Exit Interviews: Gavin Floyd

Gavin Floyd

action shot! Conserve them. // Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

These “exit interviews” will be going over the entire 40-man roster and looking to see how each player does or does not fit into the White Sox future.

The term “exit interview” is usually used when an employee is leaving the company. I took that into consideration…and kept it.

Gavin Floyd – Grievously injured right-handed starter/scapegoat/tormentor

Age by 2014 Opening Day: 31 (Good lord! Really!?)

Contract: Free agent

Relevant stats: Five games (All starts), 24.1 IP, 27 H, 5.18 ERA, 4 HR, 25 K, 12 BB, 2.08 K/BB, 84 ERA+

Interpretation: A continuation of last year’s struggles, coincidentally paired with a continuation of last year’s injuries.

Emblematic split: Since hitting the disabled list for the first time in 2012, Floyd has allowed 44 walks in 89.1 innings. That’s miles away from his career average.

Pre-season expectations: It’s like I was avoiding talking about him or something, but a week into the season there were already cheaply-made graphs and blathering about league-average not being that bad.

"“The late aughts were clearly better times, and it’s not as though spending $9.5 million for Floyd to try reproduce his last two years of average results will be the greatest value ever, but the bluster around Floyd clearly outstrips the actual offensiveness of his earned run totals. Todd Ritchie, he is not.I am as disappointed that Gavin has not become more by age 30 as anyone, so the ire toward Floyd makes sense if it’s the product of disillusionment. Especially for a fan base that spent a decade talking itself into Mark Buehrle‘s Hall of Fame viability, an underwhelming arm that succeeds on grit and guile is easier to appreciate than someone who seems to be less than his physical tools and pedigree would suggest.”"

What defeat.

Quote of the year: Chopping this up to make Floyd sound more poetic, “It’s very disappointing…but it happened.”

The actual, coherent sentence:

"“It’s very disappointing,” Floyd said Sunday morning. “Anytime you have something like this, it’s out of your control. You try to prevent this as much as possible with work and stretching and a lot of stuff. There’s always that processing of things, but it happened. I just have to put in the work to get back to healthy and get back out there.”"

Gavin’s story: The spate of injuries clouds any sense of when Floyd last looked right, but the early 2013 version that was walking the park around the bases and couldn’t even throw a competent slider sure wasn’t it. Pitchers don’t always have their best stuff, but Floyd trying to work without command of his primary out-pitch night-in, night-out was particularly grueling. At least Dylan Axelrod goes into his starts knowing his limitations.

Floyd left with an injury an April 27 game against the Rays with two outs in the top of the third inning, having looked shaky but mostly recovered from a first inning home run. It was likely the last time he will walk off the mound as a member of the White Sox.

Assessment: Floyd had surgery to repair tears in his elbow flexor muscle and his ulnar collateral ligament in his right arm at the start of May, which gave him a 14-19 month recovery schedule. That could mean he returns as soon as July or miss all of 2014. As common as Tommy John surgeries have become and as serene as Floyd’s rehab has been thus far, the less-than-automatic nature of recovery has been on display of recent.

The Cubs snagging Scott Baker for a one-year, $5.5 million deal for 2013 was viewed as a shrewd signing, but in return they received three September starts.  This season alone also witnessed Brandon Beachy‘s mid-season return from Tommy John surgery was shuttered after two weeks, while Daniel Hudson managed to tear his UCL a second time during his recovery. Signing pitchers the year after Tommy John is a genuine risk, not just an easy market inefficiency to exploit.

The Sox have little need for starting pitching, so Floyd being injured probably makes it more likely he’ll return than if he was healthy. Paying market value for a mid-rotation starter would be a poor use of resources, but paying a pittance to stockpile some depth that can be forgotten about would be closer to fine. Yet starting pitching remains such a low priority, it still seems unlikely for the Sox to take the lead on Floyd unless he struggles to find any suitors or has no taste for free agency.

A quiet and unceremonious exit that is surprisingly absent of glory might be sadly appropriate.

Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan