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.

17 Responses

  1. Greenfield Red

    It will be sad when you write the same story about Disco. I think we can all see it coming.

    • Doug Gray

      There won’t be because we know he was healthy when acquired.

      • Greenfield Red

        In terms of an injury that requires surgery that was put off for a year or more is what I was referring to.

  2. WillieG

    A little off topic, but I would be surprised if there is any winter ball in Venezuela this year.

    • Doug Gray

      That very well could be true. Though we could have said the same thing last year at the same time. Unfortunately things aren’t getting any better down there these days.

  3. Wes

    Even though it was a bad return- it was still a good trade for the reds. They spent every cent Bruce was gonna make this year and he’s stuck in ny.

    Also reflects poor leadership. The game passed jockety up and poor moves like this while being stuck w other pieces because deadline passed show how either disconnected or incompetent Walt became. I think we will enter a post Walt rebuild that will look better due to how much he crippled reds w chapman trade and homer resigning.

    After poor year this year I think reds need to clean house like never before. Reinvent themselves w a new image and direction. All new major league coaching staff and even through lower levels If players aren’t developing. Dick Williams needs to make some bold moves and show everyone he’s not Walt.

  4. Gaffer

    Doug, the answer is the Reds medical staff is no where near as good as many teams. This is not news to anyone here. As I have said before I know inside info and these guys are not the best available, trust me. Even if you don’t believe me just look at the track record. How many times have they signed or traded for injured players? They also routinely report minor issues only to have it be later found to be career risking.

    • Doug Gray

      And as I’ve said many times before, too, other teams send their players to the Reds for second opinions and even for surgeries. I’m not a doctor, so I don’t know who is the best and worst, and even if I were a doctor I still wouldn’t because you’d have to be involved with all 30 teams to know what they are seeing and not seeing, and no one can actually do that. But, other teams still seem to think highly enough of the Reds doctors to make me believe that they aren’t remotely close to the worst.

      • rhayex

        I don’t think it’s the Reds medical staff to blame. If anything, you have to take a look at the strength and conditioning staff. With that said, there’s always the chance that it’s legitimately just unavoidable bad luck.

      • Gaffer

        Let’s be clear the medical team extends beyond one or two doctors. But the problem is more that team doctor is more political than anything to do with skill. The final decision is not based solely on medical necessity.

  5. MikeinSoCal

    I really don’t know who to blame, but the organization does make some glaringly questionable moves. Herrera missed the end of the season with a bum shoulder, so spring training comes around and instead of proceeding cautiously someone decides to try Herrera at 3B. Bingo the shoulder flares up.

    And then there is Cozart. It’s mid season trade time. It’s important to shop Cozart and get some kind of deal for him. Teams are scouting him. He has a couple of good games but the quad is acting up. He “rests” for a game. After sitting on the bench for more than half the game he is told to pinch hit. Presumably he is not stretched out, warmed up. The “rest” is history. No one is going to touch him and now he is on the DL. What are they thinking? And then there’s the pitching injuries. But then that’s too long of a story.

    • Bill

      I don’t see playing Herrera at 3B in ST is a glaringly questionable move. While the throw from 2B to 1B is shorter than the one from 3B, second basemen still make relay throws from shallow RF to home plate. This throw is comparable to the routine infield throws from 3B. Also, some shorter distance throws are max effort such as turning a double play. As such, I don’t think a brief tryout at 3B exacerbated the problem; I think his shoulder would have flared up even if he would have been limited to 2B by the coaching staff.

  6. Klugo

    I would imagine the player has some say on whether he has surgery or not, too. Maybe he declined for the same reason you mentioned (among, perhaps, others)… to avoid the 4th year option. Maybe I’m wrong on this, but everything I’ve read and learned seems to suggest that DH isn’t ecstatic to be with Cincy or any time he’s had to spend in the minors for any reason (even legit ones).

    • Doug Gray

      This is certainly true – the player can say no to surgery.

      I’ve never read anything though that suggests Herrera isn’t happy to with with Cincinnati.

  7. Cinvenfan

    I said it a couple of days ago, Doug. Exactly the reason why this team’s medical staff & front Office takes so much heat.

  8. Cguy

    Whatever events led to the current situation, it appears the Reds are going to start 2018 with several highly touted prospects that will have no options & little probability for success at the ML level. Kind of like this year only with several Justin Turners.

  9. Arnold Ziffle

    More front office mismanagement. Dick Williams is Walt Jocketty 2.0. I would have said Jocketty-lite, but I think it is worse than that.
    The medical staff presents options to the front office. The front office people are the decision makers.