The Pittsburgh Trib reported last night that the Pirates did not have insurance on Kip because he had a non-guaranteed contract. I did not know his contract wasn’t guaranteed.
That makes perfect sense because the cost of a policy with the deductible would have been about $1.6MM compared to the $692K if released by 3/15, and $1.04MM if released by 3/29. Further, insurance generally only pays off if the player misses the entire year. Lastly, we don’t even know if Kip was insurable because of his previous health issues.
Bob Moose, a Pittsburgh Pirate pitcher in the 70’s, also had the same condition Kip Wells has. Moose had a collapsed vein under his right collarbone and about May 29, 1974, had surgery. In Moose’s case, he had a rib removed that was causing compression of the vein. He eventually was back throwing in Bradenton late in the Fall and was able to start the next year with no problems.
I’m not a doctor so I spoke with a physician today who told me that Kip will likely be hospitalized immediately because the anticoagulation therapy used to treat Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) is associated with future arm disability in as high as 70% of the cases. So, Kip needs to move quickly to reduce his exposure to the meds. He pointed me to several sites for more information but this one seemed to spell it out best for a medical dummy like myself: http://www.medschool.lsuhsc.edu/Neurosurgery/nervecenter/TOS.html.
Almost 2 months, 2 days, and 32 years since Moose had his surgery, Kip now faces the same procedure. Kip should be fine and ready for the 2007 season but don’t expect to see him this year.
Therefore, it seems likely the Pirates will release Kip and pay him 30-days termination pay, thereby losing all future value. The Pirates could resign him to a minor league contract after he passes through waivers just to keep some hope in his tank.