Oh, to be Jayson Stark. To have unfettered discretion to reprint anonymous quotes from league officials without any repercussions. To use those anonymous quotes as a smoke screen for personal opinions about other teams.
Today’s Jayson Stark/anonymous column concerns questionable uses of the DL by certain teams throughout the Majors. It features “disgruntled American League execs” slamming the Yankees and Red Sox for their liberal uses of the DL.
“The day before he” — meaning Chien-Ming Wang — “went on the DL,” the said disgruntled American League exec told Stark, “he said, ‘I’m healthy. I want to start tomorrow.’ And the next day, he was placed on the disabled list. It’s a little strange, don’t you think?”
In response, Stark gets Brian Cashman on the record to explain the Yanks’ thoughts on Wang. The Yanks had A-Rod’s hip doctor look at Wang, and that hip doctor determined that Wang’s hip was not up to snuff. “I don’t really care what anybody on the outside thinks,” Cashman said. “If I have a doctor who tells me a player has to do physical therapy and it could take him up to six weeks to do it, that’s not ‘convenient.’ The fact is, we need our No. 2 starter, but we need to get him right.”
Stark questions the Mets’ placing Oliver Perez on the DL with a knee issue and the Tigers’ decision to put Dontrelle Willis on the DL with psychological problems. In each case, the critique is the same: What exactly is wrong with these players that warrants a trip to the DL?
Stark ends his piece by asking some other anonymous officials if this is actually cheating. The answer appears to be a resounding not. “What the hell are the Yankees supposed to with a guy like Wang?” a GM said to Stark. “He’s 0-3 and giving up 15 [runs] a game. What are the Tigers supposed to do with Dontrelle? They know he can’t make the team, so what are you gonna do? They’ve got millions of dollars invested in the guy. So you put him on the DL, and if the commissioner’s office doesn’t like it, they can call you a no-good liar.”
Another General Manager echoed those sentiments. “I know they’re not all legit,” one GM said. “But I’ll be honest. I don’t find that to be hard-core cheating — because the player’s got to be willing to do it. If the player’s willing to go on there, it means the player knows he’s not right. Whether it’s physical, mental or mechanical, something’s wrong — and there’s no other way around the rules.”
All in all, this has been one long much ado about nothing. Chien-Ming Wang is not right. Oliver Perez is not right. Dontrelle Willis is not right. These players have to go somewhere, and they have been, at various point this season, disabled. When they are right and healthy, they will be activated. That’s the bottom line.