The six-player trade that sent David Wells to the Chicago White Sox for injured pitcher Mike Sirotka was upheld today by baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, who denied Toronto's bid to change the deal.
"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."
Second Test Showed Possible Tear
Chicago sent Sirotka to Toronto on Jan. 14 along with pitchers Kevin Beirne and Mike Williams and outfielder Brian Simmons in exchange for Wells and pitcher Matt DeWitt.
Sirotka, 29, passed one Toronto physical, but a second test showed a possible torn labrum. Dr. James Andrews said Sirotka has a partial tear of the rotator cuff and a torn labrum in his left shoulder.
It's unclear if or when Sirotka will pitch again.
"Orthopedic opinions can easily differ, and different players react differently to similar injuries and conditions of health," Selig said. "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."
Burden Is On Club To Get Information
The White Sox had said the trade should not be altered. Selig assigned his executive vice president for baseball operations, Sandy Alderson, to investigate and give him a recommendation.
"I hope that all club executives will take from this dispute a renewed awareness of their obligations under the caveat emptor rule," Selig said, using the Latin for "buyer beware."
"It is my wish and expectation that disputes such as this will be rare," he said, "and that clubs will continue to deal with each other in trade matters in a forthright and professional manner."