The Chicago Cubs biggest free agent signing in 2014 has been pitching with a bone chip in his pitching elbow, and the team was aware of it when they signed him. Is Jon Lester a risk because of it?
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Jon Lester has known about the bone chip in his pitching elbow since a personal MRI in 2014. The Chicago Cubs knew about it before signing him to a $155 million dollar deal. The feeling was that Lester’s MRI compared “favorably” with other pitcher’s MRI’s the team had viewed in recent years. But many can’t help but ask if it’s the reason he might have struggled last season.
"“It’s kind of one of those deals if it’s not bothering you, don’t mess with it,” Lester said, according to the Sun-Times. “You start getting cut on and doing rehab, and that’s when maybe they’re in there, taking that bone chip out, and it puts more stress on something else. You don’t know. ‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ type thing.”"
I say things like that with my toaster or a can opener. None of those items cost me what Lester’s arm cost the Cubs. But honestly, I don’t think the bone chip had any effect on his performance last year–unless it’s the reason he can’t throw to bases–then we should get in there and remove it immediately.
Joe Maddon has been impressed with Lester in camp, not just on the work he’s putting into stopping baserunners but also his overall form and mechanics.
"“I’ve watched him throw in this camp and think he’s throwing the ball as well as I’ve ever seen him,” he said. “His delivery is as good as I’ve seen him. His arm stroke is beautiful.”"
Lester is right in the sense that anytime you do surgery, you open yourself up for the chance of something else going wrong. But I also can’t help feel like being proactive would be better than losing him in the middle of a playoff race or worse yet, in the playoffs.
As of now, the bone chip is a non-issue, but for a team with World Series aspirations, it’s something that can’t simply be glossed over either. Hopefully, that chip will stay right where it’s at for the next six or seven years.