The trade deadline is coming, and with it, there are injury questions. Medical files are now largely electronic, though having seen the system MLB is using, there are always going to be questions about how complete that record actually is. Teams will use anything differently, and there are going to be stylistic differences even in the same training room. It's quicker, but we'll still have debates over players.
For teams that understand the risks and for teams who think they have an advantage in their own training rooms, we'll see trades handled differently.
The Rays were willing to trade for a player on the disabled list now—Jesse Crain, the All-Star reliever—because they felt they had a handle on his injury. And they had immense confidence in their own medical staff.
In fact, head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield has given the Rays one of the top track records, especially with pitching injuries. They're regularly in the top 10 of the injury stats I keep, and they have a Martin-Monaghan Award on the shelf. (Honestly, I'm stunned they don't have more.)
This week, when prospect pitcher Taylor Guerrieri was diagnosed with a sprained UCL and became the latest on the long list of Tommy John surgeries in baseball, he became part of a very exclusive club—Rays who have had the surgery.
While I'm not exactly sure this is the case because minor league injuries are nearly impossible to track, this could be the first Tommy John case for the Rays since Jake McGee. Six years since an elbow problem? That's crazy, and it was a long time since their previous one.
The Rays do have an advantage, it seems, in getting young pitchers up to the major leagues and keeping them healthy. David Price may have come fully formed from Vanderbilt, but Chris Archer, Matt Moore and Jeremy Hellickson were all part of a Rays system that seems to work.
And people are noticing. Nick Paparesta was hired away from the Rays by the Athletics—a team that had struggled with injuries, especially to young pitchers. While they're no Rays yet, there have been noticeable improvements, and—oh yeah—the team is winning.
Keep injuries in mind through the deadline deals. Whether it's the players being dealt or a player missing who's necessitating a deal, health is as much a focus of many deals as talent. For now, powered by that non-waiver deadline, on to the injuries: