With the news today that JV being ready for opening day would be a miracle, let’s consider some of the possible consequences for the Astros.
- Is this a bad omen? First the groin, and then the lat. Not great for a pitcher on this side of the slope to 40, who threw more IP than anyone in baseball last year. Combined with Yordan’s knees (how does somebody who DH’d all of last year in Houston, and then had the offseason dealing with a knee that’s “barking” in Dusty-speak?), and uncertainty around players who are frequently injured (Correa, McCullers), or who have a lot of mileage (Greinke, Brantley, Reddick), it’s not quite the spring we were hoping for. Let’s pray we’re not a MASH unit.
- Does this give the younger arms a longer leash? Specifically, Josh James and Framber Valdez? Knowing that JV will be out for a bit, the spring “competition” (here we can add Pruitt, although I like him more as a long arm out of the ‘pen) will extend into April. Honestly, I hate the idea of a Spring Training duel. Players face varying levels of competition, and, especially if they’re pitchers, they’re supposed to be working on things. Largely these matters are decided by GMs before spring anyway. It would be great for both James, Framber, and Pruitt if they got a few starts in April in order to provide a better context to see who should be the 5th starter.
- Does taking 20-40 IP off of JV’s workload make this team a better team in October? If one could draw these things up on a sheet of paper, having JV miss April and return to form in May would be ideal. Granted, if JV is healthy you’d probably need JJ Watt to keep him from taking the ball on opening day. But we have enough evidence that guys with historic seasons can still wear down in October, and JV was not at his best in the playoffs (only 2 of 6 Quality Starts; 3 starts allowing more than 3 ER, compared to only 2 of 15 such starts in the 2nd half of the season). He threw 258 IP last year! It’s not 1997 anymore. That’s too many innings. If JV gives us 28-30 starts, and 180 IP, that’s an incredibly durable and valuable season.
- Does Bryan Abreu get a longer look? Lost in the mix of injury and outrage has been Abreu’s dominant Spring. Frighteningly dominant. He’s been nearly perfect for 6.2 IP this spring, striking out almost half of the batters he’s faced. Pruitt is not getting swings and misses (3 K’s in 9 IP). Framber’s wildness may scare Dusty. Abreu threw 2 IP last outing, it can’t be that hard to ramp him up to 5 IP by the end of March. The schedule also works out so that starters don’t need to go too deep into games. 8 relievers all season long. The team has five days off in April, the most in any month bar July. Given that Pruitt isn’t missing bats, does Dusty extend the search for starters 4-5 by adding Abreu to the mix?
- Does Click make a move? I’ve said that Reddick has no place on this roster. Does the JV injury get the wheels turning? Does Click move Reddick and some cash to a team that needs an OF, in exchange for a reliable “innings eater”? I hate that term as much as I hated watching Roberto Hernandez in 2015, but I hate it less than the dreaded “opener.” Is there a match out there for Reddick? What about Reddick straight up for Danny Duffy (who’s owed 30 million for next two years)?
Tell us your thoughts, CB Nation.