Fresh from the action at the Bellagio, Will Carroll takes your questions on the Winter Meetings, player recoveries, and more.
Will Carroll: I don't have anything witty to say, so let's just chat.
mattymatty (Philly): What are the chances that AJ Burnett makes 30 starts a year for the life of his new contract?
Will Carroll: Each year? Almost none. Burnett is not a healthy pitcher. He's talented, occasionally dominant, but has shown both physical and mental frailties. One of the more surprising things here for me is that Burnett was influenced strongly by pitching coach in coming to Toronto. He's pretty much tossing that aside, which I can't decide - does it say more about Dave Eiland or less about Brad Arnsberg? I don't like the contract and there's not even an opt-out to save them. There's probably one, maybe two years in there where they'll get the performance they want.
JKiersky (Memphis): Hey Will- Once again, Congrats. Why would the Mets go after Ollie Perez over Derek Lowe if the annual money is the same? OP has been, at best, inconsistent and Lowe is the model of consistent. It has been reported that it would take $12-$15mil annually to get either. Still, I understand Omar "stole" OP, but if you hit the inside straight on a 2-3 and crack someone's aces it doesn't mean you should play a 2-3 in every instance. Your thoughts?
Will Carroll: Hey Jon - owe you an email.
Perez still has upside and has a stuff advantage over Lowe, but that's only a possibility. Lowe is consistent and I didn't see any sign of decline with him. Last year's PECOTA says you could give him a five year contract and reasonably see the same performance until Lowe is 40. Unless you know something about Perez and felt he was going to take it up a notch, I'd take Lowe. Unless my infield defense sucked.
choms57 (Philadelphia): Thoughts on the huge signing of Chan Ho Park by the Phillies?
Will Carroll: Forget that he ever started and just look at the last couple years of his career. You have below-average starter, hurt, and good swingman. I have no idea which of those he'll be next year and if the Phillies do, more power to them. On value, it's not going to hurt them.
don (ann arbor, MI): Will, any clue as to what we can expect from Jeremy Bonderman this year? Any comps out there?
Will Carroll: Kenny Rogers is the closest comp pitching-wise, tho David Cone is close. I think he'll come back and essentially be a bit behind where he was until mid-season. It might, in the long run, be a good thing since even handled smartly, he has a lot of innings on a young arm. The more I think about Bonderman, they more I really like the Kenny Rogers comp for his career, except maybe longevity.
jaysfan (Toronto): Dustin McGowan--when will he be ready?
Will Carroll: The Jays say that he's starting a throwing program and is on track for a May return. I think we'll have to see where he is early in spring training, but there's a lot of things that can go right or wrong between now and his return.
mhixpgh (Pittsburgh): I just got a nice new coffee maker, what is your favorite Peet's blend?
Will Carroll: Blend? I like the 101 and Major Dickason's is always good. My personal fave is the New Guinea. It's got the same flavor profile as Blue Mountain without the extortion.
mwball75 (Ohio): What are the chances Kerry Wood pitches 200 innings over the next 3 years in Cleveland?
Will Carroll: 200? Umm, almost none. If they get three seasons, well, the first two went well and I think they'll define success in repeating the numbers he put up this year. I *love* the deal for both sides. They can quit worrying about the late innings, put the Rafaels in the key 7/8 situations, and Kerry gets the benefits of a great medical staff.
tdees40 (Jersey): A stupid question perhaps, but we're all Sabermetricians now, so might as well ask. To what extent is past health an indicator of future health? For instance, we all intuitively think that Burnett is still an injury risk, but do we statistically know that a guy in Burnett's situation will continue to have trouble logging innings? Is there a variation between pitchers and non-pitchers?
Will Carroll: We are? I'm not. I don't even pretend. I tried to coin a term years ago to differentiate myself from statheads by saying I'm a medhead. Didn't really stick, though I still like it.
To answer your question, it's very indicative, just on a biological level. Once you understand how the body heals, you understand there's always some tradeoff. Then on a baseball level, it's very hard to change - just look at Kerry Wood, who KNOWS he throws across his body, and could never convince himself to actually change. Pitching is harder on the body because it's so repetitive, amplifying the effects.
Nick (Portland): Any thoughts on the return of Erik Bedard? What are our chances of seeing a dominant Felix/Bedard combo in the next 2-3 years?
Will Carroll: Zero. Maybe Hernandez/Strasbourg.
Phil (NJ): In honor of Jaffe's great article on Rickey Henderson's HOF candidacy, what's your favorite Rickey story?
Will Carroll: My one meeting with Rickey happened at Wrigley Field. Nate Silver and I were down on the field, the first time Nate had gone through the gate. The Dodgers were warming up and I wanted to talk to someone just to get Nate the experience. Rickey jogs by and I ask him if he has some time. He stops and talks -- I'm sure the article is searchable -- then pauses, walks over to John Shelby and another teammate, and comes back to finish the conversation. The three things I remember is how polite and forthcoming he was, that he never referred to himself in the third person, and that Nate looked like a deer in headlights. Times change, Nate's a rock star, and Rickey will be a HOFer.
deberly (Cincinnati): How would you help Homer Bailey's mechanics? Do you agree they are terrible?
Will Carroll: They're not good, but I've never thought his mechanics were a big issue. I'm coming more and more to the idea that mechanics are an issue for youth pitchers, maybe college, because by the time they get to the pros, they're pretty much locked in besides small tweaks. Maybe you can "Roy Halladay" someone, but that's really it. Bailey's coachability and desire have been the issues I've always heard about, all the way back to HS. I think you could change his ball release and get him to pronate. Bailey's one of the guys I look forward to being able to talk to in Cincinnati. How many questions about pronation do you think he's heard from the press? :)
mhixpgh (Pittsburgh): What baseball-related item would you like to find under your Christmas tree this season? Jamie Kotsay is not an option.....
Will Carroll: Not an option? Damn. Honestly, I love jerseys and caps. I'm a simple guy. Problem now is I can't wear them to the ballpark most times I go! Oh - tickets to SAFECO Field (or whatever they're calling it now). It's the one park I haven't been to and with Jack Z in charge, I'm excited about their future.
jtrichey (Indianapolis): Thanks for the chat Will. What are Anibal Sanchez' health prospects for 2009?
Will Carroll: Hard to tell. he was terrible in winter ball and was shut down after just a few starts. I really have no idea what to expect from him or most of the guys behind him. The Marlins are clearly playing for, what, 2012 when the new stadium opens?
Rob (Brighton): Do you have any reservations about Joba's ability to stick as a starter? About Hughes ability to stay healthy?
Will Carroll: I think Joba Chamberlain will be a solid starter, but I'm not sure about being a #1. Since they signed Sabathia, he doesn't have to be. 2? 3? Not sure, but they've handled him well. Hughes - well, he hasn't stayed healthy yet, so I don't have any reason to think that will change. It could, since he's young, and he's been good when healthy so you have to keep hoping. Hughes is the guy I usually cite, along with Rocco Baldelli and J.D. Drew, when I say that genetics will be the next revolution in baseball.
Evan (Vancouver, BC): Safeco has only ever been Safeco. It has never had a different name. It's not like PacBell or Enron Field.
Will Carroll: Yes, but Safeco the company was purchased by Liberty Mutual last year. I haven't paid attention to know whether the name of the park will change.
ericmilburn (San Francisco): Hi Will, in a practical sense I've always been confused by this: Why don't minor league innings "count" at all when considering the Verducci Effect? Seems like they should be considered to some, albeit lesser, extent.
Will Carroll: I agree with you, they should. Remember, I'm the guy in BP who can't balance a checkbook, let alone do the advanced math magic. The problem is that including the innings didn't increase the predictability. I tried using translations and different factors, but haven't found it. I'm sure the problem is more my methodology than that they don't "count." I'm open to ideas because I've maxed out my ability to figure it out.
basicslop (Alb.): Can you explain something for me. I always here about teams getting insurance for a players contract. how does that work? Do they get a certain percentage of a players salary if he misses time? how much do they have to pay for Insurance? Who offers the insurance, State Farm?
Will Carroll: It's seldom done, actually because its so expensive and so many things are excluded. MLB uses one insurance broker and last I heard there were only two companies underwriting the policies and one wouldn't touch pitchers. Past that, it's a typical disability contract except it's the team thats insured and not the player against the risk. Typical numbers are 50 and 60% of salary for a cost approaching 15% of value.
Rob (Brighton): How do you feel about Nolan Ryan's plan for his pitchers? I'm skeptical about whether more random throwing (such as BP) mixed in between starts and bullpen sessions will really lead to increased durability. It seems like these things were gotten rid of as part of an attempt to increase the control a club had over how much a pitcher used his arm. If that's the case, they'd actually know less about how hard their pitchers are working. Or is that line of thinking just indicative of how cautious we've become with regards to the position?
Will Carroll: I like that he's got the right goal - more innings, but I'm not sure about the method. I like "throw more, pitch less" and I like that Jamie Reed and Keith Meister are involved, which will help them when they start seeing the inevitable burnouts. I don't like the idea of sacrificing some arms in the hopes that they'll get more innings across the board because those arms might be Neftali Feliz or Derek Holland as much as they're Joe Filler. I wish a team would take me up on a logical, individualized progression. One team discussed it with me, but it didn't go farther. I'm convinced on this one I'm right and no one's been able to say I was wrong.
astein (Boston): To what degree are evidence-based techniques used by baseball team trainers? Do any of these guys spend time looking at medical studies, or tracking their own team's health "data" to inform the programs they design for their players? For instance: what type of stretching is appropriate for certain players (pitchers vs. catchers vs. first basemen...), to minimize injury risk and improve performance?
Will Carroll: TONS. Some more than others and the hours they work prevent them from doing as much as most would like, but I think we're starting to see more three and four trainer staffs with more hands-on doctors and allied health additions. Tracking of data is getting better, though even with the advanced teams, it's still pretty raw. There's a lot being done, but there's a lot more that could be done, and given the relative cost, it's a damn shame it's not.
Kerri (Las Kewgas, NY): Any indications out there on John Maine's health and what the Mets might get from him this year?
Will Carroll: He had the spur in his shoulder removed and assuming that's the only problem -- and there's no reason to think otherwise -- he should be healthy coming into spring training. I like Maine for next year.
Brian (Brooklyn NY): What team do you think could have the most improvement next year by simply "regressing" to better health?
Will Carroll: Cleveland immediately pops to mind. Boston, though they're willing to accept a lot of risk and because of that, their days and dollars lost are probably overstated in their effects. The Mets are kind of an odd case, so while I expect their DL days to do something on the lines of cutting in half, I don't think it will make them significantly better.
Evan (Vancouver, BC): Tell me about Strasburg's mechanics.
Will Carroll: Haven't seen him enough, but he reminds me a LOT of Prior. THAT IS STILL A GOOD THING.
Mike (Queens): You showed reservations about K-Rod's ability to stay healthy. What are his chances of holding his end of the contract? Is Putz healthy now?
Will Carroll: Someone from the Mets jokingly asked me to keep giving him the red light so that he'd continue to make me look dumb. His mechanics are still bad, but again, I don't think you should or even can change them. I'm curious if whatever forced the change to using the change more is still in effect or if he'll return to the flamethrower. I hope he keeps it. I think he'll have some issues, but that the contract is fair value.
Aaron (YYZ): Given the systematic issues with the Jays handling of their pitching staff (including rushing people back) is there any reason to be optimistic about the return timetable for a guy like McGowan?
Will Carroll: No, which is why there were about six caveats in my answer about him being back in May.
joe lefko (NJ): you legitimately don't think the yanks will regress due to better health? or you still just hatin'? (joba doesn't have #1 stuff - HA!)
Will Carroll: The Yanks were essentially Posada/Wang/Hughes last year on the injury front. I'm still worried about Posada's ability to stay healthy. While Wang should be back, there's risk on that pitching staff that could replace the value on the DL. Hughes, again, not sure, but I have no reason to think he'll suddenly be healthy. Damon and Matsui aren't getting younger. The rest were the normal traumatic injuries and that won't change. So, no, I don't think we'll see a health-based improvement.
HRF (Milwaukee): How many innings should a fully healthy Gallardo and Parra pitch in '09?
Will Carroll: Gallardo is a really interesting case. He went 110 ML innings in 07 and so I would have liked to have seen him around 150 this year. Injuries APPEAR to not have an effect, as if they did the normal safe innings increase (someone set up the small sample size siren.) So 180 seems around the right number for him.
Parra flat wore out about the 120 inning mark, which is about where things would predict. Oh - I'm not sure I've ever written this out. The starting mark for MLB pitchers is not 0, it's 90. Any pitcher who has MLB talent should be able to go 90 innings without fatigue issues. Then it progresses in 30 inning 'steps.' So I'd like to see him around 180-190.
basicslop (Alb): Have you guys ever had a Type-off in the BP office? I think i would have you as the early on odds favorite. Maybe Christina could challenge your typing ability or ability to answer quickest in chats.
Will Carroll: More impressive? I type with three fingers essentially. Thumb on the space bar.
It's a good question, but we don't have an office. I get asked that more and more. "Where's your office?" was a familiar refrain. Even one of the BBWAA guys thought we had a space somewhere in Chicago. I've always thought we should do something like the Blues Brothers did with their licenses. "We're at 162 East Superior ..."
Nano (NY): Have you seen Tommy Hanson's mechanics? If so, what do you think?
Will Carroll: Very little and not enough to comment. I did meet him Tuesday night in Vegas. Very nice kid and the girl he was with looked like a younger Tina Fey, so kudos there too.
Quentin (Alabama): Speaking of Prior... in 03 when the Cubs were 5 outs from the World Series, they had Prior and Wood coming off of big years, supposedly the best farm system in the game, and now 5 years later, the system sucks, those two are gone, yet they're in line for their third straight divisional title. We're in the midst of a pretty good run by the Cubs aren't we?
Will Carroll: Jim Hendry really changed models and became the Yankees. The one worrisome thing for me is that aside from Geovany Soto (a really nice exception, eh?) they haven't been able to get players to transition successfully to the majors. I have no idea why.
mnsportsguy1 (MN): Has anything come of that little experiment with hockey that you did in unfiltered?
Will Carroll: Actually, yes. *wink*
Bobby (Boston): How much of a health risk is Scott Kazmir for 2009? I seem to remember he threw less sliders last season, how much does pitch selection play into pitchers coming off an injury?
Will Carroll: Kazmir is always a bit risky and of all the pitchers in Tampa - and there's a lot - he's the one I'd try to trade. That's not to say I don't like him and if he can get past the ulnar neuritis that held back his slider, he's also the one that could just simply dominate. Shields will be more consistent and Price is maybe Kaz's equal. The upside here is that there's a relatively easy surgical fix IF the problem doesn't correct. They couldn't shut him down last year and made the right decisions to get him through effectively, plus you always want to avoid surgery when possible. I'd like to see him work on another pitch besides the slider -- splitter? gyro? -- to help him.
rpartee (Tucson): What type of deal do you see Koji Uehara getting? Who's works better for the Giants, him or Randy on a one year deal?
Will Carroll: Couple years, couple million per. He was a dominant starter, but Japanese workloads mean most don't have long careers. I'm not sure if he's a closer, but I think he can have a couple solid, Akinori Otsuka type seasons at worst. Since I'm not sure if he can or even wants to start, comparing him to Johnson isn't fair. For Johnson, I think he has to go somewhere with a top notch medical staff. The Giants or Dodgers make a lot of sense there, maybe Texas.
Matt (Whippleville, NY): John Maine...100 innings...are you taking the over or the under?
Will Carroll: Way over.
Wendy (Madrid): Recently in a chat one of your fellow BP writers, Joe maybe, said that in a year or two Matt Weiters may be better than Joe Mauer. Mauer has one 2 of the last three batting titles and is probably the best fielder at his position. Even though he doesn't have the greatest power numbers, isn't that a stretch? Isn't Mauer healthy now?
Will Carroll: Mauer's one of the best players in the game, so saying someone who hasn't played a game is that good or better? Well, everyone that's seen him play raves, so I have to believe he's got that upside. I worry about any catcher, especially Mauer with his leg problems, staying healthy when most of their value is in the bat. I think it will be a great debate to have in a couple years.
Brian (Brooklyn NY): I asked Joe this question in his chat the other day so I will ask you too...what did you do in Vegas besides the meetings?
Will Carroll: This year was different for me since I wasn't doing The Mill. (And kudos to John Perrotto, who did a great job of reporting.) Mostly, I networked, talking with people that I email and phone with most of the time. You can learn a lot by listening and meeting some of the smart people down the front office lists. I gave out my award, I ate really well -- Mesa Grill was sublime and Craftsteak is ridiculously good -- and I did some behind the scenes stuff that will pay off later.
mgibson (DC): Why do the A's want to take on another big injury risk in Furcal? (Not to mention the talk about Nick Johnson.) You don't appear to think too highly of their medical staff and guys like Bradley and Kotsay didn't work out too well.
Will Carroll: Because injury risk isn't properly valued in the market. I had a long conversation on this topic while on the treadmill of Bellagio's fitness center with two people I can't name here because out of courtesy, I said before stepping up between them that it would be off the record. What I can say is that injury risk is one of the possible arbitrage opportunities in the market now.
raygu1 (burlington, nj): Will-thanks for the chat. What are the chances Chad Billingsley is ready for spring training? I researched the injury, and many took much longer to heal. Your thoughts?
Will Carroll: Broken fibula on his landing leg. I have a bit of worry due to his weight, but not much. I think he'll be slightly behind other pitchers at the start of the spring, but fine more or less around Opening Day.
George (Ann Arbor): How do most pitching coaches and strength coaches split their work when it comes to the pitching staff? Are there strength coaches with enough influence to affect throwing schedules, etc?
Will Carroll: That's a good question and I don't know. It's different on different teams, as is the influence. I know on most, the S&C guy is essentially a member of the Training Staff and those staffs have varying levels of input and influence. So I don't know.
Ameer (Bloomington, IN): I'm pretty shocked that you said there was a zero chance of a dominant Bedard/Hernandez combo in the next few years. You really think there's zero chance of Bedard coming back strong in the next couple years?
Will Carroll: I don't think I'm allowed to use negative numbers.
aardvark (California): Thanks for the chat. Have you decided who won the CC contest?
Will Carroll: Oh crap -- I forgot! I'll get on that. (Hey, intern!)
Tommy (Clearwater): Matt Garza had surgery to fix a broken bone in his foot that bothered him for the second half of the year. He is now ineligible for the WBC. What are the odd's Jim Hickey goes around and breaks a foot on of all his pitchers to ensure the same?
Will Carroll: Given how he pitched in the playoffs, I think Garza will be fine, though normal caveats about workload. Interesting point -- will Davey Johnson call Kazmir or Shields? Price?
Susan (St. Louis): Thanks for the chat, Will! From what you know, is there a high risk of Adam Wainwright's finger problem recurring? Will it depend largely, not at all, or entirely on how many curveballs he throws in the future?
Will Carroll: There's not a ton of comps, but none that I'm aware of have had recurrences. If Joel Zumaya can hold up, anyone can.
SaberTJ (Cleveland): If the Indians were to move Peralta and Cabrera left on the diamond would it increase their risk of injury? I'm guessing that Cabrera's injury risk would decrease from moving off of 2b.
Will Carroll: There's the brief "new position spike", but yes, there's be an overall risk reduction. That's not to say that something goofy might not happen. Traumatic injuries are by definition unpredictable and in large part position independent outside of catcher. Whether or not it makes baseball sense is one I don't know.
rawagman (Toronto): AJ Burnett (5@82) or Matt Clement (1@subway tokens)? I've always thought Clement could be a very good strikeout pitcher. Back when the Jays first signed Burnett, I had considered them about equivalent. What chance would you give clement for being a competent MLB pitcher after 2+ seasons away from the bigs? And, of course - congrats - how ca I help in setting up a Feed in TO? Either before a Jays game or during the WBC.
Will Carroll: I don't hate taking chances on guys like Clement when your team can afford it, has a Plan A (these guys should always be Plan B, a nice bonus if it works), and if you really commit to it. It's a real crapshoot with time away and his injuries, but if you see him and have reason to believe that he MIGHT come back, then you have to decide if your circumstances allow you to take the chance. I'd think Clement might be a bit more selective, but I haven't seen much evidence that players/agents look at medical staff as a signing criteria.
As always, I'll do a Pizza Feed anywhere. My only criteria is that I don't lose money on the deal. Last time I did one in Toronto, it was awesome. The guy sent me a plane ticket and organized everything. I paid for the hotel and showed up to do my thing. Same in Memphis, where I hope we can do another one. You do the groundwork, I'll show up and when possible, I'll bring someone with me.
Tim (DC): With Rocco Baldelli's mitachondrial disorder, is there enough known to say "He can only be a P/T player going forward", or is it more "we have NO idea how it will play out"?
BTW, very classy to acknowledge Doug Pappas. I am sure Dr. Carroll is proud!
Will Carroll: There's not. Peter Gammons had some great info on him that I'm not sure if he's written yet, so I'll not step on that. There are certain teams that can handle Baldelli on both a p/t basis and medically.
I never met Doug, but he was a giant influence on me because he thought he could change the game. That belief, which he imparted on a couple phone calls back when I first joined BP, has inspired me.
mymrbig (New Orleans): My initial reaction to giving a player an opt-out clause (like Burnett, A-Rod, and CC) is that they were horrible decisions by the club. But upon further consideration, I actually like them in many cases. I think the most likely scenario is that CC stays relatively healthy and productive for the first 3 years of his deal. This probably leads him to opting out, which allows the Yankees to avoid the risker portion of the contract. Really, the only scenarios I can think of where it is less desireable than the straight 7-year contract is (1) the Burnett Scenario where he is not really healthy the first couple years, but opts out after a dominant 3rd year OR (2) he stays productive all 7 years, but opts out after 3 years and the Yankees miss 4 years of below-market production from an elite pitcher. But really, scenario #1 isn't that bad, particularly if the guy keeps getting injured (Toronto will probably be thrilled he opted out in a year). And to me, scenario #2 is pretty unlikely. If I'm the Yankees, I'm praying he opts out so I can go after Matt Cain, Felix Hernandez, or Ervin Santana in 3 years for a similar deal. Am I crazy or missing something here?
Will Carroll: Joe Sheehan made largely this argument in Vegas. Not sure if he's written it, though I think he has. I'm looking at it as a 3 year contract with a 90 million buck insurance policy on it for Sabathia, because he only stays if things have gone wrong. So yes, I agree with you, Big.
johnpark99 (Boston): Hey Will, a followup on the Gallardo question. If a young pitcher has a non-throwing-arm injury and essentially misses a full year, it seems like it would make sense to not give him credit for 2008 and instead set him at 150 or so for 2009, i.e. base the 30-inning increase on his 2007 workload. No?
Will Carroll: You're discounting pace and the fact that he rehabbed hard. I have no way of quantifying the work he did, but there's value in that process. Most of what I've looked at there comes from TJs, so I'm not sure it applies to Gallardo specifically.
Phil (NJ): Will, it seems that Teixeira will surely sign a long contract, maybe even 8 or 10 years. Does he seem like a good bet to provide solid value over the life of that contract, particularly the last couple seasons?
Will Carroll: NFL.com ads on BP? That's a bit odd looking ...
Ok, it's impossible to project 10 years out. Three is tough. Without the PECOTA comps, I go to BRef. There, you start seeing comp names like Willie McCovey, Jeff Bagwell, Fred McGriff and if you want a downside, Glenn Davis. All are pretty good physical comps, so that's a plus.
McCovey was a HOFer and good until 37, with a nice peak through age-33, so getting those years of Teixeira cover most of an 8 year deal.
Bagwell has a similar career path with a bit steeper of a drop due to the shoulder. Still, if you'd signed him to a big deal at age-28, you wouldn't have been unhappy.
Davis had a HUGE dropoff and was out of the game at 32, so there's your worst-case.
It's McGriff who I think is most comparable. Really good through 31, then good enough to be an All-Star for four more years. Worth $20 million a year? Not for the whole contract, but you don't kick yourself for doing it. For Teixeira, I wonder if the off-field value holds as much as we think for Baltimore (where he could be a huge difference maker in a lineup with Markakis and Wieters) or for Washington (where they're gonna stink no matter what and he could end up A-Rodding by the middle of the deal).
Matt (Chicago): Will -- I know you said that traumatic injuries are, by nature, unpredictable, but is there anything to suggest that some players might be more prone to traumatic injuries than others? Are some players more "breakable" than others?
Will Carroll: Yes. Some players do things that make them more likely. Base stealers and outfield hustlers are the big ones.
Tim (DC): Will, with all the work that has been done in sports medicine over the last 30 years, is there a player from before these advances that you look at as having a much greater career? Mine is Mantle (and Bobby Orr!) and his knees.
Will Carroll: Sandy Koufax? Steve Dalkowski? Joe Namath? Eric Lindros?
Erik (The Trop): It's up to you, who do you sign to be the Rays' DH in 2009? Giambi/Abreu/Burrell/Dunn/Bradley? Go.
Will Carroll: I'd rank them in precisely the opposite order you did. I'd be very curious to see whether Dunn would respond to Joe Madden's style. Speaking of Bradley, I had a long but off record conversation with Ron Washington where I came away amazingly impressed with Washington. There are people in the game (and in life) that just have "it" and Washington is one of them.
Mike (Chicago): With last year's shoulder trouble, and all the innings piled upon it since 2002, is Carlos Zambrano as bright a red as any other pitcher?
Will Carroll: Somewhere past red. Before the Rule 5, they were showing a highlight reel of the 08 season and when Zambrano dropped to his knees after the no-hitter, I noticed that he couldn't lift his right arm as high as his left. Telling.
Will Carroll: Ok, that's it for me. Thanks for all the questions, thanks for all the congrats, and let's do this again soon.
And yes, I'm serious about Pizza Feeds.