It seems like right now, every Major League team has at least one star player injured. The Yankees seemingly have a dozen. Usually, this would be the biggest story and cause for concern of a season start. But oddly enough, in these strange times, being on the Injured List does not matter. In fact, there is an upside to being on the Injured List for the first time in baseball history; this might be the best time possible time to be injured.
With no games now or for the foreseeable future, players like Giancarlo Stanton, Chris Sale, Justin Verlander, and Noah Syndergaard, who are all moderately to severely injured, are not missing a day. And furthermore, their teams are not missing them. With no baseball being played, they have this time in limbo to recover and undergo medical procedures without missing games. Players like Rich Hill, Aaron Judge, Justin Verlander, and many more who were given mid-season recovery dates, have this time to recover before the season starts. Rich Hill underwent elbow surgery during the offseason, and was given a return date of mid to late June. Because of this delay in the season, he could actually be ready for Opening Day, whenever that takes place. Justin Verlander, the veteran ace of the Astros’ pitching staff, was reportedly day-to-day with groin pain. With the season postponed, he ended up having right groin surgery on March 17th, and is now “right on schedule and recovering very well,” according to new Astros GM James Click. Originally, Verlander had been ruled out for the Opening Day start, but because of the delay, he would likely be ready to start if baseball is fortunate enough to have an Opening Day at some point this year.
Right now, the question is, will there even be a 2020 season? But for teams like the Red Sox, Yankees, and Mets, no season might actually come as a relief, because their injured star pitchers would not actually miss any games, lessening the impact of their absence. Sale, Severino, and Syndergaard, are all out for the 2020 season and start of 2021 due to a trio of Tommy John surgeries. The Yankees acquired Gerrit Cole during the offseason, strongly bolstering their rotation, and cushioning the blow of Severino’s absence. But without Chris Sale, and after parting ways with Rick Porcello and David Price, Boston’s pitching staff will be incomplete and their rotation will be considerably weaker than those of most opposing teams’.
One of the only positives to consider about the 2020 season being cancelled in its entirety, is that every team would presumably start next season with a healthy roster in 2021. Imagine how competitive and fun it would be to see every team at their absolute best. Going a year without baseball would be devastating and heartbreaking, but we can focus on upsides for team health as well as fan health to comfort ourselves.
There are a lot of questions right now as to when and if baseball will return. Unfortunately, nobody knows for sure, and the outlook is not great. But factoring issues like injuries into the equation and focusing on the pros rather than the con of how much we would miss it if we have to wait another year might make baseball fans feel slightly better. Staying positive is one of the only things we can do, so we might as well try!