Freak Joe Musgrove injury underlines fragility of Padres rotation

Oct 21, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Joe Musgrove (44)
Oct 21, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Joe Musgrove (44) / Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

For whatever reason, the San Diego Padres are an organization that can't seem to avoid off-field injuries. Fans will remember Fernando Tatis Jr. suffering a fractured wrist after a string of motorcycle accidents during the 2021-22 offseason.

Now, Joe Musgrove has succumbed to an off-field injury.

Per The Athletic's Dennis Lin, Musgrove sustained a broken big toe on his left foot during a weight room incident Monday. The severity of the fracture remains unclear, so there's no definitive timeline for Musgrove's return.

Fractured toes generally require a walking boot, and given Musgrove is a pitcher, its fair to conjecture he'll be sidelined for multiple weeks.

Musgrove's status for Opening Day is now up in the air, and this freak accident underlines why fans and Padres talking heads were banging the table for the club to sign pitching depth this offseason.

Padres star Joe Musgrove out indefinity with fractured toe.

How big do the signings of Michael Wacha and Seth Lugo look now? Does this mean Julio Teheran will get a crack at the rotation, too? If not for Wacha, though, the Friars would be left with two established MLB starters in their rotation given Lugo and Nick Martinez have extensive track records coming out of the bullpen.

It's anyone's guess whom will take Musgrove's spot -- if that's even necessary -- but San Diego is lucky Musgrove's injury isn't more serious.

After all, Musgrove cemented himself as one of baseball's best No. 3 starters last season. He logged a sparkling 2.93 ERA in 181 innings, to go with a 5.7% walk rate. He was instrumental in the Padres unlikely run to the NLCS, tossing seven shutout innings in the winner-take-all Game 3 of the Wild Card series against the Mets.

Musgrove only made three starts in October, but he allowed just six earned runs in 18.2 innings, equating to a 2.89 ERA. For comparison's sake, Blake Snell allowed seven runs and walked nine batters over 13.2 playoff innings.

A San Diego native, Musgrove is approaching the first season of a five-year, $100 million extension he inked with the franchise last summer. It might be delayed, but it (presumably) isn't fully derailed, and that's the silver lining Padres fans should take from this.

Please, no more freak off-field injuries before Opening Day ... or the rest of the 2023 calendar. Is that too much to ask from the baseball gods?

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