Former Cleveland Indians infielder Andy Marte killed in car crash

Former Major League Baseball player Andy Marte died in an automobile accident Sunday morning, according to MLB Trade Rumors and multiple news outlets in the Dominican Republic.

Marte, who was 33, was killed in the Dominican Republic, his home country. The news was confirmed via Twitter by J.M.G. Baseball, the agency that represented Marte.

Reports indicate Marte was traveling alone in the vehicle when the accident occurred:

His professional baseball career began in 2000 when he signed with the Atlanta Braves as an international free agent. From there, his stock began to climb as a prospect and he made his major league debut in 2005. The following offseason found Marte being traded to the Red Sox.

On Jan. 27, 2006, the Red Sox traded him to the Cleveland Indians along with reliever Guillermo Mota, catcher Kelly Shoppach, Randy Newsom, and cash considerations and obtained center fielder Coco Crisp, catcher Josh Bard, and pitcher David Riske in return.

During his time with the Indians, Marte went .224/.281/.369 and hit 20 home runs over that span and had 92 RBI (stats via Baseball-Reference). In Feb. 2009, Marte was sent down to the AAA Columbus Clippers, an affiliate of the Indians. There he played in 82 games and hit .327 with 18 homers.

After his stint with Cleveland, Marte ended up moving around the league as he shuffled through time with the Pirates, Angels, and Diamondbacks. In 2014, Marte signed with the Korean Baseball Organization and the KT Wiz, where he spent the past two seasons.

Former Cleveland Indians infielder Andy Marte killed in car crash

Former Major League Baseball player Andy Marte died in an automobile accident Sunday morning, according to MLB Trade Rumors and multiple news outlets in the Dominican Republic.

Marte, who was 33, was killed in the Dominican Republic, his home country. The news was confirmed via Twitter by J.M.G. Baseball, the agency that represented Marte.

Reports indicate Marte was traveling alone in the vehicle when the accident occurred:

His professional baseball career began in 2000 when he signed with the Atlanta Braves as an international free agent. From there, his stock began to climb as a prospect and he made his major league debut in 2005. The following offseason found Marte being traded to the Red Sox.

On Jan. 27, 2006, the Red Sox traded him to the Cleveland Indians along with reliever Guillermo Mota, catcher Kelly Shoppach, Randy Newsom, and cash considerations and obtained center fielder Coco Crisp, catcher Josh Bard, and pitcher David Riske in return.

During his time with the Indians, Marte went .224/.281/.369 and hit 20 home runs over that span and had 92 RBI (stats via Baseball-Reference). In Feb. 2009, Marte was sent down to the AAA Columbus Clippers, an affiliate of the Indians. There he played in 82 games and hit .327 with 18 homers.

After his stint with Cleveland, Marte ended up moving around the league as he shuffled through time with the Pirates, Angels, and Diamondbacks. In 2014, Marte signed with the Korean Baseball Organization and the KT Wiz, where he spent the past two seasons.

The Gleyber Torres trade doesn’t look good in hindsight

The title of this piece abandons any pretense of holding you, the reader, in suspense. The trade the Cubs and Yankees agreed to in July of this year was always referred to as “the Aroldis Chapman trade,” and with good reason. Chapman was the headliner, the player the Cubs sought out and committed to adding to their roster, regardless of price. It’s only now ?? after the Cubs have won, the parade has finished, and the offseason has nearly run its course ?? that the last clause in that sentence has begun to inspire some feelings of regret.

At the time of the trade, the Cubs knew exactly what they had in Gleyber Torres: a consensus top-tier prospect, and very possibly a future superstar. Baseball America listed Torres as the No. 2 international prospect of 2013, describing him as “a savvy player with present skills and the potential for five average or better tools.” The main fear was that he wouldn’t be able to remain at shortstop, due to his compact 5′ 11″, 185-lb frame. Since then, however, as Eric Longenhagen said this July, “things have gone about as well as anyone could have hoped.” He had maintained his range, added muscle and power, and hit .275/.359/.433 as a 19-year-old at High-A.

Must Reads

Didi Gregorius has taken off


After steadily improving for two seasons, the Yankees’ shortstop has solidified his reputation.

Must Reads

And since the trade, things have gone even better. In October, Baseball America ranked Torres as the top prospect in the newly stacked Yankees system. The defensive concerns were gone: Torres is “an excellent bet to stay at shortstop because of his soft, quick hands and smooth actions around the bag.” Most exciting, however, is his offensive potential, which BA described as “special,” citing his pitch recognition, “uncanny” ability to put bat on ball, and plus power. Keith Law, at ESPN, is even more enthusiastic, ranking Torres as the No. 4 prospect in all of MLB, also citing his pitch recognition, approach, and defensive abilities. There is every reason to be over-the-moon about Torres.

And then, on the other side of the ledger, there’s Chapman. He spent about three months with the Cubs, including their postseason run, and threw 42 1?3 innings of relief. In the regular season, he was outstanding, striking out 45 percent of batters en route to a 1.01 ERA and 0.82 FIP. In the postseason, he was less good, and particularly in key spots ?? such as, say, the eighth and ninth innings of Game 7 of the World Series ?? he faltered some. Still excellent; still one of the best relievers on the planet. Just not the best.

Chapman, of course, was not the only Yankees reliever traded this summer. Cleveland, Chicago’s opponent in the World Series, picked up Andrew Miller from New York. Miller, while not as overpowering as Chapman, was by many measures the better pitcher in 2016:

IP K% BB% ERA FIP DRA
IP K% BB% ERA FIP DRA
Miller 74 1/3 44.7% 3.3% 1.45 1.68 1.22
Chapman 58 40.5% 8.1% 1.55 1.42 2.04

And Miller is also still on Cleveland’s roster, for this year and the next, at $18 million for the both of them. Chapman, of course, just signed a five-year, $86-million contract with the Yankees. Miller is 31; Chapman, 28.

The point is not that one is clearly better than the other. In the short term, they looked comparable; in the long term, the two extra years mean that Miller almost certainly carries more value. The point is that the Cubs seem to have not done any shopping, negotiating, or comparing of prices. For half a season of Chapman, they sent the Yankees their new No. 1 prospect; for two-and-a-half seasons of Miller, Cleveland sent the Yankees their new Nos. 2 and 7 prospects (again per Baseball America).

The easiest way to explain the seemingly above-market rate the Cubs paid for Chapman: They knew what they wanted, and set out to get it, regardless of cost. The Cubs of late July didn’t have many weaknesses, but a dominant lefty reliever would shore up the few they did have. Andrew Miller is also a lefty, but Aroldis Chapman is Aroldis Chapman. (From the Cubs’ perspective, that referred to the mystique and reputation that he’s in possession of, not the domestic violence incident that stuck him with a 30-game suspension to begin 2016.) When the Cubs started negotiating with the Yankees, I suspect they were never willing to walk away without completing the deal. That’s a sure-fire way to get taken for a ride.

Of course, the Cubs have the most obvious counterargument in baseball history at their disposal, and it’s a pretty convincing one. They were looking to improve their odds of winning the World Series with this trade; then, they won the World Series. At the time of their trade, and in the months after their win, it has been easy to dismiss any criticism of the deal as quibbling over price. From that perspective, the front office boldly moved to break a century-old curse, and succeeded in doing so; everything else doesn’t matter.

But based on Torres’s youth and ability, and the way he’s rocketed up the prospect rankings this offseason, I think it won’t be much longer until we’re calling this the Gleyber Torres trade, not the Aroldis Chapman trade. The Cubs paid a lot, and got a little in return. In a few years, this might be as unhappy a memory for Cubs fans as could possibly result from the 2016 season.

The Gleyber Torres trade doesn’t look good in hindsight

The title of this piece abandons any pretense of holding you, the reader, in suspense. The trade the Cubs and Yankees agreed to in July of this year was always referred to as “the Aroldis Chapman trade,” and with good reason. Chapman was the headliner, the player the Cubs sought out and committed to adding to their roster, regardless of price. It’s only now ?? after the Cubs have won, the parade has finished, and the offseason has nearly run its course ?? that the last clause in that sentence has begun to inspire some feelings of regret.

At the time of the trade, the Cubs knew exactly what they had in Gleyber Torres: a consensus top-tier prospect, and very possibly a future superstar. Baseball America listed Torres as the No. 2 international prospect of 2013, describing him as “a savvy player with present skills and the potential for five average or better tools.” The main fear was that he wouldn’t be able to remain at shortstop, due to his compact 5′ 11″, 185-lb frame. Since then, however, as Eric Longenhagen said this July, “things have gone about as well as anyone could have hoped.” He had maintained his range, added muscle and power, and hit .275/.359/.433 as a 19-year-old at High-A.

Must Reads

Didi Gregorius has taken off


After steadily improving for two seasons, the Yankees’ shortstop has solidified his reputation.

Must Reads

And since the trade, things have gone even better. In October, Baseball America ranked Torres as the top prospect in the newly stacked Yankees system. The defensive concerns were gone: Torres is “an excellent bet to stay at shortstop because of his soft, quick hands and smooth actions around the bag.” Most exciting, however, is his offensive potential, which BA described as “special,” citing his pitch recognition, “uncanny” ability to put bat on ball, and plus power. Keith Law, at ESPN, is even more enthusiastic, ranking Torres as the No. 4 prospect in all of MLB, also citing his pitch recognition, approach, and defensive abilities. There is every reason to be over-the-moon about Torres.

And then, on the other side of the ledger, there’s Chapman. He spent about three months with the Cubs, including their postseason run, and threw 42 1?3 innings of relief. In the regular season, he was outstanding, striking out 45 percent of batters en route to a 1.01 ERA and 0.82 FIP. In the postseason, he was less good, and particularly in key spots ?? such as, say, the eighth and ninth innings of Game 7 of the World Series ?? he faltered some. Still excellent; still one of the best relievers on the planet. Just not the best.

Chapman, of course, was not the only Yankees reliever traded this summer. Cleveland, Chicago’s opponent in the World Series, picked up Andrew Miller from New York. Miller, while not as overpowering as Chapman, was by many measures the better pitcher in 2016:

IP K% BB% ERA FIP DRA
IP K% BB% ERA FIP DRA
Miller 74 1/3 44.7% 3.3% 1.45 1.68 1.22
Chapman 58 40.5% 8.1% 1.55 1.42 2.04

And Miller is also still on Cleveland’s roster, for this year and the next, at $18 million for the both of them. Chapman, of course, just signed a five-year, $86-million contract with the Yankees. Miller is 31; Chapman, 28.

The point is not that one is clearly better than the other. In the short term, they looked comparable; in the long term, the two extra years mean that Miller almost certainly carries more value. The point is that the Cubs seem to have not done any shopping, negotiating, or comparing of prices. For half a season of Chapman, they sent the Yankees their new No. 1 prospect; for two-and-a-half seasons of Miller, Cleveland sent the Yankees their new Nos. 2 and 7 prospects (again per Baseball America).

The easiest way to explain the seemingly above-market rate the Cubs paid for Chapman: They knew what they wanted, and set out to get it, regardless of cost. The Cubs of late July didn’t have many weaknesses, but a dominant lefty reliever would shore up the few they did have. Andrew Miller is also a lefty, but Aroldis Chapman is Aroldis Chapman. (From the Cubs’ perspective, that referred to the mystique and reputation that he’s in possession of, not the domestic violence incident that stuck him with a 30-game suspension to begin 2016.) When the Cubs started negotiating with the Yankees, I suspect they were never willing to walk away without completing the deal. That’s a sure-fire way to get taken for a ride.

Of course, the Cubs have the most obvious counterargument in baseball history at their disposal, and it’s a pretty convincing one. They were looking to improve their odds of winning the World Series with this trade; then, they won the World Series. At the time of their trade, and in the months after their win, it has been easy to dismiss any criticism of the deal as quibbling over price. From that perspective, the front office boldly moved to break a century-old curse, and succeeded in doing so; everything else doesn’t matter.

But based on Torres’s youth and ability, and the way he’s rocketed up the prospect rankings this offseason, I think it won’t be much longer until we’re calling this the Gleyber Torres trade, not the Aroldis Chapman trade. The Cubs paid a lot, and got a little in return. In a few years, this might be as unhappy a memory for Cubs fans as could possibly result from the 2016 season.

MLB trade rumors: Oakland A’s interested in free agent Trevor Plouffe, for some reason

The Oakland A’s are on the “list of teams pursuing” free agent infielder Trevor Plouffe, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. Rosenthal also notes the Red Sox as another suitor, which was also reported by Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald in late December with a suggestion of a price tag around one year and $2-3 million.

This rumor isn’t a big surprise. General manager David Forst is reportedly looking for another right-handed bat (via Joe Stiglich, CSN), and he’s also gone after Edwin Encarnacion and at least kicked the tires on Mark Trumbo. Plouffe has nowhere near the talent level, prestige, or cost of those two sluggers, but he is a right-handed batter.

Plouffe struggled to a replacement-level season in 2016 due to multiple injuries, but he averaged 3 WAR in 2014-15. His career batting line is the epitome of average, and he’s never strayed far from those numbers in any season (career range: 90-111 wRC+):

Plouffe, 2,909 PAs: .247/.308/.420, 99 OPS+, 98 wRC+, 7.5% BB, 20.0% Ks

He’s twice eclipsed 20 HR, with a high of 24. He’s a negative on the bases. On defense, he rates poorly for his career at 3B but improved over time; he rated positively in his two peak seasons of 2014-15. He can also play 1B. He’ll turn 31 years old next season.

The A’s currently have Ryon Healy at 3B, with top prospect Matt Chapman coming up quickly behind him. At 1B, they have Yonder Alonso and then a host of top prospects, bounce-back candidates, and other fringe options, though Healy is a candidate to move there if/when Chapman arrives.

End report. Begin hot takes.

No no no no no no no no no what no no

No

That, all day.

What are the A’s doing right now? Has anyone told them they have a minor league system to draw from, and that it’s pretty good right now?

There is nothing interesting about Plouffe. He doesn’t make the offense better. He doesn’t make the defense better. He doesn’t add OBP, or speed, or noteworthy power. He doesn’t play a position they need. He’s pure, uncut Representative Product, and not even in a useful form. He can currently be described as a castoff from the 103-loss Twins. I can’t even. It honestly worries me that they’re even thinking about this at all.

I understand Encarnacion. He’s great, and he brings a big OBP to the table. I kind of get at least thinking about Trumbo, because his power is game-changing. But Plouffe? Why? My offer is a minor league contract with an invite to spring training, and even then, I don’t think there’s room in Triple-A Nashville. The best-case scenario is that he recaptures his 2015 form, hits a few dingers, plays a decent 3B, puts up 2 WAR on an also-ran team, aaaaand displaces Healy and blocks a Top 100 prospect from graduating.

And why the rush for a right-handed bat specifically? A breakdown:

Righty: Khrush, Semien, Healy, Rajai, Phegley, Nunez, Pinder, Smolinski, Eibner, (Chapman?)
Lefty: Vogt, Joyce, Alonso, Maxwell, Wendle, Olson
Switch: Lowrie

I don’t understand how you can look at that and conclude that you need to add a righty. The three best hitters are already righties, as is the big top prospect we hope will graduate soon. The left side is Vogt and Joyce, a few prospects, and the weak stopgaps who (hopefully?) aren’t supposed to be permanent.

If the A’s are targeting either side of the plate right now, then it should be the left side. Adding Joyce was a good start! But another would be nice. Oh, and whereas Encarnacion and Trumbo are both all-around righties with no platoon splits, which lessens the importance of their own side of the plate, Plouffe does display the kind of notable career split you’d expect from most right-handed hitters.

To not target lefty hitters right now suggests one of two things: Either you think the prospects (like Olson and Wendle) will pan out quickly, in which case stop trying to block them, or you think Alonso and Lowrie will be in the lineup all year, in which case where are you going to play Plouffe? As a short-end platoon 1B? No stop it you don’t need to spend time or money on that just use Renato Nunez or something.

Hopefully this is not a thing.

MLB trade rumors: Oakland A’s interested in free agent Trevor Plouffe, for some reason

The Oakland A’s are on the “list of teams pursuing” free agent infielder Trevor Plouffe, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. Rosenthal also notes the Red Sox as another suitor, which was also reported by Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald in late December with a suggestion of a price tag around one year and $2-3 million.

This rumor isn’t a big surprise. General manager David Forst is reportedly looking for another right-handed bat (via Joe Stiglich, CSN), and he’s also gone after Edwin Encarnacion and at least kicked the tires on Mark Trumbo. Plouffe has nowhere near the talent level, prestige, or cost of those two sluggers, but he is a right-handed batter.

Plouffe struggled to a replacement-level season in 2016 due to multiple injuries, but he averaged 3 WAR in 2014-15. His career batting line is the epitome of average, and he’s never strayed far from those numbers in any season (career range: 90-111 wRC+):

Plouffe, 2,909 PAs: .247/.308/.420, 99 OPS+, 98 wRC+, 7.5% BB, 20.0% Ks

He’s twice eclipsed 20 HR, with a high of 24. He’s a negative on the bases. On defense, he rates poorly for his career at 3B but improved over time; he rated positively in his two peak seasons of 2014-15. He can also play 1B. He’ll turn 31 years old next season.

The A’s currently have Ryon Healy at 3B, with top prospect Matt Chapman coming up quickly behind him. At 1B, they have Yonder Alonso and then a host of top prospects, bounce-back candidates, and other fringe options, though Healy is a candidate to move there if/when Chapman arrives.

End report. Begin hot takes.

No no no no no no no no no what no no

No

That, all day.

What are the A’s doing right now? Has anyone told them they have a minor league system to draw from, and that it’s pretty good right now?

There is nothing interesting about Plouffe. He doesn’t make the offense better. He doesn’t make the defense better. He doesn’t add OBP, or speed, or noteworthy power. He doesn’t play a position they need. He’s pure, uncut Representative Product, and not even in a useful form. He can currently be described as a castoff from the 103-loss Twins. I can’t even. It honestly worries me that they’re even thinking about this at all.

I understand Encarnacion. He’s great, and he brings a big OBP to the table. I kind of get at least thinking about Trumbo, because his power is game-changing. But Plouffe? Why? My offer is a minor league contract with an invite to spring training, and even then, I don’t think there’s room in Triple-A Nashville. The best-case scenario is that he recaptures his 2015 form, hits a few dingers, plays a decent 3B, puts up 2 WAR on an also-ran team, aaaaand displaces Healy and blocks a Top 100 prospect from graduating.

And why the rush for a right-handed bat specifically? A breakdown:

Righty: Khrush, Semien, Healy, Rajai, Phegley, Nunez, Pinder, Smolinski, Eibner, (Chapman?)
Lefty: Vogt, Joyce, Alonso, Maxwell, Wendle, Olson
Switch: Lowrie

I don’t understand how you can look at that and conclude that you need to add a righty. The three best hitters are already righties, as is the big top prospect we hope will graduate soon. The left side is Vogt and Joyce, a few prospects, and the weak stopgaps who (hopefully?) aren’t supposed to be permanent.

If the A’s are targeting either side of the plate right now, then it should be the left side. Adding Joyce was a good start! But another would be nice. Oh, and whereas Encarnacion and Trumbo are both all-around righties with no platoon splits, which lessens the importance of their own side of the plate, Plouffe does display the kind of notable career split you’d expect from most right-handed hitters.

To not target lefty hitters right now suggests one of two things: Either you think the prospects (like Olson and Wendle) will pan out quickly, in which case stop trying to block them, or you think Alonso and Lowrie will be in the lineup all year, in which case where are you going to play Plouffe? As a short-end platoon 1B? No stop it you don’t need to spend time or money on that just use Renato Nunez or something.

Hopefully this is not a thing.

Red Wings and Tigers owner Mike Ilitch dies at 87

Mike Ilitch, of the most famous Detroit natives of all time and owner of two of the city’s most iconic teams, passed away on Friday.

Ilitch rose from humble beginnings in Detroit’s west side to found Little Caesar’s Pizza, turning him and his family into some of Detroit’s most wealthy and important people. But it was Ilitch’s tenure as owner of the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers that left his mark on the city the most.

After Ilitch bought them in 1982, the Red Wings became the gold standard for NHL success in the modern era. The team won four Stanley Cups and has reached the playoffs for a remarkable 21 consecutive seasons.

Ilitch was voted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2003 and the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004.

Under Ilitch’s leadership, the Tigers have also visited the World Series twice and become one of the biggest spenders and perennial contenders in Major League Baseball.

In 2016, Forbes listed Ilitch’s Red Wings as the NHL’s eighth-most valuable franchise at $625 million.

Detroit General Manager Ken Holland had this to say about Ilitch’s legacy:

The Red Wings, Tigers, and players from past and present took to Twitter to express their condolences and gratitude to Ilitch.

Mike Ilitch was 87 years old.

Red Wings and Tigers owner Mike Ilitch dies at 87

Mike Ilitch, of the most famous Detroit natives of all time and owner of two of the city’s most iconic teams, passed away on Friday.

Ilitch rose from humble beginnings in Detroit’s west side to found Little Caesar’s Pizza, turning him and his family into some of Detroit’s most wealthy and important people. But it was Ilitch’s tenure as owner of the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers that left his mark on the city the most.

After Ilitch bought them in 1982, the Red Wings became the gold standard for NHL success in the modern era. The team won four Stanley Cups and has reached the playoffs for a remarkable 21 consecutive seasons.

Ilitch was voted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2003 and the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004.

Under Ilitch’s leadership, the Tigers have also visited the World Series twice and become one of the biggest spenders and perennial contenders in Major League Baseball.

In 2016, Forbes listed Ilitch’s Red Wings as the NHL’s eighth-most valuable franchise at $625 million.

Detroit General Manager Ken Holland had this to say about Ilitch’s legacy:

The Red Wings, Tigers, and players from past and present took to Twitter to express their condolences and gratitude to Ilitch.

Mike Ilitch was 87 years old.

There’s an experimental alternative to Tommy John surgery

Listen, we know it’s tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day. Trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk just isn’t easy. It’s OK, though. We’re going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network, as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end, or at least until after you subscribe to the newsletter.

* * *

Tommy John surgery has been refined and perfected to the point where some recipients can be back in a year or a little less like nothing ever happened to them. A year is still a long time, though, and there are still many cases where a TJ procedure near the end of a season means a player will miss the entire next campaign, too. That could change, at least for some players, if Seth Maness manages to prove the effectiveness of a new surgery.

The procedure Maness underwent in August is called “primary repair,” but if it takes and becomes a staple in MLB, maybe it’ll be renamed after its first established recipient. Even though he underwent this elbow procedure on August 18, he’s expected to be ready by Opening Day ?? just seven-and-a-half months after surgery. The difference between primary repair and TJ is that TJ is a complete reconstruction of the elbow ligament and surrounding area: primary repair is, as the name suggests, a “repair and buttressing” of the existing ligament. It’s such a new procedure that MLB is using the same medical code for Maness that they would for a TJ recipient, so teams are operating under the assumption he’ll be out for a significant chunk of 2017 when he could very well be pitching on Opening Day ?? if only someone would sign him.

The average recovery time for the surgeries performed so far is six-and-a-half months, roughly half the recovery time of Tommy John. Of the 50 surgeries performed, none of them have resulted in the need for a later TJ in order to fix what primary repair could not. It should be stressed that this isn’t going to be the surgery for everyone, but there are likely going to be cases where the tear is such that Tommy John isn’t needed, and primary repair can do the trick instead. It should be a middle ground between a PRP injection and full-blown TJ, and that means more pitchers missing less time.

You should read the full breakdown of the procedure and when it could be done, because it very well could be a major part of the future of surgery in baseball.

  • Bryce Harper got married, so that’s one more handsome face off the market. Don’t worry, your favorite team still might be able to sign him in a couple of years.
  • Here are the pros and cons of Trevor Plouffe on the A’s.
  • Max Scherzer won’t pitch in the World Baseball Classic thanks to rehabbing a stress fracture in his finger, but his teammate Tanner Roark will.
  • SIGN UP FOR OUR MLB NEWSLETTER

    Get all kinds of MLB stories, rumors, game coverage, and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans in your inbox every day.

  • Jay Bruce is likely to be traded soon, if you believe the rumors. And since it’s Jan. 12 and there’s no real baseball for quite some time, rumors are all you have.
  • Unless you’re the Mariners, anyway. Then you have trades, plural. First, they acquired Mallex Smith and Shae Simmons from the Braves for a couple of minor league pitchers. Then, they dealt Smith and a couple of others to the Rays for Drew Smyly.
  • You might be asking yourself “Who is Mallex Smith?” but don’t worry, there is an answer for you.
  • Pablo Sandoval got in trouble with the Red Sox for failing to keep himself in shape, and then he even admitted that he kind of stopped trying once he signed a big deal. He’s changed his tune and his look, though, and hopefully it’s good news for everyone involved.
  • Speaking of change, the Dodgers are counting on a more mature Yasiel Puig in 2017.

There’s an experimental alternative to Tommy John surgery

Listen, we know it’s tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day. Trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk just isn’t easy. It’s OK, though. We’re going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network, as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end, or at least until after you subscribe to the newsletter.

* * *

Tommy John surgery has been refined and perfected to the point where some recipients can be back in a year or a little less like nothing ever happened to them. A year is still a long time, though, and there are still many cases where a TJ procedure near the end of a season means a player will miss the entire next campaign, too. That could change, at least for some players, if Seth Maness manages to prove the effectiveness of a new surgery.

The procedure Maness underwent in August is called “primary repair,” but if it takes and becomes a staple in MLB, maybe it’ll be renamed after its first established recipient. Even though he underwent this elbow procedure on August 18, he’s expected to be ready by Opening Day ?? just seven-and-a-half months after surgery. The difference between primary repair and TJ is that TJ is a complete reconstruction of the elbow ligament and surrounding area: primary repair is, as the name suggests, a “repair and buttressing” of the existing ligament. It’s such a new procedure that MLB is using the same medical code for Maness that they would for a TJ recipient, so teams are operating under the assumption he’ll be out for a significant chunk of 2017 when he could very well be pitching on Opening Day ?? if only someone would sign him.

The average recovery time for the surgeries performed so far is six-and-a-half months, roughly half the recovery time of Tommy John. Of the 50 surgeries performed, none of them have resulted in the need for a later TJ in order to fix what primary repair could not. It should be stressed that this isn’t going to be the surgery for everyone, but there are likely going to be cases where the tear is such that Tommy John isn’t needed, and primary repair can do the trick instead. It should be a middle ground between a PRP injection and full-blown TJ, and that means more pitchers missing less time.

You should read the full breakdown of the procedure and when it could be done, because it very well could be a major part of the future of surgery in baseball.

  • Bryce Harper got married, so that’s one more handsome face off the market. Don’t worry, your favorite team still might be able to sign him in a couple of years.
  • Here are the pros and cons of Trevor Plouffe on the A’s.
  • Max Scherzer won’t pitch in the World Baseball Classic thanks to rehabbing a stress fracture in his finger, but his teammate Tanner Roark will.
  • SIGN UP FOR OUR MLB NEWSLETTER

    Get all kinds of MLB stories, rumors, game coverage, and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans in your inbox every day.

  • Jay Bruce is likely to be traded soon, if you believe the rumors. And since it’s Jan. 12 and there’s no real baseball for quite some time, rumors are all you have.
  • Unless you’re the Mariners, anyway. Then you have trades, plural. First, they acquired Mallex Smith and Shae Simmons from the Braves for a couple of minor league pitchers. Then, they dealt Smith and a couple of others to the Rays for Drew Smyly.
  • You might be asking yourself “Who is Mallex Smith?” but don’t worry, there is an answer for you.
  • Pablo Sandoval got in trouble with the Red Sox for failing to keep himself in shape, and then he even admitted that he kind of stopped trying once he signed a big deal. He’s changed his tune and his look, though, and hopefully it’s good news for everyone involved.
  • Speaking of change, the Dodgers are counting on a more mature Yasiel Puig in 2017.