How Much Will Zack Greinke’s Injury Impact Dodgers?

We’ve all seen plenty of baseball fights and most of the time they are pretty silly. The benches clear. A bunch of guys push and shove a little. Then they go back to their respective dugouts. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened when the Dodgers and Padres went at it on Thursday night and it’s likely going to cost L.A. big time.

The Dodgers won the game against San Diego 3-2, but there’s no question they lost the fight, as their marquee offseason acquisition, Zack Greinke broke his collarbone in the scuffle.

After drilling Carlos Quentin in the shoulder with a pitch in the sixth inning, Quentin charged, taking Greinke down and inducing both teams to pile on, which is what likely caused the injury.

But regardless of how it happened, there’s a much bigger question looming over Dodger nation at the moment. Just how much is this going to hurt?

In terms of monetary measures, it will likely hurt the organization quite a bit. Greinke’s signing was a huge deal this offseason to fans and the deal itself was huge for Greinke – $147 million worth to be exact. The Dodgers certainly won’t be thrilled signing off massive checks to a guy on the DL and they certainly will be livid if the team can’t pick things up in his absence, which would result in losses, which in turn, could result in lower attendance.

Speaking of which, it will likely hurt the team in terms of wins and losses as well. Greinke’s acquisition suddenly made the Dodgers many people’s pick to win the NL West, for some, even the NL pennant. Although we’re not sure how many games he will miss with the injury (he’ll probably have to be evaluated), we can safely say those odds will be affected, especially since the Giants look just as good as they did last year when they won the World Series.

So how much does the injury impact the team? It’s not something you can measure exactly, but there’s no question that bettors will be less inclined to take L.A. in futures wagers. Here’s what we do know: The Dodgers have a smaller chance to win games in which he doesn’t start; if he misses a significant number of games, the Dodgers have a smaller chance at making the playoffs; and if they don’t make the playoffs, many of those fans and bandwagon jumpers going to games and buying Greinke jerseys will go away, costing the franchise money.

So although the way in which Greinke got hurt wasn’t silly, Quentin’s actions certainly were. Maybe this will be a lesson to other teams. Let’s just hope the MLB punishes the Padres and Quentin accordingly, for possibly altering the Dodgers’ entire 2013 campaign.