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Tuesday, January 24, 2006


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For the unenlightened like myself, what might they be referring to when they say that a player has 'flunked his physical'? Is it something that will prevent him from pitching/playing? Or are they talking about other peripheral things? Did Mota's health deteriorate over the winter?

He passed his physical a little while back with Boston, but the Cleveland doctors must have seen something they didn't like. It's not unheard of for a player to flunk their physical with team A, then pass a physical with team B and turn out totally fine.

Sometimes the exact same medical report can be interpreted differently by two different professionals, and that is my guess as to what happened here.

Or someone got cold feet and decided to read the report a little differntly.

Or someone involved in the deal got cold feet at the last second and decided to interpret the report a little differently.

If the Michaels-for-Rhodes deal falls through, I believe that Phillies fans, if not Phillies management, should consider it a bullet dodged. The Gillick era, which began in my opinion with a bang (Thome-for-Rowand), has turned nighmarish with:

1.The catastrophic "trade" of Wagner for Gordon
2.The marginal-at-best free agent signings
3. The taking on of proven dead weight in the form of Ryan Franklin (whom my father, who suffered through 64 years as a Phillies fan, would have referred to simply as a "bum") instead of taking a chance on someone like Wade Miller.
4. The embarrassment of letting the whole freaking world know you're begging to trade your All-Star right fielder, to the point where you couldn't even deal him for a third or fourth starter (Erik Bedard???!!!)

The reports I've read this morning indicate that despite the very good chance that the Indians-Red Sox trade will fall apart, Gillick continues to pursue a trade with Cleveland, which means we may yet see Jason Michaels, as fine a fourth outfielder as there is in the game, dealt away for a 36-year-old has-been with bad knees. Of course, both Franklin and Rhodes have a "history" with Gillick, which is probably why both of them of them sit so well in his "devil you know" comfort zone.

I can't help wondering what sort of condition this franchise would be in right now if it had gone with the "fans' choices" of Jim Leyland and Gerry Hunsicker. I think Leyland would have at least managed them into the playoffs last year. As far as Hunsicker is concerned, he too might have been hamstrung by the Phillies' fourth-rate ownership, but at least he might have used a little imagination in filling up roster space. I'm sure, at the very least, with Hunsicker as GM we'd have Wade Miller now instead of Ryan Franklin.

By the way, in my opinion the signing of Piazza wouldn't be a bad idea. It would bring in another bat off the bench, it would send Fasano to Scranton where he belongs, and it would spare us the sight of Mike Lieberthal behind the plate a couple of days a week.

I just re-read this post and realized how many times I've used the term "at least". As in "at least we're not the Royals, Reds, Marlins, etc." I think fans as loyal and knowledgeble (if sometimes a bit cranky--hey, you'd be cranky too if you rooted for the losingest franchise in pro sports history) as those of the Philadelphia Phillies deserve better than "at least".

My question was actually aimed more at knowing what types of 'ailments' they could be citing to void a trade? Arthritis? Tendonitis in the non-throwing arm? Diabetes? An eye test? I was just curious.
Obviously a team would not be trying to pass on someone who is clearly injured or sick, so whatever causes them to fail the physical must be something only indirectly related to playing, if related at all. As you say, Boston might not think it important, but Cleveland does.

Does the CBA contain anything that establishes standards for physical exams for players or is it strictly up to team doctors to determine if someone passes their physical? Recently the Astros have been trying to have Bagwell declared unfit so they can get reimbursed by the insurance company and save a bunch of salary. Bagwell doesn't really agree.
It would also seem that the Phillies, for example, could have had Thome examined and said he failed his physical, getting back much of his salary (presumably) from an insurance company. They would simply have to concoct a test that they knew Thome would not be able to pass so that even insurance company doctors would not be able to question the results. If there are no standards, they could conceivably do something like that.

Michaelz: Amen, brother! Agree with everything you said. This team has no shot at going deep into the playoffs and a 1-year reliever like Rhodes is not going to put them there. If we're gonna trade Michaels let's at least get someone who can give us more than 1 year. And, depending on the money, Piazza is a nice idea. Fasano is a career minor leaguer who happened to have a career year last season. Piazza would be a far better bat off the bench. Unfortunately, he's going to want money that will make him not worth it.

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