The Giants confirmed that Hunter Pence has a broken right ulna bone and will miss from six to eight weeks. The good news is it's March 5. The bad news is that Pence will still miss at least two or three weeks of the regular season, and that's in the most optimistic of optimistic scenarios.
It could have been worse, though. Not only could it have happened on the last day of spring training, but it could have been a displaced fracture. Lonnie Chisenhall of the Indians had the same injury in a similar setting, but he needed surgery to repair the break. He still missed just two months, so remember what a physical specimen Pence is and think happy thoughts. If our planet's yellow sun can make that swing work, it can heal some bones.
Now we have to figure out what the Giants are going to do. For example, this is a tweet:
This is another tweet.
Allen Craig is someone who could make an error playing DH, and he'll be owed $12 million in 2017, when he'll be 32. He's coming off a horrible season, too. That is not how teams normally react when a player is likely to miss a month or two.
No, here are the possible options:
1. Gregor Blanco starts in left, Norichika Aoki starts in right
Angel Pagan plays in center. Justin Maxwell and/or Juan Perez gets some starts against tough lefties, likely for Blanco, who isn't as platoon-proof as Aoki. Instead of Perez and Maxwell having a death match for the last outfield spot, both could make the team. Or, the Giants might be more likely to keep Travis Ishikawa on the bench as a lefty option in the late innings, which would mean Perez goes down until needed.
That's it. That's the plan. Start Blanco. Hope like hell that Angel Pagan stays healthy.
2. No, that's it. That's the plan.
Nothing else makes sense. No trade, no waiver claim, no fast-tracking of a prospect ... nothing. The Giants had an overqualified fourth outfielder in a glass case, just like they did for the last two years, and they'll have to break the glass in March rather than June or July. Blanco and Maxwell aren't nearly as good as Pence, but a little perspective is in order.
Pence is, on average, worth about a win every 40 games or so. That's what the stat-faced folk say, at least. When I write "worth a win," that's compared to a replacement player, conveniently played in this movie by Justin Maxwell. Except Maxwell isn't going to be the full-time starter because of this; Blanco is. That makes things a little fuzzier. Pence could have gotten off to a great start; Blanco still might. Pence could have gotten off to a lousy start; Blanco still might. It could be a huge, two- or three-win swing because of oddly specific circumstances, but it's likely to be a little less than that.
A win could mean the playoffs. It's not a small thing, this phantom win. There's the morale factor, too, with Pence being the gall bladder of the team, if not the heart. But it's probably not time to panic and explore trades for outfielders. Say, you know who else is available? Craig's teammate! Former Phillie, goes by the name of Shane Viahcadfhad ... hold on ...
The #SFGiants confirm broken forearm for Pence. Out until May. Yes, they now looking for OF— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) March 6, 2015
I don't buy it. The Giants will make do. Pence will heal. Hopefully Aoki and Blanco play as well as they're capable of, and hopefully the effects are minimal. There could be a domino effect when it comes to the Giants' complete and total lack of power, but on paper, it's not the apocalypse.
That doesn't mean it doesn't stink, though. After months of waiting to watch baseball, the most watchable player on the Giants is busted. The part where it was a freak accident makes it feel worse, for whatever reason. I already miss Hunter Pence, and we haven't even reached the first weekend of the 2015 season.