There comes a point in our time as fans or our time as baseball writers where we forget an important part of team management. Part of what we do as fans and writers is analyze, dig deeper, and second guess. This often leads to us simply forgetting that the men and women in Major League front offices are smart. Smarter than us in some cases. They may not always do what we think they should. They may not always do the most ethical things. But there is no questioning the intelligence in these front offices. And it is with that in mind that we need to understand the Arizona Diamondbacks knew of Didi Gregorius' elbow problem, and they had no trouble trading for him even with that knowledge.
There were initial reports that the Diamondbacks did not do a proper physical or proper medical background check on Gregorius. That is simply not the case. Kevin Towers, the DBacks GM, said the team knew that Gregorius had hurt his elbow preparing for the World Baseball Classic. Gregorius was doing so in December when Arizona acquired him. They knew.
The other thing to remember with this injury is that it is not all that serious, at least from what's been said publicly. Gregorius has a strained UCL. It's not torn, there's no surgery involved, it's just a strain. Rest will usually resolve a strain as long as it's enough rest. If the team were to rush him out onto the field this spring, he could damage the elbow further and even tear it. If Gregorius were to suffer a tear, it would be a major setback, but not the end of the world. The resulting Tommy John surgery would require less down time than it would for a pitcher. Gregorius would be back on the field within six months.
Gregorius is a key player in the offseason transactions that will determine Kevin Towers' success as a GM with the team. Many have questioned the direction the team has taken since last season. They have traded away some of their top talent (Trevor Bauer and Justin Upton), and they've received risky or marginal players. Gregorius falls into both categories. Many across the league think Gregorius can be great, but he has only played eight games in the Majors. It will take some time to evaluate his true skill set. In fact, the Diamondbacks were not even sure Gregorius would be able to make the club out of spring training had he not been shelved with the injury.
And that's why there has been so much focus on Gregorius in Arizona. His success is important to the team's foundation going forward. The Diamondbacks traded away their top pick from 2011 to get Gregorius. They put all their eggs (at least their middle infield eggs) in the Gregorius basket. If the team messed up when evaluating an injury, that could spell doom for the team. But that's not what happened.
Gregorius is 22 years old. He'll bounce back from an elbow strain. Once he is rested, Gregorius will likely be assigned to Triple-A Reno, and he'll make his way to the Majors in no time. Rest easy, Diamondbacks fans. Gregorius will prove to be the talent you all hoped.
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