Baltimore Orioles: How important are medical results?


First off for clarity’s sake, Matt Kemp‘s situation has nothing to do with the Baltimore Orioles. I just wanted to get that out of the way for the record. However after hearing yesterday that Kemp’s impending trade to San Diego is now being held up due to the perceived results of a physical that he took (in order to consummate the trade). The physical returned the news that Kemp has arthritis in both of his legs.

Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Obviously this brings Orioles fans back to just about this time last year when Grant Balfour was shown the door before he technically even walked through it…due to results of a physical. At the time, most Orioles fans as well as the national media seemed to take the attitude that the Orioles were simply being cheap, and that if there was a problem the Orioles should just take the risk and sign the guy. Obviously if you look at Balfour’s season in 2014, the results speak for themselves.

However the fact is that Kemp’s a much higher profile player than Balfour, so this raises an interesting question (which is familiar to Orioles fans). How much stock should be put in these physicals? My personal opinion is that not only should they be taken seriously, but the advice of the doctors should be followed to the word of the law when it comes to these contracts. We’re not talking chump change in these situations. Baseball players and athletes in general make a lot of money. So should the team not have the right to know that everything is right with the world before entering into these deals?

And incidentally, these aren’t regular physicals that a normal doctor would provide. They include all of those aspects and then some. The doctors look at the term of the contract that’s being proposed and give a professional opinion as to whether or not the player’s body will hold up during that time. (That’s why they always get multiple opinions.) And if something is found (such as arthritis) that would jeapordize the deal, the team wouldn’t be doing their due diligence if they didn’t consider altering their plans.

That’s just my take; there are many others who disagree, and that’s okay. But when we’re talking about millions of dollars I don’t think it’s fair to ask the organization to just throw caution to the wind. So I think that the Padres are doing the right thing by thinking twice if they want to make the trade for Kemp. And the same still goes for the Orioles last season.