Twins right-hander Sam Dyson underwent capsule repair surgery on his right shoulder yesterday, manager Rocco Baldelli revealed to reporters Wednesday (Twitter link via Do-Hyoung Park of MLB.com). It’s a brutal development for both Dyson and the organization, as the recovery period associated with that procedure could span a full 12 months. It’s not clear whether Dyson will be able to take the ball at all in 2020, which seemingly makes an offseason non-tender of the righty a necessity.
At the time of the trade that sent Dyson from San Francisco to Minnesota, the Twins looked to be acquiring one of the more effective relievers who’d been made available. Dyson posted a 2.69 ERA with 7.2 K/9, 2.6 BB/9, 0.64 HR/9 and a 61.3 percent ground-ball rate in 70 1/3 innings with the 2018 Giants and had followed that up with 51 innings of 2.47 ERA ball to open the 2019 campaign. He’d improved both his strikeout and walk rates while continuing to allow fewer than one homer per nine innings pitched.
Minnesota sent three prospects — Jaylin Davis, Prelander Berroa and Kai-Wei Teng — to the Giants in order to acquire Dyson for this season and for 2020, which would be his final arbitration-eligible season. However, Dyson was shelled in his first outing as a Twin and quickly landed on the injured list. He returned and actually pitched fairly well (2.53 ERA in 10 2/3 innings) before again being shut down due to ongoing discomfort in his biceps/shoulder.
More troubling than the quick IL placement, for the Twins, was the fact that Dyson revealed to the club that he’d been dealing with some discomfort since mid-July — before he was ever traded to the Twins. Medical records at the time of the swap checked out, as Dyson had not even divulged the pain he was feeling to the Giants (and, thus, the Giants had no way of documenting said red flags).
The Twins reportedly investigated whether there was any possibility that the Giants might’ve had some inkling of Dyson’s shoulder troubles — as any team would — but there’s no evidence of any efforts to withhold information. In the end, it appears to be a simple case of miserable luck for the Twins, who almost certainly won’t commit to a raise on Dyson’s $5MM salary for the 2020 season and now seem likely to cut him loose for nothing.
If there’s any silver lining for Minnesota, it’s that the need for Dyson is less acute than it was at the time of the trade to acquire him. Tyler Duffey hasn’t allowed a run since the trade and has a 38-to-5 K/BB ratio over his past 22 2/3 scoreless innings. Closer Taylor Rogers remains an excellent weapon, and hard-throwing righty Trevor May has been largely excellent over the past two months as well. The Twins’ other deadline pickup, Sergio Romo, has been terrific since his acquisition as well. Rookies Zack Littell, Cody Stashak and Ryne Harper have emerged as solid options, and flamethrowing top prospect Brusdar Graterol is making a push for a spot on the postseason roster as well.
That’s not to downplay the loss of Dyson, of course. A healthy Dyson would give the Twins an even more formidable back of the bullpen, which has become a necessity for postseason play given the evolution of pitcher usage (particularly in short series). But the overall state of Baldelli’s relief corps is much stronger than it was even two months ago, with more questions now seemingly focused on the Twins’ sputtering rotation.