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September 23, 2008

Under The Knife

UTK Interactive

by Will Carroll

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With the 2008 season winding down and our new comment feature working, I want to try a little experiment. Over the last two weeks of the season, my e-mail box usually fills up with desperate requests for information by fantasy owners trying to squeeze out the last little bit of a title run, of playoff-bound fans trying to figure out their chances, and from a lot of insiders that are starting to collect information before they embark on their off-season free agent and trade discussions. While I've never done a mailbag column (the oldest crutch in the sportswriter's toolbox), this is going to function pretty closely to it, but instead of e-mail, we'll use comments. Ask your questions, as specifically as you want, and throughout the day, I'll answer them as best I can. There are limits, so don't try playing "stump the band"; also, don't expect me to whip out a quick study on some major topic, but I will take suggestions for things to look at this offseason. Minor league info, especially at this time of year, is exceptionally hard to come by. Kevin Goldstein's the one with a beret, while I prefer a ballcap and a brunette.

So today, I'm working for you. It's like that every day, but it will be in sharper focus. Powered by whatever the heck you want to be powered by, on to the injuries:

Rich Harden (0 DXL)
Carlos Zambrano (0 DXL)

Harden was pushed back, but this isn't an injury or even buying him extra rest. It functions as that, but the Cubs are merely setting up their playoff rotation. Harden appears to be locked in for the second game of their Division Series, but Zambrano's status could throw everything off. There were no notes from the beatwriters about whether Zambrano did his side work in preparation for his Wednesday start, but since there's no news, let's assume it's good news. There is plenty of speculation about starting Zambrano in the third game of their LDS, putting Ryan Dempster in line for the home start in the series opener, but if Zambrano pitches like he did last time out, Lou Piniella's going to need more Tums.

Howie Kendrick (0 DXL)
Kendrick returned as planned on Monday, but didn't make it through the whole game. This was by design, as the Angels simply gave him a couple of at-bats and some field time without taxing the hamstring. It's a smart play by the Angels, who will continue to do this over the next couple of days to make sure that Kendrick is ready for full-time duty when it really counts.

John Maine (30 DXL)
Maine threw a 25-pitch simulated game on Monday, and appears to have found some velocity. It's not clear whether it was enough velocity, how he'll recover from the throwing session, or how long he could go in a real game, but it's something. Even in this last desperate week, Jerry Manuel doesn't seem inclined to use Maine, not even in low-leverage situations. With the Mets just a game up on the Brewers and falling behind the Phillies, it's harder and harder to explain why Manuel is digging in his heels on this.

Hanley Ramirez (0 DXL)
Ramirez was back in the lineup for the Marlins, as expected, but he did go oh-fer and looked uncomfortable at the plate. After four missed games, it's tough to tell if Ramirez is just missing some timing or if his shoulder is throwing his swing off. Whichever it is, sources tell me that there's very little chance that Ramirez will need surgery to re-repair his problematic left shoulder.

Roy Oswalt (0 DXL)
The Astros are still delusional, and one reflection of that is their planning to start Oswalt on three days' rest Thursday. They're 3 games out of the wild-card race, and with less than a one percent chance of making the playoffs, the team that's scratched and clawed its way all the way to mediocrity is going to risk it's one good starter, tilting at windmills. While the real risk of using Oswalt is small, it's the shortsightedness without upside that's the real problem, both now and in the future for Astros fans. When it's time to write it all up, Oswalt's career path might be the defining arc for this era's Astros.

J.D. Drew (45 DXL)
Drew had an epidural to try to relieve some of the pain and to break the pain/spasm cycle that's been in full effect. These usually come in a series of three over the course of a week to ten days, so even if this works, Drew's chance of playing in the first round of the playoffs is about as low as the chance of the Sox not being in the playoffs.

So now it's on you. Put your questions in the comments and I'll drop in all day to answer them.

139 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

brianhuey

Is Melvin Mora done for the season?

Sep 23, 2008 09:10 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

Looks that way on Mora. The O's tend to be very conservative with injuries. They haven't made it official and there's the chance they'll spot him in, especially with Trembley so perturbed with some of the on-field performance.

Sep 23, 2008 09:17 AM
 
lemppi

Will, two parts if that's okay. Have their been any whispers about Verlander having physical issues causing his seeming dip in velocity this year? Also, do you ever foresee the Zumaya of '06 re-appearing, or has that ship sailed? Thank you.

Sep 23, 2008 09:15 AM
rating: 0
 
John Carter

I second these questions!

Sep 23, 2008 09:18 AM
rating: -1
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

Verlander was making adjustment to his mechanics and pitch selection in the first half, but showed enough pop in the middle third of the season as to assuage injury/fatigue concerns, but then went back to the cutter.

http://baseball.bornbybits.com/2008/Justin_Verlander.html

He's averaging 96 on his fastball and 94 on the cutter, so I don't think velocity is the issue!

On Zumaya, he's shown two things: 1) He can't stay healthy but 2) when he is, he's still got it. Leyland seems inclined to install him as closer next year, so I think he'll be good, not great. If I told you that I'd compare him to Kerry Wood '08, would that be a good or bad thing? Not the performance, but the way we thought of Wood coming into '08.

Sep 23, 2008 09:21 AM
 
jlefty

Can you explain the numbers "Movement in X (in.)" in the Verlander link? The way I'm reading it makes it seem like his fastball has a lot more movement than his cutter, and that they both come in on RHB... but that can't be, right?

Sep 23, 2008 10:47 AM
rating: 0
 
gregnix

Any news about Carlos Quentin who, last I heard, was supposed to take batting practice sometime this weekend?

Sep 23, 2008 09:17 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

I've got nothing. I have not heard about him taking BP. That'd be a big step. I have heard that the Sox are going to leave him off the LDS roster no matter what.

Sep 23, 2008 09:24 AM
 
Greg Pizzo

What's the long term prognosis for Desmond Jennings, Fautino de Los Santos and Jacob McGee?

Sep 23, 2008 09:18 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

Man, what did I say about minor league info?

Jennings -- positive. The shoulder isn't said to be serious and surgery should give him a chance to stay healthy.

McGee -- typical TJ pattern.

De Los Santos -- I got nothing.

Sep 23, 2008 09:23 AM
 
Greg Pizzo

Sorry, Will, I thought you and Goldstein were collaborating! :)

Sep 23, 2008 10:40 AM
rating: 0
 
oira61

Not a question but a comment -- the Astros turned out to be much less delusional than we thought. I don't see why they shouldn't continue their brakeless dash to the finish, since they invested so much in it. What's Oswalt's future worth to them if this might be their best season for several years?
One other point: the Astros only need to finish within two games to give them an endless reason to bitch and moan over life's (and Selig's) unfairness. In terms of selling tickets to the fan base, such an ending would probably have value for them.

Sep 23, 2008 09:19 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

That's a reasonable point. I just go back to the work on the value of those wins that Nate and others have done. I'd like to see ... well, let's look ... did the Astros play crap competition in August and September?

I see 3 against COL, 7 against PIT, 3 against CIN, 3 against FLA, 3 against ATL, and 5 against CUB. Aside from the Cubs (who they did sweep at Wrigley), that's not exactly stellar competition. I'll let someone else look at August, but I'd expect similar results.

Will McLane really rail against Selig given his record as a company man? I can see it, but the way that the team mailed it in against the Cubs was just sad.

Sep 23, 2008 09:28 AM
 
Jessica Bader

With all of the attention being paid to the Mets' horrendous bullpen, some of the consequences of it have been ignored to an extent. Jerry Manuel has been riding Pelfrey and Santana hard because there's really no other choice. We all know how much the lack of a trustworthy reliever is damaging the team's chances this year - how much harm is it doing to them in the medium term?

Sep 23, 2008 09:24 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

HI Facebook Friend!

The concern is much more significant with Pelfrey, who the Mets admit is in uncharted territory. For Santana, he's out of the injury nexus, has proven durable, and hasn't thrown big-count games all season. While he's insanely valuable, I'm not too worried. I do think we'll see Pelfrey have something more than the normal Verducci Effect. Maybe the Mets could Joba-ize him.

Sep 23, 2008 09:30 AM
 
Joey Matschulat

Will, do you have any confidence that Milton Bradley will be able to overcome his innumerable injury problems and play in the outfield on anything more than a part-time basis going forward?

Sep 23, 2008 09:24 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

No, but is that so bad? The biggest issue is that he's going to need time at DH, if not full time, which reduces some flexibility for the Rangers given their surplus of C/1B/DH types. If Bradley ends up being the mirror image of Harold Baines in temperament but similar in production, that's not bad! A FOT compared Bradley to Paul O'Neill the other day and I didn't see it at first, but the more I think about it, the more I get it.

I would note that he wants a long term deal and I'd be hesitant. Travis Hafner showed that even DHs can be affected by injuries. Three years? Only if I can clear out one of the Ramirez/Blalock/Davis crew.

Sep 23, 2008 09:35 AM
 
rwstuart

With Furcal being the best SS FA out there any idea if this back problem continues to next year. Same question with Crede (although he is probably not the best FA 3b, but maybe)?

Sep 23, 2008 09:24 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

I'd definitely definitely definitely avoid both, especially given Furcal's assumed cost. The radiating pain he's had post-surgical is a real red flag. Short term high incentive? Sure, but I doubt he'd sign it. I hate to invoke Andruw Jones, but I think he'll get a contract along the lines of Jones', which I admit I thought was a great deal at the time.

Sep 23, 2008 09:39 AM
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

Oh and I'd look much more at the trade market. A lot of people think JJ Hardy and Jason Bartlett will be available in trade.

Sep 23, 2008 09:40 AM
 
John Carter

Thanks very much, Will. Does Fausto Carmona have a good chancee to regain his 2007 performance level in 2009?

Sep 23, 2008 09:24 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

Yes, this was pure Verducci Effect. Interesting thing for me is that Carmona's G/F has gone up this season, but his control in the second half is still pretty bad. That 2007 level was high and getting back to it might be tough. Good again? Yeah I think he will.

Sep 23, 2008 09:58 AM
 
Clonod

How much confidence can the Cardinals have that Carpenter will be able to stay healthy and contribute next season?

Sep 23, 2008 09:24 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

Confidence is a pretty amorphous term. I think they have to be concerned. They're sending him to a nerve specialist to see what they can do. This is still a big unknown.

Sep 23, 2008 09:51 AM
 
mattseward

Hi Will, just wondering whether you have heard anything about Rocco Baldelli's recovery from the mitochondrial disorder. I know he's playing (and doing well) but I was wondering whether his future is limited as a part time player or is it simply a case of wait and see?

Thanks Matt

Sep 23, 2008 09:28 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

We have NO idea. He's on medication and has done well since the diagnosis, so it's mostly just wait and see, though the early results are very positive.

Sep 23, 2008 09:31 AM
 
Mcheung

Both Marcum and Mcgowan are headed to (or have had) TJ surgery. Can you provide any additional insight on when they'll be back and effectively contributing in the Blue Jays rotation?

Sep 23, 2008 09:30 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

Marcum's done for '09.
McGowan is supposed to be ready for spring training after labrum surgery, not TJ. We'll have to see if he's on that plan and how he responds. I wouldn't count on him.
Brad Arnsberg, I understand, is healthy and ready for '09. Just sayin'.

Sep 23, 2008 09:48 AM
 
I75Titans

Can we add fellow Blue Jay hurler Casey Janssen to the list? Any news on him?

Sep 23, 2008 14:08 PM
rating: 0
 
outsperswing

Carl Crawford will swing a bat today. What are his chances for the ALDS?

Sep 23, 2008 09:33 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

As a batter/starter? 20%? That's a real WAG.

As a pinch-runner/defensive replacement/emergency hitter? 50%

Sep 23, 2008 09:36 AM
 
Rob Moore

Is Kuo going to contribute any more this year, or are you getting the feeling that he's done?

Sep 23, 2008 09:39 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

Leaning to done.

Here's an odd stat ... The Dodgers are one of very few teams that has a lower Injury Cost (calculated from MORP) than actual dollars lost. Some of that is due to bad free agent contracts overvaluing guys like Jason Schmidt and Nomar Garciaparra, but I wonder if that says anything about the Dodgers' medical staff.

Looking at it, I don't think so. I think it's mostly Nomar and Andruw.

Sep 23, 2008 09:44 AM
 
jenstad

Hey Will.

How do you see the hip issues returning for Duchscherer affecting him in 2009? Is this the same issue he had the surgery for? He was so good this year before the problem resurfaced, can he overcome it or are we looking at a recurring injury?

Sep 23, 2008 09:44 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

Definitely recurrent, even chronic. Be interesting to see what they can do since it doesn't seem the surgery cleared it up long-term.

Sep 23, 2008 09:49 AM
 
sbnirish77
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Sep 23, 2008 09:49 AM
 
adman71

Nolan Ryan is supposedly going to be firing minor league coaches in the Rangers system because they are (among other things) keeping the young pitchers on pitch counts that Ryan thinks are too conservative.

As a Ranger fan, should I be concerned that Ryan is going to go all Dallas Green on Feliz, Holland, Main, Perez, et al, or is this much ado about nothing?

Sep 23, 2008 09:50 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

Who knows? A minor league coach does what he's told from above, so I don't think firing them accomplishes much. If Ryan wanted to abolish pitch limits, he could. If he thinks that pitching development is best done in a crucible, he'll have to take some losses to elite level guys who can't handle 120 pitches. A logical development system just begs for this kind of situation. Look, I bet we have 140-150 pitch per start guys, so why not use logic to identify them?

Someday, a team will be interested. I'm here, though it's not a tough system to implement.

Sep 23, 2008 09:54 AM
 
Michael
(736)

Why does Baltimore use the 15-day disabled list during September? I think they've used it four times and I don't see the point.

Sep 23, 2008 09:57 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

I have no idea. The Orioles and Phillies do this and no one seems to have any idea why. My guess the other day was that it has something to do with Worker's Comp, but I have no idea.

Sep 23, 2008 09:59 AM
 
Amos

What happened to Carlos Beltran last night?

Also, should Donovan McNabb be fine for next week?

Sep 23, 2008 10:00 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

Beltran banged his knee into the fence. Ouch, but fine.

Yes, bruised sternum. He's a must start still

Sep 23, 2008 10:42 AM
 
John Carter

Maybe I should rephrase my question, is Carmona still affected by his hip problem and will it likely continue to bother him in 2009?

Sep 23, 2008 10:02 AM
rating: -1
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

No indication that it is, though I wonder if that could explain some of the wildness.

Sep 23, 2008 10:44 AM
 
mynameisjohann

Hi Will. I read in a Chicago Tribune article last week where Kerry Wood mentioned throwing a "new slurvey-slider" (or something like that) to get an important out last week. The terminology reminded me of the slurve that he invented and threw for his 20K game in 1998. Two part question:
1 - Does this - or any - new pitch have short or long potential to cause injury? Have you seen him throw it, and observed if it does anything different to his mechanics?
2 - How much of an affect did the original slurve have to do with his arm falling off (to use a technical term)?

The second question might be better served as an off-season article, I don't know. Thanks for your work, I've learned a lot from reading you.

Sep 23, 2008 10:06 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

1 -- no research on this, but it's certainly an interesting question. Maybe Wood can throw it in a biomechanics lab and let someone find out.

2 -- any pitch poorly thrown or a well thrown pitch that exceeds the limits of the body will cause damage, just as long term repetitive stress will break down the body.

And you're welcome. I've learned a lot by writing for you.

Sep 23, 2008 10:49 AM
 
Peter Hood

What is onderman's status? The last I heard he expected to be ready for Spring Training. Any complications? Any reason to expect a later return?

Sep 23, 2008 10:18 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

Bonderman's still on track after the rib was removed. Hard to say at this stage, but on track is better than not. Complications wont come until he starts throwing in January.

Sep 23, 2008 11:22 AM
 
Ameer

Hi Will.

A while ago in one of your chats someone brought up the fact that pitchfx showed no changes in Zambrano's release point, contradicting what people have been saying about him "dropping his elbow." I was wondering if you confirmed this? The dropped elbow obviously is consistent with rotator cuff pain. I'm a Cubs fan looking for a glimmer of hope with the guy...I hate heading into the playoffs with Big Z being the biggest question mark.

Sep 23, 2008 10:19 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

Yeah, it may be a failing of PFX or rather a failing of me to understand how it works. He's definitely dropping his elbow and I'll definitely be watching tomorrow. This is another one for Mat Kovach or Eric Seidman.

Sep 23, 2008 11:25 AM
 
xanthan

Howdy Will,

Looking through Lincecum's PITCHf/x numbers from his last start (the one right after his 138 pitch game) his velocity was down by a little more than 1mph and his fastball lost about an inch and a half of horizontal movement. Is losing velocity and movement indications of fatigue? And if so, does his injury risk increase? Thanks.

Sep 23, 2008 10:21 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

Great question and as of now, the answer is "I don't know." The 1mph loss doesn't seem significant, but with PFX, we can now look at these questions and eventually answer them. That wasn't possible when I started writing. Heck, I couldn't get good velocity numbers then!

Sep 23, 2008 10:50 AM
 
Wade

The Brew Crew is planning on starting Sabathia twice this week on short rest -- does that pose any injury risk to him? ...if nothing else, it would seem to diminish his effectiveness

thx,

Sep 23, 2008 10:37 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

The second planned start is an "as necessary" and is one of those kitchen sink, do-anything moves. Can't fault that at all, since even less effective, he's still their best available option. I'm curious, but haven't been able to find out whether his velocity was off last time. He did throw more changeups, but that can mean a lot of things.

Josh Kalk, Eric Seidman ... are you out there?

Sep 23, 2008 11:21 AM
 
Aaron/YYZ

Will, With all the pitching injuries the Jays have had over the last couple of years (Marcum, McGowan, Janssen, AJ last year, BJ, League, Chacin...), is there something more systematic than just bad luck going on?

It seems like a number of them have been a) overworked, b) rushed back from injury, or c) misdiagnosed or injury ignored/hidden.

Sep 23, 2008 10:39 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

D) All of the above. I'd advise everyone to listen to BPR where David Laurila talks to Jays pitching coach Brad Arnsberg. It's a systemic issue, one where Ricciardi's cavalier attitude has bitten them.

Sep 23, 2008 10:43 AM
 
John Carter

On the other hand, I don't know any system that has both developed so many good pitchers who were not such prized prospects to begin with. Call it "easy come, easy go".

Sep 23, 2008 13:07 PM
rating: -1
 
Domenik Hixon

Given Kuo's injury history, is there any chance left that he can maintain his health as a starter? A youth movement of Billingsley-Kuroda-Kershaw-Kuo-McDonald sounds good (and cheap) to me....

Sep 23, 2008 10:51 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

Health is a skill and it doesnt look like Kuo has it. I would keep trying, but I wouldn't count on him.

Sep 23, 2008 11:27 AM
 
Zabadoey

Will,
I always wonder how a major injury and subsequent time lost hurts the development of a young pitcher. In particular, with regards to the prematurely anointed ace Phil Hughes. Given his injuries, how do you see his effectiveness and risk or recurrence going forward? Thanks.

Sep 23, 2008 10:51 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

It's never been an arm problem and he could end up like Josh Beckett or Nolan Ryan in that respect. Still I dont think it's helping his development path and it's costing the Yankees his pre-arb years. He's very risky, but a lot of upside. I said last year that I liked (in order) Gallardo-Hughes-Lester-Bailey and I still like them in that order (tho I root for Lester as a story.)

I'm not a scout, I'm not Kevin Goldstein, but I would never put a young pitcher in the top 20 of prospects. Who would be on that list for '09?

Sep 23, 2008 11:33 AM
 
Evan
(47)

Brandon Morrow's velocity, since he joined the rotation, has been excellent - almost no drop from his relief numbers - but his fastball velocity just tanks after he's thrown about 60 fastballs (and given his pitch selection, that happens at about 75 pitches). Any concern here, or is it just stamina?

Sep 23, 2008 10:53 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

Yeah, a lot of people have commented on this and I'll admit I haven't seen Morrow pitch at all. I can't even remember seeing him in relief. The Mariners are just so bad that even Ichiro can't make me watch them if there's any other options. I do think it's stamina, esp since they seem to have half-assed the switch over.

Sep 23, 2008 11:52 AM
 
Patrick

While I understand the general idea behind the "Verducci Effect," that young pitchers who exceed the previous year's IP by a certain amount are more succeptible to injury or diminished effectiveness the following year, why is it based only on major league innings? Shouldn't minor league innings be considered, even if they are less stressful by nature? As an example, I've heard Kevin Slowey be mentioned as a candidate for regression based on his major league IP jumping from 66.2 last year to 156.2 (and counting), despite throwing a total of 200.1 last season when his AAA numbers are included.

Sep 23, 2008 11:05 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

Yes, they should and Tom Verducci does. I also know some teams that do it internally. Problem is in my studies, the effect was more predictive if I didn't include them. I have no idea why and it's something I'd really like to re-visit, especially with someone who has a much, much better grasp of statistics. That said, I think this is a biomechanical problem at heart.

Sep 23, 2008 11:29 AM
 
Mcheung

Any football info available today? Can you provide more insights as to Westbrook's and McNabb's injuries this week? Will this have a significant impact on the Eagles in the medium/long-term?

Sep 23, 2008 11:22 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

I just turned in my Black & Blue Report. It should be up very quickly over at footballoutsiders.com. Westbrook's will definitely affect them. And my fantasy team! Argh, I'm 0-3 in two leagues ... but I still say my pick of Felix Jones is a good one.

Sep 23, 2008 11:26 AM
 
digmyearth

Since this originated in a column a week or so ago, I don't think this is too far off topic. Did you buy the Kindle?

Sep 23, 2008 11:25 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

Yes, as a gift for my best friend. She loves it to the point of addiction.

Sep 23, 2008 11:26 AM
 
havybeaks

In order to optimize the talent of pitchers like Halladay and Sabathia, what do you think of using them as non-traditional relievers? Is it physiologically possible to get 200+ innings of sub-3.00 ERA without "wasting" a significant portion of those innings on blowout victories? One idea: If a team has a 3-run lead after 2 innings, bring in Halladay/Sabathia for the save.

Sep 23, 2008 11:57 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

I like the idea, but I cant imagine they'd be more valuable there than as starters. Using them as a basis for a four-man sounds good. Why not just pull them and bring them back on "short rest" in a blowout? How about using the pen to start a game, then the starter comes in for the third or fourth and goes to the closer.

Sep 23, 2008 12:15 PM
 
John Carter

Easy. You've already pointed out Shawn Marcum is finished for 2009.

Sep 23, 2008 12:36 PM
rating: 0
 
Aaron/YYZ

Which only proves that the Jays are terrible at managing their pitchers' usage.

Sep 23, 2008 12:42 PM
rating: 0
 
John Carter

I'm not against experimenting, especially if you are a second division team, but I have my doubts this would work. The problem with forced relieving - such as bringing in a starter automatically after a reliever's 2 or 3 innings is that it is a waste of resouces to some degree. You are taking out a guy who is potentially doing very well or pitching an inferior pitcher unnecessarily while keeping out one of your aces.

Of course, using a closer is a type of forced relieving - and, yes, I am in the closers-are-not-optimally-used camp. This isn't to say we should go back to the days of complete game machoism. A strong bullpen and healthy starters are good things. Closers are human - unpredictable. If you have a reliever or starter going strong and is strong enough to continue, it is a bad bet to take him out just because you have a ninth inning closing situation.

Sep 23, 2008 13:00 PM
rating: -1
 
Aaron/YYZ

Agreed, I'd rather see a team that can manage usage/workload go back to Four man rotation than see some really creative bullpen starts.

Sep 23, 2008 16:08 PM
rating: 0
 
Evan
(47)

Mark Eichhorn.

I think this can work.

Sep 23, 2008 13:36 PM
rating: 0
 
Hokieball

I don't understand why teams don't more often bring a starter on in relief on his "throw day". Seems to me you're going to have one guy available for this role in every game, and it would allow you to use the roster spot in some other way. If a team were to commit to this right out of spring training, the starters could just make it part of their 5-day routine.

Sep 26, 2008 10:48 AM
rating: 0
 
R.A.Wagman

Will - thanks so much for doing this. I know you touched on the two Jays with injured wings already. But more specifically, while I know Marcum is expected to miss all of next season - what sort of effectiveness can we in Toronto expect from McGowan when he returns (I've read in the local rags that he won;t be back til May). Similarly, Casey Janssen also a a torn labrum wipe out his '08 - yet talk is of him competing for the starting rotation in 09 (he was a reliever in 07) - is there any reason to beleive that he can start next year? That he can't?

Again - thank you.

Sep 23, 2008 12:03 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

Yeah, Ive heard April and May -- its a question of how long it will take him to get back to effectiveness, not unlike BJ Ryan this year. While doctors are better with labrums now, there's really no way of guaging this until they actually start throwing. So many injured Jays, so little responsibility taken.

Sep 23, 2008 12:07 PM
 
Brecken

CoCo Crisp - suddenly he's out of the roster and no notes on injury. Is this a migraine thing or have they just decided to see what others can do? Seemed like he was closing well and then fell off the map.

Sep 23, 2008 12:06 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

Good question. Anyone know anything here? My guess is rest and trying to figure out the 4/5 OF slots.

Sep 23, 2008 12:08 PM
 
Gordon

Any idea on how well Casey Janssen, John Smoltz, and Jorge Posada are progressing?

Do Anibal Sanchez and Matt Capps look like they are coming off their injurys okay?

Sep 23, 2008 12:11 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

No, he's ahead of schedule, and on schedule.

Yes, tho I'm still concerned by the shoulder and his inconsistency and yes, Capps looks good, but man, that Chavez kid can throw. There are very few guys who's ball explodes more out of his hand. It's almost like watching Kazmir pitch.

Sep 23, 2008 12:20 PM
 
adamgmiller

Mark Ellis - anyone else ever come back from a repaired labrum to play 2B? I thought I remembered that he elected rehab instead of surgery initially since it was such a rare injury for an infielder.

Sep 23, 2008 12:12 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

I've never gotten a good answer on this. I really don't know -- anyone?

Sep 23, 2008 12:21 PM
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

Ok, the above should be for the one below ... and as for Ellis, yeah, there's several that have come back from it all over the infield. It's not nearly as bad for a player as a hitter. JJ Hardy is the guy who comes to mind.

Sep 23, 2008 12:22 PM
 
Russbenton

Why are some players placed on the DL in the last few weeks and others are not? I note that Mark Ellis and Sarfate were DL'ed, but other players who are clearly out for the remainder of the year like Mora and Washburn are not

Sep 23, 2008 12:15 PM
rating: 0
 
joe89slider

Hi Will,

I was wondering if you thought JD Drew's injury will need surgery, and if this injury will affect next/future seasons. I was also wondering if his back injury was a pre-existing injury when he signed the 5Yr/$70MM deal with the RS? Is there a provision for the Sox to terminate the deal if the injury became a worsening concern with time (i seem to remember the deal holding up over an issue like this).
Thanks for all the info and entertainment.

Sep 23, 2008 12:22 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

Yes it will likely need surgery. No, I dont think it was pre-existing.

There's a couple opt outs. One was related to his shoulder. The other is if he finishes the season on the DL in 09 or 10 and can't play the OF the following season. (Thanks, Cots!)

Sep 23, 2008 12:26 PM
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

Here's a question for YOU:

What player do you think is the reddest of red flags for next year?

Sep 23, 2008 12:28 PM
 
Brecken

Jurrjens. Already wearing down...

Sep 23, 2008 12:37 PM
rating: 0
 
dianagram

A toss-up between Lincecum and Sabathia, considering how hard they've been worked this season.

Sep 23, 2008 12:42 PM
rating: 0
 
digmyearth

Lincecum.

I'm a Giants fan and I wished they shut him down three weeks ago. They're throwing him out there to win the award and use as a marketing tool for 2009. There's no baseball reason for him to be on the mound tonight- it's all business. I pray he's healthy for all of 2009 or there will be some serious second guessing.

Sep 23, 2008 12:47 PM
rating: 0
 
Aaron/YYZ

Ben Sheets

Sep 23, 2008 12:48 PM
rating: 0
 
dianagram

Dontrelle Willis .... followed by K-Rod :-)

Sep 23, 2008 12:35 PM
rating: 0
 
Brecken

Is Holliday OK? Seems like he's cooled off, even at Coors, and ended up with off days.

Sep 23, 2008 12:39 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

Stiff back.

Sep 23, 2008 12:58 PM
 
jabline

Fantasy question: With regards to Lincecum's recent pitch counts (can we call this the "Bochy effect"?), does his usage compound the injury risk in subsequent seasons? How risky would you consider a contract longer than, say, 2 years?

Sep 23, 2008 12:41 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

Very, but you have him in pre-arb, so why worry?

Sep 23, 2008 13:00 PM
 
Joe

Albert Pujols. Last I heard, he was talking about getting the surgery, but the club made a statement about that being premature, looking at other options, etc. What do you think SHOULD happen, and what do you think WILL?

Sep 23, 2008 12:41 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

He's this good now. Why risk it if he can crush with the elbow as is? Unless he's in pain, he should maintain the status quo. Always better to be not cut on.

Sep 23, 2008 13:01 PM
 
MountainCat

So what's up with Branyan. Yost's failure to play him against righties seemed odd (his OPS was 1050 vs rhp, Hall and Counsel were good for about 600). Then the mysterious injury. He was supposed to be back in mid-September but isn't??

Sep 23, 2008 13:04 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

Yeah, the oblique strain that's gone on forever. Yost made a lot of decisions on gut, in opposition to the evidence-based culture of the team. I wish I knew more about the injury, but no one's talking and the guys who cover the team don't seem to be asking.

Sep 23, 2008 13:28 PM
 
ndubby

What's the latest on Aaron Hill? Any confidence that he'll be back for ST 09?

Sep 23, 2008 13:06 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

No news on Hill. We can only hope he's able to continue playing ball and that we don't add him to the list of those ruined by concussions.

Sep 23, 2008 13:31 PM
 
Brecken

Does your database allow you to adjust for "SpinalTap Drummer of Death" position?

Just interested what the projections may be for anybody who played SS for Cincy this year relative to other teams.

And does the Drummer continue?

Sep 23, 2008 13:06 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

LOL. You know, I don't know. I have zero idea about what the Reds will do this off-season. That's going to be a fun team to watch.

Sep 23, 2008 13:44 PM
 
Mcheung

Do you have any further news on Willie Parker's injury and how we long he is expected to be out?

Sep 23, 2008 13:09 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

Knee sprain -- working on how bad, definitely out this week.

Sep 23, 2008 13:43 PM
 
bowdrie42

Regardless of whether or not any team will actually pay him to close again, what are the chances that Chad Cordero makes a full recovery? Thanks!

Sep 23, 2008 13:19 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

I'm still stumped why the Nats would announce they were going to non-tender him. I've ceased trying to explain Bowden and I'm vexed that it looks like he'll get another year steering the team. Like McGowan above, the labrum injury is about as bad as it gets, but he's certainly worth bringing in on an incentive-laden deal a la Texas with Gagne in 07.

Sep 23, 2008 13:30 PM
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

Couple quick questions for you here:

1) Would you like to see UTK Interactive as a regular feature, or would you rather do chats?

2) Why does no one seem to "get" UTK Wrap? I can't tell you how many times people have asked "why does it repeat?" It's a recap, done for non-subscribers and our friends at SI.

My reddest flag? I did a dry run of the THR system while testing a couple changes, so this is unlikely to hold true, but it's Johnny Cueto. Max Scherzer was up there and Mike Pelfrey was too. Clayton Kershaw came out a bit lower than I expected.

Sep 23, 2008 13:56 PM
 
BillJohnson

Personally, I'd rather see this than the chats. I know you can't get to everything in either venue, but it's also interesting to see what questions people are asking. But your call.

Don't worry about people not "getting" the wraps. There is nothing, nowhere, nohow that absolutely everyone "gets."

And it is a source of immense relief to me that Adam Wainwright isn't your reddest red.

Sep 23, 2008 14:27 PM
rating: 0
 
digmyearth

People who don't get the wraps are the same people who blog in to say "you suck" (or worse) even though they spend 30 minutes each week reading your stuff. I'll never understand how someone can hate a writer with a fiery passion and yet read each and every article.

Please don't worry what the stupid people say- and for heaven's sake don't respond. Responding will only make them feel important. If you want to vent, just make fun of them on your personal blog (Keith Law does this with great humor).

Sep 23, 2008 14:49 PM
rating: 0
 
sdfdranger

Yes, make UTK Interactive a regular feature!

Sep 23, 2008 14:50 PM
rating: 0
 
Aaron/YYZ

Seeing the other questions is neat, but the interface is a little more cumbersome compared to chats.

Sometimes it feels like just naming it UTK Wrap isn't a strong enough hint that it is a recap article, I just see "Will Carroll" and "UTK" and automatically assume it's something I should be reading.

Cueto makes sense as a reddest flag. I would assume that Volquez scores pretty highly as well.

Sep 23, 2008 16:14 PM
rating: 0
 
tmangell

Will:

I like UTK Interactive - it would be extremely helpful prior to fantasy draft day - worth 1/4 of the annual subscription to BP.

I "get" UTK Wrap. I read it along with the daily post.

Good call on Cueto, and I'm leery of Volquez in '09 also. Not the best news on Carp for me as a Cards fan.

Sep 23, 2008 17:03 PM
rating: 0
 
I75Titans

Can you comment on Jason Hirsh's spring training injury and how it was handled, effectively making 2008 a lost season for him? Is there something else going on, a cascade injury? Is there reason to discount his future as mid-rotation starter?

Sep 23, 2008 13:58 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

You know, I honestly don't know that much about this ... let me look into it. I can remember the off-season before they traded Hirsh, the Astros were really high on him.

Sep 23, 2008 18:46 PM
 
sdfdranger

Steven Pearce, Mat Gamel and J.R. Towles. Why aren't their respective teams playing them more. Will we see any change on any of them in the last week. I thought sure that Gamel would play more after the manager change.

Sep 23, 2008 14:48 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

I saw Pearce a lot this year and he struggled. Just never found that groove.

Gamel -- his defense is atrocious and with them struggling, there's just no way to find him more than occasional at-bats.

Towles -- disappointing season and I wonder how the Astros will deal with it. Ausmus is going to manage this team soon.

Sep 23, 2008 19:15 PM
 
Joe Boomer

W#ill Eric Chavez ever again be a productive player?

Sep 23, 2008 14:52 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

I can't imagine it. It's just such a sharp fall ... has anyone ever come back from something like this?

Sep 23, 2008 19:59 PM
 
Jelly

Hey, Will. Is there a way to make the Verducci Effect more accurate/predictive by incorporating or translating it into PAP? Isn't it simplistic to just look at IP out of context? Thanks!

Sep 23, 2008 14:58 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

Good suggestion ... I'll take a look!

Sep 23, 2008 19:53 PM
 
David Coonce

Jody Gerut was one of the few bright spots for San Diego this year. What's happened to him (one at-bat in a month)? And are Bard/Barrett finished as regular players?

Sep 23, 2008 15:01 PM
rating: 0
 
Dan W.

Will,
Have the Mets injury problems mostly been the result of having an old and injury-prone roster, or is there something sub-par about the medical/conditioning program? Guys like Maine, Pagan, Castro, Church aren't nearly as old as Hernandez, Easley, Alou, Pedro.

Sep 23, 2008 16:24 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

No, it's pretty broad. Makes it hard to find any proximate cause, which leaves us with "luck." I think they overtaxed Ray Ramirez and his staff and it went death spiral a bit.

Sep 23, 2008 20:00 PM
 
Cardinals645

Joe Strauss has an article on Carpenter's injuries at stltoday.com that sounds like if the Cardinals are unlucky Carpenter's condition may end his career.

Is that pretty accurate? What are the odds on him pitching next year compared to pitching again at all?

Sep 23, 2008 17:24 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

Tough to say without more information, but the more I hear, the more negative things get. I hope some of that is just psychology, but this IS serious.

Sep 23, 2008 19:44 PM
 
steve112598

Will,

Love the interactive. Definitely keep it.

My question: Am I going to get anything from Adam LaRoche this week? Only have 2 transactions left in a H2H league. Thanks.

Sep 23, 2008 18:45 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

Ummm good question. What's your options? Don't leave transactions on the table if you can better yourself.

Sep 23, 2008 19:41 PM
 
mattseward

Hi Will, I know the question part has finished but I just thought i'd comment on a couple of the things you've said.

Firstly on the interactive bit, yeah I like it a lot it's very fun and very gracious of you to answer everyone's questions. Only problem might be if you get 500 questions to respond to but if it's manageable I would love to see a repeat.

On the UTK Wrap thing I think people that have been subscribers for a while forget that some things are open to non-subscribers and help to encourage new people to sample the site before subscribing. I think most subscribers skim read and pick up the new bits and have a look at the injury cost stats

On that note I have no idea how people can read this site regularly and not subscribe I think I lasted about 3 days before signing up when I first visited. I'd gladly skip a few meals to pay for a subscription if I was broke enough!!

Sep 24, 2008 03:13 AM
rating: 0
 
dodgerken222

What happened to Eric Stults? He was a pretty effective lefty earlier this year and he was called up in September. Yet Torre pitches people like Proctor and Jason Johnson and this guy is MIA. Is he injured?

Sep 24, 2008 08:04 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

No, he's just not used very much. Torre loves him some proctor!

Sep 24, 2008 10:49 AM
 
Benjarvis

JD Drew is in tonight's lineup --- Thoughts?

Sep 24, 2008 10:04 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

I'm a bit surprised, but the Red Sox need to know whether he can play or not.

Sep 24, 2008 10:49 AM
 
krgrecw

hey will whats the deal with kelvim escobars future? could he be done? thought that that was one of the reasons he didn't want surgery

Sep 24, 2008 13:37 PM
rating: 0
 
krgrecw

Will I know i just asked a question but heres another one please Sir. Would you expect anything out of Travis HAfner in 09?

Sep 24, 2008 13:39 PM
rating: 0
 
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