As Lucy used to say to Ricky Ricardo, “You’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do,” Mike Hazen, the GM of the Arizona Diamondbacks, has some explaining to do regarding what he knew about Brandon Drury’s spells with dizziness and migraine headaches before he traded Drury to the Yankees. But as with anything, it’s more complicated than that.
General Managers are a unique breed in major league baseball. In many ways, they operate as a fraternity of brothers who are stranded on the same island. By and large, they all have the same story to tell about low-level jobs they took at the beginning of their career and the slow grind up the progression ladder leading to the position they now hold.
They are tethered together by cell phones that never leave their side. And they “keep in touch” regularly. They are, however, driven by competitiveness that rivals that of the players they move around like chess pieces on a board. And sometimes, that drive to “one-up” the other can lead to – for now we’ll say unfortunate developments which follow a trade between two teams and two general managers.
Before the trade that sent him to the New York Yankees this past February, Brandon Drury has been in the Diamondbacks organization since 2013. In their Transactions section for Drury, Baseball Reference does not show him spending even one day on the DL during the four years he was active as a D’Back.
How can it be then that Drury had to ask to be removed from the game on Friday night due to a condition he later would reveal for the first time to Yankees GM, Brian Cashman, that he has grappled with for the past six years?
And how can it be that Drury, according to the New York Daily News, had first reported having headaches to Yankees trainers last week in Toronto and was treated only with some Excedrin? And how is it that Drury had either the bravery or ignorance to step into the box to face a 97 MPH fastball when he was having spells of dizziness? Maybe the fact he was 0-10 up to Friday’s game had something to do with it.
Asked by Daily News reporter, John Healey to do some “splainin,” Drury offered this:
So, what happened here? According to Brian Cashman, the D’Backs had given Drury an MRI for headaches back in 2016, and it came back clean. This tells us there is some culpability on the part of the Diamondbacks to at least the extent there was a history of migraines in their medical files for Drury. So then, the question becomes did Mike Hazen tell Cashman about this history – or not? Cashman doesn’t say.
The answer to that question, though, goes directly to the heart of the matter. While there are no MLB rules stating that a team must divulge the medical records of players who are involved, there is the element of “good faith” that comes into play between general managers, if not for this trade but the next one.
So, by not stating he knew about Brandon Drury’s “condition” before he agreed to the trade, we can only conclude one of two things. Either Cashman did know because Hazen informed him so, and therefore Cashman is protecting his own skin from not wanting to look stupid now. Or, Hazen neglected to mention it, and Cashman is preserving his relationship with Hazen so as not to affect future deals between the two clubs.
And what should we make of Brandon Drury? Should he get a medal because he “played through injury” all this time? Or, should Cashman be giving him a stern talking to asking, “Brandon, exactly when were planning to tell me about this, when we would have had to pick up your pieces after getting beaned because you can’t see the baseball?”
The only fact we know is that Brandon Drury is lost to the Yankees for at least ten days and probably longer. The Yankees have said he will receive a full barrage of tests before any further move is made. Those tests begin Monday at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.
In the meantime, Miguel Andujar, who picked up his first hit and RBI on Saturday since being called up, will man the bulk of the time at third base. Beyond Andujar, the Yankees don’t have another third baseman except for the one they let get away and is now in the New York Mets dugout.
The Brandon Drury story may or may not have, as they say in the media, legs. I’m hoping there is continued interest in finding out what happened if only to better understand the curious and intriguing underworld of trades that are made at this level.
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