Stan Conte resigns as head trainer, a move that’s been a long time coming

Stan Conte has resigned from his position with the Dodgers as Vice President Of Medical Science and Head Athletic Trainer, and will now focus on his research.

“I want to thank the Dodger organization and specifically each and every one of the dedicated medical staff for their support these last nine seasons in Los Angeles,” Conte said in a club release. “My resignation will allow me to focus on my research in baseball injury analytics as I remain committed to determining the causes and effects of various baseball injuries.”

Some are already trying to spin this as some kind of scapegoating by the front office, but just permanently ignore those people as they don’t have much a clue what they’re talking about. The issue with whether Conte should stay or go has been a thing for a while, and if anything it’s a credit to this front office that he’s finally “resigned”.

I wondered aloud in September yet again as to whether all these injuries were a big coincidence, but when it came to Conte parting ways with the Dodgers, I didn’t see that happening.

Conte has had a bunch of articles written about him in the press over the years, touting his mission to end injuries, and it’s certainly possible he is a leader in that territory. However, when it has come to his main duty to the Dodgers of preventing and predicting their injuries, his reputation hasn’t been met with results.

From 2010-15, the Dodgers have lost the second-most time to injuries, according to Man Games Lost. And in 2009, the year prior, the Dodgers lost the third-most time to injuries in the league.

Amazingly, the time range of that data means it doesn’t even include Conte’s most famous failing, signing off on Jason Schmidt‘s rotator cuff.

It is believed the Schmidt physical included an MRI examination that confirmed the rotator cuff injury. In the suit, the Dodgers claim such injuries are not uncommon and said they awarded him the contract based on his success with the Giants.

“Major league pitchers often experience such partial rotator cuff tears but nevertheless remain competitive and effective,” the suit reads, “as Mr. Schmidt had demonstrated himself to be during the 2006 season immediately prior to joining the Dodgers.

“The Dodgers therefore did not find Mr. Schmidt’s preexisting rotator cuff condition to exclude him from consideration as a team member.”

Fans typically aren’t privy to what goes into injury prevention and diagnosis, but I think he lost the support of a lot of people after Schmidt’s injury was revealed. After all, if we only found out about this because a lawsuit had to be filed, what else was being misdiagnosed and mistreated?

Of course, it’s fair to say most of this is relatively uninformed speculation and that the Dodgers have also trended older than most teams. So hey, maybe all the general injury statistics and specific injury cases — from Schmidt to signing Hyun Jin Ryu with a torn labrum to this year’s rash of hamstring issues — were all unfortunate luck. But that sure would be a hell of a coincidence, especially since Conte has signed off on a lot of these players and the Dodgers have done far worse at injury prevention than many other teams who have been just as old or older.

Thus, given all the evidence and based on what we do know, it’s hard to not see Conte’s resignation as positive step forward that’s been a long time coming.

About Chad Moriyama

Chad Moriyama
"A highly rational Internet troll." - Los Angeles Times