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Implications of a Failed Physical

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With news breaking of Arizona Diamondbacks first rounder Barret Loux failing his physical, there's the obvious question of what happens now.

First of all, this isn't a unique situation. Players, including first round picks, have failed physicals before. Some have signed, some have not, so using past precedent is only somewhat helpful.

As a result, we need to look at the injury itself, given the information we have. We know that he failed due to shoulder issues. This isn't new for him. Here's what I said in my MLB Draft Notebook writeup: "He could have gone in the top seven rounds out of high school if not for a slight shoulder problem during his senior year scaring  a number of teams away." It looks like the shoulder problem hasn't completely gone away.

I've heard a few rumblings around the Internet that the Arizona front office tanked this pick on purpose, knowing that he'd fail the physical or even that the team doctors are working the same magic that gets players on the DL when they're not playing well. The reason for that tanking is that they could get two picks in the top 7 next June in a deeper class. First, I want to say that this isn't the case. Just thinking about it logically, there's no way they could get a top 7 talent with an unprotected pick at #7 overall next year. The highest unprotected pick this year ended in Jake Skole, someone who isn't a top 15 talent in the 2010 class. Therefore, it wouldn't make sense to say they'd want a pick next year that's unprotected over an arm this year.

As for doctors getting a little proactive, I want to point out that this isn't only against the rules of baseball, it's illegal. You can't say that someone has an issue that they don't. As a doctor, that could mean jail time and loss of a medical license. A front office would never put themselves in the position of facing a major lawsuit that would jeopardize their relations with every single agent and player across the country. So this theory should be put aside, as well.

So now we can get to the logical explanation. The Diamondbacks saw enough evidence this spring with Loux's great success that they wanted a signable arm that put past health issues behind him. When it came time to taking the physical and finalizing the contract, they found issues weren't necessarily evident to them this spring.

I don't think this changes a lot for the Diamondbacks. They need to sign Barret Loux. Shoulder issues are necessarily scary. I'm not debating that. However, it would be irresponsible to not even make an attempt to sign him. The issue I see now is that Arizona is running on a front office that is only there temporarily at this point. Like with most front office changes, this current front office is likely going to be swept out for the most part, and that means that decision-making is going to be hard to find approval for.

However, the current Arizona front office, heading by Jerry DiPoto, has one of two choices to make. They can sign Loux for a discount, likely somewhere in the range of $600-800K, or they can decide he's too risky to even sign for that much. I don't think they'll choose the latter, but I could be wrong. I think enough teams have been scared of the implications of being wrong, as the last team to face a major decision like this was the Pirates with Tanner Scheppers, and we know how that has turned out so far.

My prediction is that Loux signs at the deadline for something in that $600-800K range, and they'll rehab him as much as it takes, trying to avoid surgery. However, without knowledge of the extent of the injury, I'm not sure of this prediction. With a lame duck front office and a shoulder problem, anything can happen.