Padres reliever Trey Wingenter underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on Friday, according to AJ Cassavell of MLB.com. The procedure will force Wingenter to miss all of the 2020 season and likely the majority of 2021.
Wingenter’s surgery represents a blow to the depth of the San Diego bullpen, which will already be without lefty Jose Castillo for the next six or so weeks. Flamethrower Andres Munoz also fell victim to Tommy John surgery in March.
That said, the Friars’ bullpen should still be a strong unit, with the acquisitions of Drew Pomeranz, Emilio Pagan, and Pierce Johnson strengthening the supporting cast behind Kirby Yates. The trade for Tim Hill is looking like a timely move, and Gerardo Reyes, Javy Guerra, and Cal Quantrill are on board as depth options.
Wingenter, 26, was a core piece in the Padres’ bullpen last year, appearing in 51 games. He’s a strikeout specialist, averaging 12.7 K/9 in his first 70 career innings. Despite that, he ran a high 5.65 ERA last year, in part due to high walk numbers, and perhaps due to some bad luck: although the ERA is inarguably unimpressive, he managed a solid 3.61 FIP last year, indicating that Wingenter’s talent is deserving of a better mark.
Unfortunately, further development to the righty’s game will have to wait until late next season, at best. Without a doubt, it’s an untimely procedure for a young pitcher who looks to be coming into his own at the Major League level.