Sandy Alcantara Undergoes Tommy John Surgery

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Marlins star Sandy Alcantara underwent Tommy John surgery, he announced on Instagram. The procedure, performed by Dr. Keith Meister, occurred this morning. He’ll miss the entire 2024 season.

With a heavy heart, I want to let everyone know I had Tommy John surgery today and will miss next season,” the 2022 NL Cy Young winner wrote as part of a statement. “I am most saddened for the great Marlins fans, who were so supportive of me and the team this year. The drive to the playoffs was thrilling for all of us.

While the Marlins hadn’t indicated that surgery was on the table, it’s not an especially surprising development. Alcantara’s season was cut short last month. He landed on the injured list on September 6 with what the team initially diagnosed as a flexor strain. That was later revised to a UCL sprain, indicating some measure of tearing within the elbow ligament. With the Fish making a playoff push, Alcantara tried to return at season’s end. He threw four innings in a Triple-A rehab outing but reported additional forearm discomfort coming out of that appearance. Miami shut him down at that point.

The Fish were able to get into the postseason even without Alcantara contributing in the last few weeks. After being swept in the Wild Card round by the Phillies, they’ll go into the offseason looking for ways to build off this year’s promise. That’ll be quite a bit more difficult without one of the sport’s preeminent workhorses.

No pitcher has thrown more innings than Alcantara’s 619 over the last three seasons. Only Gerrit Cole has taken a heavier workload going back to the start of 2019. Alcantara handily leads the majors in complete games over the last three years, finishing off 10 starts. No other pitcher has gone the distance more than six times.

The two-time All-Star combines that MLB-best volume with outstanding rate production. He posted a sub-4.00 ERA every year from 2019-22, highlighted by a sterling 2.28 earned runs allowed per nine last season. He was unanimously voted the Senior Circuit’s top pitcher. Alcantara wasn’t as dominant this year, though he turned in another effective season overall. In 28 starts, he worked to a 4.14 ERA behind a 52% grounder rate while averaging over six and a half innings per appearance.

At this time last year, the Marlins had an embarrassment of riches on the mound. That contributed to their decision to deal Pablo López for Luis Arraez in an effort to balance the roster. Miami has to be thrilled with what they received from Arraez in his first season in South Florida. While they still have a good rotation, its depth has taken some notable hits.

Trevor Rogers made just four starts, none after April, because of a left biceps strain and a partial tear in his right (non-throwing) lat muscle. Prospect Jake Eder was dealt midseason for third baseman Jake Burger. Hard-throwing righty Edward Cabrera walked over 15% of major league opponents and was demoted to Triple-A for a month midseason. He managed a 4.24 ERA behind a strong 27.3% strikeout percentage. Miami’s starting staff ranked 9th in the majors in ERA (4.10), an effective yet hardly dominant result.

Left-handers Jesús Luzardo and Braxton Garrett each topped 30 starts with sub-4.00 ERA showings. Top prospect Eury Pérez worked to a 3.15 ERA while striking out nearly 29% of batters faced in 19 outings as a rookie. They project as the top three in next year’s staff, likely followed by Cabrera and Rogers. Former #3 overall pick Max Meyer should be ready for Spring Training after missing all of this year working back from Tommy John surgery of his own.

There’s significant ceiling in that group, but only Luzardo and Garrett have shouldered a full big league workload within the last two seasons. The club could be cautious with innings counts for any of Pérez, Rogers or Meyer. Ryan Weathers and Bryan Hoeing currently stand as the top depth options.

It seems likely Miami will bring in a veteran arm to add some stability to the group. They hoped that last winter’s signing of Johnny Cueto to an $8.5MM free agent deal would lock in serviceable back-of-the-rotation innings. Cueto didn’t meet expectations and is headed back to the open market. GM Kim Ng and her staff could look for a similar addition this time around.

Alcantara will count against the 40-man roster throughout the offseason. Miami can place him on the 60-day injured list at the beginning of Spring Training. As part of the extension he signed in November 2021, he’ll make $9MM next season. Alcantara is under contract for $17MM annually between 2025-26. Miami has a $21MM option or a $2MM buyout for the ’27 season.

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