Mike Zunino broke a bone in his non-throwing hand, and now Zunino will miss at least the next six week. If you’re counting that puts his return in the middle of September. That’s bad news, because Zunino is one of the Mariners top prospects and has seemed to solidify the team’s defense behind the plate.
It’s less bad news than it could have been because the team has Henry Blanco, and Zunino hasn’t been incredible at the plate.
Zunino may hit some day. He’ll never be Buster Posey, and he’ll never be Joe Mauer, but he may hit. A better version of J.P. Arencibia at the plate certainly doesn’t rush the blood to anyone’s nether regions, but that would be an acceptable outcome. He isn’t hitting though, and Blanco is good defensively.
The team has signed Humberto Quintero to replace Zunino on the 25 may roster. Quintero is a player available in July, so obviously he’s not a world-beater, but he’s an acceptable defensive catcher who can’t hit. By choosing Blanco over Kelly Shoppach earlier this season they basically decided that if Zunino doesn’t hit at the catcher position, nobody fucking hits at the catcher position. Zunino won’t be playing for a long time, and in the mean time the Mariners will continue to punt offense for defense, and theoretically for continued improved pitcher production.
The 2013 Seattle Mariners aren’t objectively much worse than they were yesterday. This may hurt Zunino’s development, which is bad for the 2013 iteration of the ball club to some extent, but has greater impact on the teams of 2014 and beyond.
Ultimately, this probably means another cup of coffee for Jesus Sucre if he’s able to recover the injury to his left hand before Zunino recovers from his. That’s a very thin, quite transparent silver lining. It’s like a polished, but heavily corroded steel lining.