Today is the first day of team workouts in Peoria, Arizona for the Mariners, but they’ll be without their projected starting 1st baseman.
A Ryon Healy update ... he underwent surgery to remove a bone spur in his hand and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks.— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) February 15, 2018
Servais said the 4-6 week recovery timeline for Ryon Healy is to return to games in that time— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) February 15, 2018
While Healy had drawn mixed reviews as a solution at first base this offseason, it’s unequivocally bad news to have his chance to prove himself cut short. The second part of the statement above is important, if true. Four weeks from today is March 15th, while six weeks is March 29th, aka Opening Day. If Healy is able to play in games near the earlier end of that spectrum, it’s not out of the question that he’ll be pretty close to on schedule. If it takes longer, as hand injuries often do for hitters, that means a better chance for an extended look at newly acquired Mike Ford and old pal Daniel Vogelbach.
What is less clear is if this spurs action from the front office and ownership. The Mariners have a competitive roster, but their stated playoff chances hinge on a very narrow set of circumstances coming to fruition. While public projection systems like Steamer, PECOTA, and ZiPS all project Ford to outperform Healy, the Mariners clearly believe in Healy’s potential to replicate the success of his rookie season. If the team isn’t confident in giving the reins to either of their minors-mashing lefties, they could look to free agency. Veterans Logan Morrison, Lucas Duda, Adam Lind, and Danny Valencia are the main options remaining beyond Eric Hosmer, but it may be a tough sell considering three of those four have struggled in Seattle already. It shouldn’t be a zero-sum game, but if there’s money for a first baseman, at this point, that money should still go to a pitcher, in my opinion.
Hopefully Healy has a rapid and full recovery and can get back in time to return to the swing of things in Spring Training .