Shuhei Ohtani’s elbow injury: Six questions that will shape what comes next

The initial news reverberated across the sport like a shock wave. Shuhei Ohtani, the unimaginable unicorn who pushes baseball beyond its preconceived limits, is hurt.

After that, the questions started coming in. Ohtani, who now suffers from a torn elbow, is months away from becoming a free agent. What does it mean for his market, destination and future?

There is still a lot to learn, and a lot that no one can answer now. Some of the answers may not yet be known to Ohtani himself. But at least some answers will arrive in time.

Here’s what comes to mind in the immediate aftermath:

How committed is Ohtani to remaining a two-way player?

Ohtani hasn’t spoken publicly yet since his Champions League rupture, but history tells us he’ll likely do everything he can to keep throwing and hitting. Ohtani once wanted to join the major leagues after graduating from high school. Had that happened, he probably wouldn’t have become the twosome we know today. Ohtani eventually stayed in Japan and thrived as a marksman and hitter with the Nippon Ham Fighters.

Even after Ohtani came to the US and underwent Tommy John surgery in 2018, he rehabbed and continued to do things never before seen in Major League Baseball.

“Ideally, if it comes to them telling me to just focus on hitting or focus on one thing, I will listen.” Ohtani said in 2020. “But ideally, I’d like to leave the window open for me to do both.

“If the potential exists, I would still like to try (promoting).” The Angels signed me thinking I was going to be a two-way player. I just need to get my health back and get back on the mound and try to make it.

Another injury and the prospect of another surgery could muddy the waters. But given all we’ve seen of Ohtani, it’s hard to imagine a world where he doesn’t once again try to challenge every preconceived notion of what’s possible. – Cody Stavenhagen


Go deep

McCullough: Shuhei Ohtani has rewritten our understanding of what a single player can do

Can he hit in 2024 and still rehabilitate his elbow?

Shuhei Ohtani can still strike, but at what cost? (Harry Howe/Getty Images)

If Ohtani really wants to keep putting his best foot forward, he’ll probably roll the dice if he decides to try to find success in 2024.

The supposed second Tommy John surgery is a roll of the dice in the beginning. But hitting in 2024, even as a DH, and deviating from the prescribed routine for rehab, could lower his odds of him returning to his full form as a pitcher as he wants. The operative word becomes “danger”.

“There will be some compromises in his rehabilitation process if he becomes a position player, depending on his workload, if he returns next year,” said Dr. Chris Ahmed, the Yankees team physician and surgeon who operated on Tommy. John’s operations. “Especially on the second Tommy John review, you want the rehab to go perfectly.”

Time is required and the rehabilitation process is necessarily slow. Ahmed’s likeness to rubbing the hand on the sharp pebbles: at first it causes bleeding. But gradually building it up over time creates strength in the leather of the hand; It’s the same for lace.

Meanwhile, Ahmed noted, “It’s not impossible to do, it just means you have to build a strategy to get a lead in pitching, and that will certainly happen in the off-season and into the following spring.” – Evan Drilich


Go deep

Is skipping 2024 as a hitter the best chance for Shuhei Ohtani to become a great pitcher again?

How does this affect Ohtani’s free agent market?

That’s the millionth question… Wrong, $800 million. Point one here: Even if Ohtani were just a hitter, he would still be the most favored free agent in the offseason class. This is the player with 44 home runs and total offensive production that outpace the league average by 81 percent. He can get huge wages even if he is only half of the player we know. the athleteOhtani’s Ken Rosenthal wrote that Ohtani was still worth $500 million as a hitter alone.

At the very least, some of the game’s decision-makers were already considering the fact that Ohtani might not be able to work full-time for the duration of any huge deal he gets.

“His injury actually brings a degree of clarity to his free agency,” Rosenthal wrote. The team that signs Ohtani will pay him as a hitter. Anything Kurami offers will be a bonus.

For comparison, Aaron Judge earned a nine-year, $360m contract in the last offseason. Ohtani has a strong chance of surpassing that total. A deal filled with opt-out options and incentives could be one way to offset the current uncertainty. An injury could give the Angels a small dose of hope of keeping Ohtani, but it’s unlikely to keep big spenders like the Mets or Dodgers at bay. If anything, a slightly more realistic price could mean more teams bidding on ohtani, not less. — Cody Stavenhagen


Go deep

Rosenthal: Shohei Ohtani is worth $500 million in free agency, even if he’s just a hitter


Go deep

Law: Shuhei Ohtani’s injury is a loss for baseball fans, but he will still get his wages

Would it make sense to accept a one-year deal?

It might make sense for Ohtani to sign a short-term contract in hopes of re-establishing a level of clarity and heading into free agency again in one or two seasons. This would, of course, pose a great danger to Ohtani. The reasons against it may be more than the reasons for it.

There is some belief that Ohtani would look to make such a deal and bet on himself. The downside is that he will then be on the flip side of his 30-year-old. The real incentive for teams to sign huge mega contracts is that they will get the player’s first two years at his best, with the acceptance that they will overpay for the player’s declining years as a result.

There is also the inherent fact that he will not be back on the field in 2024, so there will be no certainty heading into another decade season. The flip side is that Ohtani will have more toned arms when he’s around 31 or 32 years old. The question will be whether that will be enough to offset what he earns by signing a lucrative long-term contract this year.

Ohtani has lost potentially hundreds of millions of dollars due to this horrificly timed injury. He’ll still get a hefty salary regardless, and it’s possible that neither option will return him to what he would have earned. – Sam Blum

Why did the angels allow him to shoot after his recent bout of arm fatigue?

Shuhei Ohtani leaves the mound during Wednesday’s game. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The Angels believe Ohtani was unable to pitch the 1 1/3 innings he did on Wednesday with a Champions League tear. He also threw a bullpen the day before, which the team says was no problem. That means they believe he almost certainly suffered the tear while playing Wednesday. However, it’s certainly fair to be curious about the angels’ operation here.

Ohtani had already skipped his previous start due to arm fatigue. No imaging of his arm was done after his last start because Ohtani did not complain of anything other than fatigue. There was no concern about injury, he was just tired.

But clearly something wasn’t right with his last start. His fastball speed decreased by 3.7 mph and his sweep speed decreased by 4 mph. It was all down. Something was wrong.

To understand the thinking of angels, it is important to understand the broader strategy with Ohtani. He has almost complete independence in everything he does. He trains according to his schedule. He plays when he wants to play. He throws when he wants to throw. So his start on Wednesday is a reflection of that. They trusted him to go there because he said he could, even if there were some potential red flags about doing so.

It’s hard to say what would be different if he didn’t start on Wednesday. Or he got photographed before the start. But it seems unlikely that the arm fatigue he has dealt with in recent weeks is entirely separate from the more serious injury he is now dealing with. – Sam Blum


Go deep

Bloom: Shuhei Ohtani’s shattered Champions League will have huge ramifications for his future and for the sport

How successful are the shooters’ comeback from their second Tommy John surgery?

By accounts, moderately successful. Daniel Hudson threw his final World Series pitch six years after his second Tommy John surgery. After their Tommy John reviews, Nathan Ivaldi was turned into an All-Star player; Jameson Tylon signed a free agent deal worth $68 million. Joachim Soria, Kirby Yates, and Justin Toba evolved into valuable palliatives. And if we were to extract meaning from small samples, Hyun Jin Ryu has 1.89 ERAs in four starts. There are also many examples of pitchers not returning to form after a second Tommy John surgery, for various reasons, but the simple answer is that revision is not a death sentence for the profession.

The simpler – but far more disappointing – answer is that we’ll know a lot more about the success rate of Tommy John reviews in a few more years as the list of Tommy John men grows two (and three) times. You can build a star-studded playoff-caliber lineup for the rookies currently working their way back from Tommy John II: Jacob DeGrom, Shane McClanahan, Walker Buehler, Dustin May, Chris Baddack, Joe Ross and now, perhaps, Ohtani.

While the success rate of first-time Tummy John surgeries is very good, there is not a lot of literature dealing with the success rate of Tummy John revisions. found a 2016 study That about 40 percent of MLB pitchers who have been reviewed by Tommy John since 1999 have returned to the field for at least 10 more games in the major leagues, While a 2020 study found Half of the players (38 pitchers and two position players in the study) returned to their previous levels of competition. The more Tommy John reviews are done, the better the data and our understanding of success rates – but, as with everything Tommy John surgeries, it will take time. — Stephen J. Nisbitt


Go deep

If Shuhei Ohtani joins the Tommy John surgery club twice, here’s what he can expect

(With reporting by Evan Drilich and Stephen J. Nesbitt)

(Top photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button