Injury Season

Photo Credit: Sporting News |

by: Eric Boston @EricBoston3

Major League Baseball is facing a situation where many of its top stars are heading to the disabled list. Is this concerning or is it just part of the game?

Let us start with two names that had nearly identical circumstances happen to them. The Los Angeles Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw and the St. Louis Cardinals’ Alex Reyes both returned to their teams after time on the DL only to immediately get injured again.

For Reyes, arguably the Cardinals’ top prospect, he had made the long journey back from Tommy John surgery. The young right-hander would toss four innings before suffering a significant strain to his right lat. The injury required another surgery for Reyes, subsequently shelving him for the remainder of the 2018 season.

Kershaw suffered a very similar fate, only the hope is that his season is not lost.

After returning to the Dodgers, a team with high hopes in 2018 after reaching the World Series in 2017, Kershaw pitched five innings before injuring his back. This is something that the left-hander dealt with last season as well and cost him playing time. The initial belief is that Kershaw will miss a little over a month. For a team in a close National League West division, being without their ace is a difficult obstacle to overcome.

The next name to look at is the rookie phenom Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels.

The two-way star landed on the DL with a UCL, Grade-2 sprain. Rumors quickly spread that Sho-time would need Tommy John surgery with the possibility of him not returning until the 2020 season. The Angels GM rebuffed this rumor, hopeful that TJ surgery could be avoided. The debate regarding Ohtani was whether or not he would be able to make both pitching and DHing work.

Many believed that he would ultimately do one or the other. With this injury, the decision may have been made for him as he has had success doing both. Being a good hitter and staying healthy may be the best alternative to risking further injury in the future.

Finally, the iconic Miguel Cabrera found his way on to the DL recently.

The Detroit Tigers’ slugger ruptured his left bicep during an at-bat against the Minnesota Twins. The injury requires surgery and, again, will bring an end to Cabrera’s season. Cabrera is 35 years old and one has to wonder how this may impact his future. Could this be the end of Miggy? 

The first baseman is signed through the 2023 season after inking an eight-year, $240 million contract with Detroit that started in 2016. The contract also carries to vesting options for 2024 and 2025. With a yearly cost of $30 million plus, I’m sure the Tigers – who are clearly in rebuild mode – wouldn’t be against clearing cap space if Cabrera was to call it a career. Then again it is difficult, and we have seen it happen many times, to walk away from that much guaranteed money. This is definitely a situation to keep an eye on in the off-season.

Does the MLB have a problem on their hands? Today’s players are stronger, throwing harder, and swinging for the fences in every at-bat than they ever have before.

Losing a large number of key players could have a negative impact as fans want to see the best players play. It also creates an opportunity for young players to establish themselves.

What do you think? Are you concerned with the health of professional baseball players? Do you account it to bad luck? Is there anything that you feel can be done to keep players on the field? Let us know in the comments!

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