Alexander Canario’s severe ankle break wasn’t the only big injury news for the Cubs Friday, as Sahadev Sharma revealed that Brennen Davis is likely done in the Arizona Fall League due to back tightness. That’s not much of a surprise because Davis had already missed two weeks due to the intentionally nebulous “general soreness” and we had speculated on The Rant Live podcast that it might be a back issue. Still, it creates a lot of questions for a Cubs team that already had plenty to answer this winter.
Canario is already on the 40-man roster and had a chance to break camp with the Cubs out of spring training, while Davis should be added to the 40-man in December and was seen as a possible impact player for 2023. Many had hoped that he’d have been in Chicago this past summer, but a slow start and subsequent surgery nixed that hope.
After dealing with tingling and sciatica-like pain in his legs, it was revealed that Davis had a vascular mass putting pressure on nerves. The issue was corrected with surgery and the fact that it wasn’t structural in nature meant Davis was able to make a full recovery and rejoin the Iowa Cubs late in the season. His stint in the AFL was supposed to make up for some of that lost time, but he only got 18 at-bats before being lifted mid-game on October 10.
Sharma reported that this latest setback isn’t believed to be related to the previous nerve issue, though it certainly sounds like they’re not sure exactly what is going on. The not knowing leaves a whole lot of room for concern, so here’s to hoping it’s just a matter of pushing himself after a period of reduced activity.
These health questions have a greater impact on the organization as a whole heading into an offseason in which the Cubs are expected to be very active. Canario might have been able to hold down centerfield on at least a part-time basis and Davis could have done the same. It’s also possible one of them, likely Canario, would be available in a trade as Jed Hoyer looks to reshape his roster through more than just free agency.
While it might be getting a little too nuanced, these injuries hurt the Cubs’ leverage in deals because other teams know there are a lot of questions regarding their reduced depth. Hoyer showed at the trade deadline that he’s willing to walk away from a deal that doesn’t meet his asking price, but it’s a little harder to bluff when you’ve already shown some of your cards.
The Cubs might have already been targeting a glove-first free agent to play center, so the latest developments might be chumming the water for agents representing those types of players. Perhaps it also has the folks at WME Baseball putting together an extension proposal for Ian Happ, whose value is already high on the strength of his consistent performance and Gold Glove-level defense in left.
There are just so many moving parts here, but the most important involve the health of Canario and Davis. In Canario’s case, it’ll be more about fixed parts since surgeons will need to secure his bimalleolar fracture with a plate and several screws. Whatever, the point is that what was already an interesting spot for the Cubs just got interestinger.
Fingers crossed for a quick World Series so we can finally get down to moves.