Rockies starter Antonio Senzatela will undergo Tommy John surgery, manager Bud Black told reporters (including Patrick Lyons of DNVR Sports). The righty is already on the 60-day injured list. He recently suffered a setback during his attempt to rehab from an elbow sprain that sent him to the IL two months ago.
It’s another dismal development for a Colorado pitching staff that has had a disastrous year. Opening Day starter Germán Márquez underwent a Tommy John procedure of his own in May. Kyle Freeland had been healthy and effective for much of the first half, but he suffered an injury to his non-throwing shoulder during his final start before the All-Star Break.
A healthy Senzatela would quite likely be Colorado’s #3 starter behind Márquez and Freeland. The Rox are now without all three members of that group. Márquez’s time in the organization could be nearing its end completely. Colorado is sure to buy out a club option valued at $16MM, although it wouldn’t be a surprise if they tried to bring him back on a cheaper multi-year deal after that.
Senzatela will be on the roster next season, but he’s now slated to miss most or all of the year. The typical rehab for a Tommy John surgery ranges from 14-16 months. It’s possible he makes it back toward the tail end of the 2024 campaign if his recovery goes well.
The Venezuelan-born righty had been a decent innings eater for Colorado early in his career. He’s started 20+ games on three separate occasions and took the ball all 12 times through the rotation during the shortened 2020 schedule. Between 2020-21, he pitched to a 4.11 ERA through 230 innings. That’s solid production for a pitcher spending half his games in the league’s most hitter-friendly environment.
Near the end of the ’21 campaign, Colorado signed Senzatela to a five-year extension that guaranteed him $50.5MM. The contract bought out his final two arbitration seasons, three would-be free agent years, and contained a club option for a fourth free agent campaign (2027).
The first three years of that deal will now be defined by injury. Senzatela’s 2022 was cut short when he tore the ACL in his left knee last August. The rehab from the subsequent surgery carried into May. He made it back from the knee issue but started only two games before the elbow injury.
Senzatela will be paid $12MM annually for the next three seasons. Colorado’s ’27 option is valued at $14MM and does not come with a buyout. Senzatela could have tacked on another $1MM to his 2024-27 salaries had he been healthy enough to toss 200+ innings in either of the past two seasons, though that hasn’t come to be.
The Rox are now going to be even harder pressed in attacking their pitching staff next winter. They’re currently relying on a patchwork group comprising Austin Gomber, Connor Seabold and Chase Anderson. The club just added veteran righty Chris Flexen on a non-roster pact, while the likes of Noah Davis and Peter Lambert are possible depth options.
Only Gomber, who has righted the ship after a horrid first month, looks likely to be in next year’s season-opening rotation. Freeland should be the staff ace, but Colorado could have to acquire three or four starting pitching options over the coming months. General manager Bill Schmidt acknowledged earlier this week the team would prioritize young pitching in potential deadline trades, though none of the veterans whom Colorado appears to be shopping is likely to return a prospect of especially high regard.