Chipper Jones Whines About Injuries

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports interviewed Chipper Jones, asking him his thoughts on several topics, including the Braves’ fall from first place in the NL East. Jones took the opportunity to blame it on injuries, failing to realize that the first-place Phillies have had to overcome a multitude of injuries themselves.

Q: But what happens if you fail to make the playoffs? How disappointing will it be fall short in Cox’s final chance?

A: You’ve got to keep it all in perspective. If Medlen and I were healthy and we didn’t make it, that would be extremely disappointing, but it’s hard to overcome losing your No. 3 hitter and third baseman and one of your pitchers in the rotation, replace them with people in your organization and not have a little bit of a dip, not let it affect you.

Either way, it obviously would be disappointing. We’re a good enough team to represent our division and the National League in the playoffs, but you have that check in the back of your mind that says, “What would happen if I didn’t go down? If Medlen didn’t go down?”

It’s been a while since we last looked at how the injuries have been piling up for the Phillies, so let’s take a look.

The timeline (click to view a much larger version):

Player Absent Injury $/Gm $ to Date Injury Cost
Chase Utley 47 R Thumb Sprain $92,593 $13.70 M $4.35 M
Jimmy Rollins 66 R Calf Strain $46,296 $6.85 M $3.06 M
Brad Lidge 42 R Elbow Surgery/
Inflammation
$70,988 $10.51 M $2.98 M
Jamie Moyer 56 L Elbow UCL $40,123 $5.94 M $2.25 M
Ryan Howard 16 L Ankle $117,284 $17.36 M $1.88 M
Ryan Madson 63 R Big Toe Fracture $27,778 $4.11 M $1.75 M
Placido Polanco 19 L Elbow Bruise $30,864 $4.57 M $0.59 M
J.C. Romero 22 L Elbow Surgery $24,691 $3.65 M $0.54 M
Shane Victorino 13 R Abdominal Strain $30,864 $4.57 M $0.40 M
J.A. Happ 88 L Forearm Strain $2,901 $0.43 M $0.26 M
Chad Durbin 18 R Hamstring Strain $13,117 $1.94 M $0.24 M
Carlos Ruiz 20 Concussion $11,728 $1.74 M $0.23 M
Danys Baez 15 Back Spasms $15,432 $2.28 M $0.23 M
Joe Blanton 24 L Oblique Strain $6,173 $0.91 M $0.15 M
Ross Gload 17 Groin $6,173 $0.91 M $0.10 M
Brian Schneider 13 L Achilles Strain $6,173 $0.91 M $0.08 M
Antonio Bastardo 26 L Elbow Ulnar Neuritis $2,500 $0.37 M $0.07 M
Scott Mathieson 12 R Strained Lat Muscle $2,469 $0.37 M $0.03 M
Juan Castro 5 L Hamstring Strain $4,321 $0.64 M $0.02 M
TOTAL 582 $81.77 M $19.20 M

The above data in graph form (click to view a much larger version):

The Phillies have lost about $20 million in injuries, not even counting the non-DL days players took off (like Lidge Sept. 7-13 or Brown Sept. 7-17). Overall, 19 players have landed on the disabled list for a total of 582 days. Ten of the 19 have missed 20 games or more; six have missed at least 40 games. Six players’ injuries have cost the Phillies at least $1.75 million; three have cost the team $3 million or more.

Of the nearly $82 million the Phillies will have paid the 19 injured players, over $19 million has been lost to injury (23.5 percent). They opened the season with a $138 million payroll; the injuries represent about 14 percent of that.

Despite the host of injuries — including the simultaneous absence of the right side of the infield and #3-4 hitters — the Phillies sit in first place, 26 games above .500. They won 31 of 44 (.705) in August and September and finished out the month of July with six straight wins as well. The Braves have gone in the opposite direction.

While it’s certainly true that the Phillies have been playing over their heads and the Braves under theirs, the Braves have only themselves to blame for their struggles. Swapping Yunel Escobar for Alex Gonzalez was a loss in terms of production and expecting the oft-injured Derrek Lee and Rick Ankiel to provide an offensive boost was a fool’s errand. Phillies GM Ruben Amaro has outclassed Braves GM Frank Wren in terms of surrounding the core group of players with productive complimentary players. Having an extra $50 million will do that. But when payroll is that much smaller, player evaluation has to be that much better and for the Braves, it simply hasn’t been there.

Jones is wrong when he blames the Braves’ woes on injuries. If he would look up at the team in first place, he would realize that.

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33 comments

  1. StandardTwinsFan

    September 18, 2010 04:39 PM

    Of course the Phillies injuries will cost more if their going to continue giving out stupid contracts. It should be based on who lost better players not who lost higher paid players. Not really a valid argument.

  2. Bill Baer

    September 18, 2010 04:44 PM

    Yeah, that’s why I provided the numbers as a percentage of total payroll.

    The only regular position players who haven’t gone on the DL are Raul Ibanez and Jayson Werth. Almost all of the main bullpen guys have hit the shelf, and the Phillies lost one of their starters for the season.

  3. StandardTwinsFan

    September 18, 2010 04:52 PM

    Really like the blog, first time visit. Just that didn’t make any sense to me.

    Braves have lost a lot of players too, and they play injured (without going on the DL) which makes them (and their injury staff) idiots. I think Jurrjens and Prado are hurt right now.

  4. Bill Baer

    September 18, 2010 04:58 PM

    I thought the same thing about Jurrjens. I haven’t noticed it so much with Prado but I only watch the Braves once a week (when they’re not playing the Phillies) if I’m lucky.

    Do the Braves have a habit of making their players play through injuries? I know the Phillies are conservative about that; it’d be interesting if the Braves were on the other end of the spectrum.

  5. Dave

    September 18, 2010 07:58 PM

    Larry’s a fairy and just jealous. “we are good enough to represent our division”. what? umm…if there’s another team in your division that is superior that yours, that would be the definition of NOT being good enough. The percentage of injuries and to who is just a semantic game that cannot truly be quantified or calculated (although Bill makes a valiant effort). Larry must be playing a different kind of “fantasy” baseball if he thinks injuries aren’t a part of the game. to blame his team’s performance on injuries is something a five year old would do. the fact that he said that not giving credit to the phillies for overcoming their injuries is weak. the fact that he thinks that he would have made all the difference in the world when he is a shell of his former all -star self is simply delusional. does he know his WAR? it ain’t 3 games plus….especially when in his case prado/infante is his actual replacement player.

  6. Jim

    September 19, 2010 02:45 AM

    @StandardTwinsFan,

    Are you suggesting Utley and Howard are somehow less important/valuable/worse player than Chipper Jones? Because add the number of games Utley/Howard missed is about how many games Chipper will have missed by the end of the season. Yet guess what, Phillies are going to win the division DESPITE that. Decent team do their best and pray for good luck to make it to the post season. Great teams deal with bad luck and make it anyway. That’s the difference… Although in fairness to Chipper, I certainly hope he doesn’t think like that as a member of the Braves.

  7. hk

    September 19, 2010 07:14 AM

    In addition to the games lost by 3/4 of the starting lineup, one shouldn’t overlook the games lost to injury by the best RP (Madson) or the loss of more than 162 combined by the #3 through #5 pitchers (Blanton, Moyer and Happ before the trade to HOU). The Blanton, Moyer and Happ injuries have combined to ensure that #6 starter Kyle Kendrick has taken a regular turn in the Phillies rotation.

  8. JRVJ

    September 19, 2010 11:35 AM

    Bill, I agree with the thrust of your article, but the final line (“Jones is wrong when he blames the Braves’ woes on injuries. If he would look up at the team in first place, he would realize that.”) seems countersensical to me.

    I would think that in order to confirm or disprove Chipper Jones’ statement, you’d have to run a similar analysis for the Braves, showing how much of the Braves payroll has been impacted by injuries.

    Phrased differently, the fact that the Phillies have been hit by injuries neither pvoes nor disproves whether the Braves have been disproportionately hit by injuries, since BOTH teams could have been decimated by injuries.

  9. JRVJ

    September 19, 2010 11:41 AM

    Sorry, that should be “neither proves nor disproves”.

  10. Bill Baer

    September 19, 2010 11:45 AM

    Yeah, unfortunately the analysis is extremely time-consuming. But I think it’s pretty obvious the Phillies come out ahead with the injuries.

    The Braves have seen Chipper Jones, Troy Glaus, Nate McLouth Jair Jurrjens, and Kris Medlen hit the DL. I’m probably missing a couple players but they’re still not even close.

  11. Bertram

    September 19, 2010 03:51 PM

    I’m sorry, but this post is ridiculous; Chipper is NOT bitching that they’re the better team but for the injuries at all. He was asked a question- how much does it suck to possibly not make the playoffs for Cox- and he’s answering that question.
    It would be one thing if Chipper claimed that w/o injuries the Braves would have made the playoffs for sure- but he doesn’t say that. He’s just contrasting disappointments b/w not making it b/c you got your *** smacked and not making it b/c you were also injured. The second is just easier to accept.
    Are the Braves a “good enough team” to represent the NL East? Is that a serious question? I don’t think they’re the best team, the Phillies having played below their level of ability (assuming age has not actually crept in) for most of this year. But in 100 seasons, could the Braves make it 30 times? It’s not like they’re the Nationals!

  12. micah

    September 19, 2010 05:47 PM

    @ bertram,

    In 100 seasons could this years braves beat this years phillies 30 times? Are you serious, the Phillies this year, due to injuries and other factors, have played near the bottom of their abilities, and the braves have played near the top of their potential. If the Braves can’t win the NL East this year, they are certainly not going to win it 30% of the time.

    lets be honest, if the phillies have a normal season this year injury-wise, they are a 105 win team. How many times out of 100 are the braves going to win more than that? 30? no. try once. maybe.

  13. Bill Baer

    September 19, 2010 06:27 PM

    lets be honest, if the phillies have a normal season this year injury-wise, they are a 105 win team.

    lollercoaster

  14. Laura

    September 19, 2010 06:31 PM

    @ Micah

    I don’t think the idea that the Braves win the division 30% of the time is that far fetched. The Phillies are certainly the superior team, but the difference isn’t that great.

    BP at the beginning of the year projected the Phillies to be a 94 win team to the Braves 91. That means the base talent of the two teams is pretty close.

  15. micah

    September 19, 2010 07:04 PM

    Bill, the phils will likely get to 95+ as is. How many wins, in your opinion, have the phillies lost to injury?

  16. Bill Baer

    September 19, 2010 07:26 PM

    The Phillies have played a couple games above their expected W-L based on runs scored and runs allowed. They’re about a 93-94 win team over 162 games based on RS/RA. You may generously be able to bump it up to 95 (+10 runs) or 96 (+20 runs) to account for injuries.

  17. micah

    September 19, 2010 08:37 PM

    They are 93 or 94 win team in a horrendous injury season. How many wins, in your opinion, have they lost to injury?

  18. micah

    September 19, 2010 08:38 PM

    Sorry misread your response. Internet browsing on a phone for the lose.

  19. micah

    September 19, 2010 08:54 PM

    anyway, wilson valdez has played over half a season due to injury. The difference between valdez and rollins over half a season, if we use Rollins’ 2009 numbers (one of his worst seasons) is over one expected win. Rollins’ injuries alone have cost the phillies at least one win and change.

  20. micah

    September 19, 2010 08:56 PM

    if we assume that rollins would’ve had an average year this season, its closer to 3 wins.

  21. Jim

    September 19, 2010 11:51 PM

    @micah,

    Sorry, I have to go with Bill on this one, even tho we are all big time Phillies fans. 105-win teams are historically good teams. Even if we had Roy Oswalt for an entire year AND be as injury-free as we were back in 2008, this team isn’t a 105-win team. Phillies would literally have to have something like another +100 in the RS/RA differential, and that just ain’t happening.

    You’re right, if Phillies were a team that’s capable of winning 105 games, Braves wouldn’t win 30 times out of 100. Except, Phillies are not.

  22. Dan

    September 20, 2010 03:13 AM

    @Jim,

    If the Phils end up with 100 wins (not saying it will happen, but it’s still statistically possible until they win two more games), what would be you thoughts then? Honestly I think with the addition of Roy-O for a full season and without all these key injuries, you can easily add another 5+ games to the W column. If they manage to win 100, then I’d say 105 would not be out of the question.

    Then again, if not for all the injuries, we would probably not even have Roy-O, so this is all speculation anyways.

    @micah,

    As much as I love smack talking the Braves, I think you give them too little credit. If we don’t make some serious moves in the offseason these next couple of years (and chances are we won’t with all that money already invested) we could pretty easily be unseated at the top of the NL.

    @Laura,

    To be fair they were comparing talent at the beginning of the year. Add Roy-O to our rotation, subtract Escobar from their lineup, and we’re looking at a decent swing of base-talent. Adding two to our record and subtracting two from theirs is not out of the question. Is that enough to say they wouldn’t win 30% of the time? No, but then again, it makes it a lot more difficult.

  23. Laura

    September 20, 2010 11:56 AM

    @Dan

    While true that they were basing the projections on our roster not including Roy Oswalt, they were also not accounting for the injuries to Utley, Rollins, Howard, et al.

    Its also worth noting that the Braves are underperforming playing two under there pythag and could be at 88 wins right now while the Phillies have been over-performing and their pythag is at 86 wins.

    Bottom line is healthy Phillies are better then healthy Braves, but the difference is not night and day.

  24. Jim

    September 21, 2010 12:36 AM

    @Dan,

    My opinion would not change even if they end up winning 100 games, because that just means they got lucky. Yes, I don’t just use luck to explain bad things away :) This is still not a 105-win team, no matter how you wanna look at it. If they end up with 100 wins, 10 bucks that if the season happened 100 times, they wouldn’t repeat that 30% of the time :) By the way, ain’t nothing wrong with a 95-win team. Many of those teams go on to win WSes.

    Besides, they are not gonna win 100 games. chances are by the time the last series with Atlanta comes up, we probably won’t be using the Big Three. We’ll be using the Unknown Three. Probably the reason why I think the Braves will win the WC.

  25. james

    September 21, 2010 10:07 PM

    Bill:

    This is a hall of fame baseball player who is currently on the bench because of a season-ending injury during what might be his last year. What response do you expect him to give? The fact that you read this much into his response, even if prompted to by the way Rosenthal organized the article, is ridiculous.

    Weren’t you the one calling out a journalist for riding Jason Werth based on rumors? How do you categorize this article? Did anyone ask what Chipper’s opinion of the Phillies is? Did anyone ask him to compare the two teams based on injuries?

    This is typical blog garbage.

  26. Jim

    September 22, 2010 01:05 AM

    @james,

    Ahm… Except this isn’t rumor? It came out of the horse’s own mouth? Are you claiming that Chipper Jones didn’t say those things?

    I don’t think Bill has problems with people commenting on things that actually happened. He does have a problem when you base your opinions on unsubstantiated rumors.

  27. james

    September 22, 2010 09:13 AM

    Jim: There’s a difference. Bill read way too much into Chipper’s comments and unreasonably concluded, without anything else, that Chipper is “whining about injuries.” Hey, I’m usually a fan of Bill’s writing, but there’s no reason to blast a rival’s team leader on cherry-picked language. It’s poor form.

  28. Jim

    September 22, 2010 11:38 AM

    @james,

    That’s fine. You can disagree with him, and you might even be offended by his writing sometimes. But don’t compare him by making comments like “Weren’t you the one calling out a journalist for riding Jason Werth based on rumors? How do you categorize this article?” It’s uncalled for because the comparison is not appropriate. He doesn’t call himself a journalist, and this article isn’t trying to persuade you with any under-handed tactics. Just one man’s opinion. I mean, you asked what did you expect Chipper to say? Well, how did you expect a Phillies fan to respond? Goes both ways.

  29. james

    September 22, 2010 01:51 PM

    I expect anyone (sports analyst, fan, whatever) to respond with a little common sense before entitling a post with the following: “Chipper Jones Whines about Injuries.”

    His conclusion makes no sense based on the interview. That’s my opinion. Maybe Bill will offer some more insight.

    Anyway, I wonder if Oswalt will dominate tonight…

  30. micah

    September 22, 2010 10:13 PM

    Ok, so the 2010 Phillies, wracked with injuries and with their offense performing far below expectations for weeks at a time, are going to coast to the division title. The only thing which might stop the phillies from winning 96-98 games is the fact that they will most likely clinch this weekend or early next week, and will rest their starters next week. Now, someone please tell me how, given all of this, the 2010 braves, given 100 chances, would’ve won this division 30 times?

  31. micah

    September 22, 2010 10:14 PM

    I mean sure, if we simulated this season 100 times, there would probably be one or two where the phils had some kind of flameout, which caused them to perform well below their potential and maybe the braves could take advantage in those situations. But really, 30 times?

    No way.

  32. Jim

    September 23, 2010 01:54 AM

    @micah,

    That’s because you don’t realize statistically speaking, how HUGE of a difference 70-30 is. Let me give you a good example. A 110-win team is basically your “OMG how can this team ever lose” team. 110 wins is everyone’s definition of a ridiculous season. Do you know what the winning percentage of a 110-win team is? That’s right… 67.9%. And here you are complaining that if the season plays out 100 times, the Phillies are ONLY gonna win the division over the Braves 70 times? Seriously?

  33. Brian

    September 24, 2010 07:19 AM

    Whinning may be too strong of a word, but Larry (Chipper)is certainly making excuses. Sure they lost Medlen to season ending injury and besides the loss of Chipper what other (long term) over 30 day injury have they had to an every day starter or SP? Possibly Matt Diaz who has been on the 15 day DL a couple of times, but he isn’t even at the top of their depth chart. In comparison the Phils have lost at least 3/4 (2 MVPs and 1 could be) of their infield for more than 20 games at a stretch. Even making stretch and saying that the loss of Glaus (more due ti ineffectiveness than injury) has hurt them still doesn’t compare to Utley missing more than 2 months and Jimmy Rollins two stints on the DL and now this prolonged (non DL) stint.

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