Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher John Means announced today that he needs Tommy John surgery to repair the damaged ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow. Means will most likely be sidelined until the summer of 2023 as a result.
This is a big blow both to Means, who turns 29 tomorrow, and the Orioles. While the O’s aren’t expected to be contending this year or next, Means was one of their most valuable potential trade pieces, a solid lefthanded starting pitcher with a career 3.81 ERA and 121 ERA+. Teams have been pursuing Means for a while, and come July, if he were healthy, he would likely have been one of the most attractive trade targets available.
For whatever reason I’ve been thinking Means had two years of team control remaining coming into 2022, but he actually has three years of team control left. Should the O’s wish to, they could probably move him for a healthy package this offseason, or alternatively, let him return sometimes in June or early July, 2023, show that he’s healthy, and look to deal him at the deadline then, assuming they haven’t made a Great Leap Forward by then.