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Friday, March 9
Selig upholds Sirotka-Wells deal

DUNEDIN, Fla. – The Toronto Blue Jays wanted compensation for Mike Sirotka's injured left shoulder. Instead, they got a lecture from commissioner Bud Selig.

Selig turned down Toronto on Wednesday, ruling that the six-player trade that sent David Wells to the Chicago White Sox for Sirotka will stand.

Dibble: Caveat emptor
From Rob Dibble's March 7 chat:
I agree with Bud Selig's decision. To the best of my knowledge, the White Sox handed over all the available information on Mike Sirotka and his bad shoulder -- MRIs, x-rays, etc. Both teams knew what kind of damaged goods they were receiving at the time of the trade. Therefore, there should be no extra compensation to the Blue Jays.

With Sirotka injured and unable to pitch for the foreseeable future, the Blue Jays asked that the deal be reworked – or possibly even rescinded.

But in a 14-page decision, Selig bluntly told the Blue Jays, "Buyer beware."

In other words, with Sirotka's shoulder already ailing, Toronto should have fully checked out the pitcher before making the trade Jan. 14.

"After careful consideration of all the information before me, I uphold the transaction and deny the Toronto club's claim for relief," Selig said.

"Although there is a dispute about whether certain facts about Sirotka's condition were disclosed before the clubs agreed to the trade, the Toronto club talked directly to Sirotka about his health on the day of the trade and believed it had the opportunity to make the trade conditional," Selig said. "The Blue Jays never elected to do so."

Blue Jays president Paul Godfrey said he was "quite disappointed" by the ruling, but added there would no appeal or legal action.

Toronto general manager Gord Ash did not mention rookie White Sox GM Ken Williams by name, then said, "to me, the most important element is trust and the code of honor."

As for future deals, Ash said, "I can no longer accept anybody's word."

Mike Sirotka
Mike Sirotka, if he pitches this season, will wear a Blue Jays cap when he does.

"We were not believers that the squeaky wheel got the grease," he said. "From now on, the Blue Jays are going to be squeaky wheels."

Said Williams: "Obviously, I'm pleased with the outcome.

"When I was engaged in conversations prior to the trade, I never imagined we'd be at point we are today," he said at the team's spring training camp in Tucson, Ariz.

The White Sox sent Sirotka, pitchers Kevin Beirne and Mike Williams and outfielder Brian Simmons to Toronto for 20-game winner Wells and pitcher Matt DeWitt.

Sirotka, 29, passed one Toronto physical, but a second test showed a possible torn labrum. Dr. James Andrews said the pitcher has a partial tear of the rotator cuff and a torn labrum in his left shoulder.

Sirotka, 15-10 last season, worked out at Toronto's camp in Dunedin on Wednesday. After another exam Thursday, the Blue Jays said he can start throwing on flat ground, a program that will last about three weeks.

"The most important part to me is this: Was Mike Sirotka injured on the Blue Jays' watch or was he injured on the White Sox's watch?" Godfrey said. "I don't think anyone disputes that."

The White Sox insisted they told Toronto everything they knew about Sirotka's shoulder before making the trade.

"We did provide them with full disclosure, and there was nothing left to provide them, in our opinion," Williams said.

Sirotka was not the only injured player in the trade. Williams, the minor league pitcher, also has shoulder troubles.

Before the commissioner's office got involved, the White Sox offered to compensate Toronto for that part of the trade.

"It's unfortunate because it looks like he's going to miss the entire season and probably looking at surgery," Blue Jays manager Buck Martinez said of Williams.

Selig's ruling basically said the Blue Jays were responsible for checking out the health of the players it wanted to acquire. He used the Latin phrase for "buyer beware."

"The 'caveat emptor' rule, as developed in baseball, to which exceptions are exceedingly rare, is meant to decrease the potential for disputes by placing the burden on the acquiring club to seek the medical information it feels it needs," he said.

"It is my wish and expectation that disputes such as this will be rare, and that clubs will continue to deal with each other in trade matters in a forthright and professional manner."

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AUDIO/VIDEO's Jayson Stark gives us his take on the Mike Sirotka ruling.
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