The Red Sox announced on Thursday that right-hander Tyler Thornburg will undergo surgery to alleviate thoracic outlet syndrome. Thornburg, who has yet to pitch this year due to ongoing shoulder troubles, will miss the entire season.
The team expects Thornburg to be ready for the 2018 season. Per Dombrowski, via Jen McCaffrey of MassLive.com (on Twitter), the medical expectation is that the reliever could be ready for MLB action in nine months’ time. That would land in mid-March, right in the middle of 2018 Spring Training.
[Related: Boston Red Sox depth chart]
Boston acquired the 28-year-old Thornburg this offseason on the heels of an excellent 2016 campaign, hoping that he could help to serve as a bridge from the rotation to closer Craig Kimbrel. However, for the second consecutive offseason, Boston’s top bullpen addition will be unable to contribute to the club due to injury. (Carson Smith underwent Tommy John surgery in 2016 and has yet to take the hill for the BoSox, either.) The trade looks decidedly lopsided at this point, as Boston sent third baseman Travis Shaw and prospects Mauricio Dubon, Josh Pennington and Yeison Coca to Milwaukee in return.
Of course, thoracic outlet syndrome was entirely unforeseeable, and based on Thornburg’s 2016 success, the Red Sox had every reason to be interested in the breakout righty. Last year, Thornburg tossed 67 innings of 2.15 ERA ball while averaging 12.1 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 with a 32.4 percent ground-ball rate. The former starter also saw his fastball velocity jump to an average of 94.1 mph, and his 12.1 percent swinging-strike rate was comfortably above average among big league relievers. On top of that, Thornburg entered the 2017 season with just over three years of service time, giving Boston three more years of control over the righty before free agency.
The Sox will have another two years to try to recoup some value from the swap, though there’s no guarantee that Thornburg will simply bounce back to his former self. While some pitchers, such as Chris Young and Jaime Garcia, have come back and enjoyed success following the operation, more recent cases such as Phil Hughes and Matt Harvey have struggled upon returning from the same procedure.
Even without Thornburg contributing, however, Boston’s bullpen has been a strength in 2017. Red Sox relievers have the second-best ERA and FIP of any team in the Majors, and their xFIP ranks fourth among big league clubs. Craig Kimbrel has not only bounced back after a down season (by his standards) in 2016 — he’s turned in the best year of his remarkable career to date. Joe Kelly, meanwhile, is sporting a 1.27 ERA, and Matt Barnes has emerged as a reliable setup arm as well. In fact, the Red Sox have eight relievers that have totaled 10 or more innings in 2017, and all but one (rookie Ben Taylor) has turned in an ERA of 3.77 or better.
Thanks for trading Travis I love Pablo so much better
No big deal, the bullpen has been fine for the most part, I think I read today that they haven’t given up a run and 22 innings, Kelly is more than capable of being set up man plus Carson Smith could be on the immediate horizon
Yes but Shaw would be a great option at third right now…
100% agree on Shaw
Cue Dombrowski’s excuses!
The only Dombrowski “excuse” here is that pitchers get hurt all the time. It has 0% to do with Dombrowski. Sure, the trade looks bad. But anytime a player gets lost for the season, it’ll look bad regardless of who was traded away.
I personally have nothing wrong with him, yes this trade was kind of bad, but they other ones he’s made I’d say we’re winning at the moment
I love how you all blame Dombrowski for something he can’t control
BoSox medical staff sucks in their evaluations under Dombro and also he should’ve given Pomeranz back to SD when MLB gave him the chance.
They could’ve done that, but that would’ve taken place after the trade deadline. Not to mention, Espinoza’s elbow has given him issues this year.
Because Dombrowski has done such a great job with this roster? Price. Pomeranz. Smith. Thornburg. And the farm system… not much there any more. I don’t don’t what you would call it, but “good management” doesn’t fit.
Make sure you carefully avoid mentioning positives… Sale, Young, Kimbrel…….and as stated above no one can foresee injuries, but it’s really easy to criticize in hindsight.
He gave up at least fair value in the sale and kimbrel trade. Does that really count as a positive?
It was the Sale and Kimbrel trades that emptied the farm. I’m not going to say they were great buys or anything… Dombrowski agreed to pay top of market, so he got them. Whoopee.
Sale’s and Kimbrel’s (this year) performance does go towards masking those other ugly mistakes Dombrowski made with the pitching staff. But if they don’t win the Workd Series, what does it matter? Boston will be left with no farm system whatsoever, and “one of the good teams in the playoffs.”
Farm system was depleted way too rapidly to end up with a team so flawed.
he’s added high end proven talent to a team built around young contolable players. the farm system is still loaded with talent. it may not be heavy on high end youngsters, but there is still a lot of young talent there.
The farm system is still Loaded????? on high end youngsters!!! that nobody wants!
And except for Kimbrel who was a gamble, and Sale who cleaned out the close on all that high end your talent you’re talking about, exactly whats left and please don’t mention Devers as nobody wants an out of shape can’t play the field guy who may be league average.
If you’re going to troll, at least try to be factual. Devers is a 20 year old in AA with a 150 wrc+, plenty of people would want that. Your lack of knowledge is just embarrassing.
Cmon man have you even watched him play guy is 20 years old and taking in AA make some intelligent comments. Devers is one of the better prospects in baseball. I’m really curious have you seen him play? His bat is going to play period.
Price – Everyone wanted to sign him, and all the high bidders tried. He had an off year last year (and for anyone but him, it was still a pretty decent year), and he was rushed back this year, and I blame that on Price. He’s the one who didn’t want more rehab starts and wanted back off the DL. Also, I love the guy, but if he can’t deal with the high profile media coverage, he should have never considered signing with a big market team like Boston, Chicago, New York, or LA.
Pomeranz – Totally agree with this one. When they had the chance to rescind the trade, they should have did it. I don’t care that it was past the trade deadline. They screwed up not doing so, and thats on DD.
Smith – Still not a loss yet. We essentially salary dumped Wade Miley who was nothing more than an innings eater. He didn’t fair well for Seattle and they dumped him off on Baltimore last year where he was horrible. He’s had a bit of a resurgence this year so far, but the years far from over and he’s got plenty of time to be the Wade Miley I remember, which is to say a 5 inning ticking time bomb. As it is, we knew he was hurt and still traded for him because he was great before he got hurt. When he gets through his rehab assignments and makes it back to the club this year, if he pitches anything like he did for Seattle, we won this trade hands down.
Farm System – Considering what we got for what we’ve given up in the farm system (Best closer in the game right now and a Top 5 in league starting pitcher) I’m totally fine with what we’ve given up We’ve got Kimbrel for another year and Sale for another 2 years, and have Betts, Bogarts, and Benintendi for longer than that. Our teams core is pretty good right now. Nows the time to start drafting well in hopes of replenishing for the future.
There’s plenty of DD haters, and I get why they do, but he’s made some pretty solid moves. The Shaw/Thornburg one is just a huge fluke. Shaw didn’t play this well last year, and Thornburg wasn’t hurt when we traded for him. It just didn’t work out in our favor.
Excuse me but Kimbrel may be by default the best closer in the league until Chapman comes back this weekend, then he moves down the line.
Riding a very good streak which may play out the entire year, but he’s got a lot of competition for that title homer.
This year one could make the case that he has been.
This year Kimbrel might be the best who is better right now?
Kenley jansen. Kimbrel is a really really good however. He is making his bad 2016 look likena fluke
I would agree they are 1,2 right now either order this year.
And then Holland
Wow DD can not put together a bullpen for the life of him just look at what he did in Detroit they never had a bullpen
I’m take a look at that bullpen it’s pretty good
Carson Smith made his debut for the Red Sox last season.
Hooray. I can’t wait to see what random injury befalls him next spring.
During DD’s time in Detroit, the Tigers never had a bullpen because the Tigers never had a manager who could manage a pitching staff. DD built a team that only a fool could loose with and only one did. Sometimes, good owners get in the way and Mike Illich did. As far as I can see, DD made only 4 bad trades during his tenure in Detroit losing Jairs Jurrjen for Edgar Rentaria, Eugenio Suarez for Alfredo Simon, Cory Knebel for Joakim Soria and Robbie Ray for Shane Greene. Most trades are insignificant but most of DD’s were winners. None depleted the Tigers minors.
Tyler Thornburg was a good pick up and so was Carson Smith and will prove next years to come. Brock Holt was an exceptional Super sub but, all three were injured and you can’t blame that on the GM, the scouts or the medical staff.
Check this link of Sox Minor league teams. 3 of the 4 teams, the exception being Portland, have winning records. Lowell, the Rookie/ recent draftees, starts the season 6/19. I follow the minor league program and I have to say they have some very good talent down below. I hated to see Mauricio Dubon included in the Brewer’s deal but they have Marrero and Lin @ AA that are pretty good SS defensively. Chavis and Devers along with Brentz are showing off some pretty good power.
Portland has produced some good arms that have been sent to AAA: Maddox was moved to Boston Thurs.—Callahan is another bullpen arm along with Buttrey.
A starter, that you may hear about if ERod doesn’t make it back for his next start is Jalen Beeks. This kid, another lefty, has a great arm and knows how to pitch.
There are more coming. Check out the Globe’s Alex Speier–108 Stitches—he will keep you posted on the Sox miinor league talent. Even with Moncada, Kopech and others traded away they have more talent than we know. They are diamonds in the rough–soon–don’t be despondent, they will be there replacing Thornburg or Carson or Pomerantz.