Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Shoulder economics

Michael Kelly's bonus reduction on Monday recalled Tim Stauffer and 2003, although there are key differences. The Padres were set to pay Stauffer close to $2.5 million after drafting him fourth overall out of the University of Richmond. When Stauffer revealed a shoulder problem, his bonus was reduced to about $750,000.

Padres assistant GM Jason McLeod confirmed this blog's reporting that the Padres were prepared to pay Kelly at least $1 million, then reduced his bonus by at least $250,000 after looking at the MRI results of his right shoulder. McLeod said he felt bad for Kelly and his parents. He described them as impressive people. Kelly's strong intangibles were part of the Padres' decision to draft him 54th and offer him a bonus $280,000 or more above the commissioner office's recommendation for that slot.

Stauffer's bonus reduction was about seven times that of Kelly's, which likely reflects the level of concern raised by each shoulder issue. McLeod said Kelly will have no limitations put on him when he pitches in the instructional league next month. McLeod said the MRI "showed something" in Kelly's shoulder but also said that similar results are common for MRIs on pitchers' shoulders. Kelly, unlike Stauffer, didn't realize there was a shoulder issue.

"It's just a little something that came up (in the MRI)," Kelly said on Tuesday before throwing out a ceremonial pitch at Petco Park. "Nothing to worry about."

The Padres knocked nearly $2 million off Stauffer's bonus because they had reason to think he would need surgery. They opted for rest and strengthening exercises and deferred his pro debut until 2004. By May 2005 he was in the majors, but the righty bounced back and forth between Triple-A Portland and San Diego through 2007. 

Stauffer had surgery on his labrum (shoulder cartilage) and missed the 2008 season. Now, he is having his second good season in a row.


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