Orioles left-hander Josh Rogers underwent his second Tommy John surgery today, manager Brandon Hyde announced to reporters (Twitter links via Joe Trezza of MLB.com). He’ll miss the remainder of the 2019 season and, in all likelihood, the bulk of the 2020 campaign as well. Rogers also underwent Tommy John surgery in high school back in 2013.
Rogers, 24, came to the Orioles as part of the trade that sent Zack Britton to the division-rival Yankees prior to last year’s non-waiver trade deadline. At the time, he looked like a near-MLB-ready arm that could occupy a spot at the back of the rotation or in the bullpen. Last year saw Rogers pitch to a combined 3.54 ERA in 139 2/3 innings between the Triple-A affiliates for the two organizations. Given his proximity to the Majors, he was viewed as a candidate to log a fair share of innings for the Orioles in the first full season of their rebuild.
However, Rogers has struggled immensely both in the Majors and in Triple-A this season, logging an ERA north of 8.00 in a combined 69 1/3 innings. It’s certainly possible that issues in his elbow contributed to his poor results in 2019, though. While he’s not considered a premium prospect, Rogers ranked 28th among Baltimore farmhands heading into the season, according to Baseball America, who tabbed him as a potential fifth starter. For an Orioles club that is desperately thin on arms behind John Means, Andrew Cashner and Dylan Bundy, that would’ve been a most welcome outcome. Rogers is the second pitching prospect acquired in last summer’s fire sale to undergo Tommy John surgery this year, joining fellow righty Zach Pop, whom the Orioles acquired as part of their return for Manny Machado.
Instead, the Orioles have looked to a pair of minor trades to try to help stop the bleeding in the final two spots of the rotation. Baltimore acquired right-hander Tom Eshelman from the Phillies in exchange for international bonus money last month and acquired righty Asher Wojciechowski from the Indians in exchange for cash on Monday this week. Eshelman made his big league debut Monday, and the well-traveled Wojciechowski followed him in the rotation last night. There will likely be plenty of fluctuation in the composition of the team’s rotation between now and season’s end, but Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets that the out-of-options Wojciechowski will remain in the starting five for now.