It’s become a growing trend in the MLB to shut down young pitchers before the season is over. With an increasing number of pitchers undergoing surgeries on their arms, teams are looking at any alternatives to keep their hurlers healthy.
Phenoms like Washington’s Stephen Strasburg in 2012 and Miami’s Jose Fernandez in 2013 have had their seasons cut short by their clubs to prevent injury and protect their arms. With the Arizona Diamondbacks virtually eliminated from playoff contention, some are wondering if the team would be smart to shut down starter Patrick Corbin for the rest of the year.
Former D-backs manager and current color commentator Bob Brenly went on Arizona Sports 620’s Dan Bickley Show with Vince Marotta and talked about the situation, saying that manager Kirk Gibson and general manager Kevin Towers operate with essentially two different objectives.
“I mean, the general manager, in this case Kevin Towers, he’s got to look at the health of this organization, not only for the last three weeks of the season, but next year and the year after and the year after,” Brenly said. “And obviously Patrick Corbin is going to be a big part of the future of this organization.”
However, Brenly added, Gibson’s job is to win games and if using a young pitcher past his supposed innings cap helps the team achieve that goal, it would be hard for him to sit Corbin.
“If you don’t win, as I found out, managers get fired,” Brenly said. “And if you’re protecting some young pitchers and you end up losing your job because of it, that’s a tough one to swallow. But once again you have to deal with the future of the organization when you might not even be part of that future.”
Gibson was asked about Corbin’s status at his pregame press conference Friday and said they’re monitoring the situation.
“We’d like to push him through to the end,” Gibson said. “He’s got 197 innings and we’ll evaluate it all the time.”
Gibson went on to say they will definitely be protecting Corbin and added that, “We don’t want to push him too far.”
Brenly said he doesn’t know what the right decision is, as he isn’t an expert on the research that’s been done regarding young pitchers and their workload.
On the season, Corbin has thrown 197.0 innings, a new career high surpassing his 2012 total 186.1 innings he threw in stints with the D-Backs, Triple-A Reno and Double-A Mobile.
For comparison, the Marlins shut Fernandez down at 172.2 innings this year and Strasburg threw 170.0 innings before the Nationals ended his 2012 season.