The other day Jimmy Rollins said that if the Phillies hadn’t had so many injuries last year that they would have beat out the Nationals in the NL East. Bob Brookover asked the Nationals about that:
“I would never find Jimmy Rollins disrespectful,” he said. “I respect him too much. But if we were healthy all year, we might have won 120 games. But we’ll have a chance to find out this year.”
Which I don’t take at all to be Werth truly saying that the Nationals would have won 120 games. I take it — along with the comments of other Nats players — as a cute way of saying, hey, everyone has injuries, it’s part of the game.
I really do dislike it when players, managers, front office types, fans or whoever play the ” … if it weren’t for the injuries ..” game. Yes, injuries suck. And yes, injuries often prevent teams from doing as well as they might have if the injuries had not occurred. But injuries contribute to losses for every single team. If you hypothetically remove them from one team, as Rollins would have us do, you have to hypothetically remove them from the others as well.
Remember Manny Banuelos? He was once a top pitching prospect for the Yankees and then, apparently disappeared from the face of the earth. Or at least it felt like it. Now he’s in the news, however, as the Dodgers have signed him to a minor league contract.
OK, Banuelos didn’t disappear. He was traded to the Braves in 2015, had a cup of coffee with them, pitching pretty ineffectively in seven big league games, was released by Atlanta in the middle of 2016 and then latched on with the Angels. This past season he posted a 4.93 ERA over 95 innings while being used mostly as a reliever at Triple-A Salt Lake.
Banuelos pitched in the Future’s Game in 2009 and was a star in the Arizona Fall League in 2010. He was a top-50 prospect heading into 2011 before falling to Tommy John surgery in 2012. With Atlanta he suffered some bone spur problems and then some elbow issues that never resulted in surgery but which never subsided enough for him to fulfill his potential either. He suffered injuries. A lot of pitchers do.
It’s unrealistic to think that Banuelos will fulfill the promise he had six years ago, but he’s worth a minor league deal to see if the 26-year-old can at least be a serviceable reliever.