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The Houston Astros say they intend to file a $15.6 million insurance claim for Jeff Bagwell's injured shoulder for the purpose of ending the first baseman's career with the club.


The Astros have until Jan. 31 to file the claim, after which Bagwell would be examined by the insurance company's doctors. Club officials want to know how productive they think he can be next season, and the insurance company could ask Bagwell to prove he can throw a baseball.


Bagwell's agent told the Houston Chronicle he thinks no determination can be made until Bagwell returns to the field and attempts to resume his baseball routine for a 16th major league season.


"I don't know how this thing could be resolved until deep into spring training or unless Jeff says, 'I can't continue,' " Barry Axelrod, Bagwell's agent, told the newspaper. "Jeff isn't saying that. He's saying just the opposite."


Bagwell, a four-time All-Star first baseman and the 1994 NL MVP, is guaranteed $17 million this season, but if he retires or deems himself unable to play, the Astros can file a claim and collect the $15.6 million.


"We would love to have a healthy Jeff Bagwell," general manager Tim Purpura said this month. "If we can't have that, we have to consider all of our options."


Attorneys for Astros owner Drayton McLane's have told him the team cannot collect on its claim if Bagwell so much as steps on a practice field at spring training. But Purpura said the Astros are investigating whether that's set in stone, according to the report. And McLane said Bagwell might go to spring training if doctors decide his shoulder will continue to heal, or if the insurance company decides he's not disabled enough for a payout.


"These policies are very vague, somewhat ambiguous and open to interpretation," Purpura told the Chronicle in an e-mail.


McLane doubts Bagwell's right shoulder will allow him to continue to be an everyday player.


"If the doctors say he can improve as the season goes along, then I'm for him [playing]," McLane said. "We bought insurance, and so we've got to know, can he play or is he unable to play?"


But Bagwell believes he's being written off prematurely. He has been swinging a bat and lifting weights for weeks. He has begun to throw again and says he's on schedule to play first base on opening day.


Bagwell, 37, missed 115 games last season after undergoing capsular release surgery on his shoulder. He returned in September but couldn't throw and was limited to pinch-hitting duty in the playoffs.


Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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He should be able to do as he pleases. He has given back to that organization more than any of us will know or has ever been reported. He has defered alot of his salaries in the past to help the club sign key players..he has earned it just in the way he goes about his buisness as well. Goes to the yard..busts his you know what....and is always approachable. He has taught many an Astro on how to play the game right.If my son grows up to play sports i hope he goes about it the way Jeff Bagwell has ..:houastros:

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I'd like to see Bagwell and the Astros come to an agreement on a new one year contract with a base salary of around $5 - $7 million and some healthy incintives that could equal the $17 million original contract if he stays healthy and produces. I would hate to see him end his career with the Astros on a sour note! :w00t::coolball::w00t:

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Bagwell has deferred a lot of his past year money and that is the reason that his upcoming year's salary is $17 mil. I don't see him renegotiating to take something less and don't blame him for not wanting to.


As 22 said, I also don't see him being the offensive force he was. Yet, I don't think the concern is with his hitting, it is with his throwing or lack of ability to do so. For those of you who have watched Bags the last season or two, you know that he can't really even throw from 1st to home. If he can't do it this year, then what do the Astros do with him? What does he decide to do? Tough for sure.


I do hope the situation works itself out.

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Originally posted by BigRocky99

Good article in the Houston Chronicle on what should/could be done:




Loved the article... this is by far my favorite part of it.


"The thing is, I believe in you. I've seen you accomplish too much. If you say you can do it, then I think you can. So I'm willing to withdraw the insurance claim. Come to spring training, put the uniform on and go for it."

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