Padres: Erik Johnson to Miss 2017 Following Surgery
The misfortunes of the Padres continue, as right-hander Erik Johnson underwent Tommy John surgery last week and has now been officially ruled out for 2017.
For the San Diego Padres, there is a clear contrast between their pitching and their position players. As the team attempts to rebuild, it is evident that many of their young hitters are talented enough to propel the team into contention, but only if they can improve their pitching staff.
Now, this task has become more difficult, as Padres’ starter Erik Johnson has been ruled out for the entire 2017 season after having Tommy John surgery done last week. He joins Jarred Cosart and Tyson Ross as ailing San Diego pitchers, but is unique in that his situation is certain. There will be no baseball for Johnson this upcoming season.
Padres’ fans may not be overcome with sadness at this news, as it was expected when Johnson went for surgery that there was no chance of him returning to action before 2018. Not to mention, the 26-year-old didn’t have the best of seasons in 2016, finishing with a record of 0-4 and an ERA of 9.15. But what the Berkeley, California native did bring was depth to a rotation who struggled in 2016. He only made four starts, very difficult starts at that, but it always hurts a pitching staff when depth is sacrificed.
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The best season Johnson has had at the major league level came in his rookie season with the Chicago White Sox. In 2013, he went 3-2 in five starts with a respectable 3.25 ERA. Now, having just completed his fourth season, many are wondering whether or not the right-handed starter’s career will ever be the same.
It may be time to deal the starter to see what sort of minor league player the Padres could take a shot at. Johnson is clearly a liability now, and while it isn’t fair to him, he doesn’t really have a place within a young pitching staff attempting to establish a winning tradition.
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As for now, it is time for the Padres to enhance their pitching prospects. This area is becoming a legitimate concern for this team, as they seem to be getting worse even after a rough year for the rotation. Johnson’s surgery is just the latest setback for this unit, who is desperately wanting to keep pace with the exciting San Diego offense which is providing fans with hope for the future.