Another waiver claim. The claiming team: the Phillies. The waiving team: the Reds. The player in question: reliever Jared Hughes.
Hughes, a 34 year-old righty, has appeared in 47 games this season for the Reds, posting a 4.10 ERA (110 ERA+) and has struck out 34 guys and walked 19 in 48.1 innings. He’s playing out the final month and a half of a two-year deal he signed with Cincinnati before the 2018 season that pays him $2.125 million this season, with the Phillies on the hook for what’s left of that. There is a club option for $3 million in 2020 if the Phillies want to exercise it.
Hughes, though not enjoying his best season, has long been a pretty reliable reliever. Surprisingly so in this day and age given that he has one of the lowest strikeout percentages in baseball. It’s just how he rolls.
Bobby Jenks was a key part of the 2005 world champion White Sox. By 2010, his effectiveness as a closer fell off and he signed with the Boston Red Sox for the 2011 season. He’d pitch in only 19 games that year, suffer a back injury and would never pitch again.
In the year or so after that, we heard that Jenks was arrested for driving under the influence. And then we heard that his back surgery was botched, and his baseball career was over. Then, after years of silence, we learned last spring that Jenks won $5.1 million in a medical malpractice suit against the doctor who performed his surgery.
We did not, however, know all the details until Bobby Jenks wrote about them at the Players’ Tribune this morning. This is must-click link stuff, folks.
Jenks talks about how a seemingly innocuous pitch to Jorge Posada in an early-season Red Sox-Yankees game in 2011 was the last pitch he’d ever throw. He talks about the presumably simple surgery that would supposedly get him back on the field. And then the scary complications in which he almost died due to leaking spinal fluid resulting from the botched surgery. Then, after using painkillers to deal with back pain, Jenks’ fell into drug addiction, all of which culminated in him finding himself half-naked and crazed in a car that didn’t belong to him with police and rescue workers surrounding him.
Jenks got clean but his wife left him. And then he mounted a multi-year lawsuit during which he learned that the reason his back surgery was screwed up was because the surgeon was performing two surgeries at one time, which is an apparently common practice called “concurrent surgery,” that sounds like it totally should NOT be a common practice.
Yet Jenks has survived. He’s been sober for over seven years and he seems to be in a good place. But boy did he have to go through something harrowing to get there. Definitely take the time to read it.