I had previously speculated that Izzy had an undisclosed injury so this announcement comes as no surprise. The question is again one of disclosure. Was Izzy hiding this injury from the Cardinals in an attempt to achieve the 300 save milestone, or was the Cardinal organization hiding it? And how long has this been a lingering concern? Certainly Izzy was feeling discomfort and making a game effort to contribute to the club and pitch through the pain.
I for one applaud all that Izzy has done for the Cardinals. He has had a tremendous impact and despite a few injury plagued seasons where he wasn’t effective, he has been the reliable stopper that a team needs to have winning seasons.
Izzy left Oakland as a free agent and was signed by the Cardinals prior to the 2002 season. From 2002 through 2005 Izzy accumulated 140 Saves, 8W, 7L, 231K, 86BB, 175HA, in 241.2IP. Despite recent memory suggesting he would walk runners or always seem to have men on base, his W+H/IP ratio was around 1 except for the injury plagued year of 2006 and of course this year, seemingly another injury plagued year.
During his post season career Izzy pitched in 23 games earning 1 win and 11 saves with a 2.36 ERA. He pitched in 26 2/3 innings allowing 17 hits and 12 walks while striking out 23.
2006 seemed to be the turning point for Izzy and Cardinal Nation. We didn’t realize the extent of the injury that Izzy was dealing with and all we saw was one terrible performance after another. Hiding the injury hurt the relationship with the fans and did nothing to make him more effective against the opponents. Last year he rebounded nicely, but you had to wonder whether the hip would hold up. Turns out the elbow dealt the final blow. Yes, Izzy may still pitch again, but hard to imagine any scenario where he returns to the Cardinals next year given his huge salary.
So I guess it’s time to turn all of our attention to Mr. Chris Perez and see how he meaures up to the closer role. He will have big shoes to fill. I will conclude by saying that this recent announcement of Izzy’s injury has me a bit more concerned with the status of Chris Carpenter and even Adam Wainwright. How often did we hear the positive news about Mark Mulder and Matt Clement just to be frustrated when learning how far away they really were from joining any major league rotation.