TFW you realize you just lost millions on your next contract. Photo credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
At some point during the Jays’ blowout win in Philadelphia on Thursday night, likely when you were already making praise hands in LeBron’s direction on another channel, Jose Bautista injured his toe.
The injury is significant enough that today he’s in a walking boot, and he has immediately been placed on the 15-day DL, with Darrell Ceciliani getting the call up from Buffalo to replace him.
“It’s a toe injury for Bautsta,” tweets Arden Zwelling. “The big one on his left foot. X-rays were negative.”
Arden adds that “Bautista had an MRI on his left foot today; Blue Jays are sending results to a specialist for further analysis.”
Gregor Chisholm notes that the injury “is being referred to as a left big toe strain. But he still needs to undergo a lot of tests before the diagnosis is official.”
There really aren’t any great silver linings here.
True, Bautista hasn’t yet looked like himself this season, but a less-than-his-best Bautista is still a fantastic hitter — one that this team needs, and one that has a loooooong season still ahead (there will be three months plus the playoffs still to go when he’s eligible to come off of the DL) to get his numbers better in line with the high expectations placed on him, and that he places on himself.
In other words, if you’re trying to convince yourself that Bautista has cost himself a lot of money with a subpar (by his standards) start to the year and then a potentially lengthy stint on the DL, not so fast. Maybe he has! But it’s not like this is the kind of “old man” injury that should cause alarm bells to go off, either. It could happen to anybody of any age — or at least that’s how I’d be spinning it if I were him. And if I were the Jays and looking for a discount — which they absolutely should be now! — I’d spin it the opposite way.
But the contract stuff will sort itself out eventually. The real concern here is how long he’ll be out and how it impacts the team. They’ve been playing great and they just lost their lead-off hitter!
Yet, if we just go by feels, right this very minute, with Edwin Encarnacion blasting the living shit out of every baseball near him, it maybe doesn’t even feel like the kind of gut punch that it truly is. We’re at least losing Bautista for a time when Edwin is absolutely locked in, with Josh Donaldson damn well nearly as piquant. It’s just… that may not be the case a week from now, or even after the weekend’s Baltimore series, so… y’know…
Ezequiel Carrera seems likely to see the majority of playing time in right field with Bautista out — which is playing time he’s certainly earned. There’s no way it will last, but Carrera has been a huge bright spot for the Jays this season, putting up a 132 wRC+ over 99 plate appearances.
Bautista’s wRC+ is just 121. And Carrera will provide more in the field than Bautista does (especially the ca. 2016 model of Bautista, which doesn’t have nearly the arm of previous editions).
Of course, feeling too good about Carrera taking over is on par with feeling like Troy Tulowitzki — who, John Gibbons told reporters this afternoon, may return to the club as soon as this weekend — needs to ride the pine while Darwin Barney is hot (which, ICYMI, he really isn’t anymore, having just six singles and one walk over his last 33 plate appearances) and the team is playing well. It’s nice that Carrera is there and swinging it well, I just don’t think it softens the blow very much. (I’ll bet on Tulo’s return doing that more so than Carrera’s presence, thanks.)
The Ceciliani move is a bit of an interesting one — and one that’s certainly more a reward for how well he played in spring training than how he’s played for Buffalo, where he’s hitting a fugly .225/.279/.292. I wondered about Dalton Pompey getting the call earlier in the week, when Michael Saunders was hurting, but obviously the Jays were looking for a straight backup here, which makes Ceciliani a more logical choice. So too does the fact that it sounds like Pompey needs to be in Buffalo for a while still — which was the strong sense I got from John Lott’s must-read piece on Pompey
for us earlier in the week.
And that’s really all there is to it. Bautista is out, Ceciliani is up. Nobody’s sure for how long just yet. It sucks, and yet it’s… somehow not the end of the world.
Amazing what winning does for morale, eh? Imagine if this had happened coming out of that bummer of a series in Detroit!