Dodgers righty Brandon McCarthy will undergo Tommy John surgery tomorrow, the pitcher told reporters, including Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register (Twitter link). McCarthy doesn’t appear to have lost his well-known sense of humor, as he joked that he’s “taking suggestions for hobbies,” via the Register’s Pedro Moura (on Twitter).
The loss of McCarthy will further thin out a Dodgers rotation that has also been without Hyun-jin Ryu for much of the season and is also relying heavily on the equally, if not more injury-prone Brett Anderson to hold down a slot as well. Injuries within the Dodger rotation have led some to speculatively connect Los Angeles to Phillies ace Cole Hamels. (L.A.’s deep pockets and well-regarded farm system certainly add to that speculation as well.)
Though Hamels is the top name in early-season trade rumors, there’s also been speculation that both Kyle Lohse and Matt Garza could become available in the near future if the Brewers do not quickly correct their dismal start to the 2015 campaign. Significant trades at this stage of the season are rare, and the Dodgers are attempting to patch things together with Scott Baker and Carlos Frias in the near-term. Other internal options on the 40-man roster include right-handers Zach Lee and Joe Wieland, the latter of whom was acquired in this winter’s Matt Kemp blockbuster with the Padres. Ultimately, however, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if the Dodgers look outside the organization for rotation reinforcements.
McCarthy is just one month into a four-year, $48MM contract that was known to be a risk for the Dodgers, considering his injury history. However, McCarthy’s track record is one of shoulder problems — not elbow ailments — making this particular injury more unexpected. He’ll likely be sidelined through mid-2016, assuming that he has a normal recovery from the procedure. The Dodgers’ rotation could look markedly different by the time McCarthy returns, as Anderson is set to become a free agent at season’s end, and co-ace Zack Greinke can opt out of the remaining three years and $71MM on his contract as well.