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Shocker, Berardino: Negative spin artist


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Knee problems are cause for concern.

Timing remains everything.

 

Less than 14 months ago, the Marlins had a chance to reward a 32-year-old All-Star from Puerto Rico with a four-year contract at eight figures per season. They chose not to offer Pudge Rodriguez more than a two-year guarantee at a steep pay cut, citing his injury history and the demands of his position.

 

Today, coming off a third-place disappointment and flush with increased revenue from new local and satellite broadcast deals, that same franchise will unveil the most expensive and audacious free-agent purchase in its history. Jeffrey Loria's newest showpiece also just happens to be a 32-year-old All-Star from Puerto Rico, one with an injury history of his own.

 

Thanks to the vagaries of timing, however, not to mention his remarkably potent left-handed bat, Carlos Delgado will sign the fat contract his predecessor wasn't afforded in South Florida.

 

At $52 million over the next four years -- $12 million more than it would have cost the Marlins to keep their World Series-winning catcher -- Delgado represents a stunning investment on the part of previously penurious Marlins management. It's the sort of statement that should silence doubters -- me included -- who sometimes (all right, often) question the team's methods and decisions.

 

Good for them. With a projected payroll of $65 million, the Marlins are finally demanding a seat at the big table instead of settling for scraps.

 

But in between high-fiving each other in the executive offices and waving down to a suddenly adoring public, the Marlins might want to keep their fingers crossed that Delgado stays healthy.

 

There's no immediate reason to expect Delgado to break down. But the hulking first baseman did miss time and had to serve as Toronto's designated hitter at various stages the past two seasons with lower-back tightness and aching knees.

 

That was in addition to the strained ribcage that plagued him for two months last season.

 

Delgado typically spends time after each game with two huge bags of ice attached to his knees. He has had a combined three arthroscopic surgeries on his knees, including two on his left, and his former manager suggests the problem is in the patellar area of the knee.

 

Not to be alarmist, but that's the same injury that sent Mark McGwire into retirement.

 

"He doesn't have terrible knees, where he's got structural damage to them," former Blue Jays manager Carlos Tosca said of Delgado. "His knees are more of a concern. It's almost like a scab that kind of gets pulled off on occasion, and he doesn't really know when it's going to occur."

 

As you may have heard, there is no DH in the National League, which could present a problem on those days when Delgado needs a rest. Then, too, there is no artificial turf, which should be a significant boon to his body after more than a decade on the concrete rug of SkyDome.

 

While the Blue Jays played 97 games on turf last year, the Marlins have just three scheduled turf games in 2005.

 

"Getting off turf will definitely help him," Blue Jays General Manager J.P. Ricciardi said. "It's a step in the right direction."

 

Ricciardi praised Delgado's work ethic and downplayed the severity of his injuries, equating them with the same "dings and nicks" any 10-year veteran would endure. He also stopped short of terming Delgado's knee problem patellar tendinitis.

 

Tosca, a former Marlins minor league manager now coaching for the Diamondbacks, raved about Delgado's intangibles as well but estimated the knee problems are "probably somewhere between a 15 and 20 percent detractor" from his long-term value.

 

It should ease Marlin minds somewhat that three other teams were willing to pay Delgado at or near the same rate. What's more, agent David Sloane provided teams with medical reports that reputedly showed no problems with Delgado's knees.

 

Still, this is the franchise that made "payroll flexibility" its mantra, and it can ill afford to have a hobbled cleanup hitter for any length of time, especially when his salary jumps into the mid-teens after this season.

 

By 2008, if the Marlins choose to buy out Delgado's option for the following season, they would owe him a whopping $20 million in a single calendar year. And you thought they needed a new ATM, er, stadium before?

 

"It's very unpredictable when it's going to happen," Tosca said of those sporadic knee problems. "There may be times when it's bothering him now and again. It's more of a tolerance to pain. He has a pretty high pain threshold, so it's not something that is structurally going to prevent him from playing."

 

For the Marlins' sake, he had better be right.

 

 

It's a legit concern, but this guy is always so damn negative. good lord.

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These party-crasher articles from him have become as expected as the sun rising in the morning.

 

Such a shame...

 

:kicknutz

 

First article since the Delgado signing & he writes that the Marlins better hope his knees don't give out...

 

I guess he leaves the congratulating for the other "crappy" writers, since he has more important things to write about.

 

Isn't there a team in some other town he would actually enjoy writing about?

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If you don't like him, don't read him.

669520[/snapback]

 

If you're a baseball fan...it's kind of hard not to read the main baseball writer for your hometown paper.

 

Little Mike needs to take a lesson from Ira Winderman. Ira is one of the most solid and objective writers in South Florida. He is not a homer and has no "ax to grind." He reports on the Heat and the NBA in a manner which is both professional and enjoyable. Ira is everything that Berarwhatever is not!

 

:thumbdown

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Yesterday on WQAM Maddog put his negative spin on it also he was saying how he dosent think he can cheer the guy because of the whole God Bless America thing. I dont agree too much with Delgado on this but as long as he is producing on the field he can do what ever he wants in his personal life.

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Yesterday on WQAM Maddog put his negative spin on it also he was saying how he dosent think he can cheer the guy because of the whole God Bless America thing. I dont agree too much with Delgado on this but as long as he is producing on the field he can do what ever he wants in his personal life.

669582[/snapback]

Mad Dog didn't even know that Delgado did that...And it took QAM about 15 minutes to figure out that it wasn't even the National Anthem...A caller called in and told them (me)

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I wouldn't consider not respeciting that flag at a MLB game when you are on of the 60 or so MLB respresntitives a part of your personal life since it is so out in the open. Not that I was against what he did either, just saying what you do with your "voice" infront of thousands of people is not all that personal to me.

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Guest Moneyball

Not to be alarmist, but that's the same injury that sent Mark McGwire into retirement.

 

No, the roids mostly contributed to McGwire's retirement. That was the cover story.

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