Even before spring training ends, the Phillies and their three National League East rivals may –health-wise– be short a piece or more on Opening Day, but general manager Matt Klentak and his contemporaries can’t seamlessly cover every absence.
Breaks, good and bad:
National publications and many fans are expecting the same finish as 2019: the Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals, New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies. Unfortunately, the third and fourth teams had the most debilitating injuries in ’19. And, yes, good health will again be the deciding factor in the NL East.
"IN OTHER WORDS: “It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.” – Mahatma Gandhi"
Since position players have mostly reported, news is surfacing about injuries suffered during the offseason. To illustrate, the Braves will be without Cole Hamels for most –if not all– of camp due to shoulder irritation. And he won’t be the only star who could open ’20 on the IL (injured list).
In mid-April. Atlanta lost their closer before moving him to the American League. Also, it affected their pen for their entire 162 despite acquiring three relievers in July. Plus they were without a shortstop for one month and a corner outfielder for six weeks. Otherwise, they had the usual 10-day IL stints here and there.
Washington had two first sackers on the IL for four months total: One was their five-hole bat, and the other was his backup. However, the critical missing piece was their shortstop and two-slot bat exiting during their first April contest with a broken right index finger. He lost six weeks.
In ’19, the Mets were nearly without their slugging left fielder and a super utility man. Plus they were without two outfielders for five months total and their veteran second baseman for eight weeks with three trips to the IL. Basically, their pitchers were intact for the whole 162 with occasional 10-day IL stints.
The Fightins had three late-inning firemen missing roughly the entire campaign: They worked a total of 16 2/3 frames. Meanwhile, three other setup men were out for 10.5 months out of 18 possible. And one starter lost two months after probably working with bone spurs for six weeks.
While the pitching injuries were enough to eliminate them from a wild-card shot, the red pinstripes also lost their leadoff man for four months, their starting center fielder for four months (suspension), and two replacement left fielders for eight weeks. Plus they had the normal 10-day trips to the IL during the year.