Mulder and medicine

Fascinating note on Mark Mulder in one of Rosenthal's latest columns:


The Diamondbacks, Rangers, Padres and Cardinals are the teams that most intrigue free-agent left-hander Mark Mulder, according to a major-league source.

The Indians, however, made an interesting sales pitch, stressing the strength of their training staff to Mulder, who is coming off arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder.

Indians pitchers have missed only seven starts the past two seasons. Kevin Millwood, Bob Howry, Bob Wickman and Scott Sauerbeck all made successful recoveries from injuries with Cleveland -- and Millwood and Howry went on to land huge free-agent contracts with other clubs.

Aside from the debate about whether we should make Mulder an offer, a few things interest me about this.  The first is that the Indians are unable to compete with other teams in certain areas that attract free agents (money, but to a lesser extent weather and lifestyle).  But now it sounds like Shapiro and crew are finding something different to lure FA's - a track record of getting and keeping them healthy.  Maybe it backfires when these guys get healthy again and leave for more money, but in the meantime, they're confident enough that they can fix these guys to get production at a below-market rate.

That brings us to the next point - maybe we should stop thinking about so many of these players as risky reclamations, and should instead assume that if our medical staff clears them, they'll be productive.

Finally, what of the opposite, where we pass on a guy with an injury history?  If, as suggested, we were never a serious bidder for Gagne b/c of health concerns, I'd suggest at the very least that you shouldn't draft him in your fantasy league.

Some things to think about, I guess.

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