UPDATE: Muskat says that Guzman is leaning toward having surgery on the shoulder, which would surely sideline the right-hander for most — if not all — of the 2010 season.
SATURDAY, 2:40pm: Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune confirms that shoulder surgery could be career-threatening. As such, Guzman is currently mulling his options. If he rehabs the injury, it would take anywhere from four-to-six weeks before even knowing if he’ll be able to pitch.
SATURDAY, 1:50 PM: Big blow to the Chicago bullpen. Carrie Muskat of MLB.com writes that Guzman has a torn ligament in his right shoulder. Obviously, he won’t be ready for Opening Day. Muskat writes that the Cubs haven’t decided whether he will have surgery. Interestingly, Gordon Wittenmeyer of the Chicago Sun-Times writes that surgery could be “career threatening.”
FRIDAY, 8:34 PM: Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago passes along a quote from Lou Pinella regarding right-hander Angel Guzman, who underwent surgery on his left knee in early February, and more recently hit the shelf with a sore right shoulder:
“He comes into spring training and before you know it, first the knee
and after that it’s the shoulder,” Piniella said. “It seems like the
kid is jinxed…”
Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune goes a step further, writing that Guzman “may be cooked” for 2010 with the injury. It sounds like speculation for now, but the Cubs are currently awaiting results of an MRI on the 28-year-old.
Guzman posted a a 2.95 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in 55 appearances last season. He was expected to be a critical bridge to closer Carlos Marmol. If Guzman is sidelined for any significant period of time, the Cubs may have to juggle some arms they were considering for their rotation (Sean Marshall and Jeff Samardzija, among others).
The Atlanta Braves selected high school pitcher Carter Stewart with the number eight overall pick in the 2018 draft. Then, after the draft, they gave Stewart a below-slot signing bonus offer, claiming that they found problems with his wrist in his post-draft physical. Stewart ended up rejecting the offer and the MLBPA filed a grievance against the Braves on Stewart’s behalf.
The grievance sought to make Stewart a free agent it was considered a long shot at the time of its filing and, in fact, the grievance was rejected. Stewart, unable to attain free agency, enrolled at Eastern Florida State College, a two-year school that would’ve made him eligible for the 2019 draft.
Now, Ken Rosenthal reports, Stewart has pulled a crazy Ivan and is heading to Japan, having signed with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of the Japanese Pacific League. The terms of the deal aren’t known, but Rosenthal says Stewart was looking for a $7 million guarantee.
It’s a fascinating turn of events for Stewart who, this time last year, was considered perhaps the best amateur pitcher in baseball. Being lowballed and having his health questioned by the Braves may have been a wakeup call to Stewart, however, about his chances of finding a quick path the bigs in the U.S. If the shine did come off of his prospect status in the past year here, there’s every reason to believe that $7 million and a path to the bigs in Japan is a much better deal than several million less and a path to the bigs in America.
He’ll be worth watching over the next few years, that’s for sure. Both for his own sake and to see if, in this era of Major League Baseball’s capping of amateur bonuses and teams’ habit of manipulating service time, going overseas becomes more attractive to American high schoolers and college players.