Matt Shoemaker has a torn left ACL that will keep him out of action for the rest of the 2019 season, tweets Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet. The Blue Jays right-hander was placed on the 10-day IL earlier today after suffering the injury during Saturday’s game. What was initially thought to be a knee sprain is evidently much worse than expected, and Shoemaker finds himself on the shelf in what seems to be the worst-case scenario.
The diagnosis comes as the latest in a frustrating set of seasons for Shoemaker, who managed just 21 starts in his final two seasons with the Angels. After he was unable to replicate the success that he enjoyed in 2014, his first full Major League season, the 32-year-old signed on with the Blue Jays last winter on a one-year deal, hoping that a change of scenery would coincide with a return to strength and a comeback season.
The news is that much more devastating when considered in context with Shoemaker’s extensive injury history and his early-season success with his new club. Through his first five starts of the young season, Shoemaker impressed his new organization and looked in position to make good on that return to form. His 1.57 ERA was accompanied by impressive peripheral numbers, with his 0.9 HR/9 on par with his best seasons. Unfortunately, though, 2019 will go down as another lost season for the veteran righty.
Of course, the injury is equally disappointing for the Blue Jays, who looked to Shoemaker to provide stability in a rotation that was one of the weakest in the American League last season. Entering the season, there were plenty of questions in the rotation, with Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez both enduring disappointing seasons in 2018 and free-agent signee Clay Buchholz a relative unknown. The depth beyond that group of veterans is comprised of unproven young pitchers, one of whom will now have to step into the rotation in Shoemaker’s absence. Thomas Pannone and Sam Gaviglio, who started 24 games for Toronto in 2018, appear most likely to replace Shoemaker.
Though his contract will expire at season’s end, Shoemaker is still eligible for arbitration, so the Blue Jays will have priority to keep the hurler around for next season if both parties are interested, though his contractual status is surely the last thing on Shoemaker’s mind following his injury.