Under The Knife 7/27/22
The Looming Deadline
I’ve got a lot of things working ahead of the trade deadline, with an observer at last night’s Frankie Montas start and a couple at the Luis Castillo start on Wednesday. While the market is more focused on Juan Soto for obvious reasons and the bone-chilling thought that Shohei Ohtani could be moved, those two are the top pitching side guys known to be available. Castillo is more complicated since the Reds still want to dump salary as much as get prospects, but scouts I’ve spoken with think both will be later deals, right at or near the August 2 deadline. Right now, everyone is digging to find relievers or - as one scout stunningly said - a good starter that could be switched after a deal. I can’t think of a scenario where that’s happened, but I’m waiting for these long pens to be paired with a four man rotation. It makes more sense, especially for a team that’s short like St. Louis. We’ll see, but for now, let’s get to the injuries:
GIANCARLO STANTON, DH NYY (inflamed Achilles)
The first sign was when Aaron Boone said that Giancarlo Stanton looked “exhausted” heading into the break. Then, Stanton’s legs - specifically his Achilles - had just enough issue that the team was worried enough to put him on the IL ahead of the Subway Series. It’s important, and it’s a statement, and it’s going to be watched, so this is more than just a “he needs rest” kind of move, and it’s likely more about his overall fitness than what sounds like a relatively minor tendon issue. I mean, he wasn’t unhealthy just a few days ago, or he can do this with Achilles tendinitis:
While Stanton has been oft-cited as fragile, that’s hardly true. He took a ball off the face, nearly ending his career, which is hardly his fault. He’s had muscular injuries, but they’ve been a bit all over and as much force as he generates in his swing, the fact that none of them has gone recurrent, let alone chronic, is a win for him and the Yankees medical staff.
Stanton will rest and take a course of anti-inflammatories, as well as work with the medical staff to make sure this doesn’t act up again. If the legs were contributing to his rough performance - think unstable base - then it should come back as quickly as it went, assuming things resolve with a conservative course of treatment as expected.
A friend asked whether Stanton’s issue and Aroldis Chapman’s issue is the same. While it’s a good and interesting question, I don’t think there’s any clear line. Two isn’t a pattern and there’s so seldom any similar work done between pitchers and pure hitters, I have a hard time imagining some full change, especially since both players and staff haven’t changed roles.