The news was expected and on Saturday, Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Shelby Miller made it official. He will undergo season-ending Tommy John Surgery.
Shelby Miller says he will undergo Tommy John surgery. A date has not been set for it yet.
"It's the best decision I think we could make." pic.twitter.com/NxpQ7wiwtV
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) April 29, 2017
While no timetable for his return has been released, recovery from Tommy John Surgery usually lasts more than one year. With that, Miller shouldn’t be expected to return to the Arizona rotation until late in the 2018 season, at the earliest.
From a team perspective, it doesn’t get much worse. The Diamondbacks acquired Miller from the Atlanta Braves in a big trade following the 2015 season. The main piece Arizona gave up was 2015 No. 1 overall pick, Dansby Swanson.
Miller had a terrible season in 2016. He posted a 6.15 ERA, 1.673 WHIP, 4.87 FIP, and struck out only 70 hitters in 101 innings. His ineffectiveness earned him a demotion to the minors at one point.
Now, Miller will miss the better part of two more seasons and will no longer be under team control after 2019.
What that means, in a nutshell, is that the Diamondbacks could end up having services over a four-year span that will include one ineffective year (2016) and two more injury plagued campaigns (2017 and 2018). Former Arizona general manager Dave Stewart, who oversaw the drafting of Swanson and made the subsequent trade, recently took a great deal of credit for Arizona’s strong start to the 2017. If he wants credit, he certainly has to take blame for making this deal.
The good news for Miller is that time is on his side. Even if he doesn’t return until 2019, he’ll only be 29 at that point. Given the historical success of pitchers returning from Tommy John Surgery, he can still have a strong career upon returning.