A short time ago, the Boston Red Sox announced that reliever Carson Smith will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the rest of the 2016 season. Smith was acquired over the offseason in a deal that sent Wade Miley to the Seattle Mariners. In three appearances, Smith has pitched 2.2 innings, allowing two hits and one unearned run, while striking out two.
Smith injured his elbow late in Spring Training before being placed on the disabled list to start the season. He came off of the disabled list in early May, but was apparently feeling discomfort after throwing sliders, not fastballs, and was having prolonged tightness in his elbow after outings.
After an MRI and a second opinion, Smith elected to have surgery on his injured pitching arm. The surgery will be performed Tuesday by Dr. David Altchek at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.
This is a pretty big blow for the Red Sox, even though Smith has not been a contributing member of the bullpen in 2016. When Smith was traded for and brought onto the squad, it was thought that he would be a vital late-inning reliever that could even close in situations if Craig Kimbrel was unable to do so. While this injury is a tough pill to swallow, the Red Sox have been able to amass the most wins in the American League without him.
It is easy to look back at the deal that brought Carson Smith to Boston and call it a bust, but I am still not closing the book on it. The Red Sox traded a career #4 starter for an all star caliber reliever in Carson Smith and a project starter/lefty specialist in Roenis Elias. Wade Miley is consistent, but he is also wildly mediocre. If you undid the deal and put Miley into this rotation, I am guessing the record would not look much different.
Now, the Red Sox will have to rely on a 40+-year-old in Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa, who is susceptible to being overused. The Red Sox will now have to look at guys like Robbie Ross Jr., Tommy Layne, Matt Barnes, and Heath Hembree, rather than one of the better relief pitchers all of last season. If the Red Sox are in contention come the Trade Deadline, which I fully expect them to be, then look for them to add not only a #2 starter, but also some help for the later innings.