Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

In Light of Balfour Situation, it's Ken Rosenthal v Baltimore Orioles


Now that this whole Grant Balfour thing has blown over…

What? It hasn’t?

Not exactly. This morning, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports released a column noting that there are those that disagree with the findings pertaining to Balfour’s physical.

Balfour was to replace Johnson, just as Lough will replace McLouth. But Balfour, who agreed to a relatively club-friendly, two-year, $15 million contract, did not meet the approval of the Orioles’ doctors. Or owner Peter Angelos. Or some unidentified Jedi master who can detect flaws in MRIs that no one else can decipher.

Two doctors with other clubs, both of whom have a history with Balfour, publicly challenged the Orioles’ findings. Orioles general manager Dan Duquette countered by saying that medical opinions vary from doctor to doctor, processes vary from team to team.

Rosenthal is not a fan on how the entire situation was handled. He opines that a pattern has long been developing within the Baltimore Orioles front office and ownership.

Check out Rosenthal’s Twitter timeline. He’s catching a little heat for it, too.

A couple of thoughts occurred to me as I read this and another column which Rosenthal penned from the other day:

– Balfour’s market has diminished, maybe to the point that a one-year deal could be all he lands. He now has the stigma of “damaged goods”. The two physicians Rosenthal points to in his column from today (and from the above quote) have experience in working with Balfour. The two are Koko Eaton and Timothy Kremchek

Eaton is the team physician for the Tampa Bay Rays, and after examining Balfour this past Friday, he told the following to Rosenthal:

“The MRI that I did on him today looked exactly the same as the MRI I did three years ago.”

Eaton does note that an MRI for a pitcher, or any player that plays baseball, will not look normal when you compare it to one from a person who doesn’t.

As for Kremchek, team physician for the Cincinnati Reds who also performed a pair of surgeries on Balfour (elbow and shoulder), he reviewed the report on the MRI from Balfour’s Orioles physical.

“For a guy in his 30s who has pitched six or seven years since his rotator-cuff repair, his MRI on his shoulder looks remarkably good,” Kremchek said. “I have not seen the (actual) MRI. But when I saw the report, I was like, ‘Whoa, it looks pretty good.’ And with his elbow, the same thing.”

A number of pitchers have had surgeries performed by Kremchek.

– As Rosenthal noted, Orioles owner Peter Angelos and GM Dan Duquette prefer to see “clean” MRIs. No one could – or should – fault them for being particularly picky on this front. Angelos is writing the checks and he’s doing his due diligence by making sure his newest player doesn’t have a physical issue or two.

But read on…

– This particular line from Rosenthal’s column of December 20th (the second of his two columns linked) was an eye-opener.

According to a source, the Orioles did not compare Balfour’s present MRI to the one he had three years ago, as is customary.

Provided the source is correct, I have to ask: Why wouldn’t this be customary? Couldn’t a better decision be determined if there was something in which to compare an MRI from today to one that was performed, say, just last season? Does that make sense or am I simply grasping at straws here? Are these not readily made available then?

– Another point Rosenthal makes is that agents will surely note this situation. Should the Orioles approach an agent regarding any contract negotiations, said agent will have to take his client’s health more under advisement should any future dealing with the O’s develop.

According to Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun, the Orioles now have their sights set on Fernando Rodney. He’s not without an injury history himself. I know it’s been about a decade, but Rodney had Tommy John surgery performed after the 2003 season and missed all of 2004 recovering. He also hit the DL in 2008 due to tendonitis in his throwing shoulder.

Elbow and shoulder. Just sayin’.

Tags: Baltimore Orioles Ken Rosenthal

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