Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer has penned an interesting piece on the process for evaluating medicals in prospective trades — a matter that has taken on increasingly public significance with several recent swaps blown up after agreement was reportedly reached in principle. He chats at length with Reds orthopedist Dr. Timothy Kremchek and GM Dick Williams about the “streamlined” but still-nuanced assessment of player health in finalizing trades. “You’re hearing more about the ones that don’t happen,” Williams explained. “I do think because the technology is better. In the old days, it’s like, ‘Well, he has a sore elbow, but I’m sure it’ll be fine by spring.’ Now they’re taking scans and x-rays and you’re getting a lot more detail. There’s a lot more opportunity for interpretation. The dollars have gotten so much bigger that doctors don’t want to be the scapegoat.” The article is well worth a full read.
Of course, Williams also chatted recently with MLBTR about quite a different topic — his time at the University of Virginia. (As a fellow U.Va. alum, that made for an especially interesting trip down memory lane.) Here’s the latest from the National League:
- Righty Jim Henderson has cracked the Mets’ Opening Day roster, as the team announced and ESPNNewYork.com’s Adam Rubin reports. Once a late-inning reliever, Henderson has struggled with shoulder injuries in recent years, but impressed this spring by allowing just two earned runs on eight hits and one walk while striking out 13 over 10 2/3 frames. Meanwhile, lefty Sean Gilmartin — who had a strong season in the pen as a Rule 5 pick last year — has been optioned down to Triple-A. Logan Verrett will instead make the roster and function as New York’s longman.
- Outfielder Chris Heisey will take a reserve role with the Nationals out of camp, Devan Fink first reported on Twitter. A 40-man spot was cleared by adding TJ rehabber Aaron Barrett to the 60-day DL.
- Meanwhile, Blake Treinen appears to have beaten out Sean Burnett and Trevor Gott for the final pen role, James Wagner of the Washington Post tweets. Burnett is set to opt out of his deal, and the team has announced that Gott was optioned. What’s surprising isn’t so much that Treinen made the pen — he has an impressive arsenal and nice spring under his belt — but that Matt Belisle took the spot that had seemed destined to go to Gott. It’s not as if he had rough camp, as he finished with three earned runs on his tab over nine innings, allowing nine hits and two walks while recording five strikeouts. Though he generated quite a few grounders last year with the Angels, Gott only struck out 5.1 batters per nine, and he could certainly stand to add some polish to his curve to develop another pitch to go with a 96.1 mph heater. Gott enters the year with 114 days of service on his ledger, so a sufficiently lengthy minor league stint could also buy the club another year of control. He could eventually join Barrett, Treinen, and lefty Felipe Rivero in a young, cheap, high-powered pen corps of the future.
- Brewers manager Craig Counsell says that lefty Sean Nolin has been diagnosed with a “significant” injury to his UCL, MLB.com’s Chris Abshire reports. There had been some suggestion that Nolin had avoided a ligament issue, but today’s news seemingly puts a lengthier absence on the table. A final prognosis will await a second opinion, though, so the 26-year-old’s fate remains to be seen. Nolin, who was claimed off waivers from the A’s over the winter, had been competing for a pen spot before he was shut down a few weeks ago.