Garrett Cooper has been diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his left elbow and will undergo season-ending surgery, reports Craig Mish of the Miami Herald. The procedure comes with a three-to-four month recovery timeline, so he should be at full strength for spring training in 2022.
Losing Cooper is a tough break for the Marlins. The righty has been a top hitter for the club, posting a .284/380/.465 slash line.
Cooper was a Milwaukee Brewers farmhand from 2013 to 2017. He topped out at Triple-A, where he played in only 36 games before being traded to the New York Yankees as part of the Giancarlo Stanton trade with the Yankees. Cooper’s career turned a corner in 2019, but he suffered an injured (left calf strain) and was not fully available until mid-May. He totaled 107 games and posted a .281/.344/.446 line with 32 extra-base hits, 50 RBIs, and 107 hits in 381 at-bats.
Garrett Cooper Injury Struggles
Garrett Cooper has become one of Miami’s best hitters over the last few seasons. He struggled offensively at the beginning of this year but seemed to be picking it up before heading to the injured list. This season, Cooper ranks in the top ten among first basemen (minimum 200 plate appearances) in on-base percentage (.370), on-base-plus-slugging (.859) and wRC+ (141). The 30-year-old is also in the 91st percentile of hitters with a 51.9 percent hard hit rate. Cooper is not the best defender in the world, but he brings some versatility to the table with his ability to play both first base and the corner outfield spots. Cooper is part of a trend of players who field multiple positions, helping them stick with clubs.
Cooper has seen a majority of his playing time in right field due to Jesús Aguilar manning first base on an everyday basis. Cooper has belted 9 home runs and 32 RBI in 67 games. Deviating from the traditional triple-slash metrics and boiling his offensive production down to a metric such as OPS+—which adjusts for ballparks relative to the run-scoring environment—Cooper has posted a mark of 138, noting he has been 38-percent better than the league average player.
The man affectionately dubbed “Coopaloop” by the Marlins faithful is set to turn 31 on Christmas Day. With the team realistically a year or two away from being perennial contenders in the National League East, Cooper will likely be in the midst of his decline phase by the time that window opens. It will be curious to see if Garrett is moved before the trade deadline or in the offseason.
“Fish are expected to be very active” during the 11 days leading up to the MLB trade deadline, Jon Heyman reports. The Marlins’ final contract extension offer to Starling Marte included more than $30 million guaranteed, per Heyman, but that did not come close to his asking price, according to Craig Mish. “Miami now can move forward with trade proposals.” Wednesday, Marte was sent to Oakland.
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