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Chat: Will Carroll

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Monday September 19, 2005 3:00 PM ET chat session with Will Carroll.

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Will Carroll is an author of Baseball Prospectus.

Will Carroll: Sorry for the lateness. The exterminator was at the new UTK headquarters and the fumes have died down. Hopefully, I can maintain a clear head through the next hour or so. So, powered by Gatorade Endurance Formula, on to the chatting:

Evan (Vancouver, BC): Now that Richie Sexson has played almost an entire season without reinjuring his shoulder, how much less worried about his future should we be, compared to how woried we were at the start of the season?

Will Carroll: Health is a skill. For any injury, the further one gets away from the last event, the better it is, no matter the injury. Sexson has certainly been normal all season and played well without any recurrence. I like his chances of staying away from further problems. Add in that JJ Hardy had a similar injury and similar positive results this season, the M's have to feel good about that.

Dave (Austin): Hi, Will. Two questions: 1. Any news on Ben Sheets? 2. Maybe--o.k., certainly--I need to read "The Juice" (sorry, I haven't), but I'm not entirely sure I understand why you think PED use needs to be eradicated. Is it simply because of the side effects that the drugs have? Any side effects of particular note? Or is it because of the unfair competitive effects? Both?

Will Carroll: 1. Sheets is done for the season. He has a lat strain that is nearly the same as what's kept Rich Harden out. The Brewers are being more conservative, knowing that next year and thereafter is when they'll need Sheets. He'll be fine for next year.

2. PEDs undermine trust, at least in their current form. Lose weight? Off the juice. Good week with power? On the juice. Lose a seaon to injury? Side effects of juice. Ideally, we have talented players out there who don't need it. I don't think we can eradicate this - there's always been some cheating from day one of sport. The chapter in The Juice discussing the history of doping is pretty astounding. Damned Spartans. We need effective control and perhaps even a reward system like Don Catlin has proposed.

packerfan0042001 (miami): will,great stuff, putting you on the spot, whats urp layoff predictions for all divisions and W.C...... ALSO ANY CHANCE THE TRIBE CATCH the white sox?

Will Carroll: Urp. Yeah, lunch.

My predictions from the start of the season hold. I'm not going to go changing them now. I'm wrong on some, right on some, but hey, you get what you pay for.

Any chance? Heck yeah. Shapiro, Antonetti, and Wedge deserve a lot of credit for sticking with a program. They're going to be good a long time, I think.

Johnny Tuttle (Battle Creek, Michigan): Juan Gonzalez's career is over: yes or no?

Will Carroll: Yes. I mean, who's really going to give him a chance. That said, someone probably will. At minimum salary, what's the risk?

Pete (Columbia, MD): Any truth to the rumor that Sosa's foot injury (staph infection) robbed him of power, or is it some combination of age and/or lack of chemical boost? Thanks, love your work- sincerely.

Will Carroll: Well, yes. Age, injury, and of course the speculation about chemistry has to be considered. As for the foot infection, yes, it's clearly a major factor. Try this - put a tack in your shoe and have it poking into your foot. It hurts, but knowledge is painful sometimes. Now, try and hit. Or run. Or stand. You can see why even the smallest of problems would affect a major leaguer, who's trying to turn on an inside fastball.

Fred (SF, California): It seems to me that there have been a lot more oblique and rib cage strains in players over the last few years. Is this just my imagination, are they just being reported more, or is it real. If it's an accurate observation, what do you think the cause is?

Will Carroll: Both. It's a more precise description - used to be they'd say "side" or "ribs." We see that across the board. As for why we're seeing more, I think the answer is creatine and bat speed. Creatine dehydrates muscle and too few athletes do the superhydration necessary to reduce the risk of tearing. (Dry muscle = brittle) As for bat speed, the muscles can only take so much and as we push those limits, the bodies of some can't take it and break.

shamah (DC): Should the Yankees carry both Giambi and Tino on the postseason roster? Or should they just start Giambi at first, and spell him in late innings with Phillips, who can also play other positions?

Will Carroll: Definitely Giambi. I mean, this guy may not be the MVP caliber player he once was, but he's very very good, especially at getting on base. Tino? He's better defensively (who isn't?) and is one of Joe Torre's guys. Any positional advantage Phillips would give is probably going to be overlooked.

jramirez (Tewksbury, MA): Love the column! What's the skinny on Wade Miller for next year?

Will Carroll: Thanks. I think Miller will be much the same next year as he is this year - a good pitcher who's going to need special handling. If the Sox don't resign him, expect a team who understands how to handle injuries to grab him cheap. He'd do well in St Louis.

Randy Brown (Detroit): Is Mark Prior still the young pitcher you would most like to build a franchise around? From my perspective, it still feels like his injury history is a nagging concern.

Will Carroll: Yes. His stuff is filthy. Sick. Nasty. The injuries he's had have saved some mileage on his arm, though you'd certainly he rather not have them. Now that he's past the nexus and is developing another pitch, he could get really good really quick. Carlos Zambrano is a close second and Zach Duke is a very close third.

Bryan (Maryland): Will, don't you think someone needs to come out and define, formally, the criteria for MVP? Most importantly, can it be someone on a losing team? I think it's just ridiculous that people are not considering Lee for MVP because the Cubs aren't doing well. Like Jayson Stark wrote, it's become a battle of philosophies. Don't you think MVP should be given to the statistically best player in baseball--period? Thanks very much.

Will Carroll: Sure, that'd be nice, but it's not happening. I like that baseball hasn't fractionalized the award and hey, it makes for great arguments. Let the MVP be what it's always been - a nice honor bestowed by the writers under a vague definition. There's the Silver Sluggers, Hank Aaron Awards, and even the IBA's. If the writers ever really screw one up, maybe the IBA's will take on more prominence.

Marco (Stuttgart, Germany): What's up with Harden, will he come around and be as dominant as "expected"? What's his future look like...stud or spud?

Will Carroll: The guy is good. Ace good. Casey Stengel liked to call his guys "expert pitchers" but remember that Harden still seems to be learning his craft and still has had the success he's had. There are few pitchers I'd want more. In the Prior question, I should have had Harden in the list of who i'd build a staff around. We forget that he's really young.

chuckmotl (chicago): This isn't totally a baseball question, but I'm sure you can handle it. What's the difference between the broken ankles of Rex Grossman and Bobby Crosby? Crosby sustained his injury well after Grossman, but he should be ready for the playoffs, while Grossman's season could already be over. Does the sport they play have something to do with it, or damaged tendons? Are there different versions of "broken"?

Will Carroll: It's a matter of degree and occupation. Crosby doesn't have 300 pound men crashing down on him as a matter of course. Crosby's fracture was difficult to find, indicating that it probably wasn't too significant. It's a matter of healing, function, and pain tolerance.

SpikeOwen (Philadelphia): Any news on the Reds' minor league pitching experiments (tandems, 3-days' rest)? Were they having any noticable effects on health and development? Are the tests ongoing or did the Reds stop the project? I haven't heard anything about it in awhile.

Will Carroll: Unfortunately, I don't have any good data on this. The Reds have a tendency to draft HS pitchers, making their rates pretty high so even trying something new is a plus. In other organizations, the tandem system has reduced injuries while -- and this is key -- not impeding development. Many resisted this thinking that pitchers wouldn't 'learn how to finish.' One organization is actually using relievers first and asking the 'starter' to go six innings (4-9).

Minor league injury data is very hard to come by. Heck, ask Clay Davenport about trying to get minor league stats ...

Charlie Manuel (Philadelphia, PA): Will everyone stop calling me Bubba Gump if we make the playoffs? A guy's got feelings, you know.

Will Carroll: I like nicknames. I think the game needs a few more Bubbas, Reds, Leftys, and Wild Horses of the Osage.

Bryan (Maryland): What do you think of Huston Street's mechanics?

Will Carroll: Unorthodox, but good. Street's one flaw is a bit of inconsistency. He's shown a tendency to tweak and change on the mound, which is a positive, but there have been some rumors about him tipping. I don't want a robot out there.

I am curious if Street and Cordero are a fad or if they'll be joined by Cox, Hansen, and Devine soon, showing a quick new path to the majors and devaluing the "development" of closers.

Bay Du (Dot Com): Hi, as far as i know there's not a single head coach who wasn't a hitter as a player. Why, why can't a picthing coach be a head coach or a GM? Are there any in baseball right now?

Will Carroll: Good question. I'm not sure why anyone should be disqualified, but baseball follows tradition. Most managers were catchers or middle infielders, but no one really has a good reason why. I know that the recent past (Ray Miller comes to mind as does Larry Rotschild) hasn't given us a success to build from. I think guys like Orel Hershiser, Bud Black, and maybe Leo Mazzone might get a shot.

jimbeau (Redwood City, CA): Both Millwood and Elarton are Free Agents, have injury histories and have performed relatively well this year - probably each at around their true skill level. So going forward, is either a better/worse bet for re-injury, diminished perfromance/skill loss, etc. Given the likely different market values, which is probably the better sign for the not-so-wealthy teams? For how much and for how long would you go on each?

Will Carroll: I'd think Elarton's the better value. Millwood has had a solid year and is said to be looking for a longer term deal. The question is your risk profile and payroll. If I'm a team that needs one pitcher to head to the playoffs and have five million I can throw away if it goes bad, I'll grab Millwood (I'd offer 3x5). If I'm looking for someone who can be a LAIM (league average inning muncher) I'd go for Elarton, who has upside and I'd offer 1x3 with an option and incentives.

DrLivy (Charleston, WV): Will: The Cardinals have been very, very quiet about the nature of Rolen's injury, but do you have any information on how this has played out? It seems to me that the hit Rolen took from Choi wasn't that hard. Was this injury the same one from the Arizona playoff series in 2002? Did the Cardinals make it worse by rushing in back this year?

Will Carroll: Lots of rumors. The surgery happened oddly, originally scheduled to happen in St Louis with team physician George Paletta. It ended up being in Cincy with Tim Kremchek. Many have read into Paletta's contemporary resignation as team physician as some indictment of his skills or his initial surgery. The truth is out there, but the Cardinals have been very tight lipped.

As for Rolen's long term future, it looks good. The damage in the shoulder was repaired and he should be back for spring training. I'd guess that the 2002 injury was a factor, though I'm not sure how much.

2White (DC): I'm a little disappointed by your comments on PEDs. The trust factor is a media manufactured concern; it isn't one that should be taken into consideration when making decisions about PEDs. BP, of all institutions, should well understand that "everyone thinks that" isn't really a good argument. For years, the media has written -- and most fans have accepted -- that PEDs are wrong, thus leading to the trust issue. My whole problem with this is that the media has never gone past their knee jerk reaction to PEDs. It has not ever stopping to really think about the issue with an open mind and from a broad perspective. For instance, I don't recall seeing any articles in the mainstream press discussing why it was acceptable for Curt Schilling to use drugs (pain killers) to enhance his performance during last year's post season while explaining why it was the biggest scandal since the Black Sox threw the World Series that Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi used THG to enhance theirs. Clearly, it's pretty evident that Curt Schilling will have long-term problems with his lower leg as a result of pitching on pain killers (I'm talking about how he injured his leg in the ALDS while on the meds, not the ALCS and WS). I think the only reasonable arguments against PEDs are that they have the potential to cause significant, long-term health problems for users and that many young athletes think that the use of PEDs will be their ticket to the pros. The argument that PEDs should be illegal/against the rules because they are 'unnatural' is ridiculous. There are literally hundreds of 'unnatural' methods/tools that players employ for an advantage that fans have no problem with (such as tinted contact lenses. Furthermore, lifting weights, in and of itself, is not a natural activity).

Will Carroll: This 'question" will make the chat seem like it was longer.

I'll agree - the natural arguement doesn't hold water, but where we draw the ethical line is very interesting. Why is THG illegal, but creatine is fine. Why are painkillers ok, but hGH (a natural substance) isn't? The fact is that my argument for a public trust component is economic, not ethical.

I'll buy your trickle down theory, only because the media you say fuels the problem has given PEDs a mystique they don't deserve. You can give me a gallon of THG a day and I'll never hit one out of SBC Park.

Mitchell Plitnick (Oakland, CA): Hi, Will, I'm wondering if you think that players who are not accustomed to a 162-game schedule can be relied on to help much in September. Do rookies tend to show more wear than guys who have been in the league for a few years?

Will Carroll: Good question. I'd love if James Click or Keith Woolner took a look at that questions statistically. Certainly there's some anecdotal evidence for this and should be considered when usage patterns are being set in the minors. Should someone like Zach Duke be handled with kid gloves because he might go up and have an extra month on his season?

All athletes are fatigued at this stage. It's a matter of who is functional and doesn't break down under that fatigue.

jimbeau (Redwood City, CA): You mentioned the injury "nexus" in talking about Prior, and while I may have seen it defined at one time, my memory is not as good as Prior's fastball. Can it be routinely defined such that there is a pretty safe age at which a pitcher is past the nexus? Or is it more unique to each pitcher? Is it based mostly on age, or workload, or physical attributes, or underlying mechanics, or...?

Will Carroll: Nate Silver did some amazing work on this, which you can read in this article.

Like all things, its a nice tool but describes an average. Mike Marshall makes a good point when saying that everyone matures differently. I think this is true physically, mentally, and professionally.

John (SF): Any word as to whether Ken Macha has a brain injury, causing him to mismanage the A's bullpen right out of the playoff race?

Will Carroll: I'll trade you Dusty Baker, straight up.

Brian (Los Angeles): Hi Will. Chris Carpenter has given up 7 runs in his last 4.1 innings. Is that a normal blip, a consequence of hitting an innings wall (230 and counting), or a guy goofing around til the playoffs?

Will Carroll: All of the above. I'd guess more of the latter, really. His velocity has looked pretty good. I'd say he's looking to keep his pitch counts down by throwing balls and hoping his defense makes plays. That doesn't always work.

Scott Boras (In your ear): Millwood for 3 years, $5M per? Pretty funny Mr. Carroll. He had an ERA in the low 3's in 2005! 3 years, 8 mil per will be the baseline (you know, the 2005 default pitching contract), though I'll open talks at a Derek Lowe deal (4x9).

Will Carroll: Get out of my ear, Scott, and back in my head where you normally are.

I said I'd offer Millwood 3x5, not that I'd sign him for that. No way I go four years for anyone on the open market this season. Even Ben Sheets deal makes me nervous.

Someone - I wish I knew who - said that free agents from last year have gone about 150-150 this season at a cost of like 300 million. No thanks.

Tyler B. (Chicago): How similar is Griffey Jr's tendon injury to the one in 2003? Is there a chance of cascade injuries in 2006 due to compensation?

Will Carroll: Very similar. Some reports have it being identical though I haven't recieved a confirmation. There's always a chance, but Griffey was able to come back in 2004 and, while he had other problems, he seemed fine when he was out there as far as the foot was concerned. While a recurrence is never good, he knows the rehab and has done it once.

mackey2004 (Knoxville, Tenn.): Will, can't this year's positive steroid tests be taken as a positive for the game itself? I see it as the game finally cleaning itself up, but BP commentators seem to have the opinion that it's taking away from what's going on between the lines, so it's therefore a bad thing.

Will Carroll: Certainly it shows that a) the testing program isn't the sham that the NFL has, b) that the incidence of PED use is lower than expected - 10 out of 1200 is a darn good rate, and c) that in the case of "star" players, there's a significant public cost of testing positive.

I don't think we can ever say that the positives are good for ball. I'd like to tweak the drug policy and testing program, not completely overhaul it. Still, it's likely to be a government mandated system by Opening Day '06.

And if Scott Boras won't challenge the draft in court, I do hope that he'll challenge a Federal testing program.

pjvent (Washington, DC): OK Will...does Pavano pitch for the Yankees next year?

Will Carroll: No. I think next year's Yankee GM, whoever that is, will have to unload Pavano. As with the Cubs last year, they need to get something back and not let it handcuff them. They can eat some salary and enough teams, maybe even the Marlins, will need pitching at a reasonable price.

packerfan0042001 (miami,florida): hey will, new subscriber, you got me hooked on the radio show.. anyway after the marlins worst loss of the season in which the phillies scored 10 runs in the 9th, is there any realisctic chance the fish have a shot at the wild card?

Will Carroll: Thanks! Always love seeing new subscribers and radio listeners. I'm always looking for suggestions for guests for the show. I'd also LOVE to hear your ideas for "spreading the virus" - how can we help share our love of baseball to people that are just as passionate and curious as we are? We'll consider everything short of painting a BP logo on Steven Goldman's naked ass and running him through the Fenway outfield during Fox's coverage of the World Series.

Ok, yeah, we'd consider that too.

The Marlins loss was devastating psychologically, but they're not out of it statistically. I look at Clay Davenport's Playoff Odds report obsessively and every loss (or win) is more important now. Games that teams gave away in April come back to haunt them and wins they stashed away (yes, I'm looking at you, Ozzie) are more valuable.

wnalyd (Seattle): In today's UTK, you're saying worrisome things about King Felix. Besides the fact he's not even legal drinking age and a bit immature in the head, is there anything else you're seeing that is a concern?

Will Carroll: Derek Zumsteg and his crew at USS Mariner have watched the M's as closely as anyone, including their own front office. Derek did a great series showing the relative risk that M's pitchers were under due to ... something. Is it luck, technique, or something else? I don't know and more importantly, they don't seem to know. There's no "team adjustment" in the Team Health Report formula, but I've seriously considered trying to add one. Teams like the M's deserve it.

I also don't like his unstable head or the violent gloveside move.

Cris E (St Paul, MN): Put on your forecaster hat and draw a picture of the Yankee pitching health report for 2006. Specifically, how much do Mussina, Johnson, Gordon and Rivera have left?

Will Carroll: I have on my Peetnik's hat now. If I had a forecaster hat, the Intl Forecaster and Prognosticator Union, Local 83 would have seized it.

Mussina - red. He's falling fast.
Johnson - red due to injuries and age. His back worries me more than anything and I'm beginning to question how much he really wants to continue playing.
Gordon - yellow. I can see him continuing a while because he gets spotted in. The workload he had early this season wasnt sustainable.
RIvera - green. He'll have his one injury a season and his one dead arm period. Fine. I'll take it. Just make sure he gets back on his off-season program.

shamah (DC): What's your early take on Jaret Wright getting walloped with a broken bat yesterday?

Will Carroll: Dude has no luck. We'll have to see how his elbow responds. Mussina could slot in for Wright's next start if need be.

Cris E (St Paul, MN): Pudge Rodriguez is slipping in Detroit. What's the deal, misery, age, injury, natural ebb and flow?

Will Carroll: Mostly misery, it seems. I think Pudge might be back on the open market this off-season and could help a lot of teams.

zemans (chicago): what's with the dusty joke? i really don't understand the widespread bashing of dusty baker. he has been a winner for virtually all of his managerial career. sure, he's had some talented teams. but when's the last time a larussa or joe torre team exceeded expectations as much as the 2003 cubs?

Will Carroll: I'm not joking. Seriously, Macha for Baker, straight up. Or Tracy. I'd really like Jim Tracy. Or Orel Hershiser.

You're right. Dusty has won and I'll give him all the credit in the world for chaning the Cubs attitude in '03. He's just seemingly the wrong man for the job right now.

johncwhitehouse (NYC): Any word on Ron Belliard's injury?

Will Carroll: Ab strain. He won't miss much time, though those can linger. Who knew Belliard had abs?

Off topic, but earlier this year, I joked about Matt Stairs pulling a muscle. He responded, saying I was just jealous. Damned right I am, Matt. Keep swinging for all of us that only dream of being a professional hitter.

pjvent (Washington, DC): Will: I'm curious...why should Rivera get back on his off-season program if his results this season have been so positive?

Will Carroll: Because those early season struggles may have been prevented. Who knows? I'd think that Rivera is the best judge of what Rivera needs, within reason.

Pudge (Detroit): I'm signed for $11 MM next year, $11 MM in '07, and I've got a $13 MM club option for '08 with a $3 MM buyout. I'm going nowhere, and helping no one.

Will Carroll: I'm guessing that Rodriguez has about as much money as he'll ever need. I'm as greedy as the next bastard, but at some point, it really isn't about money. Wouldn't he look good back in Texas, sharing time with Gerald Laird?

Diane (Brooklyn): Football question now ... Not too many QBs have rotator cuff injuries, so we should compare Chad Pennington's recovery to MLB pitchers, right? But no so fast there. Pennington's injury was not due to wear and tear but due to a single traumatic impact to the shoulder. So, what sort of benchmarks should we Jet fans be looking for? Is this season merely a "treading water while Chad full recovers" time for us? Should Chad even be playing now?

Will Carroll: Jim Andrews did the surgery and has said on record that Pennington's injury was nothing like a pitchers. There's SOME parallels - anatomy is the same - but you cannot draw broad conclusions. Each week that I do the "Black and Blue Report" over at Football Outsiders, I learn that more and more clearly.

As for the Jets chances ... well, don't Jets fans always love the draft?

John (SF): You don't want Tracy...or Macha. Trust me. Although the Cubs will (should?) probably have their pick of either one this offseason.

Will Carroll: As a recovering Cubs fan -- and honestly, while I will always love the Cubs much like I'll always have a soft spot for my first girlfriend -- I'm a fan of the game now. I'd like to see the franchise and some of the great people on the team and in the front office have some succeess. I'd love to be there when Wrigley erupts, just like it did in Boston last year.

The more interesting story is the off-season. There's going to be a lot of movement, both managers and GMs and it will be interesting to see who ends up where, who recycles the old boys and who makes bold moves. I'll be in Dallas this winter watching the circus.

John (SF): Fill in the blanks: 1) In 2006, Oliver Perez will throw ____ innings with an average of ____ RA. 2) In 2006, Rich Harden will throw ____ innings with an average of ____ RA. 3) In 2006, Felix Hernandez will throw ____ innings with an average of ____ RA. Bonus question: In 2006, Terrence Long will be playing for ____.

Will Carroll: I'll be insanely general here.

Perez = 170 innings, 4 RA
Harden = 190 innings, 3 RA
Hernandez = 200 innings, 3.5 RA
Long = St Louis

Joe Schmo (Townville): Will, this one isnt baseball related, but. With the death of Thomas Herrion, do you support high school, NCAA, and the NFL putting wieght limits on the players. Not right away, but gradually making them lower so the players are not in such danger. Maybe not one weight, but a different weight for each height.

Will Carroll: You sound like you're talking about some sort of Body Mass Index. Honestly, I don't know. I looked into this back when Steve Bechler passed and I think that technologies like the ingestible thermometer could revolutionize things. I like how technology is moving towards a better, safer game.

Walter (Boston): A few questions from a BP-holic. Do you think Clemens would have had another Cy without these late-season bruises? Does he win it in your opinion anyway? What injury in the MLB this year most destroyed a team in terms of playoff hopes? Is it possible that an injury hurt a team this year more than barry's? Any idea what caused the emergence of Carpenter in St. Louis? His curve was always nasty, but...what caused the jump from mediocrity to ace? also, how about this for a rotation this year, minus injuries: Clemens, Carpenter, Roy Halladay, Kelvim Escobar, and Woody Williams...all 1998 Blue Jay alums (timlin in the 'pen too).

Will Carroll: Clemens - maybe, but it's the wins that will cost him. Sadly, the Astros seemed to stop and watch every time he was on the mound.

Bonds' injury did more to hurt the Giants than anyone, though I'd put Milton Bradley, Carl Pavano, Curt Schilling, Kerry Wood, and Jim Thome right up there.

Carpenter. VERY good question. He was always good, so maybe he was always hurt? Could he have been on the downslope towards corrective shoulder surgery the whole time he was in the majors? Maybe. Let's also note that Dave Duncan has had a lot of success with this type of player. I'd bet that there's alot of similarities between Dave Stewart and Chris Carpenter.

thomas (indiana): Have there been studies done to try to determine how much more effective steroids are than creatine?

Will Carroll: Not that I'm aware of. It's very tough to do any valid study of steroids without some serious problems of ethics. Both are effective at doing what they say they do - make someone stronger. It's the cost at which they do that and the overall effectiveness for a specific task that's in question.

Dusty Baker (Lala land): I said players peak from 32-36, the assistant GM, has no idea what DIPS is, and has no idea whether or not to use MLE's. Why is this incompetency allowed for such great fans?

Will Carroll: Dusty ... the Cubs don't have an assistant GM.

Look, I've sat in the Cubs offices and talked about how PECOTAs work. The idea that there are any stupid people in baseball is simply laughable. Stubborn? Traditional? Use other tools? Sure.

glgbeaver (North Dakota): Will, do you think that the Twins can confidently pencil Jason Kubel into thier lineup next year. Is there any history of a player coming back from that sort of injury that we can judge on? I would really hate to see RF be a Jacque Jones splitsville from hell scenario for the Twins.

Will Carroll: Kubel is one of the great mysteries right now. Keith Woolner was dead on with his comments in last year's Prospect Roundtable. No one has ever had an injury of this severity in baseball, let alone come back. We simply don't know and as you well know, uncertainty has a significant cost in baseball. Being part of an AL team is a major advantage. Being on FieldTurf is not. I'd want to give Kubel some time at Triple-A and even if he's killing the ball, I'd have a good 4th OF there to make sure he gets rest. The more I hear about Kubel, the more I think Edgar Martinez.

go fish! (miami,florida): (1) marlins in playoffs ur thoughts? (please tell me yes) (2) with alex gonzalez as a free agent, do you think he is going to come back or is robbie andino oging to fill in also same question for juan encarancion coming back or hermida takeing his role thanks

Will Carroll: 1) No. Sorry.

2) I wouldn't spend much on Gonzalez given his recent injuries and effectiveness. I don't know much about Andino or the other options - that's one for Bryan Smith or Kevin Goldstein.

3) Everyone loves Hermida. Again, I'm no prospect maven.

Grady Little (Chicago, IL): Will I get a chance at redemption with the Cubs, Will?

Will Carroll: No. Though you probably deserve a shot somewhere.

Ed Wade (Philadelphia, PA): Will, I need a trade partner for a blockbuster Thome trade this winter. Any recommendations?

Will Carroll: First, you need a job so you'd better get the Phils into the playoffs or Gerry Hunsicker will be asking me this question next chat.

Second, I'd look to teams that need a 1B/DH and can take on some salary. New York is always a consideration - either team - and the Orioles could spend some money. Eat enough of the deal and the Red Sox would be a nice fit.

shamah (DC): Should the Yankees consider moving either Wright or Pavano to the pen, to preserve their arms a little more?

Will Carroll: Is being in the pen less stressful? That's a question I'd LOVE to study. Give me a couple major league quality pitchers, a couple grand to fund the study, and I'll answer it for your team ...

Allard (um, Nebraska): Help out a confused GM with tenure. Who is having a bad year that looks like a health rebound for 06? Who looks like a lock but is on the way down, down, down?

Will Carroll: Moises Alou is signed next season, so can't name him (tho I just did.) I'd be willing to take a risk on Thome at the right price. Same with Sosa at the right price, if only to maybe get some ticket sales if he can get close to 600 homers. Get Mike Piazza at DH and I'd give him a nice one year deal.

It's all value. Look, most teams couldn't eat the rest of Schilling's deal - what is it, another 30-40 mil? - but most teams would pay whatever to get the ring the Sox are now sporting. Spreading the payments over a couple seasons, production or not with upside, isn't a bad play.

Mike K (Athens, GA): Wow, long chat. How's the carpal tunnel holding up? Y'know, I was posting this as a throw away, thinking I didn't really have a question, but...are there any comparable RSI injuries common to baseball players?

Will Carroll: Wrist feels pretty good and honestly, I just love sitting under my painted sky and talking baseball. I'm the luckiest boy in the world.

Almost all pitching injuries could be called RSI's. We don't and maybe that's wrong. Carlos Zambrano aside, there's not many that come to mind.

Mike (Barnstable, MA): Is Keith Foulke still injured? Could it be his other knee? Or is it possible that while there is no acute damage in his throwing arm, it's just lots of small wear and tear that is responsible for the drop in velocity?

Will Carroll: The other knee is problematic and there have been many tales of other factors. Add them all up and its not surprising that he's had a dropoff. How many guys are there out there that were his caliber and then fell off a cliff. "Closer" is a nice shiny tag that tarnishes quickly.

mreedy (lawrence, KS): Will, I love BP radio and look forward to it every week. Does anyone in the AL Central have a shot at hanging with the Indians over the next 4-5 seasons?

Will Carroll: Thanks! Always nice to hear from listeners. We do a lot of work to put together what we think is one of the best baseball specific shows out there. Even with the great work at XM and MLB Radio, there's still nothing like BP Radio. Everyone send Brad Wochomurka some love as well (brad@espn950.com) - dude's been playing hurt over the last month without skipping a beat.

I think any team has a shot. The Indians have a system that's putting out some nice results and certainly have a chance to be as good as those mid-90's teams. I'm guessing that the Tigers will take a step forward next season.

Jason (Toronto): Given Roy Halladay has had his last two seasons shortened by injury, do you think the lack of innings pitched over this time will be beneficial for him going into next season? Also, what was a worse move for the Jays: signing Hinske long-term or signing Coskie?

Will Carroll: Yes, I do in some ways. Halladay is a special talent in that he has the stuff and the smarts to understand the importance of control and efficiency.

Koskie. At that money ... man, you should have heard Joe Sheehan's rants last year in Anaheim. As we say in radio, some of the best stuff is off-air.

Shaun P. (Medway, MA): Will, is Oliver Perez having lingering problems with his toe, or are his mechanics just messed up? He hasn't been the stud this year that many of us (myself included) expected him to be.

Will Carroll: Perez has very, very complex mechanics. Dejan Kovacevic had a great piece in the preseason on those mechanics and when Perez doesn't keep things fluid and consistent, he gets frustrated enough to kick something. Add padding, get him a good off-season program and some time with a high-speed camera, and I think good things will happen.

Seriously, I would take the Pirates pitching coach job for free with the staff they've got. Pay me by the marginal win.

Jason (Toronto): It seems to me that the Pirates have a tremendous amount of young talent. Do you think they could be next years Indians?

Will Carroll: Not yet. A good friend of mine who's one of the smartest baseball men I know pointed out that even with the talent funnelling to Pittsburgh that the team still had crappy results. The Bucs are certainly moving in the right direction and the decision on the next manager and pitching coach (seriously, free plus incentives!) may be the biggest move that Dave Littlefield will make during his tenure (outside of the Bay trade).

Next year's lineup will look something like:

CF Duffy/McLouth
2B Castillo
LF Bay
1B Eldred
RF Wilson
CA Doumit/Cota
3B Bautista/Mackowiak
SS Wilson

SP Duke
SP Perez
SP Gorzelanny
SP Fogg
SP Snell
CL Gonzalez

That's better and certainly has upside, but isn't going to score enough or prevent enough runs to contend just yet. Add a bat or two, let some of the players develop more and you might have something. 2007, maybe 2008.

Diane (Brooklyn): You mentioned Thome as a possible answer for the Mets in 2006 .... please NOOOOOOOO! (still in therapy over Mo Vaughn) Why would the Mets want a 34 y.o. one dimensional player with back problems? Move Diaz or Floyd (if re-signed) to 1B next year.

Will Carroll: Breathe, Diane, breathe.

It's just an idea, not a certainty. You certainly make a good case why not. Let's say you could get Thome on the cheap and had good reports on his health. You consider it, no matter who you are. Smart front offices think creatively.

shamah (DC): With the age of the Sox and Yanks' pitching staff, do the Jays take over the AL East next year, while those two teams are still burdened financially?

Will Carroll: The window is sure opening for the Jays and with the money Rogers is putting into the team, it should be interesting to see. I think Boston will still be the favorite next season unless JP shows that the thinking that got him Koskie was an aberration.

Want to know the scary part? Tony LaCava's name has come up in conversation when discussing possible GM's for Washington. I think the world of JP, but losing Tony would really hurt that team.

glgbeaver (ND): If you had to give Francisco Liriano's mechanics a grade what would they be? Is he out of the woods when it comes to reinjury? How nice it would be if the Twins end up with Johan Mark II?

Will Carroll: I've only seen him once, but he looked very, very good. I'd like to see some small changes - he seems to balance high and reach back a bit much for my taste - but the results have been good. I'd settle for 80% of Santana. Liriano could be that and more.

jjcole (Houston): on the pitchers as managers question, you forgot Larry Dirker

Will Carroll: Good point. Sadly, a lot of teams have done the same.

Aspiring GM (WWW): Will one day I'd love to get into a front office, and "experiment" with minor leaguers. The one thing I'd try is using them out of the pen on throw days, why don't teams do this?

Will Carroll: Yeah, just try experimenting on guys who want to make the majors and just see how long you last. The agents alone will kill you. If someone really wanted to experiment, buy an independent league team, hire some smart guys, and see what happens. There's some real opportunity in changing things outside the normal channels.

Will Carroll: As most of my ex-girlfriends will tell you, I can only go an hour and a half. Thanks for all the great questions and for the support of UTK. I'll remind everyone that our donation program for hurricane relief is ongoing and hope that we all try to make our world a little better and a little healthier each day. Thanks!


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