Joakim Soria to Have Tommy John Surgery

This news was expected, but Bob Dutton confirms that Joakim Soria will have Tommy John Surgery on April 3rd and is going to miss the entire 2012 season. Given that the average recovery timetable for this injury is 12-18 months, it’s likely that Soria will not be ready for the start of the 2013 season as well.

Soria will be an interesting free agent next winter once the Royals decline their $8 million club option. His prior success will mean that there will be teams interested in picking up the tab for the rest of his rehab in order to get his services for the second half of next year – the Yankees did this with David Aardsma this winter, for instance. UCL replacement has become advanced enough that many pitchers are able to return to something close to their prior form, and Soria is just 28-years-old, so he should still be able to coax a few more good years out of his arm.

The Royals have been getting a lot of grief for not trading Soria before this occurred, and in retrospect, I’m sure they wish they would have moved him when they had the chance. However, it’s also important to understand that injuries are very difficult to predict, and trading young relievers is not always guaranteed to bring back a premium return. After all, Kenny Williams got a lot of flack for dealing Sergio Santos for Nestor Molina this winter. We can’t criticize both rebuilding GMs who trade young cheap closers and rebuilding GMs who keep young cheap closers. The Royals probably should have traded Soria, but this wasn’t in an inevitable outcome, and we can’t fault the Royals for not being able to accurately predict the future.

Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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12 years ago

Lindsay Berra had a great read over on ESPN about TJS and pitcher mechanics. Looking at Soria’s, I can’t say it is at all shocking that he needs to have the procedure done a second time.

12 years ago
Reply to  Tyler

Hasn’t there been a LOT of discussion about the inverted W over the years, with nothing resembling conclusive data ever being rendered? I know Cameron stated in a chat just this week that he doesn’t see biomechanics yielding actionable data any time soon(my generalization of his answer, not his words per se).

12 years ago
Reply to  Rob

I would point you to the ESPN article as it touches on that exact point. I’m not taking that article nor Dave’s comments as gospel on the subject by any means, but Berra’s article was pretty convincing as to the effects of improper pitching mechanics may have on arm-health.

12 years ago
Reply to  Rob

Soria doesn’t “Inverted-W”, But he does scapular load by taking his pitching arm elbow toward 1B.


J.Broxton does.

These guys also do something similar as Soria …

Worse than Soria …

About the same …

We need to stop stating that certain mechanics are “bad” or “a mess”. Scapular loading is designed to increase velocity, not for arm health. To compare mechanics to pitches, this type of scapular loading is like a slider. Extremelly effective at its designed purpose, but risky to arm health.

Some very hard throwers scapular load in this way, and it’s not just by coincidence.

Scapular Loading Via Squazzing your shoulder blades together:

Scapular loading is a necessity. The big difference seems to be whether loading take place with a vertical pitching arm (safer) or a horizontal pitching arm (more risky, timing issues)

Scapular Loading with Vertical pitching arm

Scapular loading with horizontal pitching arm (maximal/exaggerated loading)

Joakim Soria: