Will Joe Musgrove be healthy for Padres Opening Day?
This offseason has been nothing but sunshine, unicorns, and rainbows for the San Diego Padres. On top of extending Manny Machado and signing Xander Bogaerts, the Padres have made enough quality pitching additions to get through the gauntlet of the NL West.
That doesn’t mean that the Padres were able to avoid the annual appearance of the Spring Training injury bug. Starting pitcher Joe Musgrove, who was being viewed as the team’s No. 2 starting pitcher behind Yu Darvish, was set back in a fairly significant way.
Musgrove fractured his toe while lifting weights, setting him back for what manager Bob Melvin described as a minimum of "a couple weeks." Fractured toes can often require walking boots and sideline players for as long as 4-6 weeks, throwing the Padres' rotation into turmoil.
The odds of Musgrave making an Opening Week start are much lower than they were a few days ago. An already questionable Padres rotation has been thrown a major curveball (if you can forgive the wordplay) as they try to supplement one of the deepest lineups in the entire sport.
San Diego Padres: Joe Musgrove recovery time in question
Musgrove, who has pitched over 170 innings in each of his last three non-COVID-impacted seasons, has been the picture of durability early in his career. Unfortunately, acts of God like this happen from time to time, and the Padres must plan accordingly by leaning on their depth.
Yu Darvish and Blake Snell are also in the San Diego rotation, while veteran Michael Wacha will likely be bumped up to the No. 3 spot in the rotation. Beyond that, look for Nick Martinez and former Mets relief pitcher Seth Lugo (who San Diego signed to be a starter) to move up one notch in the pecking order.
If Lugo is not ready to eat innings like an MLB starter, one of either Julio Teheran, Cole Hamels, or Ryan Weathers could end up stealing one of the final spots in the rotation if they have an impressive spring. Neither of them would be ideal, but they can both hold their own.
If the Padres are going to make good on their quest to win a championship, they need to have enough resilience to overcome an injury like this. Shouldering a weak schedule at the start of the season without Musgrove is better than losing him when the stuff hits the fan in October.