Tyler Flowers is set to undergo exploratory shoulder surgery. The minimum recovery time in three months and there is a month left in the season. There is math to be done here. Both the kind that calculates that his 2013 season is over, and the kind that means the Sox desire for three catchers will bring the very offensively raw Miguel Gonzalez bubbling up from from Triple-A Charlotte. This guy was the backup catcher in Birmingham earlier this year.
After a nightmare beginning to the season, Flowers has gotten all of 30 plate appearances in the last month as his job was essentially handed over to Josh Phegley, but his massive home run on Sunday served as a reminder of the capabilities that made him a promising catching option at the beginning of the season.
It also betrayed the weakened state he’s been playing in.
Tyler Flowers originally tweaked shoulder one year ago today. Got worse in offseason. Had three opinions. Knew he needed surgery for months.
— Dan Hayes (@DanHayesCSN) September 2, 2013
It’s understandable that Flowers would try to tough it out with the opportunity of a lifetime staring him in the face, but it certainly did not pay off for him. However, given the opportunity to deflect some blame for his .195/.247/.355 batting line, Flowers declined.
Also from Hayes’ Twitter:
“This had nothing to do with his hitting. He took responsibility for that. But it definitely affected his throwing…He had a rough year at the plate. Said he was trying to do things that weren’t natural to him”
The “things that weren’t natural” part from Hayes rings true in a bad way, since Flowers spent the year subverting his historically patient ways, and only received less walks and less power in return. For a team that has been adamantly opposed to drawing walks all season under a hitting coach who did himself no PR favors by downplaying the value of walks in the post-Moneyball world, it’s not a good look.
Tyler Flowers played like a guy de-emphasizing his own strengths all season, now it’s revealed that his big make-or-break campaign–where he was given the starting catching job all by himself and left with only a career minor-leaguer as a backup to make super sure he wouldn’t have to look over his shoulder–was compromised from the start. Flowers threw out just 24% of basestealers this season while allowing more passed balls than 13 major league teams. He played in 84 games.
Now, Flowers will undergo surgery to see how much his feelings of “fraying” pertain to the state of his labrum in his right shoulder. If the damage is significant, he could be out until the middle of Spring Training next season. With Flowers on the shelf and any organizational confidence in him ravaged, Josh Phegley showing the uncool kind of insane platoon splits (only hits lefties), the Sox figure to be in desperate need of a stabilizing stop-gap behind the plate that they can use against right-handers…
Oh God no.
Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan