The Padres announced earlier tonight that pitching prospect Anderson Espinoza will undergo Tommy John surgery. Espinoza was acquired last summer from the Boston Red Sox for Drew Pomeranz. He made seven starts down the stretch at Fort Wayne last season, but hasn’t pitched at all this year, held back for precautionary reasons. Espinoza will have the surgery next week in Dallas, Texas.
We often think about how an injury like this affects the Padres. That’s only natural, of course, but it’s important to think about Espinoza here. The Padres will be fine. On the other hand, Espinoza’s a 19-year-old who hasn’t pitched a minor-league game in 11 months, and who now has to deal with a significant surgery and a long, grueling recovery, one that certainly doesn’t guarantee a return to previous form.
Espinoza signed for $1.8 million back in 2014, so he’s doing okay. Once you factor in buscones, taxes, and living on a paltry minor-league salary for a few years, though, he hasn’t really earned the big bucks yet. He still has a bright future, we hope, but it’s hard not to feel for someone who’s right arm, gifted as it is, has failed him. The most important thing here is that Anderson Espinoza gets healthy for Anderson Espinoza. If that happens, the Padres will be beneficiaries, and so will we.
In 1973’s Magnum Force, Clint Eastwood uttered this memorable line as inspector Harry Callahan:
Man’s got to know his limitations.
I don’t think Cameron Maybin is familiar with this quote. Or maybe he is familiar with the film but he doesn’t believe the sentiment on account of his supreme athleticism. I tend to lean towards the latter.
Cameron Maybin probably doesn’t believe in limitations of any sort as it pertains to his feats on the baseball diamond. Oh, I know he said that he would limit his reckless abandon when he spoke to Darren Smith last week but did anyone honestly believe him? It’s very difficult to just turn things off when you are endowed with amazing abilities and possess a determination to shine. Cameron Maybin wants to shine, wants to be the guy in San Diego. Unfortunately Cameron Maybin doesn’t know his limitations and he now finds himself sidelined for the next few months with a ruptured left biceps tendon.
I witnessed the injury first hand during the split squad game at Camelback Ranch against the Dodgers on Sunday. Four things immediately flashed through my mind when the ball flew off Juan Uribe‘s bat:
Last week, Cameron Maybin was doing the media rounds at Spring Training. We were hearing the usual from a guy coming back from injury, but one thing that stuck out to me was his stated desire to be more cautious in the outfield. I’ve never thought of Cam as a particularly reckless player, and I grew concerned that his injury history was getting in his head. I had this weird notion I couldn’t shake that Cam was going to change his style of play and that was going to be detrimental to his defensive value. And then, yesterday, he went and gave the same effort he always does. He made the same kind of play demonstrating the glove and range that makes him a plus defender at a position which prioritizes good defense. He dove and hurt himself, inconveniencing me and throwing my plans out the window. Cameron Maybin is the worst.
Chase Headley has been walking around on crutches in the Padres’ Spring Training clubhouse in Peoria thanks to a strained right calf muscle. It’s merely the latest in a surprisingly rich history of injuries suffered by Headley over the past few years. And that may answer a few questions.
You may be asking, “What questions?”
Why hasn’t Headley been able to put up the equivalent of his second half 2012 numbers over a full season?
Last Spring Training, Jedd Gyorko went to Peoria as the favorite to land the starting job at 2B for the Padres. Being that he was a rookie, the Padres had a few “insurance” pieces (in the form of Logan Forsythe, Alexi Amarista, and Yonder Alonso*) who could serve as stopgap solutions in the event Gyorko wasn’t ready to start the season with the big club. Now, imagine the Padres acquired insurance from outside of the organization. This player would be in the latter portion of their career, and just so happen to be the best defensive second baseman of their generation. Go back to 2004, switch the position to shortstop, Jedd Gyorko to Khalil Greene, and the Padres did exactly that**. This man was also an extremely inconsequential Padre.
* – not really, I just wanted an excuse to post this GIF of Yonder at second base. (Courtesy of Grant Brisbee [@mcccoveychron])
This is where we gather from time to time to talk about something big in the Padres world or just the Padres or just baseball. It’s a roundtable discussion. Except, you know, no round tables. This is a Public House . . . so we’re at the bar.
It’s time for all of us here at Padres Public to sit back and reflect on the season that was in the only way we truly know how.