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Chat: Will Carroll

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Wednesday November 19, 2008 1:00 PM ET chat session with Will Carroll.


Whether you want to talk baseball, sports injuries in any industry, or any sport, Will Carroll's ready and willing to answer your questions. Will's chat has been rescheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

Will Carroll: Let's chat. First, I'll apologize for not making it yesterday. I live my life by Google Calendar and I accidentally set it for Wednesday instead of Tuesday. Dumb error. Second, I'm not discussing any free agent or trade rumors. Other than that, everything's fair game, including football.

sharksrog (San Francisco): You were perhaps the very first media person who discounted the scouts' concerns with Tim Lincecum and said two winters ago he was your choice for franchise pitcher for the next 10 years. Given that Tim had never thrown a pitch above High A, most would have considered that a very bold prediction. Today (and I ask this question four days before I expect Lincecum to become the Giants' first Cy Young Award winner in 41 years and I believe the second-ever NL pitcher to win the award in his first full season -- with Fernando Valenzuela being the other)that prediction looks like genius. What were the specific factors that allowed you to make what appears to be a prediction ahead of its time, and what implications do these factors have for Tim's continuing future?

Will Carroll: That's a really early submit, so I have to get this one up. Lincecum did win the award, so I look really smart, but basically I could have been wrong for the reasons I was right. Eyes are a terrible tool for judging pitchers and without facts and data on his joint load, I can't say anything with surety. I didn't see anything terribly wrong mechanically, but the same could be said about Mark Prior. I just didn't think "looks strange" ever equalled "dangerous."

Fred (Houston): Thanks for thee chat Will. Is it just a macho thing or do you know of a good reason more sluggers don't wear the Jeff Bagwell style padded batting glove? Some hitters are constantly pounded inside and it seams like an easy way to protect against a major injury. Carlos Lee wears an ankle guard for protection, why not a padded glove too?

Will Carroll: It's something I've talked about for years and finally got to the answer - it's illegal. Using any sort of padding requires a waiver and usually requires a previous injury. Whether it's an elbow guard or a padded glove, it would require an apparently hard to get waiver. I think that's very short sighted and should be changed.

alskor (Rhode Island): Looking for a little help on some minor leaguers... Chorye Spoone (SLAP Tear of Labrum), Fautino De Los Santos (TJ) and Tyler Robertson (Cant find any info!)... what are we looking at with these guys, in terms of time/recovery? I know FDLS is out for a good portion of 09. I have no clue about Spoone and Robertson. Thanks.

Will Carroll: Minor league injuries are tough to follow due to the sheer number and the difficulty in getting good info. I wish I could help more, but minors are Kevin's beat and I could only give generalities.

rawagman (Toronto): Will, what do you think is the main reason that hockey injuries are not disclosed? What possible benefit can a team get for doing so? What would have to change for this silly practice to change? Thanks

Will Carroll: Hockey doesn't disclose them because there's no cultural reason to do so. The thought is that players could be targetted more if the injury was known and that there's not enough gambling to be problematic. If the NFL didn't have huge money on it every week, there would be no injury report and even so, it's gamed a lot from week to week, though over the course of the year, it does pretty well within broad parameters.

CharlieAdams (New York): Will, thanks for chatting. Quick question regarding the Indians: what can Indians fans expect from Hafner this year? Is his shoulder in such disrepair that combined with his profile (aging lefty pull hitter) he has little chance of regaining his old form?

Will Carroll: I really have no idea. I'm waiting on PECOTA, but I'd guess that Hafner's got a better chance than most think to have something of a bounceback season. I guess it depends on what the upper end of that expectation is.

Chip (Richmond): Will, I emailed you a while back to ask about what we can learn from the care and rehab provided to athletes in other countries for "throwing type" injuries (I specifically referenced cricket and tennis serves). On a related note, can we learn anything about the mechanics of throwing a baseball by analyzing these similar actions in other sports? Thanks

Will Carroll: Tennis, yes. Cricket, no. The motion is too different. With tennis, the motion is more similar, especially in relation to the shoulder.

ericmilburn (San Francisco): Would you be worried about EdiNson Volquez' apparent fatigue at the end of the season and how it could hinder his effectiveness in 2009?

Will Carroll: Yes, he was clearly overworked. I don't expect that to stop Dusty. The only difference between Wood and Prior '04 and Volquez and Cueto '09 is that the Reds didn't sniff the playoffs.

Milby (Foster City, CA): Does Joba have it in him to make it 200 innings? What do you anticipate happens with him in 2009? Any way you slice it, he obviously won't lack effectiveness...

Will Carroll: A) How many pitchers do?
B) I think eventually he will. The Yankees understand building him up to it and did a great job this year. I think he's a 150-180 inning guy this year.

Max (Brooklyn, NY): You called KRod's new delivery "much less risky now" in his player profile. That being said, would you give him a 4 year contract this offseason? How do you balance his injury risk against K.Wood's?

Will Carroll: He's throwing more changeups. I wouldn't give any pitcher a four year deal. I'd take Wood (known) over Rodriguez (unknown), all things equal, which they're not.

Charlie (Bethesda, MD): If the Yankees don't end up with Teixeira, and Swisher ends up at first, doesn't signing Jim Edmonds make sense as a placeholder until Austin Jackson can come up?

Will Carroll: Is it Edmonds in San Diego or Chicago? And would someone please tell me what changed when he switched teams?
To answer the question, no, I don't think so.

beta461 (SF): You have any info on the Winslow injury?

Will Carroll: SHoulder injury, but it's not the shoulder he hurt last year. He'll likely play, but I want to see the Fri practice reports before I get stronger than that.

jlewando (dc): Are there any good comps to Todd Helton's back surgery and rehab? The man knows his strike zone, but is there a chance any of that power returns?

Will Carroll: Rafael Furcal is a pretty good one. Hardly the same player or type, but showed that a player can come back to level pretty quickly. Helton's fast becoming Sean Casey, which isn't a bad thing, just not what he's being paid to be.

mattdi02421 (Lexington MA): A lot of the early metric projection systems project a fall down to earth year for Lester. Does that have to do with the fact that he was out of baseball for a while, or what? What kind of year do expect for him in 2009. Thanks for your time Will

Will Carroll: I don't know what projections you're looking at, but I like Lester healthwise. I don't project things, but I'd sure take him on my team.

deadmonkeyhead (CA): Its in vogue this offseason to say that The Big Unit might provide the best value in the starting pitching market (likely a one year deal for just under $10 million is whats been floated around the press). Since you are the pitching/injury guy, would you sign him if you were a GM? What can we reasonably expect from him next year, both health-wise and overall effectivness, especially if he returns to the AL?

Will Carroll: At that price? No. He'd need to be on a deep pitching staff, warm weather, and a good pen to back up five and six inning starts. He'd work for some teams, but not very many. I guess the Cubs or Dodgers could, but he'd be a guy I check back on in January.

Adam J. Morris (Houston, TX): Rangers pitchers have been getting hurt constantly the last few years. Should we expect the change in pitching coaches, from Mark Connor to Mike Maddux, to help that situation?

Will Carroll: Without blaming Mark Connor for a systemic problem, I do think that Mike Maddux coming available is about the best possible situation for the Rangers. With the organizational mandate to pitch more, I think Maddux's focus on pitch sequencing will help some learn efficiency. On the other hand, I think the Rangers are also willing to break some pitchers to find some good ones. I just hope it's not the good ones they break.

matt (fantasy leaderboard): Brandon Jacobs, is he going to play? I've been toying with the idea of going Derrick Ward over Westbrook.

Will Carroll: I've been toying with that same decision. Not sure yet on Jacobs -- the Giants have good options so I think it will end up how they mix things up.

X (Y): A lot of talk out of Texas about Nolan Ryan implementing a stricter conditioning regime for the pitchers, with pitchers expected to throw more and longer, including throwing live BP in the spring. Good idea? Bad idea?

Will Carroll: We'll see. It's definitely a change and I think, as I said previous, that they're willing to break some to find some. If they break the wrong ones, this will look like a terrible idea.

jessehoffins (New York, New York): Hey, What was the deal with that santana surgery. There hasn't been a peep but the most expensive arm in the game went utk. Is he a green light still?

Will Carroll: He had his knee cleaned out. That's as routine as having your teeth cleaned and worth about as much of a mention.

buddaley (Clearwater): Matt Garza had a huge increase in major league innings pitched from 2007-2008. Is there a serious concern that he may suffer from it in 2009?

Will Carroll: He's definitely in the danger zone, but given what they did, I have a hard time saying I'd do anything different. Garza has an interesting arm with some physical "deformaties" in his elbow that actually strengthen it. I'm not sure what that means in the long term, but I'll bet the Rays will watch him closely. I'm not sure if there's anything a medical staff can do that trumps workload, so this is a good test.

Corkedbat (Dallas): What is it about Bill Parcells' ability to maintain healthy football teams the past half a dozen years? Is it the training regimine or just a real good sense of player breakdowns and thus playing time management or an exceptional medical staff? Or all of the above? Help me out here. It is baffling.

Will Carroll: It is and it's one of the things I'm really looking at. It's very likely to be a PFP 09 piece if I can find anything.

dianagramr (NYC): Hey Will ... thanks for chatting ... Non-baseball question: Who doesn't make it out alive from the series finale of The Shield? I say Vic, Shane and Claudette.

Will Carroll: Know what I love? That I've watched this show for seven seasons and I have no bleeping clue what's about to happen. My WAGs are that Shane takes a bullet for Mara, that Dutch takes one for Claudette (did she take back her firing of him? I couldn't tell), and that Ronnie is the key to everything.

Corkedbat (Dallas): How long should the Panthers expect subpar Delhomme following the Tommy John Surgery? Will he be more effective next year or should they start scouting their next QB?

Will Carroll: Is he subpar? He's not great, but he wasn't before. His catch rate is down, but is that him or his WRs? He was average before and average now. I think they should upgrade if possible, but that goes for everyone.

Tim (DC): Hey Will: my ex-wife just got diagnosed with a SLAP tear with biceps tendonitis. How common is this injury in the general populace, particularly considering she never did sports, nor took a bad fall? Or was she keeping her past as a Rice Owl hurler a secret?

Will Carroll: I have a great line about repetitive stress, but this is a family site ...

It's more common than you'd think, especially in the elderly.

Andy Roddick's agent (New York): So could Andy Roddick throw 95?

Will Carroll: I tried to find this out a couple years ago, but you cock-blocked me. He was ready to do it at the RCA Championships. My guess is low-90s out of the box, mid-90s with some practice. I'd also bet it'd be flat as a rail at first too.

Hixon (NY, NY): Will, a 1999 Institute of Medicine study revealed marijuana is a proven pain reliever; 12 states now allow patients to use medical marijuana and thousands of testimonials from AIDS, cancer and MS patients show marijuana's positive medicinal effects. Given the increasing number of people that are suffering from complications, or even death, from overuse of NSAIDs (Alonzo Mourning) and prescription painkillers, will we ever get to a point where any of the major sports leagues view medical marijuana as a viable alternative?

Will Carroll: No.

nwcmatt (Iowa City): What's this I hear about ESPN possibly buying Baseball Prospectus?

Will Carroll: You know as much as I do. They could buy us for a week of Steve Phillips' hair care, I'd guess.

Inquiring Minds (Everywhere): Hey Will, are you going to Vegas anytime soon?

Will Carroll: I'll be there for the Winter Meetings. I'll be doing some stuff with ESPN Radio Vegas (not national) while I'm out there and if it's available on the web, I'll be sure to link it in Unfiltered.

Brian (Brooklyn NY): I believe I once read that you have some sort of a finance background. Do you have any insights on what is going on with Mark Cuban?

Will Carroll: It's pretty transparent. If he sold shares with knowledge, he's guilty of insider trading, but there's a LOT of noise here. I'll wait for it to shake out before thinking this is anything.

Roger Goddell (New Haven, CT): My father was one of the biggest pioneers on the war on drugs when he was in politics. Why should I be expected to do a 360 from my father and allow medical marijuana in the NFL?

Will Carroll: Great point. But if you're going to fake a name, spell it right.

Opel (Boston): I recall you writing somewhere that you had a theory that Jon Lester seemed to become stronger towards the end of the season, in spite of pitching many more innings than he had ever before, because he had built up stamina when he was pitching in a weakened state in 2007, his "recovery" year. Could you elaborate, and do you think his performance next year will suffer from his 70 inning jump this year?

Will Carroll: Just a theory. I think his 2007 had a "multiplier" in there because he was building stamina at less than full strength and came out fine. The Red Sox have much better data and over the next few years, they're going to really build an advantage with pitchers unless some other teams catch up. Mike Reinold might end up as valuable as any player on their team by 2012.

Steve (Pittsburgh): Do you think Ryan Doumit can repeat his successes in 2009, or was 2008 a healthy fluke?

Will Carroll: Bit of both? Sounds like a cop out and is, but I think Doumit's 08 is repeatable if he stays healthy. The Pirates medical staff is darn good at certain things and a bit iffy at certain things, but their results are solid. Problem with catchers is that health is almost by definition kind of fluky. Doumit doesn't have the track record to say that he's one of the guys who somehow stays healthy for a long period behind the plate.

Peter (Cleveland): Was Fausto Carmona's season a product of the Verducci Effect? Can we expect a rebound in 09?

Will Carroll: Certainly a factor, I think, and I do think we'll see a bounceback.

Oliver Stone (LA): My new movie will focus on the Mark Cuban conspiracy led by Bud Selig to get the SEC to investigate Cuban so he would have an excuse not to approve his potential Cubs purchase.

Will Carroll: How about you make a watchable movie, which you haven't really done since ... Platoon? Salvador?

Andrew (Huntington, NY): How long do you think Martin Broduer's distal bicep injury in his left elbow will keep him sidelined? At the age of 36, do you see this as a possible career ender being that it is his first major injury? Being that it is his glove hand, will he be able to reach out and grab pucks and will it permenantly alter his range in the net?

Will Carroll: No, because extension is more important than flexion for the glove hand. The antagonistic action of the bicep is more of a tuning thing, but he could play with a weakened bicep. I think he'll be back in 3 months and back to playoff caliber pretty quickly.

Ryan (NY): What are your top 5 movies this year?

Will Carroll: I don't watch a lot of movies. It's something I gave up when I started writing about baseball. I spend about 18 hours a day writing and researching. I watch more TV. Dark Knight was really good.

Goose (Chicago): Everyone talks about players getting huge contracts and regressing, but look at a player like Ryan Dempster. He does not seem to be the type of personality to stop working hard, the same likely cannot be siad for KRod or Burnett, for example. Agreed?

Will Carroll: You think it's about not working hard? Ok. No, I disagree.

Joe (Washington, DC): Hi Will. Obviously there would be special cases, but in general if you were a GM would you have a cap on contract length for pitchers and position players (say, 4 years for pitchers and 6 years for position players)?

Will Carroll: I'd be the king of the vesting option. I'd never sign a pitcher for more than 3 or a player for more than 4. Now, if it's three plus vesting options based on innings, sure. If it's a Longoria, where I'm buying out arb and free agent years, yes, I go longer.

Brian (Brooklyn NY): What were your opinions on Lukas Oil Stadium?

Will Carroll: I sat extremely high, so it was a terrible view. Bad accessibility - my walk from the door to my seat was 25 minutes. Lots of bathrooms, which is a massive improvement over RCA. It's better than RCA, but the price is ... well, I wouldn't have paid it and I wouldn't have bought tickets.

Rob (Brighton): What is your prognosis for David Ortiz? Do you think he'll be hampered by the wrist next year, possibly longer, or is probably not a concern?

Will Carroll: I think he'll be fine, with some degradation more on age than anything else.

Steve (St. Louis): Is somebody going to write an article on Pujols' MVP win? I mean its a pretty big story and this is a baseball site.

Will Carroll: It's hard to do an article on "Pujols was better than everyone else and the writers got it right." I mean, what else is there to say? Oh, "congratulations, Albert." I'm more interested in Pujols' interest in a St Louis MLS franchise. His contract is nearing the end, so does that make it more likely he'll stay?

ericmilburn (San Francisco): Regarding player contract lengths, you could say in principal that you'll never sign a pitcher for more than 3 years, but wouldn't that severely hinder your ability to sign top pitching? It seems like only the risky, injury prone pitchers would settle for a contract this length.

Will Carroll: Yeah, it would, but I'd be glad to pay for surety or work on finding more pitching at the right level. For instance, I'd offer Sabathia something like what the Brewers did -- three years plus an option at a very high per year rate. If the Yankees overbid, so be it.

Bill (New Mexico): Christina's roundup of the NL Central yesterday suggested that Chris Duncan's neck injury could be career-ending. That's the worst prognosis for it that I've read anywhere. Are you hearing anything on that one?

Will Carroll: Its a good description. I'd say "career threatening" and I think that's the phrase doctors have used.

buffum (Austin TX): Have you heard any updates on whether Aaron Laffey and/or Anthony Reyes will be ready for Spring Training? Reyes' shutdown seemed precautionary and less serious, but I'm not convinced Laffey will even pitch in 2009.

Will Carroll: Both expected to be ready for Spring Training. I was about to say Winter Haven, but that's not right any more. I can't imagine how many times I'm going to say "Dodgertown" this spring.

Rob (Brighton): What did you think of the Japanese girl who throws the side-armed knuckle ball? It's pretty cool to see a woman get drafted, and I have an inexplicable love for junk ballers. Hope she makes it in NPB.

Will Carroll: No idea. I haven't seen her, but given indy leagues penchant for gimmicks, I guess until they dress her up like Gogo Yubari, we have to give her some credit. It's better than that pig that brings the balls out in St Paul.

drewfuss (kc): "It's hard to do an article on 'Pujols was better than everyone else and the writers got it right.'" Is that why things tend to get a little negative around here? Nobody is willing to write an article that's not critical of the rest of the baseball world?

Will Carroll: That's not it at all. I'm just saying there's nothing interesting to write. It's not exactly breaking news that Pujols is the best player in baseball, is it? Warren Buffett -- still rich! Stacy London -- still hot! Albert Pujols -- still good!

Brian (Brooklyn NY): I know you dont want to talk about rumors but back when you were living that life, would you call someone looking for information or would people call you and give you information?

Will Carroll: Both.

Henry F. (NJ): "I'd be the king of the vesting option." Well that's all and great, Will, but what makes you think players will accept a vesting option? Basically, if the player stays healthy he's locked into a deal, it's only if he's healthy that he'll want a new deal. If he gets injured and misses the cutoff then he's out of a job and perhaps has to take an NRI to spring training when all he wants is to remain in his current contract. Free agents might not sign with you.

Will Carroll: They might not. I would miss some and that's the cost of doing business, but I'm also not likely to get stuck with four years of injured Pavano or having a whining Burnett on my roster.

Steve (NJ): Please order the following closers from the one you would MOST want to sign to a four year deal to LEAST: K-Rod, Fuentes, Wood.

Will Carroll: I would not sign any of them to a four year deal. Or three. Fuentes is probably the most likely to stay healthy over that period.

Saburo (Honolulu): Did you get that e-mail note from Peet's asking for our support during the hard economic times? My mom thought there was an implicit message in there saying there would be no more free shipping offers. I doubt it. What's your take?

Will Carroll: I did. Yeah, I think they're just being smart. Peet's (and BP, for that matter) are going to be things that some people look at and say "is this something I can still afford?" For some people, the answer's no. I'll worry if I see Amazon raise shipping on Prime members.

Rob (Brighton): BA was really bullish on Bosox prospect Nick Hagadone for next year, despite his TJ surgery this year. Have we really reached the point where a major injury/surgery like that can be viewed as just a set-back? It seems like TJ surgery has come a long way in a short time; are there any other procedures that look to make the same progress?

Will Carroll: I dont know much about Hagadone, but we just had Casey Weathers on the Top 11 BPR and he's coming off very recent TJ. It's predictable, so I think it doesn't hurt someone's stock as much as something unpredictable would. Other procedures are getting better and quicker across the board. Without getting political, the idea that the Obama administration is going to open up stem cell research could be the biggest change. I did an article for Popular Science recently and in talking about the future of sports medicine, damn near every answer started with 'stem cells.'

Rob (Brighton): Will, any thoughts on writing an article on how the Bosox built that advantage in their medical understanding? It sounds like a great read and a good incite into an aspect of the sport that we don't see often at all.

Will Carroll: Sure, if you can get them to talk to me about it! They're not real talkative. I know a lot of what they're doing, but it's the systematic approach and the seat at the table that differentiates thiings. You'd be stunned at the number of teams that don't consult their trainers before a trade or signing.

So you're telling me (there's a chance?): So...is Jenn single these days? Say "hi" for me.

Will Carroll: She is. Hey Jenn - "So you're telling me" says hi.

Lincoln (Dallas): Should I still worry about Tony Romo reinjuring his broken finger? or does the combination of time off and padding mean he's about as risky as anybody else who tries to throw a piece of pig in 3 seconds before 300 angry men try to tear him apart?

Will Carroll: He's slightly more risky, but not nearly as much as most think. The biggest adjustment is what they did with the line this week. I can't wait to see Edge Matchup to see what Jaws says.

Matt (Whippleville, NY): Any concerns with Mike Pelfrey, seeing that his innings went up quite a bit in '08?

Will Carroll: Yes, huge. He's probably this year's Verducci Effect poster child. The Mets knew it, understood the risks, and pushed smartly. We'll see how it works out.

Dennis (Chicago): Will, what impact do you think Cole Hamels' increased workload this season is likely to have? (Will he be a Red next spring?)

Will Carroll: Again, it's a jump, but it's his second year of a jump. I'm going to guess red, maybe very high yellow. I'm REALLY debating putting something beyond the simple bands next year, but numbers are a bear and could be reverse engineered. Any suggestions?

jklein (TP): Should Brad Penney's shoulder keep teams away or is he the 2009 bargain buy? Seems like a perfect fit for teams willing to dump money on The Big Unit.

Will Carroll: I'd certainly take a look. He could be useful for the right team and at the right price. That said, if the Dodgers don't think he can stay healthy, I'm not going to argue with Neil and Stan.

Chris (Harrisonburg, VA): How healthy will Furcal be for next year? In your system, what color would he rate for 2009?

Will Carroll: I haven't even begun to run these, both because it's November and because PECOTA is a big part of the equation and because the underlying actuarial table isn't finished until after the new year. Guess? Red. Back issues tend to recur, though I'd be willing to take some risk based on Furcal's upside.

rawagman (TO): In Verducci terms, how long should it be expected to take to convert a young releiver into a starter capable of throwing 180+IP? I'm thinking especially of Brett Cecil here, although I have also heard of this being attempted by other clubs with highly esteemed prospects. Thank you

Will Carroll: That's a pretty extreme case, but I'd say two years. He's either going to handle the workload, or not.

David (NJ): Thoughts on Pedro Martinez for 2009? Can he bounce back? There's a thought that his father's illness and subsequent death took a toll on his season. I can understand how that's possible.

Will Carroll: Or Varitek with his divorce. I'd try Pedro in the pen, honestly, and I would have last yr too after Wagner went down.

Bill Nye (Seattle, WA): Is the Popular Science article published yet? Link?

Will Carroll: You really need to see the issue -- I think it was October -- because the layout was cool. Here's a link to what was online: http://www.popsci.com/category/tags/will-carroll

jessehoffins (New York, New York): Is there any pitch-fx type data, or other study that suggests that harder throwing pitchers (or faster pitches) produce higher slugging percentages on BIP?

Will Carroll: Not that I've seen. PFX needs to move beyond the whizbang cool stuff to the useful stuff really quick.

john huss (orlando): whats this I hear about you doing college football injuries :)

Will Carroll: Shameless, man. Shameless. Yep, doing college football over at Fantasycollegeblitz.com -- I'll have a new column/video up tomorrow covering the biggest college injuries. Still working on topping last week's video.

Adam (Italy): If you're in the Furcal sweepstakes this offseason, how do you structure the contract and what is the highest you are willing to go given risk, upside, etc.? Do you think players are more willing to take a voidable Magglio-type contract these days?

Will Carroll: Hmm. I haven't seen any of the offers but I'd try to do something like what he did in LA -- three years, bit higher per-year.
Yes. The Ordonez deal was almost no risk and got it done, so yes, I think that's something more people should look at.

Chris (Harrisonburg, VA): Has Bengie Molina surprised you with his durability? When the Giants signed him, I expected him to collapse (catchers with weight issues past the age of 30 isn't a recipe for health) but he's played 134 and 145 games over the last two years. Are his chances good for playing 120+ games in 2009?

Will Carroll: I'd think so, but the dropoff is going to be quick and I couldn't tell you when that's going to happen. (See: Posada, Jorge and Varitek, Jason.)

raygu1 (burlington, nj): Will-thanks for the chat. Should Torre be worried about the innings Kershaw pitched in 2008? how about Billz?

Will Carroll: No on Kershaw, who was handled very gingerly and perhaps too cautiously, if that's possible. Dont think so on Billingsley, though his body type is always going to be an issue.

Andy Depper (Bellingham, WA): "PFX needs to move beyond the whizbang cool stuff to the useful stuff really quick." Please explain...

Will Carroll: Yes, it's cool. Yes, it does neat stuff and graphs and that, but I've yet to see anyone do much in the way of "this works, this doesn't." The mainstream baseball fan does NOT get it and for the most part, the mainstream baseball ops guy doesn't either.

x (y) (mass): what % of clay bucholz problems are mechanic, injury related, conditioning, mental and growing pains?

Will Carroll: He's physically fine. I'll let Deadspin deal with the rest.

brianjamesoak (Alameda, CA): Arizona sent Max Scherzer to the fall league to get in the innings he 'missed' during the summer. Good idea or bad idea?

Will Carroll: Good idea.

rpartee (Bay Area): The Giants should sign Furcal, and then I think it would be a good move to trade for Beltre. Could Winn and a solid prospect(s), not including the big names, be enough to pull this off? And could Beltre get closer to 2004 form than in the past several years, being back in the NL and in a contract year?

Will Carroll: Maybe before Jack Zduriencik got there. Now, not so much. GMs are going to figure out quickly that there's one less mark at the table.

Steve (NJ): At what increments should a young pitcher's workload be increased each year to get him from say 150 ip to 220 ip?

Will Carroll: 30ish.

niketour2 (oregon): Rangers get Jav Vasquez & Manny del Carmen, Red Sox get Teagarden & Kiker, White Sox get Coco Crisp & Kris Johnson; who says no?

Will Carroll: Rangers ... and I guess now the Royals.

jlarsen (somewhere on my G1): Who do you see profiling as Dioneer Navarro's primary back-up? Riggans? Jaso? Wild Card?

Will Carroll: Both? Whoever profiles as a better fit, has a hot spring, etc. I dont think there's significant difference. Jaso's got more upside, but they really didn't have a backup for the last month and did ok. You just need someone that can go 30 games a year to give Navarro some rest.

Chris (Harrisonburg, VA): Are you concerned about F-Rod's dip in velocity?

Will Carroll: Yes and no. Yes in that it happened, no in that he adjusted and learned a change.

Jake (Chicago): Any chance for Rich Hill to ever turn it around? What happened?

Will Carroll: Has anyone come back from Steve Blass Syndrome?

Will Carroll: I'm about to start my radio section of the day, so I'm out. Sorry again for the delay and thanks for the questions.

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