The Chicago Cubs were one of 16 teams that attended free agent Seth Maness’ workout Monday. Is it possible that they could sign the former St. Louis Cardinals’ reliever?
The Chicago Cubs were one of 16 teams on hand at free agent reliever Seth Maness’ showcase Monday afternoon. According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the workout took place at a suburban school in St. Louis.
Maness, 28, made his MLB debut with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2013. In his first two seasons, Maness made 66 and 73 appearances, respectively. During the 2013 season, his ERA in was 2.32; in 2014, it was 2.91.
Although his ERA skyrocketed to 4.26 in 2015, Maness bounced back with a 3.41 ERA through 29 appearances in 2016. However, his season ended prematurely after he tore his ulnar collateral ligament in August.
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In past occurrences, an injury like Maness’ has required Tommy John surgery, which sidelines a pitcher for an entire season. Instead of Tommy John, though, Maness underwent a different surgery that will get him back on the mound much sooner.
Goold describes Maness’ surgery as simply repairing the torn ligament. With Tommy John, the ligament itself has to be completely reconstructed and replaced. Although he’s the first MLB pitcher to undergo the operation, his recovery time has been accelerated.
Low risk, high reward?
Maness is on track to be ready for Opening Day, just about eight months removed from surgery. For a pitcher undergoing Tommy John, an expected recovery time generally is a year, if not longer.
Despite the injury, Maness is an intriguing possibility for any team willing to take a chance on him. After all, his ERA has consistently been sub-3.50, excluding his 4.26 ERA during the 2015 season. Furthermore, he made at least 66 appearances out of the bullpen from 2013-2015.
Maness’ durability hasn’t been an issue thus far in his career. In fact, it seems safe to say that teams would be running to sign him had he not had surgery. Instead, there obviously are question marks, as he is a guinea pig of sorts with the operation he underwent.
Because Maness was the first to undergo the surgery, one must wonder how well the operation will hold up over time. For all anyone knows, the surgery could be far less successfully than Tommy John has been.
If the Cubs wind up signing Maness, he could be a low risk, high reward option for the defending champs. On the one hand, the team has numerous right-handers in their bullpen. On the other hand, adding someone as successful as Maness can’t hurt if he returns to his 2013-2014 form.
The Cubs have shown a willingness to bring in pitchers coming off an injury in the past (i.e. Hector Rondon and recently Brett Anderson). If Maness is available, it could pay off by inviting him Spring Training.