By now you know: Christian Vazquez is hurt. How hurt is he? We don’t entirely know for sure, but I can promise it’s not good. He was placed on the 60 day DL as of today, meaning at the very least, he’s out for awhile. If I had to bet, we won’t see Vazquez this season as he’s likely going to need season-ending surgery. What now? That’s the big question.
Ryan Hanigan was acquired for Will Middlebrooks (thank God) in the offseason. Hanigan is subpar offensively but he’s a pretty solid defensive option. He’s a veteran and he knows how to play the game. Personally, I don’t want him as the primary option but that’s not my call to make.
Then there’s Sandy Leon, acquired today from the Nationals. Leon is 26 and he’s also a steady defender but again, he couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat. I know what you’re saying, “we don’t need them to hit. We have a great lineup.” You’re right. Vazquez wasn’t expected to hit much either. But here’s the problem:
Neither of these guys is as talented on defense as Vazquez. You’ll never hear either one of them compared to Yadier Molina, a comparison Vazquez receives quite often. Our pitching staff is average on a good day. Like it, love it, disagree with me, whatever. They’re not great. With Vazquez, they would have seemed a little better than they actually are because of how well he calls games and how well he throws runners out. Without him, you’ll see more of the Clay Buchholz of old and the Justin Masterson that gives up 5 runs an inning. I’m not suggesting Vazquez would have made them all stars, but he certainly would have made them better.
My suggestion is to just see what happens. Give it a month or two and see how well Hanigan and Leon can do. If they prove to be more harmful than helpful, make a trade. We could always bring up Blake Swihart and let him have a shot but I’m still worried he’s not quite ready. After this season in Triple A, I’d be comfortable bringing him up and seeing what he can do.
No matter what happens, the loss of Vazquez will hurt. Just how much remains to be seen.