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dodgers logoThe vast majority of trades that are agreed upon are then reported upon before they are actually finalized. One of the main reasons for that is the step that follows the trade’s agreement but precedes its finalization: the review of medical information and physicals. For many trades, the teams exchange available medical information, and the players involved are given physicals before completion of the deal so that nobody gets damaged goods. In most trades, this is a completely perfunctory step with no surprises and no derailment of the trade. Hence, the vast majority of trades are reported upon before being finalized, and then are finalized without issue.

But when that typically unremarkable step of checking medical information and getting physicals reveals something remarkable after a trade has been publicly revealed – and, indeed, sometimes confirmed by the involved teams – that can cause some serious problems.

Remember when the Padres and Dodgers agreed to swap, among other players and cash, Matt Kemp and Yasmani Grandal last week at the Winter Meetings? Notice how the deal hasn’t been finalized yet?

Well, it’s been an open secret for a little over a day now that the issue has been some concerns about Kemp’s physical from the Padres. He’s dealt with injury issues in recent years, so a little post-physical haggling over – for example – the dollars involved in the deal wouldn’t have been a big surprise. Teams sometimes try to leverage the newly-gained medical information for a slight improvement in the deal now that they feel like the other side can’t go back.

But I don’t think anyone was expecting this:

That’s a potentially very serious issue, and, moreover, the fact that it’s now out there in the world is a separate serious issue (if Nightengale’s report is accurate, there’s a potential HIPAA violation by someone in the process, too). If the Padres go ahead and void the trade, Kemp will forever be viewed as damaged goods, which seems pretty unfair to him, whether it’s true or not. This is not the kind of news that’s supposed to get out.

Unsurprisingly, the Dodgers might be fixin’ to be super pissed:

The league would almost certainly get involved at that point to try and figure out who leaked what, and whether the Padres were reasonable in their process here.

If the trade does fall through, the ramifications will be significant, from a baseball perspective. The Padres may turn back to the trade market to acquire an impact bat (Justin Upton?), and the Dodgers may have to scramble to deal an outfielder. It likely wouldn’t be Kemp at that point, and, given the turn of events, they may have to take even less for a guy like Carl Crawford or Andre Ethier.

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