Well, what do you know? We were all counting on Dilson Herrera — acquired from the Mets in the Jay Bruce trade — to prove himself as a big league second baseman this year. After all, he’s an important part of the rebuild, and 2017 is the year when the Reds hope to find out exactly what all of these young guys can do, right?

Not so fast, my friend. The Reds announced today that Herrera was experiencing some soreness in his throwing shoulder:

Cincinnati Reds second baseman Dilson Herrera has pulled out of his commitment to Team Colombia and the World Baseball Classic after experiencing right shoulder soreness that will prevent him from throwing for the next several days. Shoulder issues also sidelined Herrera after he was acquired by the Reds at last year’s deadline.

Reds manager Bryan Price said Herrera can still hit and take grounders, and that he’ll serve as the designated hitter in Saturday’s Cactus League game against the Cleveland Indians in Goodyear. The 22-year-old won’t resume throwing until Monday at the earliest.

You’ll remember that Herrera only played 24 games for Triple-A Louisville after the deadline deal that brought him to the Cincinnati organization. The reason: shoulder soreness.

Okay, no big deal, right? Let’s not make more of this than we should. His shoulder was sore last fall, and now it’s sore again once he starts participating in baseball activities in spring training.

Not so fast, my friend. As Lance McAlister noted, this is beginning to look like something serious and long-term. Take a look at this report from April 7 of last year:

Dilson Herrera will be limited to serving as the designated hitter with Triple-A Las Vegas to open the season because of a shoulder issue, 51s manager Wally Backman told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Herrera underwent an MRI late in spring training that reportedly showed no structural damage.

“He played with a sore shoulder last year,” Backman told the newspaper. “He’s so young, we’re going baby steps.”

So Herrera played with a sore shoulder in 2015. The same shoulder was sore in Spring 2016, and limited his ability to play at the beginning of the Triple-A season. The Reds traded for Herrera, and then were forced to shut him down late in the 2016 season. And now we’re in Spring 2017, and he still has the same shoulder problems. Just like last spring, Herrera can supposedly hit, but he can’t throw.

I’m a big fan of Dilson Herrera, and I think he has the talent to be a nice player for a number of years. But now I’m worried. Perhaps Bryan Price didn’t jump the gun in naming Jose Peraza the starter at 2B over Herrera.

UPDATE: I think Doug is right here. We need to be asking the question whether the Reds got damaged goods in Dilson Herrera.

At this point, there are a few questions that need to be asked and answered. First, did the Reds trade for a player they either they knew had a shoulder issue, or had one that they didn’t know about despite seeing the medical information? Second, how is it that this is now the third straight season in which Dilson Herrera has been dealing with a shoulder injury. He hasn’t had it operated on. This doesn’t seem to be going away, so something is clearly wrong with is that rehab isn’t fixing.

What did the Reds know and when did they know it?

34 Responses

  1. Steve Mancuso

    To be expected. If you keep trading for 2B, you’re bound to get one with a bum shoulder.

    • MrRed

      Yep, should have quit while they were ahead.

  2. ScottyA

    How often does a position player’s career end due to shoulder injury. If this were a pitcher it would be possibly the end. However a 2b not so sure. I’m guessing they knew of the shoulder issue and decided it was worth the risk. He has hit like a top 100 prospect in AAA during the timeframe of the shoulder problem.

  3. Craig Z

    Just when I thought they dodged a bullet in not trading Bruce for Zack Wheeler.

    • Anthony T Ridley

      I would still make that trade. Much better shape than homer.

      • lwblogger2

        Huh? You know Wheeler is still on the shelf and had a setback this spring right?

  4. Scott Carter

    This is starting to look like a bad deal. Shoulder surgery has a long recovery time. He may be done for the year if not longer.

  5. Simon Cowell

    I was ridiculed on another famous reds blog for insinuating this information just yesterday. I hate being right in cases like this but usually I am.
    He’s young. He needs to go under the knife and get resolution to the problem…. unless the problem has no resolution.

    • earmbrister

      “I hate being right in cases like this but usually I am.”


    • greenmtred

      since you don’t know that nature of the problem, you can’t know that surgery is the solution.

      • MrRed

        But he’s usually right, even though he hates it, Green. So there’s that.

      • greenmtred

        I’d forgotten. Thanks for the reminder, MRRED.

  6. WVRedlegs

    Doug is asking the right questions. Reds spent too much time on this trade and neglected the Cozart to Seattle trade. As Doug points out in his comments section, look at what Herrera has done since the trade, and look at what the prospective trade return for Cozart (Gohara) has done since the non-trade.
    Another question that should be asked, who actually was in charge during these two trade negotiations? Who was doing the actual negotiating? Jocketty or was it Williams? The trade that did go through looks bad now. The trade the didn’t go through because they ran out of clock, looks even worse. This is more than just bad luck.

  7. David

    The MRI showed…nothing? I have seen modern MRI imaging, and it is nothing short of incredible, in the terms of tissue detail that is revealed.
    Frank Robinson used to show up in Spring Training with a sore shoulder, and he had trouble throwing in Spring Training. By Opening Day, his shoulder was ok, and back to normal.
    Perhaps just therapy and strengthening exercises by a skilled therapist would fix it, if there truly was no observable structural damage.

  8. Eric The Red

    Maybe this is just a face-saving way for him to pull out of the WBC and get to work on his real job, competing to make it with the Reds. #BestCase

    • MrRed

      The same thought (hope?) occurred to me. But if that were the case, they should have picked a different injury as an excuse instead of intimating that this may be a chronic issue for Herrera.

  9. Hotto4Votto

    Yeah, it’s pretty disappointing. It was easily accessible information that Herrera had recent past shoulder issues at the time. Is Herrera better than some of the other names, like Nimmo that were rumored to be coming back to the Reds? Yes, probably. But why target a guy with known shoulder issues that may have been lingering? And you have to wonder if the Mets knew something was fishy. I did when it first popped up. It’s making me revisit that line of thinking.

    • Patrick Jeter

      Yeah, since the Mets were also trying to shop Wheeler, maybe they were only willing to give damaged assets for Bruce.

      • Anthony T Ridley

        I think everyone knew about wheeler. This front office should be fired. Just the chapman trade itself.

      • greenmtred

        No firings, but this is a different General Manager. We don’t really know how the Chapman trade will work out yet, either.

      • Eric The Red

        If Chapman never throws another pitch, and Caleb Cotham wins the Cy Young, we might be in the ballpark of that having been a good trade. There is no way that trade will ever make sense, even as a panick move.

  10. badfish

    If there is no structural damage, then it is probably just tendonitis of the rotator cuff. No surgery required. Rest, ice, steroids to decrease inflammation. Dilson needs some big league physical therapists and trainers to help him do exercises that target the rotator cuff specifically since this issue seems to keep popping up. It would seem like a pro athlete would have no problem getting that, but honestly I don’t think the teams spend much on trainers, med staff, and nutritionists for minor leaguers.

    But still, without these issues the Reds might not have been able to get Herrera. And I doubt that anyone else was offering a comparable talent for Jay Bruce. The Mets have not even been able to give him away this offseason.

    • Preach

      If he played 66ft, 3 3/8in forward of his current position and I heard “tendonitis in the rotator cuff” I would be petrified and waiting for the other cleat to drop.

      At 22 and a middle infielder, my only real concern is how this occured. Hopefully it will progress well with treatment.

  11. Matt

    Maybe some strength and conditioning for shoulder weakness will help….

  12. Streamer88

    Can Doug or a regular comment on a middle infielder at age 22 with shoulder issues? The guy is a 2B. The throw is 90 feet max. How common is this? I’ve never heard a young 2B have issues like this. He can underhand the ball over there most of the time.

    I remember being 22. Things healed a lot faster than they do now. Bizarre. And alarming.

    • lwblogger2

      I was generally a catcher and had to throw the ball back to the pitcher on every pitch but I did miss most all of a season behind the plate due to elbow tendinitis. I played a lot of 1B and as we used the DH I did some hitting. It’s a strange thing. I was fine until I had to throw and I’d have only 3-4 good throws in me until I was done. Lots and lots of rest from throwing, ice, Prednisone, a Cortisone shot, and light exercise over the off-season finally sorted me out. I turned 23 during that season. Shoulders are even stranger than elbows. Not sure how this will all play out or what will need to be done to fix it.

      • Streamer88

        Good insight. The human body is weird with repetitive trauma no doubt. Is he all natural ability and no work ethic and therefore isn’t rehabbing it appropriately? This is a game, but one that must be taken seriously on and off the field.

  13. jessecuster44

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the Reds didn’t vet this deal properly. Extremely disconcerting. Given the Reds’ level of success at treating Sean Marshall’s shoulder injury, they should just take Dilson behind the barn and shoot him now.

    • greenmtred

      That’s pretty drastic, Jesse, and I expect that the authorities would frown.

      • Wallyum

        Just put him in Chapman’s garage. He’ll eventually catch a bullet.

      • jessecuster44

        How can you frown at Old Yeller?

  14. Playtowin

    A sore shoulder for 3 years with no MRI evidence of damage is worrying. Maybe he is imagining the pain and he is a hypochrondriac. The Reds should send him to a. physiatrist.