Cubs VP of player development Jared Banner spoke with reporters at the GM Meetings in Las Vegas Monday, mainly updating the health of several top prospects. As noted in another article, Alexander Canario will be out for an extended period as he recovers from a broken left ankle and dislocated left shoulder. He has already had surgery on the former and is scheduled to undergo a procedure on the latter this week.
Shortstop Ed Howard was lost for the season after an awkward stumble at first resulted in a hip injury that required surgery. He has not yet been cleared to resume baseball activities but Banner said the green light might come after Thanksgiving. That would give him around two months to prep for spring training, but he’ll probably need more time in Mesa after the minor leaguers break camp for affiliates.
And one more: SS Ed Howard (left hip surgery in May) might be cleared to resume "light baseball activity" after Thanksgiving.
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) November 8, 2022
Brennen Davis missed most of the regular season after experiencing leg pain caused by a vascular mass that was putting pressure on a nerve. After non-structural surgery to correct the issues, he came back for the end of the season and was assigned to the Arizona Fall League. Davis was lifted from a game on October 10 and hasn’t played since as a result of what Banner would still only say was “general soreness.”
As speculated here and then confirmed by The Athletic’s Sahadev Sharma, Davis was experiencing back tightness that was not believed to be related to the surgery. This was probably more of a precautionary move than anything, and Banner said Davis was close to being back to 100% at this point. He should be a full go for spring training.
Miguel Amaya has experienced a string of bad breaks, some literal, as he tries to find some consistency in his career. After missing most of the 2021 season due to forearm tightness that signaled a torn UCL and led to elbow reconstruction, he made it back for the latter part of this season with Double-A Tennessee. Then he missed a little time with a dislocated finger suffered while sliding into second.
Amaya was supposed to join Davis in the AFL before a Lisfranc fracture suffered in September nixed those plans. Banner said the catcher should be good to go for the start of spring training, so let’s hope he can finally get in a full season and find a groove.
The most important thing is that these players are able to recover fully and play baseball again, but there’s a more immediate organizational in meantime. Even though the Cubs didn’t figure to be big buyers on the trade market, the lack of outfield depth and general uncertainty surrounding some of their top prospects puts the front office in a tough spot leverage-wise.