Jeff Passan recently wrote a column on Yahoo! discussing the current situation concerning 1st-round pick Barret Loux, and the Arizona Diamondbacks - the team which picked him, but which is probably now going to withdraw its offer, based on medical reports. Passan described Loux as a "victim", citing the recent rule which will give Arizona an additional pick in next year's draft, if they do not sign Loux. But is that really the case?
There appears to be no denying Loux has medical issues. While the details are uncertain, various sources report his elbow, and suggestions Tommy John surgery could be needed, as well as concerns over his shoulder, in particular a frayed labrum. Given the latter is a similar problem to the one which has sidelined Brandon Webb for the best part of two season - at a cost of $15 million - one can hardly blame Arizona for being skittish.
I'm not quite sure what Passan expected the Diamondbacks to do. Pay Loux the $2m signing bonus originally negotiated, out of charity? Even if they signed him for a far smaller fee, the move would effectively turn Arizona's first-round pick into a scrub, and lose them a replacement pick next season. Who'd be the "victim" then? Indeed, it's no stretch to suggest the reason they took a flier with the #6 overall pick, was because they'd be covered if he turned out to be "busted." - and Loux had surgery to remove bone chips in his elbow last year.
There's a good reason all these deals are contingent on medicals, because stuff happens. Perhaps the most famous example is RA Dickey. After being drafted by the Rangers, they discovered he was entirely missing his ulnar collateral ligament, and his bonus shrunk from $800K to $75K. Admittedly, the compensation pick was not intended to cover medical issues, but more contract holdouts. Still, expecting teams to pay for broken players is idiotic.
We recently looked at buying a house. After agreeing a price, we got a ten-day inspection period to check the house out for faults and flaws. It turned out to have dry rot, termites, building code violations and so many issues we didn't complete the sale and walked away. That's a good parallel for what happened here. As for Loux, in the worst-case scenario, he will now have to work for a living like the rest of us. While I've no doubt he's disappointed by this, it hardly makes him a "victim," to have had his golden ticket turned to ashes by an MRI.