TODAY: Herrmann’s surgery was a success. Per a team release, “The surgery was performed by Dr. Douglas Freedberg and involved a chondroplasty procedure to Herrmann’s central trochlea of his right knee as well as cleaning up loose bodies in the knee.” He is set to be reevaluated sometime in the coming couple of weeks.
March 6: Athletics catcher Chris Herrmann is headed for arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, manager Bob Melvin and trainer Nick Paparesta revealed to reporters Wednesday (Twitter links via Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle). There’s no timetable for Herrmann’s return at present, as the extent of the damage won’t be fully clear until doctors are performing the operation. What’s currently known is that Herrmann requires a cartilage cleanup, the removal of some bone spurs and the repair of a fissure in the problematic knee.
The Herrmann injury likely ensures that non-roster invitee Nick Hundley will make the Opening Day roster alongside holdover Josh Phegley. Top prospect Sean Murphy could conceivably have been an option, though Slusser tweets that the organization doesn’t want to rush him at this point. The 24-year-old Murphy has logged just one full season in Double-A and only three games of Triple-A ball to this point in his career, so it’s not a surprise that the organization feels he’s in need of continued development. If the A’s choose to look outside the organization, defensive standout Martin Maldonado remains unsigned and could certainly give the Oakland organization an experienced, glove-first option behind the dish.
Herrmann, 31, signed a one-year, $1MM contract with the Athletics back in early December after being non-tendered by the division-rival Astros, who’d previously claimed him off waivers from the Mariners. Last season was a productive one for Herrmann with Seattle — albeit in a small sample at the MLB level. In 87 trips to the plate as a Mariner, he slashed .237/.322/.421 with two homers, four doubles and a pair of triples. While he’s had some brief flashes of success in the Majors — most notably with the D-backs in 2016 — Herrmann’s career .205/.282/.351 batting line in 898 PAs between Minnesota, Arizona and Seattle doesn’t exactly stand out.
Both Herrmann and Phegley are out of minor league options, so once Herrmann is healthy, the A’s will need to make a decision as to how to proceed with their catching corps, as it’s highly unlikely that Oakland would look to carry that pairing and Hundley for a significant period of time. Beyond that, Murphy may well force his way onto the big league roster in 2019, which will only add another layer to the decision.