Everyone knew Brusdar Graterol was damaged goods — everyone except the Red Sox, apparently


So let's get this straight: the 265-pound reliever who has already undergone Tommy John surgery and missed two months last year with a bad shoulder is damaged goods?

Who could've seen this coming?

The Red Sox are reportedly holding up the three-team mega-trade with the Dodgers because of concerns over Twins right-hander Brusdar Graterol. The Red Sox acquired the flame-throwing fire hydrant with the expectation that he would compete for a spot in their starting rotation, at least until they got a look at his medicals.

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Now they consider him more likely a reliever, and thus hope to amend the trade to include either another player or more money, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

Unlike a prior case of the team receiving diminished returns in the form of left-hander Drew Pomeranz, this one feels entirely avoidable. When the Padres sent Pomeranz to Boston at the 2016 trade deadline, after all, they willfully withheld information related to a sore elbow. MLB ended up suspending Padres GM A.J. Preller as a result.

This time around, Graterol's issues were clear to anyone with an internet connection.

He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2016 and didn't pitch again for 15 months. He dominated in nine starts at Double A last year (5-0, 1.89) before a mid-May shoulder impingement sidelined him until late July. When the Twins summoned him to the big leagues in September, they shifted him to the bullpen. He made 10 appearances and did not pitch on back-to-back days. (In his second appearance, incidentally, he threw a scoreless inning against the Red Sox, retiring Betts to end the frame).

As recently as two weeks ago, the Twins made no secret of their plan to pitch Graterol in relief to protect his arm. Consider this, from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

The Twins are leery of putting too much stress on that elbow, particularly because Graterol uses an unusual whipping motion to produce his amazing velocity.

So (pitching coach Wes) Johnson wants to tutor Graterol an inning at a time.

"We feel that because it is such a violent delivery, if we can clean up some arm stuff, that's kind of like step one," Johnson said. "Shorter stints, make sure he's throwing the right way, and let him get comfortable up here. Right now, I don't think it would be fair to throw him out there for extended innings."

This does not sound like a pitcher the Red Sox should've been counting on to fill a spot in their rotation, particularly since the Twins traded him — despite consistent 100 mph velocity — for middling 31-year-old starter Kenta Maeda. If the Twins thought the explosive Graterol could start, they would've kept him. They certainly wouldn't have traded him for a slightly above average starter.

It appears the Red Sox had hoped for an outcome the available information deemed unrealistic, and now they want to be compensated for their lack of foresight.

The sooner we put this offseason behind us, the better.

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