First day of spring workouts and Alex Reyes is being sent to have an MRI on his right arm. The first guess on everyone’s mind when you hear this is obviously Tommy John surgery, but there is always hope that is could be less serious of an injury. Wainwright pitched with a torn UCL for an extended period of time, but Tommy John eventually caught up, so decisions will need to be made concerning the future of this dynamic hurler, but we will all have to wait for the test results.
This could be potentially devastating for a rotation that was mediocre, at best, last year. De Ja Vu from the Lynn loss prior to seasons start last year, this injury is going to force a make shift rotation to start the season for the 2nd year in a row. As stated before, this is a problem that the Cardinals may be better suited to handle than other teams in the league. The depth of pitchers in this organization can make a loss of this magnitude sustainable, at least for the beginning of the season, until a more permanent solution can be acquired. Luke Weaver is a highly touted prospect with Major League experience that could be an option to fill the spot, Rosenthal trying his hand at starting in this spring training is another. The obvious pick to get the spot has to be the pitcher with the most experience and time spent in the Cardinals rotation… Michael Wacha. Losing the #1 pitching prospect in all of baseball is a brutal hit, but with this news puncturing the lung of the season that hasn’t even started, the mentality that all the pitchers in the organization has to have is “next man up!”
Drafted out of Texas A&M in the first round with the 19th overall selection of the 2012, making it to Springfield (AA) before the 2012 seasons end, and making his MLB debut in May of 2013, the path of this future starter was paved in concrete. The future was bright, the talent was there, and optimism was high. Since then, he has been sidetracked with a shoulder injury and the lack of a third major league quality pitch has slowed him down. Slowed to the point that the organization entered arbitration with a player for the first time since the 1999 season. Wacha lost his arbitration case, so he is set to make $2.775 million this season, as opposed to the $3.2 million he was looking to get. Maybe this is can be the push Wacha needs to get back to where he was on track to becoming in this rotation. This may be his last chance to be starting pitcher fro the Cardinals. With another failed year, he could be pushed to the bullpen, and never get out. Everyone knows that Wacha considers himself a starter, the odd man out, and with the Reyes news he’s getting his second wind. Can he face the shoulder problem head on? Can he put the fact that only on other pitcher in MLB history has continued his career with this injury (Brandon McCarthy). There is a lot of pressure on him to prove that he can put this out of his mind and go to the mound and throw the ball like he used to. Prove that the injuries are behind him and go out there and pitch without fear. If he continues to go out and throw to Major League hitters thinking about how this pitch could be his last, then i believe he has already sealed his fate, and we will all see a repeat of the performance of last year. I hope he can trust in the talent he possesses and have the season of his life, and ultimately have the career the organization foreseen when they drafted him. Only time will tell what he is capable of and that time is rapidly approaching.
The Cardinals have faced adversity of this magnitude in the, not so distant past, Waino missed the entire season after Tommy John in 2011. Everyone knows the result of that year. To repeat that majestic season it will take lots of “bounce backs” and “ifs” becoming definite, but that is what this organization thrives on.