It must be tough to be a Cardinals fan right now.
On the heels of “Albert-ageddon”, where Pujols did not sign a contract extension before his self-imposed deadline and may now become a free agent at seasons end, comes this:
Adam Wainwright needs Tommy John surgery.
That means St. Louis, a team that will be dogged all season by constant and rampant Pujols speculation, must now do without their staff ace for at least this season. Since recovery time is normally 12-15 months, AW might also miss part of next season. A crushing blow.
Wainwright finished second in NL Cy Young voting last season after posting a 20-11 record, 2.42 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and 213 K in 230.1 IP. In the past four seasons he has gone 64-34, with a 2.93 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and 652 K in 797.1 IP.
Those numbers will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to replace.
With Pujols, Holliday, and Carpenter still on the roster, the season isn’t over by any means, but the odds just got a LOT longer.
All of which got me thinking about the Jays – does Toronto have a player on the current roster who, if lost for the season today, would cause fans to say “it’s over”?
I thought about it, and I think the answer is no.
There are really only five players who can even be remotely considered:
– Jose Bautista
– Aaron Hill
– Adam Lind
– Ricky Romero
– Brandon Morrow
The Jays essentially won 85 games last year without Hill and Lind, so they’re out. Morrow was shut down early last year, and might be shut down early again this year, so no. This will be Romero’s first year as the ace of the staff, but he hasn’t done enough in his career to suggest he would be a season-crusher.
That leaves Bautista. Many will argue that if he goes down, we’re sunk. Iin a way that’s true. But consider this: a) we aren’t going to contend anyways, and b) he has no track record, nothing to indicate that he will pop 50 HR again this year.
So no, there is not a single member on this year’s club whose loss would hurt like Wainwright’s.
We don’t really have a player who means as much to the club as Lincecum does to SF, or Longoria does to Tampa Bay, or even Votto does to Cincinnati.
Not sure if that’s a good thing (one significant injury wouldn’t cripple us) or a bad thing (one player won’t carry us).
But I’m glad I’m not a Cardinal fan.
For the record, here are my top-3 Jays in franchise history where I would throw up my hands if they were lost for a season.
1. Roy Halladay (2005 – it happened after he broke his leg in July and was lost for the season. The Jays were done after that.)
2. Roger Clemens (1998)
3. Carlos Delgado (2000)