Yasmany Tomas last took the field in a major-league game on June 2, when he went 1-for-4 in a Diamondbacks’ loss to Miami. Since then, a series of groin issues have kept him out of action, and a rehab assignment in the Arizona Rookie League was curtailed after just three games. Since then, the Cuban outfielder appears to have been going backwards, and he went to see a groin specialist in Philadelphia today. The prognosis was not good, and the team announced this afternoon:
#Dbacks outfielder Yasmany Tomás will undergo surgery to repair a core injury tomorrow in Philadelphia.— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) August 21, 2017
Quite what that means was initially uncertain, but fortunately, Nick Piecoro clarifies the situation, writing tonight that “It’s to address an injury often [referred] to as a sports hernia.” That, it should be noted, is rather different from the normal kind of hernia. It is just “a strain or tear of any soft tissue (muscle, tendon, ligament) in the lower abdomen or groin area... The soft tissues most frequently affected by sports hernia are the oblique muscles. Especially vulnerable are the tendons that attach the oblique muscles to the pubic bone. In many cases of sports hernia, the tendons that attach the thigh muscles to the pubic bone (adductors) are also stretched or torn.”
The surgical process may be done with a single large cut, or as a a “laproscopy”, using smaller incisions. Both involve the repair of the torn tissue with internal sutures, and a synthetic mesh may be inserted to help stabilize the area. It has a 6-12 week rehab process, hence this being called season-ending in Tomas’s case. The prognosis is generally good: “More than 90% of patients who go through nonsurgical treatment and then surgery are able to return to sports activity,” although this does come with the caveat that “In some patients the tissues will tear again during sports and the surgical repair will need to be repeated.” So this could be a recurring issue for him.
Tomas finishes the season with a line of .241/.294/.464 for a .758 OPS. He hit 8 home-runs in 180 plate-appearances for Arizona this year, but bWAR was unimpressed, listing him as worth -0.4 wins this season. fWAR was slightly kinder, listing Tomas at +0.3 wins. But considering he was paid $9.5 million by the Diamondbacks, in the third year of his six-year contract [he has an opt-out clause after next season... like that’s gonna happen], even that was still a very poor return.
Indeed, Tomas’s contract has been terrible value to this point. He has cost Arizona $22.4 million thus far, and delivered below replacement level performance (-2.2 bWAR or -1.2 fWAR). His cost is only going to escalate from here: he gets $13.5 million next year, $15.5 million in 2019 and $17 million in 2020. So, presuming there is no opt-out, the Diamondbacks are on the hook for $46 million through the next three years. Today’s announcement likely means any slim chance of trading Tomas this winter has evaporated: no-one will want even to consider Yasmany, until he has proven his fitness and whatever worth he has. Based on 2015-17, that isn’t going to be much.