The Rays obtained two items of unhealthy information at the moment, with Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Instances relaying each (Twitter links). Proper-hander Shane Baz will bear Tommy John surgical procedure which is able to maintain him out of motion by means of the top of the 2023 marketing campaign. Moreover, Brandon Lowe gained’t return right here in 2022 resulting from an ongoing again situation.
Baz will finish his 2022 season with solely 27 innings pitched over six begins, as arthroscopic elbow surgical procedure after which an elbow sprain (which has saved him on the injured listing since July) restricted his capacity to get onto the mound. Sadly, these elbow issues have now resulted within the worst-case state of affairs of TJ surgical procedure, and Baz now faces one other utterly misplaced season in 2023.
It was simply over a yr in the past that Baz made his MLB debut, making three begins for the Rays on the finish of the 2021 season after which getting one other begin of their playoff rotation through the ALDS. Whereas entrusting an inexperienced pitcher with an enormous postseason begin didn’t work out effectively for Tampa Bay, it was an indication of simply how a lot religion the Rays have in Baz as one of many key arms of their future. The righty had grow to be considered one of baseball’s high pitching prospects throughout his wonderful 2021 minor league season, and thus entered 2022 as a favourite for AL Rookie Of The Yr honors.
As an alternative, Baz will now be out of motion till Opening Day 2024. It’s a testomony to the Rays’ pitching depth that they’re nonetheless in prime place to return to the playoffs even with out Baz or a number of different notable injured hurlers (corresponding to one other Tommy John affected person in Tyler Glasnow, who has missed all of 2022 however may be near returning for some bullpen work late within the common season or within the postseason). Nonetheless, shedding Baz to TJ surgical procedure is of course a blow to the Rays’ current and future plans, given how younger and controllable pitching is such a key plank of Tampa Bay’s methods.
Between 2022 and 2023, Baz will financial institution two full seasons of Main League service time whereas on the injured listing, although he nonetheless isn’t eligible for arbitration till after the 2024 season. Assuming he is ready to return from rehab in good type, he can use 2024 as a platform for an honest arb payday, however clearly Baz’s first precedence is simply getting wholesome.
With reference to 2022 alone, having Lowe for under 65 video games was an excellent greater short-term downside for the Rays than shedding Baz, given how Lowe is a longtime large league expertise. After top-10 finishes in AL MVP voting in every of the final two seasons, Lowe hit solely .221/.308/.383 over 266 plate appearances, as he was restricted by three separate stints on the IL. A kind of absences was a minimal 10-day stint resulting from a biceps contusion, however Lowe was largely hampered by his lower-back downside.
It stays to be seen if Lowe may require a surgical repair to totally remedy his again issues, and in that case, such a process may influence his readiness for the beginning of the 2023 marketing campaign. Arbitration isn’t an element for Lowe, who had two assured seasons remaining on a six-year, $24MM extension he signed again in March 2019, and he’s owed no less than $15MM extra on that deal (which incorporates two membership choices). Given how the Rays are all the time open to dealing veteran gamers, it will look like Lowe’s damage and down yr would definitely reduce the prospect of a commerce, however a transfer can’t be solely dominated out.
Such a call would hinge on how comfy the Rays are with their different choices at second base. Isaac Paredes, Taylor Partitions, Jonathan Aranda, and Vidal Brujan have dealt with many of the workload with Lowe out, with various levels of success. Partitions is a premium defender who hasn’t hit a lot, whereas Paredes has proven some pop in his first season with the Rays, and Aranda has gotten off to a strong begin in his first month within the large leagues. Tampa will now be relying on this combine to assist them within the postseason, with Lowe not a risk.