Young third-baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff underwent a shoulder scope this past weekend and will likely be ready to return full-strength for spring training. The procedure was done to clean up some damage in the shoulder which had caused Kouzmanoff a great deal of pain in the later months of the 2008 season. It could have been much worse, according to Padres' general manager Kevin Towers:
"The rotator cuff and labrum looked fine," Towers said. "If they would have found damage to the rotator cuff, he could have been out four or five months and missed the first two or three months of the season. But he should be able to go full bore in spring training."
The real fallout of this situation is the affect on Kouzmanoff's trade value. It's no secret the Padres are pretty willing to blow up and start over with just a few remaining holdovers (Chris Young, Adrian Gonzalez, Brian Giles), and Kouzmanoff is one of the few Padres who holds trade value across the league.
While the 27-year-old still needs to get a better grasp of the strike zone, he did hit 23 home runs -- while playing in the spacious Petco Park -- and drastically improved his defense in his second full season last year. Teams with a hole at third base may have to be able to overlook the 139 to 23 strikeout-to-walk ratio -- which had a hand in his dreadful .299 on-base percentage -- in order to focus on the power upside in a possible trade.
The surgery, however, could scare off possible suitors. On the other hand, teams who were weary on Kouzmanoff because of his shoulder pain might now value him more based upon the fact that they know he's going to be healthy -- in addition to considering the possibility his play was hampered late in the season by these shoulder woes.
Should be interesting, as things always are in the hot stove season.
Kevin Kouzmanoff Goes Under the Knife originally appeared on MLB FanHouse on Tue, 18 Nov 2008 16:00:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.