Last night, the Yankees revealed that ace Masahiro Tanaka has a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. The current plan is for Tanaka to receive a platelet-rich plasma injection on Monday and then rehab, with the hope being that he can avoid surgery and be back in roughly six weeks. However, the Yankees were forced to acknowledge that Tommy John surgery is at least a possibility for their $175MM hurler. Here are some reactions from around the league, as well as some speculation as to how this will impact the remainder of their season…
- Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports wonders when baseball will ever get all 30 teams on the same page in an attempt to remedy what is becoming an epidemic. The problem could be better tackled if all 30 clubs worked in conjunction with the Commissioner’s Office to research the problem from all angles and determine some kind of preventative tactics for future generations. Instead, as Yankees president Randy Levine put it last month: “Teams are hesitant to invest because they think they’re going to seed the money and then everyone is going to share in the information. We’re all too selfish to do it.”
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports references a meta-analysis from the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews this past April which concluded that there is “insufficient evidence to support the use” of PRP injections to treat soft-tissue injuries. He points out that Chad Billingsley had a PRP injection to try to alleviate a partial tear, wound up having Tommy John anyhow, and has pitched two Major League games in the past 22 months.
- Also from Morosi’s piece, he feels that the Yankees should make the bold move to acquire Cole Hamels from the Phillies. While the team is light on prospects, the Yankees could sweeten the deal by agreeing to take on the contracts of both Jonathan Papelbon and Jimmy Rollins, Morosi speculates. Acquiring Hamels provides cost certainty in the rotation that the Bombers simply couldn’t secure with offseason pursuits of Max Scherzer or Jon Lester.
- Hiroki Kuroda, David Robertson and even Dellin Betances are pieces the Yankees could theoretically look to move this month if the team does indeed become sellers, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. While Sherman himself isn’t advocating a trade of Betances, he’s heard from a surprising number of executives that the Yankees should market their setup ace while his value is perhaps at its all-time highest. Relievers are a volatile commodity, and they could land a long-term infield piece in the deal. As for Kuroda, he has a no-trade clause but could conceivably waive it to move closer to his family in Southern California. This is my own speculation, but the team could also look to flip the recently acquired Brandon McCarthy to another club as well.
- Mets ace Matt Harvey spoke to reporters, including MLB.com’s Tim Healy, and weighed in on the news. “It’s an unfortunate thing that you don’t want to see, especially with how much success he’s had in his first year,” said Harvey. “It’s a sad thing. It’s something as a competitive pitcher, you want those guys around. It’s unfortunate that all these are happening. But if you look at the bright side, they’re all kind of happening at the same time. Hopefully we’ll all return at the same time.” Harvey, who went through a partial UCL tear himself before ultimately electing surgery, also discussed his own decision-making process.
- Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News runs down a list of possible trade targets the Yankees could pursue in the wake of the injury. Feinsand offers a similar line of thinking to Morosi, only his speculation is in regards to Cliff Lee; Feinsand wonders if the Yankees could get away with offering a lesser prospect package for Lee if they agreed to take on the entirety of the roughly $50MM Lee is still owed. He also lists Jorge De La Rosa and former Yankee Ian Kennedy, among others.