More Tommy John Surgeries By The Numbers + Who Is the 1st $100 MIL Pitcher To Go Down With It? + A Scherzer Angle?
By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): Follow @chuckbooth3024 – Credit to Bill Chuck For the Idea: Follow @billyball
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I think Max Scherzer should have taken the contract offer the Tigers threw his way this past weekend. Reports say it was in the Cole Hamels and Zack Greinke range of 6 YRs/$144 – $147 MIL.
So now that the reigning AL Cy Young Winner didn’t take the deal, he must hope to replicate his 2013 campaign, or at least come some where near it.
Do I think he could make more on the open market, potentially yes. But for a guy who has never been under a 3 ERA in any one given year, that is a tall order.
Also keep in mind his arm could sideline him with an injury at any point, so there is an inherent risk to not taking the deal.
One of out every 3 Major League Pitchers will go undergo Tommy John Surgery.
If you don’t think this procedure is an epidemic, go follow our ALL – Time TJ Surgery Tracker here.
I only wanted to say my two cents that Scherzer should have taken the guaranteed money.
That ship has now sailed in Detroit, and their pursuit has changed to Miguel Cabrera. The onus on the club to win this year has only deeply hightened.
if you read our website, we have taken a huge look towards payroll, and to what some of the trends are. Smaller market teams will never…EVER risk any long-term big bucks on Pitching.
These franchises will be your Oakland’s, Tampa’s, Pittsburgh’s and Minnesota’s.
In particular Billy Beane realizes that you can never duplicate the 1st 6 or 7 years of a pitcher in terms of $ per win total.
Take a look at his history. He has let several stud pitchers like Barry Zito, Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder leave his team for mutil-year, huge contracts, while he also trades Starters once they become too expensive for the club.
I am a firm believer of this. and especially if you are not one of the higher payroll franchises.
Also, I am just waiting for the 1st $100 MIL contracts that is doled out to a pitcher, only to have the guy go down for Tommy John Surgery. The clock is ticking on that one.
Not even a player that is in the top 50 salaries of ALL – Time (mind you, they are all over the $100 MIL barrier now anyway.)
Sooner or later a Pitcher like Felix Hernandez, Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Masahiro Tanaka or any other pitcher in this range, will need to undergo the procedure.
I am not wishing this upon anybody trust me…I just think the baseball GM’s need to think twice about forking out these kinds of salaries to pitching long-term.
Even with that, a great starting pitcher may only ever have about 5 or 6 dominating seasons in most cases, and that would be the primary reason of signing them for that much dough anyway.
Only the extremely high payroll clubs like the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees and maybe the Boston Red Sox could suffer a Tommy John Surgery to one of their aces, and shake it off for the duration while their premiere pitcher is out.
Okay, now that everyone is upset, let’s take a look at the World of Good TJ Surgery has brought forth by the numbers.
There is only one player that has won the Cy Young Award after having his elbow fixed, and that was Eric Gagne, who won it for the Dodgers in 2003, after having the surgery in 1997.
There are 4 Cy Young winners that have had the surgery after they won a Cy Young including Gagne going under the knife for 2nd time in 2005.
The other winners were Chris Carpenter, (2006 Cy Young Winner only to have TJ surgery a year later), Pat Hentgen, who won the Cy Young in 1996, undergoing the surgery in 2001, and finally John Smoltz who also won the Award in 1996 (like Hentgen, before having Tommy John Surgery a few years later.
There are 3 players that have finished 2nd in Cy Young Voting after the procedure, including Tommy John finishing runner up for the Award in the NL for the 1977 year via the LA Dodgers – and also for the 1979 Yankees in the AL.
Jimmy Key underwent the surgery in 1988, and finished 2nd in Cy Young Voting in the AL in 1994.
Last year, Adam Wainwright finished 2nd in Cy Young Voting to Clayton Kershaw, after coming back from TJ surgery in 2011.
For those keeping score at home, the ALL – Time Wins leader after the procedure is not the man who the surgery is named after.
The correct answer would be David Wells. The big former Yankee, was the 3rd player ever to use the surgery, and did so before he even through in the Majors.
Wells authored a nice 21 year career, after his elbow was saved, winning 239 wins versus 157 defeats (.604 Win Pctg), and he lugged the most amounts of Innings post TJ surgery as well, with 3439 Frames worked.
Wells also finished 3rd in Cy Young Voting in a couple of different seasons. He won a World Series with the Blue Jays in 1992 and Yankees in 1998.
2nd in ALL – Time wins and Innings Pitched is Kenny Rogers with 219 victories and 3302.2 IP worth of work for his lifetime in the MLB. Like Wells, he would have never made the Major Leagues with the Tommy John surgery.
Rogers was the 6th pitcher to use the procedure – going under the knife in 1987.
Finally 3rd is Tommy John with 164 Wins after he was the test subject for Dr. Frank Jobe in 1974. From 1977 – 1980, he would featured 2 runnerups in Cy Young Voting, with a 4th and 8th place finish in the other years.
John won 20 or more games in three of the years. and was a combined 80 – 35 in that timeframe. Truly remarkable.
Some of the pitchers on the ALL – Time list have been great relievers.
Jason Isringhausen had his 1st of 3 TJ surgeries in 1998, and he is the ALL – Time Leader in post TJ Saves at 300 even.
Rafael Soriano, Fernando Rodney, Brian Wilson and John Smoltz are also four pitchers that have topped 150+ Saves or more since having their UCL replaced.
As we go further into future, the ALL – Time wins and Saves List in this category will continue to grow.
Guaranteed with the likes of Adam Wainwright, Matt Harvey, Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann already being veterans of the procedure, that one of them will claim the Award soon.
The next generation will be even more prolific with the terms of amount of TJ surgeries.
The act of throwing a baseball is not natural, and placing torque on the muscle by throwing hard as the kids are now is putting undue strain on the UCL.
Coaches and parents are also allowing the kids to throw junk at young ages, when they should be promoting health as the number 1 priority.
Some of the kids are playing up to 100 games a year on travel teams, high school teams, and forms of ALL – Star teams. Arms need time to rest.
Kids are being taught to pick a sport like baseball at an early age – and to train around the year to hone their craft.
A more plausible scenario would be to crosstrain with other sports for cardiovascular conditioning like soccer or tennis.
This helps both with working other joints in your body to remain strong, while creating muscle confusion to not overuse the ones used specifically for baseball.
I am not an expert in this field, but I will tell you from personal experience, I do know a little bit about the topic.
I was a Catcher from age 6 – 16 and a little league umpire (calling strikes behind home plate for 60 games a year to earn $),
Having 2 older brothers just 1 and 2 years older, I often came up to play on their teams too as a Catcher. My knees were shot by the time I was 17.
Worse was also for my arm. I would Catch and pitch from age 10 – 17. My arm was barking every year as well.
Some will also say that working out too much has caused muscles to become tighter, and have less give when the arm is overused. Some flab may be a softening barrier.
Think David Wells and CC Sabathia.. Not exactly beacons of health, but predominantly have thrown for the majority of their careers without arm problems.
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Posted on March 26, 2014, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged 1992 toronto blue jays, adam wainwright, barry zito, billy beane, brian wilson, cc sabathia, chris carpenter, clayton kershaw, cole hamels, Cy Young Award Winners, david wells, detroit tigers, dr. frank jobe, dr. james andrews, eric gagne, felix hernandez, fernando rodney, jason isringhausen, JImmy Key, john smoltz, jordan zimmermann, kenny rogers, los angeles dodgers, mark Mulder, masahiro tanaka, max scherzer, new york yankees, oakland athletics, Pat Hentgen, rafael soriano, st louis cardinals, stephen strasburg, tim hudson, tommy john, Tommy John Surgery, zack greinke. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.
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