Dodgers righty Yimi Garcia required Tommy John surgery in late October, according to a team announcement (via MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick, on Twitter). He had previously been shut down with a significant injury to his biceps, and also underwent knee surgery in September.
Garcia, 26, has just over two years of service time to his ledger at present, so he won’t be eligible for arbitration until next fall. But he’s highly unlikely to pitch before that time, meaning the Dodgers will likely need to make a decision on whether to tender him a contract for 2018 before he has returned to full competitive action.
The 2016 season was basically a total loss for Garcia, who only made nine major league appearances before he was shut down. But he was quite good a season prior, throwing 56 2/3 frames of 3.34 ERA ball in his first full MLB campaign. Even more impressively, Garcia averaged 10.8 K/9 against just 1.6 BB/9 in that span, making good on the promise he had shown during a brief debut in 2014.
When operating at full capacity in 2015, Garcia delivered an average fastball of over 93 mph, with a cutter and slider to go with it. There’s certainly enough upside in his remaining years of control to imagine the Dodgers taking the gamble on a tender — especially since arbitration salaries aren’t guaranteed until late in camp. Of course, the team will have plenty of time to weigh that decision and evaluate Garcia’s progress in the meantime.
Before the start of the 2016 season, MLBTR contributor Bradley Woodrum undertook a statistical analysis of the likelihood of Tommy John surgery. Garcia checked in with a slightly elevated expectation of requiring a UCL replacement, based upon the factors that Woodrum identified as having some limited statistical significance.