having to deal with BOTH at the same time (and it’s a guy who has already had surgery on that shoulder once before). Speculating seems foolish, and the safer – sadder – bet is that Canario will be out for many, many months, and if he is able to return to competitive action after the All-Star break next year, that would seem a huge win. I am so bummed to be saying these things out loud.

As we have discussed, Canario’s injury has a number of layers of fallout for the Cubs, and it really sucks. Sahadev Sharma adds a very specific one: “Beyond that, it also impacts how team president Jed Hoyer could address holes on his roster this winter. Canario could have helped the team with his performance, but because of the Cubs’ prospect depth (particularly with outfielders), he could have been part of a bigger trade to bring in win-now talent. Sources with other teams indicated they’d begun advanced scouting of Canario over the final months of the minor-league season in preparation for potential trades. Teams with surplus major-league pitching seemed to be particularly interested.”

Poof. Gone. One misstep at a base, and entire trade plans may have evaporated.

If you want to be super positive, you start hoping that Canario WILL recover well and then WILL break out in the big leagues, and we’ll someday talk about how if not for the injury, he would’ve been traded for a starting pitcher and maybe that would’ve been a much worse outcome. If you can tell yourself that today, though, you are a much more optimistic person than I am.

Speaking of injury issues that suck among Triple-A prospects in the outfield, Brennen Davis is indeed done in the AFL. After only a very brief stint – trying to make up for lost ABs thanks to the in-season back surgery – Davis was set down not by “general soreness,” but by back tightness, according to Sharma. That obviously gives you a whole lot more unease, given that it was the back that wrecked Davis’s 2022 season in the first place. That was tied specifically to a genetic malformation in a blood vessel cluster, which was pushing on a nerve and causing pain – theoretically addressed by surgery. So Davis having continued(?) or separate(?) back discomfort is alarming.

Sharma sums it up well:

The Cubs don’t believe this issue is the same as what occurred in the summer, but they’re still working to understand exactly what the problem is. Davis is expected to be added to the 40-man roster this winter and after the surgery delayed his big-league debut this past summer, the hope is he’ll be ready to impact the major-league team at some point in 2023.

Davis has never played more than 100 games — which he managed in 2021 — in a professional season. This latest setback has to increase concerns about how Davis’ body will hold up over the course of a full major-league season.

It’s a concern. Not just for 2023, and not just as an issue Davis may have to manage for his entire career (sometimes back issues are like that). But I think it also leaves you concerned about Davis’s development. This is so much missed time at a critical age, and we haven’t yet seen him sustain success at Triple-A, even if his ability and projections long suggested he’d be just fine at the level. He probably still will be when he’s healthy, but how could you project him right now as a future impact big leaguer? The Cubs certainly cannot make any plans on that basis, and that suckkkkkks. Davis is/was one of the few upper-level impact prospects the Cubs have in a system that is otherwise extremely deep on guys whose projections have less upside.

All we can do is hope that the rest of this offseason proves beneficial to Davis physically, and the reset puts him in a good position to have a healthy and productive 2023 season, even if mostly or completely at Triple-A, rather than MLB. The good news is that Davis is only just now turning 23 this week. He’s still young, and still has star-level upside.

Lastly, the Miguel Amaya foot thing. This is all so painful. I really hate this post.

Mark Gonzales has a comprehensive update on the Cubs catching prospect, whose season ended with a Lisfranc fracture (it’s a break of a bone in the middle of your foot). The injury was a double-whammy, because not only did it mean Amaya couldn’t keep making up for lost at bats from his Tommy John surgery, it also meant he couldn’t finally start playing games behind the plate, as he was supposed to in the Arizona Fall League. So Amaya still hasn’t been throwing as a catcher would, and he won’t be able to until the foot is fully healed.

It sounds like the hope is that he can have a semi-normal 2023 season if everything heals this offseason, but he can’t play any kind of winter ball – and keep making up for those lost at bats – until the foot is totally good to go. There’s no timeline mentioned on that front, and Gonzalez notes that Amaya is still in a walking boot and using a crutch. So, yeah, I’ll just hope he can participate in Spring Training at this point, though I have no idea if that’s even a realistic hope. It’s still very opaque, generally speaking.

So, in conclusion, three 22/23-year-old Cubs position prospects who were previously expected to be able to impact the 2023 Chicago Cubs team are now huge question marks. Happy Sunday.

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.