This morning, Nationals manager Davey Johnson told hard-throwing All Star right-hander Stephen Strasburg that he is being shut down. He then blamed his struggles on the media attention that the team's decision has drawn.
Strasburg had his Tommy John surgery almost exactly one year to the day before Twins prospect Kyle Gibson had his Tommy John surgery. There have been many similarities between their recoveries. So, how should the Twins handle Kyle Gibson and his workload in 2013?
Strasburg had his surgery the first week of September 2010. Gibson had his surgery the first week of September 2011.
Gibson threw his first bullpen off of a mound in early June 2012. He spent 30 days rehabbing with the GCL Twins before pitching briefly with the Ft Myers Miracle and the Rochester Red Wings. In total, he worked 28.1 minor league innings.
In 2011, Strasburg made four minor league starts. He thew 20.1 innings four four different Nationals affiliates. He ended the season by making five starts for the Nationals. In total, he threw 44.1 innings.
Gibson is going to represent the Twins in the Arizona Fall League in October and November where he could pitch as many as 25-30 more innings. Last year, Cole De Vries was second on the Mesa Solar Sox with 26.0 innings pitched. Terry Doyle led the team with 27.1 innings. Each of them made eight starts. In other words, Gibson could throw as many as 55 innings in 2012.
The Nationals very publicly announced that they would be limiting Strasburg's innings in 2012 to 180 or less. That meant he would be shut down in September and he would miss the playoffs. The Nationals have a solid starting rotation including Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmerman, Edwin Jackson and Ross Detwiler. They can place veteran John Lannan in his place. But to lose on of baseball's best pitchers for the playoffs, when he is still healthy, understandably has created a firestorm of controversy the last couple of months. Everyone has an opinion.
So, what do you think? More importantly for Twins fans, what does it mean for Kyle Gibson and his 2013 season?
Again, everyone has an opinion, but here are some of the options (in no particularly order):
- No Innings Limit - Gibson will go to spring training with the Twins, compete for a big league rotation spot, and regardless of where he goes, he will pitch with no discussion of innings.
- 160-180 Inning Limit - Same as the Nationals
- Same as Strasburg - Just work his innings until he hits the limit. Will the Twins be competing in September? If not, shut him down then.
- Miss Starts early - Gibson can go to spring training, but don't let him pitch in a game until May. In April, he could get 4-5 starts and pitch 20-28 innings.
- Put him on the DL or Skip Starts - once or twice a year he could be put on the 15 day DL to miss 4-6 starts through the year.
Obviously, there are other options or less innings.
What do you think? How should the Twins handle next season with Kyle Gibson?
One thing that I hope does happen is that the Twins and Gibson and his agents (and, GULP, the Twins medical staff!) and all involved talk it through and everyone is on the same page.
Feel free to discuss.