What if he returns better than before?
There aren’t many cases that can point to this being the case. Aside from the Royals’ Young, the only other one in the Rangers’ Matt Harrison. He had the surgery when he was just 23, and that was the first of TWO for Harrison. It took him nearly a year and a half, but Harrison saw his velocity and command improve. So much so that he was an All-Star in 2012. But other injuries have slowed Harrison as he now is a free agent.
Unlike Tommy John where you can see a pitcher come back stronger and better than before, TOS doesn’t work the same way. The two success stories come from two different age groups. Harrison was just 22 when he had his, Young was 34 when he had his. Booth seemed to recover from TOS, but other injuries have slowed both.
While the Cubs might expect Ross to fall into the last category, this could be a reason to gamble. The Cubs are the defending World Series Champions, and Ross would only make them a more impressive staff if he could return to full strength. And while Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer wouldn’t assume he would struggle, it would “just” be money. No picks, no prospects. Just like Jose Veras, if it doesn’t work the Cubs could release him and walk away. It’s a financial gamble they might be willing to make.