Unfortunately Tim Mayza suffered what looked like a significant arm injury, and reminded Blue Jays fans of an important lesson in the process.
It was a tough scene to watch on Friday night as Tim Mayza emotionally watched off the mound. That’s because the left-hander had just suffered an arm injury, the extend of which we don’t know just yet. That said, it didn’t look good, and Mayza’s face tells us an awful lot.
If I had to put some money on the table, my guess is that Mayza likely suffered a ligament tear in his elbow, one of the most common injuries in baseball these days. It seems like it’s almost become a right of passage in the big leagues these days for pitchers, and if I’m correct then Mayza will be the latest big league hurler to head for Tommy John surgery. It’s an unfortunate development for the southpaw, as he was starting to carve out a role in the Blue Jays’ bullpen, and was likely a lock for a spot on the 2020 roster.
His injury is unfortunate, but it’s also an important reminder when it comes to roster building in the big leagues these days. Look no further than the AL East leading New York Yankees to see the value of having solid depth throughout your organization. Despite the fact that they’ve set an MLB record for most players sent to the injured list, they’re still in the running for the best record in baseball.
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As the Blue Jays continue their rebuild, that lesson will be an important one to remember. For example, I’ll be the first to admit that I more or less think of the Blue Jays’ infield as a near-finished product as far as the rebuild goes, with Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and Cavan Biggio feeling like 3/4’s of an established group. However, that doesn’t mean that the Blue Jays should stop adding to their infield depth throughout the organization, and Ross Atkins and company have been smart about that over the last couple of years. While the “generation next” trio feels like a pretty sure thing, an injury can change things in a hurry.
When it comes to the pitching staff in particular, the Blue Jays have had plenty of proof of their own of the need for depth. There have been times that they’ve only carried two actual starting pitchers on their roster, and Charlie Montoyo has had a difficult task to use “openers” and patch together nine innings in some unconventional ways. Injuries have been the primary reason for that, as the Blue Jays have lost significant time from starting pitchers this season including Clay Buchholz, Matt Shoemaker, Clayton Richard, Ryan Borucki and more.
Without Mayza, the Blue Jays could be in the market for a left-handed specialist this winter, but more likely it means that someone like a Buddy Boshers, or another organizational depth arm will get the opportunity. Mayza’s injury was a good reminder that there’s always a need for a “next man up” mentality in the big leagues, and that a bright future can change at a moment’s notice. Baseball can be cruel that way, and hopefully Mayza’s luck will turn as he goes through testing, and/or the rehab process.
In the meantime, here’s hoping that Mayza’s injury isn’t as bad as it looked, but either way the Blue Jays were once again reminded of the importance of depth.