Jose Leclerc will have Tommy John surgery, the Texas Rangers announced today. The righthanded relief pitcher will presumably be out at least until June, 2022, as a result.
This is a big blow, but not an unsurprising one. Leclerc was reported last week to be dealing with elbow soreness that the team expected to sideline him for a significant length of time, and that’s one of those announcements which is usually made when they are thinking a damaged UCL will require Tommy John surgery.
Leclerc, 27, is in the third year of a 4 year, $14.75 million contract extension with a pair of team options which potentially keeps him under team control through 2024. He’s slated to make $5.25 million next year, then has options at $6 million and $6.25 million under the two options. Those dollar figures are low enough that if Leclerc comes back healthy, there’s a good likelihood the 2023 option gets picked up.
Leclerc had a dominant 2018 season that saw him put up a 1.56 ERA in 57.2 IP with a 1.89 FIP. He appeared to be on the way to establishing himself as one of the top relievers in baseball, but he had a 4.33 ERA and 3.59 FIP in 70 games in 2019, then missed most of 2020 due to a torn shoulder muscle.