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August 1, 2003

Under The Knife

The Morning After

by Will Carroll

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Well, the deadline has passed, and it looks like Chris Kahrl has his work cut out for him with all the deals that happened. As I worked the phones yesterday (and had my phone worked), the interesting stories weren't the trades that got made, but the ones that didn't for whatever reason. There were some big names and big teams that were working hard, while others did almost nothing to improve their team for the stretch drive.

It occurred to me as I watched Jayson Stark working his phone and ESPN breaking down all the deals that baseball has managed to do what the other sports have given up--they can make deals that for the most part are based on talent and need, not the calculus of a salary cap. As big as I think draft coverage could be, I think Deadline Day could be even better. Heck, let's rent out an arena, stick all the owners and GMs in one room, and see what happens. I'd watch that, and I have a feeling a lot of you would as well. "Oh no! Billy Beane has pulled out the hypno-rod and it looks like Kenny Williams is giving him a reliever!" or "Has anyone seen Brian Cashman?" could become great quotes from that show.

  • Not only did the Cards not make a deal--or even come close--but they got bad news on Jim Edmonds yesterday. The cortisone shot he received Monday has done nothing and he's headed for the DL. The Cards continue to hope that Edmonds will get a visit from an angel or something (don't laugh--that happened to someone last year, or so he said) and be miraculously healed. Edmonds, in fact, is looking more and more like the HR Derby might be the last we see of him this season. With Edmonds failing, Walt Jocketty hung up the phone, knowing he couldn't deal J.D. Drew. The Cards will probably also miss out on Kevin Appier despite making inquiries.

  • While I've been negative on Sidney Ponson's shoulder, and its ability to stand up to the long-term strain of pitching, his trade to the Giants means that Stan Conte and the Giants medical staff signed off on him--and for me, that's nearly enough to move someone from a red light to a yellow. Add in that Ponson has been doing well in Baltimore and the Giants clearly made themselves better. They'll need him now that Kirk Rueter has had a recurrence of pain in his pitching shoulder. Rueter's pain was problematic because it didn't really have a cause and any time the cause can't be pinpointed, there's nothing a trainer can do to fix it. The Giants won't make a quick move to put Rueter on the DL, but it's a possibility.

  • Some were surprised that the Giants gave up so much for Ponson, a player who is a potential free agent. Like St. Louis, I think someone who gets a chance to play there might be swayed to stay. At worst, you wouldn't have to face Barry Bonds! One of the keys to the deal was the health of Kurt Ainsworth, currently disabled with a small fracture in his scapula. Ainsworth, as I've discussed previously, should come back as Jarrod Washburn did before. It's a risk for the O's but a calculated one...assuming they did the due diligence.

  • The Cubs hope that some home cooking will get Mark Prior back on the right foot. Prior will come off the DL and start for the Cubs when they visit San Diego next Tuesday. Prior still feels some residual soreness, which some have thought is some sign of impending doom. For those, I'd point out the tape of the collision. Watch it and tell me that Prior isn't lucky to have come away with just a bruise. That wasn't a collision, it was a train wreck. As for Prior's prospects, I'd hope that the Cubs would keep him on a pitch or inning count, upon return, since his stamina will be in question. And if there's pain, they should definitely have a quick hook. With Dusty, you never know, but those should be in place.

  • Here's what you don't want to hear from your ace pitcher, as reported in the Houston Chronicle: "It's bleeding in there... (The purplish red bruise) goes all the way down. I don't even want to think about it. It's the same spot. For some reason, that spot keeps tearing." The Astros appear to be trying to convince Roy Oswalt that trying to pitch again can't do any more damage to his torn--but not herniated--groin. Risking the future of one of the most talented pitchers in the NL is more gamble than I like, and the note in there--that it can't get any worse--shouldn't lighten the hearts of Astros fans. This is at least the fifth time in his major league career that he's injured his groin. Oswalt can come back, but he won't be whole--literally--until he has surgery. Groins are very complicated areas, but here's a great link to give you your daily dose of learning.

  • I had a chance to talk to someone very close to Mike Sweeney yesterday...how close, you ask? About 10 feet from him, though since it was over the phone, I can't confirm the distance. Sweeney had just taken his first cuts at live pitches and my source walked over and asked him how he was feeling. "A bit sore," I could hear him say, "but good. Real good." He said Sweeney was grinning when he said that last part. So are Royals fans. Sweeney is about a week off, but beware the dreaded setbacks--any spinal problem can be tricky and prone to recurrence.

  • Ryan Dempster heads to the DL with inflammation in his pitching elbow. With all the shuffling, it's unclear where Dempster fits into the Reds plan. His results as a Gullett Garbage Co. recycling project have been poor, and soon the Reds will have better, more talented options. Depending on how the Reds choose to use some of their new acquisitions, Dempster has potentially made his last start for the Redlegs.

  • Brandon Lyon is back with the Red Sox, but don't take this as an admission that they sold off damaged goods. Some Sox sources are saying that taking Lyon back was simply getting one complication out of the way of Theo Epstein's goal of adding a starter. If it took taking Lyon back, fine, he wanted Jeff Suppan (after not being able to make a couple other deals.)

  • The Yankees didn't acquire a starter on deadline day, but they do have hopes that Jose Contreras will be able to contribute something by mid-August. Throwing batting practice isn't much, but it's a good first step, and one that will soon lead him to a minor league rehab assignment, probably starting in Tampa and ending in Columbus.

  • Back injuries are never good. They have a tendency to recur at the most inopportune times. I get more worried when a guy who plays on turf gets one and still more worried when the guy is not overweight and young. Hearing that Rocco Baldelli is getting rested on turf is a bad sign for anyone still convinced he's Joe DiMaggio reincarnated. While it's not considered serious, it will go against him in next year's THRs.

  • Anyone noticed how good Carlos Zambrano is looking lately? He may have picked the wrong time to go Carlos Perez on the mound--Barry Bonds will make him pay someday soon--but since Scott Boras told us on BPR that Zambrano had the potential to be as good as Mark Prior, well, he nearly has been.

  • My mission to find Ryan Wilkins the perfect woman has its first target. Now, if I can just get her to the Cleveland Feed in August...oh, did I say Cleveland Feed?

This week's BPR gets bigger with every passing day...you already know Chris Kahrl will skip his normal Friday festivities so that he can wake up and take your calls at 9 a.m. Eastern (1-800-TALK-290), but now Jon "Boog" Sciambi, radio voice of the Marlins, will be joining us to talk about Fish Fever and what he's seen from the booth, and Derek Zumsteg will talk not about trades, but the lack of trades in Seattle. It's jam-packed full of baseball knowledge...and I'm sure I'll get to talk too.

Related Content:  Week In Quotes,  The Week In Quotes

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