The Marlins will be without star second baseman Jazz Chisholm Jr. for quite some time, as a CT scan has revealed a stress fracture in his back, Craig Mish and Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald report (Twitter link). That comes with around a six-week recovery timetable, and Chisholm will likely then need to ramp back up to game activity.
It’s a brutal injury for a Marlins team that is on the fringe of the National League Wild Card race (six games back) and determining whether to add some veteran pieces or sell off short-term assets with the trade deadline looming. The 24-year-old Chisholm has emerged as Miami’s best position player and one of the better all-around talents in the National League, slashing .254/.325/.535 with 14 home runs, 10 doubles, four triples and a dozen stolen bases in 241 plate appearances this year.
That output would put Chisholm on pace for a potential 30-homer, 30-steal season — all while playing standout defense at second base. This latest injury, however, looks as though it’ll sideline the dynamic Miami second baseman for the majority of the games remaining on the schedule. Nagging back issues have interrupted the breakout season for the first-time All-Star, who initially landed on the 10-day injured list in late June with what had been termed a lower back strain.
The Fish have felt Chisholm’s absence, limping to a .206/.266/.304 line since he landed on the shelf. They’re currently riding a four-game losing streak in which they’re scored a total of one run, and they haven’t plated more than five runs in any contest since July 3. That stretch has dealt a notable hit to their chances of hanging around in the Wild Card race, and losing their best player only makes a second-half push seem more far-fetched. Frustrations with the offense have understandably mounted, with manager Don Mattingly saying yesterday the Marlins have a “stagnant club that sits and hopes we hit a home run or a couple doubles” while both Chisholm and stolen base leader Jon Berti have been on the injured list (video link via Jeremy Tache of Bally Sports Florida). The skipper added it’s been “frustrating” to get down years from players like Avisail Garcia and Jorge Soler, each of whom was brought in via multi-year free agent deals over the winter.
Mish tweeted yesterday that unhappiness was predictably mounting throughout the organization, suggesting the team could soon turn to former #4 overall pick JJ Bleday in hopes of sparking the offense. Bleday has seen his stock fall notably since he’s been in pro ball, but he’s at least reaching base at a .365 clip with Triple-A Jacksonville this season. General manager Kim Ng and her staff will have to decide how to proceed with the roster over the next few weeks, with Miami featuring a host of veteran role players who could hold appeal to contenders were the Marlins to make them available.