It's still only February, but the 2014 season starts today for the Rockies. The opening act does involve Jhoulys Chacin and his right arm, just not in the manner we all expected.
Yes, Colorado fans, despite what you may have heard, the baseball season begins today for the Rockies. Not on a diamond under the sun as the familiar sights of spring blanket the land from sea to shining sea, but instead, the journey starts somewhere in a team-controlled medical room in Arizona while the polar vortex once again prepares to invade the northeast quadrant of the country.
That, as you probably already know from Bryan's post yesterday, is where the Rockies will find out if there's a hole in their ship before it even leaves port.
Here's the official tweet from the team.
RHP Jhoulys Chacin will undergo a MRI tomorrow because of right shoulder inflammation. He will be shut down until further notice.— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) February 23, 2014
That's all we know right now. Nothing more. Nothing less.
There's been some speculation of good news, like the tweet below from Thomas Harding yesterday (which would mean it's more of a biceps issue than a shoulder problem), but until we get the concrete medical information, keep holding your breath.
(Here's a link to a Harding article with includes some quotes from Chacin himself.)
You don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure out that if this news comes back negative, it's a devastating blow to the Rockies chances this season. I can actually think of quite a few scenarios where the Rockies have a very competitive year in 2014, but not many of them include losing Jhoulys Chacin for any length of time. As we saw first hand in 2011, nothing can destroy a potentially good team faster than the top half of the starting rotation getting whacked by the injury stick.
And yes, the Rockies did still make the playoffs in 2009 after getting the news that Jeff Francis was going to miss the entire season before they got out of the starting gate, and yes, the St. Louis Cardinals took the World Series without Adam Wainwright throwing a pitch for them in 2011, but that's a path I really don't want to see the Rockies have to navigate this season.
On a side note, I'd like to point out to the injury gods that Rockies rotation has already made quite a few deposits at the DL bank over the last few seasons as indicated by no pitcher reaching 200 innings for the club over the last three seasons and only seven pitchers reaching 140 innings over the last four seasons. Check your records.
Also, while you're doing that, I'm pretty sure there's an account from San Francisco that spent about three years making nothing but withdrawals from the starting rotation branch of your injury luck bank. And hey, while we're on the subject of California, there's a couple of interesting cases atop the Dodger rotation you might want to investigate. One of them has never been on the DL, and the other has averaged over 200 innings pitched per season since the start of 2008.
If you'd be so kind, please spare Chacin and take your reign of misfortune west where you can perform a couple of badly needed California audits. Or you know, better yet, you guys could just take the whole year off, since it seems like you've been working extra hard across most of MLB for the last couple of seasons. I hear Europe is lovely in the summer.
I don't even want to think about the ramifications for the team if the Chacin news is bad today, so I'll hold off on discussing the destructive domino effect this could have on the team. Instead, here's some links to keep us busy while we wait.
Troy Renck has a nice piece up on Tulo with some good quotes. I love Tulo pieces!!!
Renck also has some thoughts on MLB's instant replay system set to be introduced this season. In short, there's still some unanswered questions here.
Patrick Saunders has some Cargo reaction quotes after the news he'll be spending 2014 in left field again. Like many of you, he's surprised the news came so quick.
Not only does Michael Cuddyer perform magic tricks (I'm still waiting for the one where he makes games in the loss column disappear), but now he's also handing out motivational T-shirts to all of his teammates. Fangraphs doesn't seem to have a stat on the top club house guys in the league, but if they did, how could he not rank near the top?
One thing that I don't want to get lost in the early spring training shuffle is this link about Tom Murphy. If he continues to climb the ladder, he could have a very big impact on Wilin Rosario's future starting in 2015 as the current Colorado catcher will start getting more expensive. The Rockies future behind the dish could be a developing story all season long, especially if Murphy continues to rise rapidly though the system.
Zack Greinke is not happy about the Dodgers and Diamondbacks opening the season in Australia.
Speaking of unhappy people, Scott Boras is apparently losing sleep at night because according to him, the Blue Jays ownership is preventing the front office from making the proper moves to improve the club, or translated from Borasetnamese, the Blue Jays ownership is costing him money.