As would later become apparent, Buster Posey’s season-ending injury last year was a quasi-death sentence for the 2011 San Francisco Giants. And while there hasn’t been an injury of that magnitude so far in 2012, there have been a handful of note.
Pablo Sandoval, Ryan Howard, Michael Morse, Mat Gamel, Chris Carpenter, Lance Berkman, Doug Fister...please, don’t make me go on.
To sort through the carnage and rank each injury according to its relative importance, I’ve developed four central criteria:
- How good is the player?
- How long will the injury keep him sidelined?
- How strong is the impacted team’s contingency plan at that position?
- What is the team’s current standing? Or, to word it differently: How strong is the injured team’s divisional competition?
That’s what made the Posey injury so devastating. Not only is he one of the NL’s top three catchers, but the Giants were markedly thin at backup catcher last year and San Francisco wasn’t all that much stronger than the rest of the teams in a competitive NL West.
Perhaps in a division with less balance—like, say, the NL Central—the Giants would have survived. Perhaps if Hector Sanchez had been ready to assume an everyday role, the Giants would have survived.
Neither was the case, and the Giants didn’t survive.
So, who is in San Francisco’s position this year?
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