The Giants announced to reporters Wednesday evening that right-hander Johnny Cueto will undergo Tommy John surgery tomorrow (Twitter link via Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area). The procedure will end his 2018 season and cost him the majority of the 2019 campaign as well.
Cueto spent two months on the disabled list earlier this season due to an elbow strain but was able to return to the mound in early July. However, after working to a sub-1.00 ERA through the season’s first month, he allowed 16 runs in 21 innings before landing back on the disabled list. Manager Bruce Bochy acknowledged recently that Tommy John surgery was a definite possibility for Cueto, and today’s announcement confirms as much.
The loss of Cueto is a massive blow to the Giants’ 2018 hopes. They’re currently five games out of the lead in the NL West and 4.5 games back of the second Wild Card spot in the National League, though the loss of Cueto and ongoing injury issues with Jeff Samardzija will present them with even more of an uphill battle in their efforts to return to the top of the division.
Cueto, 33 in February, is in the third season of a six-year, $132MM contract after forgoing an opt-out clause after the deal’s second season. While he turned in a brilliant first season in San Francisco back in 2016, his 2017 was marred by injuries, and both the 2018 and 2019 seasons will now fall under that same category. He’ll hope for a return late in the 2019 campaign, though it’s possible that Cueto won’t be able to return to the Giants’ rotation until after his 35th birthday. He’s owed just under $75MM through the end of the 2021 season (including a $5MM buyout of a $22MM option for the 2022 season).
It’s not clear whether the worst-case outcome on Cueto’s elbow will motivate the Giants to subtract any veteran pieces over the course of the month. San Francisco’s front office has been candid about its desire to try to remain competitive on a yearly basis. Certainly, they’d have plenty of pieces who could be attractive to contending clubs if they fall any further out of the race. While the Giants aren’t going to be embarking on any type of full-scale tear down, shorter-term veterans like Sam Dyson, Will Smith, Nick Hundley and Derek Holland could draw interest from teams that are more firmly in the playoff hunt. It’s far from clear, though, that the Giants would make any of those players available later this month.
‘Johnny Cueto To Undergo Tommy John Surgery’
Say that 10 times fast…
dimitrios in la
Oriole fans shouldn’t talk smack when they got chris davis or have’t won anything in ages.
In the word in of Michael Kelso, “burn!”
Dimi, not all signings work out. Some lead to World Series titles. But you wouldn’t know anything about that.
No, it’s a terrible signing…because baseball executives should be able to anticipate elbow injuries, and only sign pitchers who aren’t scheduled to have them.
Well, they could not sign 32 y/o pitchers with a ton of miles on their elbows to six year deals. There’s always that.
He was 30 when they signed him.
How many rings does Barry have?
if he is zito I am looking forward to when he comes back as the last couple of zito year were amazing to witness
At least Zito pitch a great World Series game
I take that anytime
And worst every pennies $ 136 million of it
It was 126 million
Dyson, Watson and Smith just become bigtime August trade targets. No way the Giants don’t go into sell mode.
They aren’t gonna sell. They still think they can win for some reason
Gee I don’t know maybe it’s because they’re 4.5 games out of the second wildcard and 5 out of first in the West?
As many people as I’ve seen say the Diamondbacks, Rockies and Dodgers are all more talented the Giants are doing a good job keeping up. As a baseball fan it really pisses me off when people count a team out and says they should sell.
Need I remind everyone of the 2011 Red Sox? Just because you have a _ game lead doesn’t mean anything just like how if you’re _ back doesn’t mean anything until the end of the season
Giants lack talent though, and were really banking on getting a frontline guy back. They already are looking to move McCutchen, the Dodgers just re-upped and look to be dominant again soon. Time for SF to give up and look to 2019.
In 2016, the Yankees were closer to the playoffs than the Giants are now. In fact, one could still argue that, had they not been sellers, they would’ve made the playoffs.
Still…selling that summer was the best move of Brian Cashman’s career…because he exchanged one, probably short playoff run with the dynasty the current Yankees are set up to turn into.
The Giants are not some small market team who never won anything in the past 50 to 100 years. They don’t need to be grasping at straws, they can afford to plan for future greatness. They should’ve sold off EVERYTHING that’s not gonna help them in the long term, including MadBum and Belt.
They are 7 games back in the loss of a WC.
The Giants are 6 games ahead of the Reds in the loss, its over
Most of the teams ahead of them improved themselves while the giants did nothing but put Cueto under the knife.
Reality is knocking on the door, you might want to answer.
So 1 extremely unique case proves why they should go for it? When you have 3 teams to leapfrog in the divison and 7 back of the loss colum wild card you wont make the playoffs 99 percent of the time
Benson commits die
The giants have nothing of value.
Madison will be with the giants the next 7 years. Thats the way they operate.
They drafted Poseys replacment 2nd overall recently.
Maybe Madison nets a couple nice prospects.., but no guarantee they amount to anything.
Nobody else on the giants net anyting worth a damn
maybe they should give Timmy a call….
They should’ve done it already but nope.
We haven’t had Cueto all season. I doubt this makes us panic.
None of those players are likely to move. A team with priority will claim them just to prevent that player from going to a contender. The claiming team will have nothing to lose as all 3 of those players have minimal salary implications.
Dyson is the one guy I argue they move. He was an experiment that has generally worked but also more expensive than when they got him. Watson is under control for a year or 2 I believe, so you can net a big return it could be nice, though i don’t know what ppl are willing to pay. Personally I can see them moving one but not both of those guys – or strickland when he gets back as with the emergence of ray black and the sept. callups around the corner the pen looks ok if you lose one of them.
Like Will Smith would clear waivers! XD XD XD
Smith won’t go very far on the waiver wire. These guys are all affordable and the first team in the hunt or thinks they will next year will put a claim in. It’ll cost serious prospects for Smith too. Don’t see that happening
Please for the love of god sell
A little late for that. Everyone has to clear waivers to be traded now.
They probably will, most of their contracts are booty
Tough to improve with straight payroll dumps. Who could clear waivers and still get them something back in trade?
A straight payroll dump can improve a team tremendously. Hate to keep bringing up the same example, but it’s a really good one: in 2017, the Yankees didn’t rely on prospects they acquired during the previous year’s selloff, to improve. Instead, what took them from a mediocre, aging team to one game away from the World Series, was getting rid of or benching the overpaid players who were blocking guys like Hicks, Bird, Montgomery, Sanchez, Judge and Severino, to give those guys an extended look. They allowed Judge for instance to spend two months hitting under .200, and striking out over 40% of the time…and this wasn’t a can’t miss prospect the scouts were fawning over. He was a ranked prospect, but near the middle of the various lists, at best.
The Giants do have solid prospects, who are advanced enough to warrant an extended look. No one on the top 100 lists, but close enough.
Also, the salary dump would open up payroll for future years. Meanwhile, if you hold on to guys just for the sake of playing .500 ball, you might lose the opportunity to move them. Cueto was movable, before the elbow injury. Now, he’s not.
Even Samardzja was movable in the winter, in a creative trade. Now, not so much.
who are you talking about? the expensive contracts on the team are pence, belt, posey, Mccutchen, cueto, crawford, Samardzija, longoria. Of those the one that they would like to move is pence but it won’t happen, pitching is all on the DL and there was interest in cutch already. Longoria is on a pretty team friendly contract for the guy even though it is one of the larger contracts pn the team in general nad they don’t want to move posey, belt, crawford. I mean if they put up all the other guys and didn’t pull them back there would be tons of interest because they are all cheap.
I feel like you’ve made my point. Selling off large contracts for pennies on the dollar (which, together with bad contract swaps, is pretty much the only way to move players in August) may open up some payroll, but the Giants don’t need that. They are not a poverty team. They can afford to spend already, especially if they stay under the luxury tax cap this year. Also if the players being blocked by the larger contracts are less than promising, then who is really being blocked?
This is why I say it’s difficult to improve by straight payroll dumps. Not impossible, just not easy, especially if the farm isn’t in great shape, and if forced to trade for little or nothing in the way of prospect returns, then the farm isn’t getting any better as a result.
The Giants are in a bind here. The good news for them is they have the financial resources to buy their way better, if that’s the route they choose.
“The Giants are in a bind here. The good news for them is they have the financial resources to buy their way better, if that’s the route they choosse.”
I say the good news is “they have 3 recent WS championships”
Yes, I am a Giants fan, but the recent success does help in these dark times.
Once again, things that could have been brought to my attention YESTERDAY !!!
Most of 2019? Cueto won’t be seen in the big leagues again until 2020. He’s 32 and going to be out for at least another 18 months. Dude might as well retire.
Then he doesn’t get paid.
Most TJ’s dont take 18 months, that’s just not factual.
Looking forward to your PowerPoint presentation.
16-18 months is the new standard length of absence for TJ surgeries. There hasn’t been a 12-month return in years.
Will Smith returned this season about 13 months after his surgery. 18 months is the absolute worse case scenario.
“The average pitcher returns to game action 12-16 months following surgery but that time varies greatly by individual. In a recent study by Erickson et al., Major League pitchers returned in as little as 11 months and as many as 30 months. The player’s return also depends on when the surgery is performed in the context of the baseball season as well as the severity of the injury.”
Also keep in mind the following………
“A subsequent arm injury is common among pitchers who have had Tommy John surgery. More than half of Major League pitchers who underwent Tommy John surgery from 1999 to 2011 went on the Disabled List with an arm injury after returning from surgery. Another recent study from the American Sports Medicine Institute (ASMI) concluded that 19% of Tommy John patients will have a subsequent elbow surgery and 25% will have shoulder surgery.”
The above is quoted from MLB Pitch Smart http://m.mlb.com/pitchsmart/tommy-john-faq/
There is also a correlation with age and recovery…younger players recover easier, I just don’t feel like looking that up again
Thanks Cat for the informative synopsis of TJ recovery. My son is a 14-yr old catcher/2b whose arm I worry about. Preventative medicine will outperform TJ surgery every time
giantsphan12…..My pleasure. Pitch Smart has a lot of info and there are interviews with the late Dr. Jobe, Dr. Andrews and others that may be helpful. They are both in print and video.
paging Dr. Justin-Turner Overdrive
I don’t see them selling. August schedule is soft and there’s a good chance that by the end of the month they are still 5 games back of a WC. By the end of September they miss the playoffs by a couple games. Sighs.
Now that’s funny
Giants should have sold at trade deadline. Here’s even more evidence suggesting so.
Thought Giants would act under assumption Cueto would not be available? Kinda like Mark Melancon. (Whom ironically is back..) Not a Giants fan, but this is what I assumed.. Clubs always assume worst-case..
I thought he would have TJ in May and just never stopped worrying. If Chris Stratton can pitch as well as he did in April and AAA, Giants have a chance.
That said, It’s entirely wishful thinking and they won’t make the playoffs.
The only thing the Giants sell are tickets and merchandise. When you’re a .500 team and still selling nearly 40k tickets every night; there isn’t much motivation for getting rid of the players that fans come to see.
They won’t start selling players until fans stop buying tickets.
well said. this is the part of the giants no one seems to suss out enough in terms of their stated “approach to winning”. baseball is business after all. and this idea that the owners want to win is obviously not true, especially when the money keeps rollin in.
The Giants are stubborn. They won’t sell and won’t buy. Three rookies in the starting rotation and a lot of games against the Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Rockies. Not a recipe for success. The Giants knew about Cueto for a week now and made no effort to get even a cheap arm.
I dont know if they even had or have the pieces to be buyers. isnt the farm crap?
Yeah playing the teams that are ahead of you isn’t a recipe for success. Do you know anything? That’s the easiest way to move up the standings
Exactly, their window closed last year and they don’t want to admit it. They’re about to become the next Orioles if they keep holding off on selling like this.
Royals are a much better comparison. They didn’t sell at all. Orioles have gotten prospects. The giants have 3 major assets. 2 of them are hard to deal because of their histories there. I can understand the reluctance on posey and bumgarner. From a baseball perspective it makes the most sense but they’re iconic figures in the Bay Area. We’re moving away from whole careers on one team. But, I get that it’s tough to make that call
Rookie isn’t the same as bad. Look at Dereck Rodriguez.
Giants 2018 will play out the season as neither buyers or sellers. They will finish out of the money for a division title or a wild card slot. they will add another has-been or two before the 2019 season and do it again…
The Giants ought know this was damage goods all around… They should be more savvy when giving away these types of contracts, c’mon people…
I have to agree. Cueto’s arm issues started back in 2015 before the Reds dealt him to KC. It took several weeks of rest in the DL before he recovered, but he never has been quite the same since then. I thought he’d need TJ surgery before now, but the writing was definitely on the wall when SF gave him that contract.
So the Giants were unaware of his previous medical issues?
Your point would seem more valid had he not performed spectacularly in the first year of the contract. In addition the elbow issue cropped up amidst his blister issues. It’s entirely probable he hurt the elbow compensating for the blisters. If so, that would make the source of the elbow problem post-contract rather than pre-contract.
And the issue he had in Cincinnati in 2013 was a lat injury, not a red flag elbow issue. He had only one year when he lost much time to the DL, 2013 when he was limited to 11 starts. But he made 34 starts in 2014, and 32 starts between the Reds and Royals in 2015. That’s hardly a scary injury-risk scenario.
i agree, but the tickets are being sold in large part because of the big names. so they pay the salaries, because regardless of how large they look to us plebs, it is pennies on the dollar for what they make in profits. these aren’t publicly traded companies so their earnings aren’t even known.
Derek Holland has had an era under 3 in June & July. I don’t have faith that the Giants have enough to make an actual playoff run. But he’d been bounced to the bullpen with Cueto back. Holland was a good find.
Bobby Evans has made 3 big free agent signings since becoming GM, Cueto, Shark, and Melancon. His trades include over the hill Longoria and McCutchen, and giving up Matt Duffy for Matt Moore. How does this man still have a job? And if Bruce Bochy doesn’t realize that Melancon is the last pitcher you want in the game in any sort of high leverage situation then he should be shown the door as well. I don’t care how many rings he won, if it’s obvious to me, a guy on the couch who hasn’t played baseball since the early 90’s, it should be beyond obvious to a MLB manager.
I’m not a Bobby Evans fan either, but to be fair, he’s made some good trades and signings — Will Smith, Sam Dyson, Tony Watson, Dereck Rodriguez, Derek Holland, Alen Hanson, even Pablo Sandoval was a good move. And its not like he’s doing all this in a vacuum; I’m sure Sabean has his hands on a lot of the moves made the last few years.
And I think a lot of people are happy with Curt Young as the new pitching coach and Wotus moving to 3rd base coach.
Cueto had a 2.78 ERA in 2016. That alone shouldn’t make the deal awful. Shark had above average 2016 and 2017. That alone shouldn’t make the deal awful. Awful deals are Melancon, Zimmermann, Wright, etc. The giants wouldn’t have made the playoffs if it wasn’t for Cueto and Shark in 2016. Their downfall was not making a big splash in the TD, all they got was a Utility and a no.4 SP.
And Matt Moore pitched great in Game 4 of the NLDS (8 innings 1 run) — if the bullpen didn’t cough it up; the Cubs would have faced Cueto in game 5, who had previously gone 8 innings and given up 1 run in Game 1.
Duffy will regress offensively but that deal was a major flop. At least they were able to dump Moore this offseason before he completely blew up.
I’m more worried about Bochy than Evans and Sabean. Slater needs to play every day, and STOP BATTING KELBY AHEAD OF GORKYS
Never thought I would say that. Bam bam is at this point better.
I think the Giants are in this. I actually for once agree with the non move at the deadline. There was no where to go but straight ahead. I’ll hate on Evans when it’s time to hate but it’s more like Cueto worked the Giants rather than him being a bad signing.
I guess we know why Cueto did not opt out of his current deal before the season.
Jeeze, it’s like if you’re not a super team you can’t win… where did this absurd mentality come from? It certainly isn’t from anyone who’s watched and played baseball for more than a year….
Although the Giant’s minor league “cupboard is bare”, I don’t think the Giants are in a position to make them sellers. Unless they get a MLB ready player in return. In a short series, they can win, especially if the opposing Manager goes into over-management mode.