It seems like we’ve covered this situation a lot in the past week. And to be fair, we have. But new information just keeps coming out and today is no different. Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer has up an article that you should check out on Dilson Herrera, his shoulder and what the Reds knew.
There are several very important parts of the article, so I really suggest going to Cincinnati.com and reading the article, but here’s the part that leaves me with the most questions:
Herrera has said he originally hurt the shoulder by sleeping on it in a funny position on the team bus while in Triple-A with the New York Mets last year. The Reds were aware of his issues when discussing Herrera as part of the return in the Jay Bruce trade, and team medical director Dr. Timothy Kremchek said the organization knew such a surgery could eventually be required.
The first part that jumps out to me is that the claim is that Dilson Herrera‘s should first became an issue in 2016. That goes against what was written on SNY.com in April of 2016 when his Triple-A manager Wally Backman said this:
He played with a sore shoulder last year.
So, unless on opening day in Triple-A of 2016, Wally Backman was just making things up about a player he managed the year before, he was having shoulder issues in 2015 at some point.
Now, I don’t blame the Reds for taking on the risk of acquiring Dilson Herrera even if they thought he may need shoulder surgery, as long as they didn’t believe it was structural. Bone spurs being cleaned up isn’t anywhere near the same kind of concern as having your labrum repaired. Herrera was a highly touted prospect when he still had prospect eligibility (which he lost during the 2015 season) and was just 22-years-old when acquired. They went for a higher upside player who had some issues.
The bigger question that I’d have to ask is that after he experienced problems with his shoulder once again in February in spring training, why did they not decide that was the time to give surgery a go? I understand that surgery is the last option you want to go to every time. But he had gone with the rest and rehab route before and it didn’t work. He had all winter off and it didn’t work. They changed up the rehab a little bit this spring, so perhaps they were just hopeful that this rehab would work.
It didn’t, though. And now the team has a player that will be out of options and coming off of a surgery, and a season in which he played injured that has to find a way to stick on the big league roster. Assuming the timeline is correct on his recovery, if they would have opted to have the surgery at the end of February, Dilson Herrera could have seemingly returned in time to play winter ball had he chosen that route, and then been prepared to play in the spring as well. He should still be ready for the spring, but it just seems like having him play with a healthy shoulder in winter ball in Venezuela would have been a more preferable plan than playing him with an injured shoulder during 2017 and hoping the issue just went away on it’s own.
The other part that comes into play with that is that at times players can be given a 4th option year because of injury. Had Dilson Herrera missed most of or all of 2017 because he underwent the surgery, it was more likely that the team could apply for an receive that 4th option year. Because he played from April through July, there’s next to no chance that the team would get a 4th option year. Hindsight is always 20/20 and gives you a much clearer picture, but it seems that the handling of this situation could have been done quite a bit better.