Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Neil Walker injured his side when swinging the bat in a game against the Chicago Cubs on Saturday, and he still hasn’t returned. Obviously, when a player is injured, the team needs to go with a short bench — unless the player is placed on the disabled list.
Walker has been one of the most underrated second basemen in the National League in the past few years, but 2013 has been a down-year for him. He is still an average second baseman, but he’s at the normal Walker level.
His slash line currently sits at .244/.347/.384; he doesn’t hit for average or power, but he does take his walks. In fact, the only thing keeping his line up to standard is his ability to draw walks.
Walker is certainly a valuable player to the Pirates’ success, but is he really valuable enough for the team to refuse to put him on the DL just to get an extra three or four games from him before the All-Star break? If Walker were to hit the 15-day disabled list today, he would only be forced to miss seven more games.
If the Pirates were to ask me I would tell them to just put him on the DL. Having a full bench for those seven games is so much more valuable than having (a potentially not 100 percent) Walker for an extra three or four games and sacrificing the bench for the others and leaving the team shorthanded.