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Passan: Cards stole money from a blind kid

Yahoo! columnist Jeff Passan just loves to rip the Cardinals.

But this time he has really outdone himself.

Passan described the St. Louis front office's decision to void their contract with 16-year-old Latin American prospect Wagner Mateo because of a medical issue that is believed to be a problem with the left-handed hitter's right eye.

After an opening about how poor Mateo has grown up designed to tug at the heart strings, Passon offered this take on the Cardinals' handling of the matter:

"They swooped in and took money from a blind kid."

A blind kid? Pardon? Mateo has 20-30 vision in his bad eye. It's not like the Cardinals dumped him on the street corner without bus fare. They determined that the kid had a problem that lessened his likelihood of making it to the majors, so they decided spending a $3.1-million signing bonus -- the second largest for a Latin American prospect -- was too much of a risk.

Make no mistake. Mateo isn't going to be sent to an orphanage somewhere where he will scrub the floor by day and make Happy Meal toys by night. Other teams are lined up to sign him -- although it may be for a little bit less than $3.1 large.

If the Cardinals are out of line to decide not to spend big bucks on a guy who flunked his physical, why give him a physical at all? Are they just supposed to pass out money to kids because they are nice, regardless of their ability to play baseball?

The Birds had no choice but to void the deal. There was everything to lose and the upside turned out to be considerably less than what they had hoped.

For Mateo's sake, I hope the Cardinals were wrong about the impact his eye troubles would have on his abilities. But they couldn't afford to be right.

Click here to read the whole Passon column.