March 9, 2021

Chris Sale Will Have Tommy John Surgery After All (FanGraphs)


A day after the Boston Globe reported that Chris Sale had resumed throwing following a shutdown, and two weeks after he was diagnosed with a flexor tendon strain but no new damage to his ulnar collateral ligament, the Red Sox have announced that he’ll undergo Tommy John surgery. The going-on-31-year-old lefty joins the Yankees’ Luis Severino on the short list of star pitchers who will miss all of the 2020 season — however long it may be — following UCL reconstruction, and the Astros’ Justin Verlander among players whose decisions to undergo surgery make more sense in light of the delayed opening to the season.

As I detailed three weeks ago, Sale made just 25 starts amid an uneven season last year; he was fantastic in May and June (2.78 ERA, 1.98 FIP in 71.1 innings) but bad or worse on either side of that stretch before being shut down on August 13 due to elbow inflammation. Though he set career worsts in ERA (4.40) and home run rate (1.47 per nine) — both more than double his 2018 rates — his strikeout rate still ranked second in the majors among pitchers with at least 140 innings, his 29.6% K-BB% fourth, and his 75 FIP- 14th. His 3.6 WAR, despite being…

Read “Chris Sale Will Have Tommy John Surgery After All” at FanGraphs