Just Say No to Pavano

One of the most sought out free-agents in 2005, Pavano signed to a four-year, $39.95 million contract following the 2004 season, turning out to one of the biggest free-agent signing busts in baseball history. The St. Louis Cardinals have made inquiries to the New York Yankees about Pavano's health and Brian Cashman the Yankees GM would love to deal Pavano to someone, anyone...

Pavano has appeared in just 17 games for the Yankees since he signed his mega-million dollar contract, but none past June of 2005 due to a series of injuries to his back, elbow, shoulder and ribs. The Cardinals, desperately seeking starting pitching have requested the medical records of the troubled Pavano to determine his physical condition.

Industry insiders say Cashman would trade Pavano to the St. Louis Cardinals in a heartbeat. There is doubt in New York about Pavano, whose many injuries and seeming indifference to competing have eroded his good will in the clubhouse.

Pavano will be paid $10 million in 2007 and $11 million in 2008. There is a $15 million team option for 2009 or a $1.95 million buyout. "We have had two years of difficulties," Cashman said of Pavano. Even if the Yankees were to assume a portion of the $21 million still owed Pavano, it may not be enough to risk bringing the Pavano soap opera to St. Louis.

Two difficult years as Cashman describes it, is putting it mildly. In an article written by Bob Klapisch in November he reported, after Pavano arrived in New York, The Yankees soon realized Pavano lived in an angry haze, emotionally separated from his teammates, disdainful of the press, not particularly fond or impressed with the energy of the Stadium.

Throw in that Pavano failed to report that he had two broken ribs as the result of an automobile accident last season while on rehab and add that he's suing his old agent over financial matters and you have to wonder just how much baggage TWA will let him carry to St. Louis.

Offseason medical tests this winter have determined that Pavano (elbow, ribs) suffered from a hip dysfunction that made one of his legs longer than the other, which in turn caused him to be injured more frequently.

To remedy this problem, Pavano participated in an intense flexibility program over the past two months, which has made his legs the same length. Pavano has been spending around four hours each day working with a new trainer in Arizona, part of a new all-around regiment instilled by his new agent in an attempt to resurrect Pavano's career.

The Cardinals have downplayed any speculation that the club may be seriously considering making a deal for Pavano, but they still have requested medical records in the meantime.

I would suggest anyone considering making a deal for Pavano, first get New York to eat at least half of the money still owed to him and I would add that if a team can wait, they should wait until spring training, to see if Pavano can actually pitch.

The Yankees of course are trying to put a positive spin on the return of Pavano in 07. He has a new attitude, a new trainer, a new workout regimen, and a new agent.

The new agent, Greg Clifton, keeps promising everyone that Pavano will show up in spring training so completely remade, no one will recognize him, his mechanics, or his personality. Others disagree. One person close to the pitcher said, "Anyone who can sit around [on rehab] in Tampa and watch the Yankees on TV every night for two years, get paid, and not be bothered by it, there has to be something wrong there."

The Yankees would like to dump Pavano somewhere. According to club sources they are still considering disciplinary actions against him for failing to disclose to the team that he had two broken ribs from an automobile accident in August of last year until after he had made three minor league rehab starts.

Pavano had surgery in June to remove a bone chip from his right elbow. The New York Yankees were counting on him returning in September to help them win a pennant down the stretch. Not being up- front about his latest injuries did not sit well with Yankees' management.

Pavano's physical problems is the least of my concerns. Even if he is healthy there is a question as to his ability to still pitch at the major league level. When he went down in 2005, he wasn't exactly setting the world on fire by any standards.

In 17 starts he only had a record of 4-6, with a 4.77 ERA. He lost some speed off his fast ball and still struggled with his control problems that had plagued him the season before.

Fans expecting him to return to his form of 2003 when he won 18 games for the Florida Marlins may be in for a huge disappointment, second only to Brian Cashman's regrets, having to live with signing Pavano to a $40 million contract in the first place.

John Benson, from www.johnbenson.com said back in 2004, Pavano has to deliver in ‘05 or that he would travel the same path of once-heralded prospects such as Steve Karsay, Todd Van Poppel and Jeff D'Amico.

The record will show not only didn't he deliver in ‘05 but in ‘06 as well. Injuries, a bad attitude, indifference about competing, questions about his character, withholding information about his injuries from a car wreck and his ability to pitch, make Pavano an unattractive addition to any rotation.

Cardinal Nation is still celebrating winning the World Series in October and the team will be defending their first World Championship next year for the first time since 1982.

We don't need to turn next season into a soap opera with the addition of Carl Pavano to the rotation.

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