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Nomar On His Way Back

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Nomar Garciaparra is rehabbing from that awful groin injury he suffered back in April. For some rehashing, let's take a look at this article/picture and this quote from injury guru Will Carroll:

It's possible, though unlikely, that Garciaparra could return with the muscle detached and have some level of effectiveness, but even this unlikely scenario would take two to three months to occur. The more likely course, one the Cubs medical staff admits is now in Garciaparra's hands, is surgery. It would need to occur within the week to be most effective and it would in effect end his 2005. For Cubs fans, this is a devastating blow, one that could potentially mark the end of Garciaparra as an elite player.

...and from an Under the Knife Column from a few days later:

For Nomar Garciaparra, his groin was cleaned out and reinforced. (Okay, I cringed writing that.)
Nomar went halfway with his surgery; having it cleared to heal instead of reattaching the avulsed tendon. Will Carroll was correct with his 2-3 month timetable for Nomar; let's hope he can come back effectively. Ignoring the injury and his early season struggles momentarily, let's use Net Runs Above Average to see how much of a boost Nomar can bring to the Cubs, who are pretty close to making it an even more interesting race out in the National League. After all the crap Chicago has gone through the past few seasons (not even counting all of history here) they deserve another playoff shot badly.

By the way, this calculation of NRAA will compare Nomar's 2004 season to Neifi's 2005 season, although it is a good idea to keep in mind that Neifi's numbers will be inflated due to his good start. Splits will be available after the NRAA figures to help give a better idea of what is going on.

It doesn't look like there is that much of a difference. Part of this problem was that Nomar was hampered by injury last season in Boston, and his usual league average or better fielding was hurt greatly. The third row down has the same offensive capabilities with Nomar playing league average defense, a realistic proposition once his range comes back after injury. I feel like Nomar will perform better than his 2004 numbers show, but possibly worse than the projected row I put into the picture. Let's see how much of the Cub's NRAA Nomar would account for if he comes back in his projected form.

Not only would Nomar come back and be the 5th most productive player in the lineup, but you also have the addition by subtraction factor of getting Neifi out of the lineup. Instead of wasting playing time and precious at-bats on a guy can contribute just over 1 run above average per 61 games, you get a player who when rehabbing from a serious injury could be over 7 runs above average. Every little bit is going to help down the stretch for the Cubbies. One more thing; being the 5th most productive player in a lineup of 8 does not sound like a big deal until you realize that is behind Derrek "Jimmie Foxx Impression" Lee, Aramis Ramirez, Jeromy Burnitz (who is playing very good defensively in right) and the newly called up Matt Murton, who is supposed to be a big deal but is as high rated as he is at the moment due to only have 33 PA. The Cubs will need Nomar.

Thanks to Will Carroll for being the only real injury source on the Internet. He alone is worth the price of admission at Baseball Prospectus, but there is plenty of other wonderful stuff at that site. Those of you without subscriptions would be advised to purchase one -- now.