Title

Cost analysis of Tommy John surgery for Major League Baseball teams.

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2020

Publication Title

Journal of shoulder and elbow surgery

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The economic loss following ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction (UCLR) in Major League Baseball (MLB) pitchers has not been evaluated. The purpose of this study is to quantify the financial impact of UCLR on MLB teams. We hypothesize that MLB teams incur significant losses annually as a result of salaries paid to injured players following reconstruction.

METHODS: Public records were accessed to identify MLB pitchers from January 1, 2004, to December 31, 2014, who had undergone UCLR. Contract terms and time away from competition were used to approximate economic loss. Successful return was considered when a pitcher returned to play in at least 1 Minor League Baseball (MiLB) or MLB game.

RESULTS: One hundred ninety-four MLB pitchers underwent UCLR from 2004 to 2014, missing on average 180.2 days of the MLB regular season. Cost of recovery (COR) amounted to $395 million, averaging $1.9 million per player. Starting pitchers accounted for the largest total COR at $239.6 million, whereas closers had the largest economic loss per player ($3.9 million/player). Only 77% of pitchers returned to MLB play.

CONCLUSION: UCLR has a substantial economic impact on MLB teams. Starting pitchers represented a majority of team cost, but closers represented higher costs per pitcher.

PubMed ID

31668501

Volume

29

Issue

1

First Page

121

Last Page

125

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