MASH Report (12/29/14)

Jason Kipnis may not be ready for the season’s start because of finger surgery.

“We are optimistic he’s going to be able to do a lot in Spring Training,” said Quinlan, adding the recovery time is variable. “To give you some idea, we are pretty optimistic he’s going to be able to do fielding and throwing and doing all aspects of baseball activity with the exception of hitting by the start of Spring Training, when he reports to Spring Training.

“As you know, the forces involved in gripping the bat and hitting are a little bit more extensive, so that will be the last thing he starts. We are optimistic he’ll also be on some form of hit-ting progression at the start of Spring Training.”

I don’t know if his value could be any lower after his struggles during the 2014 season and now this injury. It will be interesting to see where he ends up getting valued. I could see it all over the place and will step in if his value drops enough.

Matt Kemp was diagnosed with arthritis in his hips, but doesn’t think it will affect his play

Kemp, who makes his home in nearby Poway, was asked about his physical on Tuesday that revealed arthritis in both hips.

“I think everybody in this room has some sort of arthritis in their body somewhere,” Kemp said, smiling, dismissing any concern on his part. “I’ve always worked through injuries. These hips are unbelievable. You want to see my hips? They’re strong hips.”

I am not worried about hips right now, but will next year when he is playing in Petco Park’s spacious outfield.

Jake McGee, the Ray potential closer, will miss the first month of the season after having loose bodies removed from his shoulder.

The Rays have said a thorough timetable for McGee’s return will become available during Spring Training. However, the southpaw did have some ideas about his return, particularly after witnessing former Tampa Bay starter Jeremy Hellickson go through the same surgery prior to last season.

Hellickson had surgery to remove loose bodies in January, and he made his first start on July 8.

“I kind of have my own timetable in my mind,” McGee said. “I had my surgery a month earlier than him, and it’s going to take a month less to get ready, because I don’t have to stretch out like a starter does. End of April, early May more than likely.”

It will be interesting to see how the Rays bullpen shakes out with Brad Boxberger, Grant Balfour and Kevin Jepsen all in the mix to get Saves. I would put my money on Balfour since he is a veteran pitcher with a guaranteed contract. If he pitches decent, he could keep the job all season.

Nick Markakis had surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck. According to team reports, he should be ready to go to start spring training.

“We talked to Steve Wray after the surgery and he said it really went well,” Braves president of baseball operations John Hart said. “He said [the procedure] really went well, and he thinks that this guy will be ready to go full go in Spring Training. The only thing is that there will be a little bit of a disruption for his normal routine getting ready for Spring Training.”

Markakis is expected to be cleared to resume physical activities within the next month, and there is hope he will be fully agile within the next six weeks. This timetable would allow him to begin his normal pre-Spring Training routine approximately three weeks before the Braves report to camp.

The Braves will take any necessary precautions during Spring Training. But there does not seem to be any current reason to doubt that Markakis will serve as Atlanta’s starting right fielder on Opening Day.

While I fully don’t believe he will 100% for the start of spring training, it seems like  he won’t miss a ton of time. I could see owners completely staying away from him and he could be a cheap buy.

Peter Bourjos was playing through quite a bit of pain in the second half of last season. How much did that injury affect you in 2014?

Bourjos: It’s something that’s been ongoing for four or five years. Every winter I would get an MRI to see where it was, and it would be a case where surgery would be recommended, but I held off because it’s a newer surgery, and I could play through it. This year in the second half, it really started bothering me — to the point that when I’d get out of bed, I could barely walk. I wasn’t bouncing back the same way.

He may be a late round pick in deeper leagues with me. It would be nice if he could get back to 20+ steals.

Dan Uggla played through a concussion during 2014 and it was just diagnosed this offseason. Well, the concussion can help explain some of the drop, but he also struggled in both 2012 and 2013. I would put a top level of talent near his 2013 production (20 HR and .200 AVG). His 2014 season would be the downside.

Marco Scutaro may be done playing baseball after having back surgery. The 39-year-old will be out at least 4-6 months and then he can try a comeback.

• When I rank which information to use for players returning from injuries, I always use team information first and then player quotes. Below both of these would be the player’s agent.

This quote from Boras came a couple days after this information from the Orioles:

Showalter said at the Winter Meetings earlier this month that he wasn’t sure if both guys would be ready for Opening Day, and he reiterated that Wieters may be a little behind earlier this week. That’s not entirely unexpected, given that Wieters had Tommy John surgery, and the Orioles want both guys to be right before they come back.

Side with the team here and expect Wieters to miss some time early in the season.

Nice write up on Motus Global’s Pitcher Sleeve which will hopefully help to limit pitcher injuries, specifically Tommy John surgeries.


(*) 15 Day Disabled List
(**) 60 Day Disabled List
(***) 7 Day Concussion List
(****) Free Agent
Red colored entries are updates since last report.

Players with Injuries Going into 2015

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Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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Jonathan Sher
Jonathan Sher

While it’s true Balfour has a guaranteed contract, Boxberger was so much better last year that the smart money is on him to become the closer. Last year Boxberger has a SIERA of 1.37, which was the second best in MLB among pitchers with at least 60 innings (only Andrew Miller) was better. By that same measure, only 22 pitchers out of 270 posted a worse mark than Balfour’s 4.41.

When you also consider that Balfour lost nearly 2 mph off his fastball and slider in 2014 and that he turned 37 today,the gap between Boxberger and Balfour is so enormous it’s hard to imagine the latter beating out the former to become closer.

On top of all that, the Rays have a new manager in Kevin Cash and a revamped organization that wants to show it can compete despite the loss of its manager and GM. It seems doubtful they’d close with Balfour just to save arbitration dollars on Boxberger. After all, this is the same organization that last year replaced Balfour with McGee even though that meant the latter would end up earning more because he became eligible for arbitration the winter of 2013-14.