Garrett Whitlock shutdown after soreness in his elbow, back in BOS for testing

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View: https://twitter.com/ChrisCotillo/status/1791590395857768627

Here is Alex Cora's full synopsis on the Garrett Whitlock situation: “Garrett felt soreness around the elbow area [yesterday]. So we're gonna shut him down for now, see what's going on this weekend and we'll know more on Monday. So that's where we’re at. He felt great throughout the outing. During the night, felt really good and then yesterday he was doing okay and then we stretched him out, he was tight and he was sore, so that’s where we’re at. "
View: https://twitter.com/IanMBrowne/status/1791595358440538214
 

dynomite

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Ugh, feel terrible for the kid. Since 2018 (120 IP in A/AA) it looks like his season high (between Majors & Minors) is 92 IP.

I'm sure this will restart the reliever vs. starter debate with Whitlock. I will say I was just reading about how the A's went through a similar process with Mason Miller and A.J. Puk in recent years and ended up moving both of them to the bullpen, which I found interesting because I remembered hearing speculation that shorter warm ups and max effort pitches as an RP were usually considered more prone to injury?
 

mikcou

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Any future idea of giving this kid more than 100 innings a season, no matter the role, should probably be shelved.
I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but that should have been abundantly obvious before this season. Guy is in his age 28 season and between college/minors/majors has one season where he managed to throw 100 innings. At some point, obvious things are obvious.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but that should have been abundantly obvious before this season. Guy is in his age 28 season and between college/minors/majors has one season where he managed to throw 100 innings. At some point, obvious things are obvious.
Well. There were some of us who had been saying that for a few years now.

I won't say he got hurt this time because he was starting. But he gets hurt every year, seemingly. Penciling him into the rotation several years in a row always seemed rash to me.
 

mikcou

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Well. There were some of us who had been saying that for a few years now.

I won't say he got hurt this time because he was starting. But he gets hurt every year, seemingly. Penciling him into the rotation several years in a row always seemed rash to me.
Yup as someone who thought that it was worth a go in 2022 to let him try to start, the abject failure of that attempt made me think it made little sense to retry in 2023. Thinking he was a starter this year was, well, just against all evidence of what he is physically capable of doing.
 

Harry Hooper

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If someone wants to dig through the archives, I am pretty sure there's a pessimistic post from DRS last year which was highly skeptical of the "all clear" the Sox gave on Whitlock's arm/elbow mid-season.
 

curly2

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Looks like it was a great decision by him. Take the money when it's offered.
For position players, it might make sense to bet on yourself. For pitchers, grabbing the money is probably the way to go, especially when you've already had TJ in the minors.
 

chrisfont9

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I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but that should have been abundantly obvious before this season. Guy is in his age 28 season and between college/minors/majors has one season where he managed to throw 100 innings. At some point, obvious things are obvious.
And yet the Sox, who have people far more invested into researching pitcher health than we will ever be, gave out that contract. So I suspect they would disagree with you about what was obvious then, and may not concede your point now either.
 

HfxBob

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It was a very reasonable deal they did with Whitlock. The final two years on it, which would be his first two free agent years, are both team options.

I expect they realized it was possible he would end up as a reliever, too. But obviously the first priority was to try him as a starter.

Devastating injuries to pitchers have just become brutally commonplace.
 

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It was a very reasonable deal they did with Whitlock. The final two years on it, which would be his first two free agent years, are both team options.

I expect they realized it was possible he would end up as a reliever, too. But obviously the first priority was to try him as a starter.

Devastating injuries to pitchers have just become brutally commonplace.
This may be the end of the long-term big contracts to pitchers in baseball. Just not cost-effective anymore.

With the prevalence of "bullpen games" now; this is is going to be the norm. Guys who can pitch 2 or 3 innings. Really wild to see where we have landed with starting pitching. Paul Skenes is a beast for the Pirates but who will be surprised when he blows out an elbow?
 

jon abbey

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With the prevalence of "bullpen games" now; this is is going to be the norm.
Prevalence? I don’t remember seeing a single one this year, I’d be surprised if it’s over 10 percent of games and would guess under 5 percent. Actual starters getting hammered or injured don’t count, I’d love to know the genuine percentage here.
 

scottyno

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Prevalence? I don’t remember seeing a single one this year, I’d be surprised if it’s over 10 percent of games and would guess under 5 percent. Actual starters getting hammered or injured don’t count, I’d love to know the genuine percentage here.
The Sox alone have had 6
 

jon abbey

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The Sox alone have had 6
OK, and the Yankees have had none, so that is 6 out of 92.

I'm obviously not saying they don't happen, but I don't think any team is doing it like TB did for a year or two.
 

Ale Xander

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Make him a high leverage reliever in the 6-8th innings, no more than 4 outs. Maybe even the 5th in the right situation. Seems like the obvious play.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Well if they can still hang around in contention, they’ll need to leverage some of that 40-man crunch into something like Whitlock (although I’m betting that’s the reason they sent Winchowski to AAA to start increasing his innings)
 

iddoc

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Well if they can still hang around in contention, they’ll need to leverage some of that 40-man crunch into something like Whitlock (although I’m betting that’s the reason they sent Winchowski to AAA to start increasing his innings)
Doesn’t Winckowski have a bone chip in one of his ankles that needs surgery but he has decided to tough it out for the season? That may help explain the results so far this year, and I’m not sure he’s up to being in the rotation for the rest of the season
 

BaseballJones

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That will just about do it. Such a damn shame.

He was smart to get the money when he could.
I do wonder if this will be it for his career. He's young enough to work towards coming back if he wants to (and he probably does) but there's no guarantee at all. It's such a bummer, because he's a really good pitcher.

In any case, a wonderful signing (Rule 5 signing), who was a huge part of their very fun 2021 season, and who gave the Sox 241.2 very high quality innings over his abbreviated career.

But this is now the fourth player for the Sox who is out for the season (well, he hasn't "officially" been ruled out for the year, but when a pitcher has a UCL injury...uh, yeah) - Giolito, Story, Murphy, and now Whitlock.

Best case for Whitlock would likely be surgery, and then him returning, what, like Aug or Sep 2025? Which might be a nice boost to the club's bullpen late in the 2025 season, but I'm not remotely counting on that at all. More likely, his career is over, I'd think.

Four guys out for the year. Five guys out for the long term but expected back later this season (Casas, Yoshida, Campbell, Mata, Hendriks). Lots of other lesser injuries already.

It's been a hell of a season.
 

Sin Duda

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I do wonder if this will be it for his career. He's young enough to work towards coming back if he wants to (and he probably does) but there's no guarantee at all. It's such a bummer, because he's a really good pitcher.

In any case, a wonderful signing (Rule 5 signing), who was a huge part of their very fun 2021 season, and who gave the Sox 241.2 very high quality innings over his abbreviated career.

But this is now the fourth player for the Sox who is out for the season (well, he hasn't "officially" been ruled out for the year, but when a pitcher has a UCL injury...uh, yeah) - Giolito, Story, Murphy, and now Whitlock.

Best case for Whitlock would likely be surgery, and then him returning, what, like Aug or Sep 2025? Which might be a nice boost to the club's bullpen late in the 2025 season, but I'm not remotely counting on that at all. More likely, his career is over, I'd think.

Four guys out for the year. Five guys out for the long term but expected back later this season (Casas, Yoshida, Campbell, Mata, Hendriks). Lots of other lesser injuries already.

It's been a hell of a season.
I doubt very much his career is over. And the surgery may entail the bracing procedure rather than TJS. Regardless, he's not going to leave millions of dollars of his existing contract on the table, nor likely to ignore millions in future contracts. Let's wait to hear what the doctor says.
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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This post could go on a whole bunch of different threads, but it seems like so many sports are now basically a war of attrition - to win a championship you need healthy players, but the physical effort required to succeed at the highest level today takes such a toll that a lot of players just can't make it through a season without injury. The NFL has always been this way, but it seems like other sports are trending that way too. The Sox have had a gazillion injuries in the last three years, as we all know. Pitchers are getting hurt left and right. Look at the NBA this year - the Bucks, 76ers, Knicks all done in by injuries, and if the Celtics don't win a championship, I'll bet Porzingis's health will have something do to with it.

It seems like we've reached the limits of what the human body can endure giving max effort in order to win. I want sports to be about grey teams beating other great teams to win championships, not about who happened to get lucky with player health. No idea what to do about this though.
 
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Fishy1

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I doubt very much his career is over. And the surgery may entail the bracing procedure rather than TJS. Regardless, he's not going to leave millions of dollars of his existing contract on the table, nor likely to ignore millions in future contracts. Let's wait to hear what the doctor says.
The only thing is this is his second UCL tear. That apparently makes it tough. Nonetheless, it's not unheard of for guys to have multiple Tommy John Surgeries -- Eovaldi had it twice, Jason Isringhausen had it twice, there's plenty of guys. So that doesn't mean anything really.

But that doesn't mean it will work out for him either. Nonetheless, it seems crazy early to declare the guy's career over. He might struggle with staying on the field, or be relegated to the bullpen for the future, but plenty of guys have had UCL surgeries and gone on to have long careers. This isn't a labrum or rotator cuff tear. Even with all his injuries, the guy has managed 6 bWAR in 4 years. The Red Sox certainly won't be DFAing him. He's a good pitcher, and hopefully he sorts things out.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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The only thing is this is his second UCL tear. That apparently makes it tough. Nonetheless, it's not unheard of for guys to have multiple Tommy John Surgeries -- Eovaldi had it twice, Jason Isringhausen had it twice, there's plenty of guys. So that doesn't mean anything really.

But that doesn't mean it will work out for him either. Nonetheless, it seems crazy early to declare the guy's career over. He might struggle with staying on the field, or be relegated to the bullpen for the future, but plenty of guys have had UCL surgeries and gone on to have long careers. This isn't a labrum or rotator cuff tear. Even with all his injuries, the guy has managed 6 bWAR in 4 years. The Red Sox certainly won't be DFAing him. He's a good pitcher, and hopefully he sorts things out.
If anything this will put the final nail into the pipe dream that he could be a 150 IP+ starting pitcher. If and when he comes back I suspect he will be in a bullpen role for the rest of his career. Even with all the attempts to make him a starter, he has a TOTAL of 241.2 innings pitched for his entire career.
 

Fishy1

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If anything this will put the final nail into the pipe dream that he could be a 150 IP+ starting pitcher. If and when he comes back I suspect he will be in a bullpen role for the rest of his career. Even with all the attempts to make him a starter, he has a TOTAL of 241.2 innings pitched for his entire career.
Yeah, I wouldn't be at all surprised if they chose to just make him a reliever. It's a shame, because he clearly has the pitch mix to throw 5 or more innings at a time.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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Yeah, I wouldn't be at all surprised if they chose to just make him a reliever. It's a shame, because he clearly has the pitch mix to throw 5 or more innings at a time.
His pitch mix is why I liked him so much as a 2 inning guy in the pen, honestly. He's got the stuff to be a starter, but not the durability. A tale as old as time.

I am again genuinely happy for him he got the big money already.
 

Max Power

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This post could go on a whole bunch of different threads, but it seems like so many sports are now basically a war of attrition - to win a championship you need healthy players, but the physical effort required to succeed at the highest level today takes such a toll that a lot of players just can't make it through a season without injury. The NFL has always been this way, but it seems like other sports are trending that way too. The Sox have had a gazillion injuries in the last three years, as we all know. Pitchers are getting hurt left and right. Look at the NBA this year - the Bucks, 76ers, Knicks all done in by injuries, and if the Celtics don't win a championship, I'll bet Porzingis's health will have something do to with it.

It seems like we've reached the limits of what the human body can endure giving max effort in order to win. I want sports to be about grey teams beating other great teams to win championships, not about who happened to get lucky with player health. No idea what to do about this though.
Nobody wants to hear it, but there are too many teams in the playoffs and too many playoff games in every sport. You can't play a full regular season and then another season nearly half as long like they do in the NBA and NHL and expect everyone to be able to handle it. Baseball is going in that direction, too, with the dumb third wildcard and 3 game series. If you can't finish all your playoff games in a month, then you have too many playoff games.
 

Yelling At Clouds

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Nobody wants to hear it, but there are too many teams in the playoffs and too many playoff games in every sport. You can't play a full regular season and then another season nearly half as long like they do in the NBA and NHL and expect everyone to be able to handle it. Baseball is going in that direction, too, with the dumb third wildcard and 3 game series. If you can't finish all your playoff games in a month, then you have too many playoff games.
Counterpoint: the regular season is what should be shortened in all three of those sports.
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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Nobody wants to hear it, but there are too many teams in the playoffs and too many playoff games in every sport. You can't play a full regular season and then another season nearly half as long like they do in the NBA and NHL and expect everyone to be able to handle it. Baseball is going in that direction, too, with the dumb third wildcard and 3 game series. If you can't finish all your playoff games in a month, then you have too many playoff games.
Yes, absolutely.
 

HfxBob

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Nobody wants to hear it, but there are too many teams in the playoffs and too many playoff games in every sport. You can't play a full regular season and then another season nearly half as long like they do in the NBA and NHL and expect everyone to be able to handle it. Baseball is going in that direction, too, with the dumb third wildcard and 3 game series. If you can't finish all your playoff games in a month, then you have too many playoff games.
I think most would agree. But we all know why it is the way it is and why it won't change, it's all driven by the dollar.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Doesn’t Winckowski have a bone chip in one of his ankles that needs surgery but he has decided to tough it out for the season? That may help explain the results so far this year, and I’m not sure he’s up to being in the rotation for the rest of the season
I haven't seen that anywhere, but just looked it up, and yeah. I don't know how I missed that. So I'm not sure what to think now. I'd guess that they're still monitoring him to see how he does.
The Criswell, Bello, Houck, Crawford and Pivetta still seem to be doing well (assuming Bello's last turn was his "return hiccup"). There's understandably a lot of concern there with... well, just general health of any pitcher at all... but innings limits and overperformance. I'm willing at this point to really believe that Pivetta, Crawford and Houck are all as good as their lines say they are- and that's a very formidable trio with a very good no. 4 in Bello right now (with a higher ceiling still).
So for me it comes down to health and innings, and Criswell sustaining his performance so far as a no. 5 guy... which I think he can probably hold out for something probably not as good as he's been, but likely a very good "no. 5" type.
So it's really health/innings which has to be a major concern for Breslow as he navigates the trade deadline. What if they're 3-5 games out, Casas has returned... Grissom is finally heating up. Can he trust that all those arms will hold up?
If he finds himself in that position, I hope he's more of a buyer than a seller. Maybe Mata is looking like a great bullpen arm by then? Perhaps Wikelman can be added (both already on the 40 man) and perform better than Jensen in the late innings? There's got to be a clearing of mL depth or risk losing a lot of them for nothing, so I'd look to be adding a starter with an expiring contract to shore up the rotation. Hopefully Winckowski's injury is actually something he can pitch through?
 

bloodysox

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I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but that should have been abundantly obvious before this season. Guy is in his age 28 season and between college/minors/majors has one season where he managed to throw 100 innings. At some point, obvious things are obvious.
I blame ownership for this, he was only starting out of necessity and if they didn't cheap out then maybe this doesn't happen. It was definitely obvious that Whitlock isn't built to be a starter but they ignored that to save a few bucks.

I was begging them to sign Shota in the off season (felt he was undervalued because of Yamamoto's hype) and they offered him 2/26, which is laughable and embarrassing. And now he's off to a historic start.
 

Jimbodandy

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I haven't seen that anywhere, but just looked it up, and yeah. I don't know how I missed that. So I'm not sure what to think now. I'd guess that they're still monitoring him to see how he does.
The Criswell, Bello, Houck, Crawford and Pivetta still seem to be doing well (assuming Bello's last turn was his "return hiccup"). There's understandably a lot of concern there with... well, just general health of any pitcher at all... but innings limits and overperformance. I'm willing at this point to really believe that Pivetta, Crawford and Houck are all as good as their lines say they are- and that's a very formidable trio with a very good no. 4 in Bello right now (with a higher ceiling still).
So for me it comes down to health and innings, and Criswell sustaining his performance so far as a no. 5 guy... which I think he can probably hold out for something probably not as good as he's been, but likely a very good "no. 5" type.
So it's really health/innings which has to be a major concern for Breslow as he navigates the trade deadline. What if they're 3-5 games out, Casas has returned... Grissom is finally heating up. Can he trust that all those arms will hold up?
If he finds himself in that position, I hope he's more of a buyer than a seller. Maybe Mata is looking like a great bullpen arm by then? Perhaps Wikelman can be added (both already on the 40 man) and perform better than Jensen in the late innings? There's got to be a clearing of mL depth or risk losing a lot of them for nothing, so I'd look to be adding a starter with an expiring contract to shore up the rotation. Hopefully Winckowski's injury is actually something he can pitch through?
I'm as optimistic about Wikelman's potential as anyone, but you can't have watched him throw this year if you think that he's part of any 2024 solution. His walk rate is even worse this year and has approached ungodly status. Even with a solid amount of BIP luck, he's giving up mad runs right now.
 

Rovin Romine

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I do wonder if this will be it for his career. He's young enough to work towards coming back if he wants to (and he probably does) but there's no guarantee at all. It's such a bummer, because he's a really good pitcher.
I don't. He's 28 and has earned $5M so far. He'll get the surgery and rehab for 1 - 1.5 years, so he'll be back sometime in 2025. In the meantime, he'll earn another $5M, as opposed to just retiring and losing that money.

I can't imagine he'd go through the rehab work, being on the fringe of baseball, and then, if he's physically able to pitch in MLB. . .just not do it. 2026 is $7.5M, and 2027 has a $1M buyout for the Sox - otherwise, $8M. 2028 is $10M/5K buy out.
 

TheGazelle

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I don't. He's 28 and has earned $5M so far. He'll get the surgery and rehab for 1 - 1.5 years, so he'll be back sometime in 2025. In the meantime, he'll earn another $5M, as opposed to just retiring and losing that money.

I can't imagine he'd go through the rehab work, being on the fringe of baseball, and then, if he's physically able to pitch in MLB. . .just not do it. 2026 is $7.5M, and 2027 has a $1M buyout for the Sox - otherwise, $8M. 2028 is $10M/5K buy out.
Yeah, definitely. The real money from his extension is coming between now and 2028. I have to think he'll be highly motivated to rehab and pitch again, even it's just to make the $13MM he's guaranteed in 2025-26. That's more than double what he's made thus far per BRef.
 

YTF

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I blame ownership for this, he was only starting out of necessity and if they didn't cheap out then maybe this doesn't happen. It was definitely obvious that Whitlock isn't built to be a starter but they ignored that to save a few bucks.

I was begging them to sign Shota in the off season (felt he was undervalued because of Yamamoto's hype) and they offered him 2/26, which is laughable and embarrassing. And now he's off to a historic start.
Suppose they brought Shota in, does that mean Whitlock goes to the pen?
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Suppose they brought Shota in, does that mean Whitlock goes to the pen?
Probably, assuming the rest of the spring went along in the same way it did. I don't think Whitlock was bumping Bello, Pivetta, Houck, or Crawford from the rotation.

Now, does being in the pen to start the year save Whitlock from the oblique strain or the UCL tear? I have my doubts.
 

pjheff

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If anything this will put the final nail into the pipe dream that he could be a 150 IP+ starting pitcher. If and when he comes back I suspect he will be in a bullpen role for the rest of his career. Even with all the attempts to make him a starter, he has a TOTAL of 241.2 innings pitched for his entire career.
People keep posting this sentiment, but is there evidence that starting is more injurious than relieving, that starters get hurt more frequently or severely than relievers? In Whitlock’s case, he has seemed pretty injury-prone regardless of role.
 

YTF

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Probably, assuming the rest of the spring went along in the same way it did. I don't think Whitlock was bumping Bello, Pivetta, Houck, or Crawford from the rotation.

Now, does being in the pen to start the year save Whitlock from the oblique strain or the UCL tear? I have my doubts.
I was always of the assumption that if another pitcher came in that it would be one of Houck or Whitlock to the pen, but didn't consider either the definite choice. Also, considering Pivetta going on the IL after just 2 starts whichever one started in the pen might have been moved back to the rotation.