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Chat: Will Carroll

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Monday February 07, 2005 7:00 PM ET chat session with Will Carroll.


Will Carroll is an author of Baseball Prospectus.

Will Carroll: With the most questions I've ever seen in queue, I'm going to start a little early. I guess people are either really excited about the start of the THR's or, more likely, really excited that baseball is just a week away. So, powered by a loaded iPod, let's get on to the chat ...

Mark (Maryland): Dr. Carroll, I'm curious how you'd guestimate the prognosis for Jose Valverde's arm returning to form following his partially torn labrum. The Diamondbacks are confident he'll be "ready" on OD (whatever that means). You've said that damage to the labrum bodes poorly for long term success. Do you do "medical PECOTAs", ie, historical comps based on similar cases (to the extent you can learn particulars of individual injuries/surgeries)?

Will Carroll: Let's start with this one. First, I'm not a doctor nor do I play one on BP. I'm just a writer with a sports medicine and risk management background. I'm lucky to have great resources and people to call when medically, I get in over my head.

"Combos" Valverde is coming back from a frayed labrum which is never a good sign for someone with poor mechanics and as much torque as he puts on his shoulder. The key is watching if he can alter his mechanics, not bringing his shoulder behind the theoretical "elbow to elbow" line. There are a lot of pitchers that do this, but few in such an extreme manner. Im not confident of his ability to stay healthy.

PECOTA already had a medhead element with its risk profiles and attrition values. I hope that someday the THR calculations can mesh more with the PECOTA values.

Amazin7 (NYC): If you were Willie Randolf, how would you set up the Mets' lineup? It looks like they're going to start the season Reyes-Matsui 1-2, but these two will probably have the lowest OBP on the team. Should the Mets use Reyes and Meintkevitz at the top- to leave at least one of the speedsters at the front?

Will Carroll: Vern Gambetta, the trainer that the Mets hired to work with Reyes last year, raved about Reyes when I saw him at ASMI last month. He's got some great skills if he can stay healthy and adjust to the major leagues. Gambetta says he's hard working, so that bodes well.

I dont think that lineups really matter. New BPer Jay Jaffe did some work on this at Futility Infielder. Of course, Matsui's going to need to both stay healthy AND hit to stay at the top of that lineup.

blazeswim (Crown Point, IN): Any word on Mark Prior's healing process? Is the Achilles going to be a linger problem?

Will Carroll: Already with the Prior questions. Yes, Mark is healthy, fully healed, and doesn't anticipate any problems. Of course, no one anticipated that his Achilles would take so long to heal or that the complications during that process would be nearly as bad as the injury itself.

Most importantly, his arm is healthy and it might be a net positive long term that he had a bit of a break from the heavy workload at his age. That said, there's some interesting research going on within the secret walls of one team that may make the "young pitcher more risky" rule of thumb go away.

Fred Drucker (P. Junction): Thanks for chatting, Will! If Rick Ankiel makes it all the way back (or at least nearly so) from Steve Blass Syndrome to become a very effective MLB pitcher, would he be the first? I don't think anyone's ever done it, really--either pitcher or position player. (To me, Wohlers doesn't count.) Thanks again.

Will Carroll: Wohlers doesn't count? I guess if you don't like the facts, we can ignore those. Off the top of my head, I can't think of any. It's a very small data set. I have a pet theory about UCL injuries, ulnar nerve anatomy, and Blass syndrome.

Dr. Benton Quest (Mozambique): Hello, Will! On a recent BP Radio show you stated that the 2005 N.L. Central would be won with "85 or 86" victories. The Cub rotation & Cardinal starting 8 are much too strong for that, aren't they? (Plus both teams have smart, aggressive GM's adept at midseason acquisitions.) Thanks for chatting.

Will Carroll: Mozambique? That's gotta be some sort of record.

You're right 85 or 86 is a bit low. I'll occasionally say things on the radio and then realize I over- or under-stated things when I hear it. I'm not enamored of any of the teams in this division. Someone will have everything break the right way, make the right trade, something, and win 90. I doubt we'll see anything like last year's runaway division. If anything, one of these teams will collapse.

Will (Iowa): I spent last season convinced the Royals should have shut Greinke down early, if only because there was no real benefit to his being on the mound after awhile and he's so young. Can you tell me anything about how Greinke projects injury-wise... I remember how everyone said Prior was too perfect to get injured...

Will Carroll: Greinke is an interesting case to watch. Young, not a power pitcher, never overused. I feel very good about how he'll work with new Royals pitching coach Guy Hansen. Add in that the Royals are smart enough to work with ... other smart organizations, we'll say (gotta keep those sources secret!), and it adds up to the right place to be.

There's always things like ticket sales, schedule integrity, and the chance that the Royals had Greinke working on certain things during those last starts that we don't know. There's a long way to go between integrating the insider and outsider info.

Anthony (Long Island): How many starts will Jaret Wright and Kevin Brown combine for?

Will Carroll: Fifty.

smartishpace (Baltimore): Brewer’s pitchers Ben Sheets (lumbar disc herniation) and Mike Jones (SLAP lesion, right shoulder) had off-season surgeries. How do you expect them to recover? What’s the risk in signing Sheets to a long-term contract? It was nice to hear the Brewers invited you to speak; did they ask you about these players? Thanks, I enjoy listening to your radio show.

Will Carroll: There's ALWAYS risk in any long term contract. Doug Melvin is making the common sense move of waiting to see Sheets pitch before making a commitment. I think this one will get done quickly. Sheets PECOTA looks about right to be, while Jones will be out most of the season.

I can't talk more than I already have about the Brewers symposium, sorry.

randolph3030 (New York, NY): Whats your feeling on SP becoming RP and RPs becoming SPs? For instance, is Ryan Dempster a bigger concern because he is going to be relieving? Or should we expect Smoltz to miss time as he returns to starting? Does it appear that starting or relieving is more dangerous to a surgically repaired arm?

Will Carroll: Fatigue! What you're really asking about, Willie, is fatigue and recovery. The running metaphor works pretty well here. You train differently for each distance in track ... wait, should I use track metaphors with all their drug problems? Anyway, there's a big difference in how sprinters, mid-distance runners, and marathoners prep. Is it easier to run 10 miles once a week or 100 yards at full effort five times a week?

It's obviously easier to adjust going downward, though so much depends on recovery time. Either way required adjustements. Both guys you mention have had all winter or longer to adjust. Tom House says that improving a starting pitcher's recovery from 72 hours to 48 is good for a 2 game swing in their record (10-10 to 12-8.) You tell me how much that's worth.

DrLivy (Charleston, West Virginia): Last year the Cardinals so-so pitching posted the second best team ERA in the national league. With Mulder there to replace Williams, can they have the best staff in the National League in 2005?

Will Carroll: It's possible, certainly, but I'm not sure we can expect them not to regress. Mulder has some injury concerns - there's a ton of whispers that Beane "sold high." Add in Carpenter and Morris' injury concerns and the mystery of Ankiel and I'm not sure what to expect. The bullpen may be a bigger deal. Larussa may push the starters he has (and they only go six deep) to go further without Kline and Calero.

I'd take the Mets and Cubs over the Cards this season with the Phillies and Astros close behind.

prophet (Mountain View, CA): PECOTA takes into account playing time issues, but AFAIK it doesn't also take into account reduced performance due to injury, such as the command-being-the-last-thing-to-return-post-Tommy-John surgery. How close are you to being able to factor injuries into a performance equation, from both a reduced performance and time-missed perspective?

Will Carroll: Without speaking for Nate, I think there's been a massive misunderstanding of what the weighted mean actually is when it comes to actual prediction. It's simply the most likely scenario, given the range of possibilities. Players will come in above or below these with regularity and, given that the plate appearances will exist no matter if an OF is traded or all four, trading one for value makes sense. Using the Reds as an example, someone will take the plate appearances, whether it's Ryan Freel, umm, errr, man, they must have SOMEONE else after Freel ... Stephen Smitherman? Yikes.

Going back to '04, let's look at the PECOTA mean and the actual results for these four:

Dunn: 453 AB(p)/ 568 AB(a) [above 90% PECOTA]
Griffey: 218 AB(p)/ 300 AB(a) [above 90% PECOTA]
Kearns: 369 AB(p)/ 217 AB(a) [below 10% PECOTA]
Pena: 309 AB(p)/ 336 AB(a) [above 90% PECOTA]

This is just AB, but even PECOTA had a hard time with the extremes this outfield caused last season. It was much better on EqA prediction:

Dunn: 320 vs 302 (predicted vs actual)
Griffey: 291 vs 294
Kearns: 291 vs 289
Pena: 284 vs 281

The last paragraph of this:http://www.baseballprospectus.com/pecota/glossary/hitter.html#2004_Forecast is key.

Edna Krabappel (Springfield): Hey, Will. Did I hear you say on Prospectus Radio: "Pittsburgh, on the other hand, now THERE'S a team to watch for. Because they have a LOT of pitching...." (Emphases yours.) I see Oliver Perez, a few excellent bullpenners, and perhaps a bounceback year from Kip Wells. Who am I overlooking? Thanks!

Will Carroll: Depth vs Peak. Quantity vs Quality.

The Cards, for instance, have a good set of starters but only go six deep and they'll start with Morris on the DL. The Pirates have Perez, Wells, and Fogg, plus a load of young players. Unfortunately, many of them are hurt but they have a LOT of guys. JVB is down? Fine, we have Ian Snell. Bradley's hurt again? Bullington's available.

I do love Oliver Perez in a way not seen since Gary Huckabay's 2002 mancrush on Johan Santana.

Jeff (Chicago): Hi Will, Did Cole Hamels win the fight?

Will Carroll: No, I opened up a can of whup ... never mind.

He lost, plain and simple, because he lost time and respect in that organization. Talent doesn't always take you where you should go. Let's hope Hamels -- and the many others fighting demons and stupidity -- can turn it around.

Evan (Vancouver): Based just on injury risk, whose contract do you like more: Carlos Delgado, or Richie Sexson?

Will Carroll: Delgado. I haven't seen anyone with this injury that hasn't had a recurrence. It's a very common injury in, of all things, rugby.

felton (new orleans): Will, thanks for all the work. Does Brad Penny have a good chance to pitch effectively in 2005?

Will Carroll: Chance? Sure. He'll get paid well, regardless.

Chris Carpenter has a similar problem and is already throwing. LA has been a bit more guarded about Penny's status (Hey Paul, there's things NOT to emulate about Oakland ...) but it would go to task that if they went to arbitration with him, they know enough to think he'll pitch. I'm not drafting him for my Scoresheet team tho.

Fred Drucker (P. Junction): Immediately pre-Blass, Mark Wohlers posted good-to-outstanding ERA+ numbers of 120, 145, and 202. His only 3 post-Blass scores were 109, 103, and 94. So I don't think I'm really ignoring facts. (I hate being zinged.)

Will Carroll: Need a thick skin in this biz, Fred.

Wohlers looks like the typical dominant closer - very small window of rockin' the house.

John (Toronto): Hi Will. With Shawn Greens' big second half last year would you say this is a result of him being finally recovered from the torn labrum or would you think this was just good stretch for him. Can he perform close to his pre-injury form or should we expect mediocre numbers the rest of his career.

Will Carroll: Green's labrum wasn't just torn - it was removed. He has bone on bone in there that will require adjustments and treatments. With the new park and a year of experience, I think he'll creep up slightly, building on his second half. He's also in a contract year, so ...

bstrom (Tucson, Arizona): Will, Do you believe there is one perfect delivery that analysis has shown is what pitchers should strive for? Another question if you have time... Will, what are your thoughts on long toss distance, elevated or not elevated throw etc?

Will Carroll: I think that there's an ideal that allows for some variation around it. We're learning what those parameters are as we get more and more data. Already this year, I've learned that two teams are adding high speed video capacity - that's amazing to me. That said, we have to find that balance between a pitcher's effective motion and that ideal motion. That's why pitching coaches get paid the big bucks, right B?

Long toss - lots of good research on this. I like long toss for my pitchers up to the point where they can throw straight (flat) and with normal mechanics. Too many long tossers straighten up their back and put more stress on their shoulder.

bctowns (Chicago): Will, Who is a bigger injury risk for the upcoming season, Santana or Prior? Santana logged a lot of innings, and Prior is still young (read: middle of injury nexus) and looking to rebound after last year's nagging injuries. Who would you keep for the upcoming fantasy season?

Will Carroll: Santana, but neither is a big worry. If you have both, man, can I join that league?

I say Santana because he's already had bone chips in his elbow, something that often recurs and needs maintenance. Prior's had his own problems, but I'll take a guy with non-arm injuries over the arm injury every time.

kschell (Cary NC): Jesse Foppert recovery status?

Will Carroll: Last I heard, he's on the typical post-TJ track. I think that puts him on track to compete during spring training.

Katman (San Jose): What can we expect from Andy Pettitte this year? Will he be full strength at the start of Spring Training, or will they need to ease him into longer stints?

Will Carroll: Pettitte 05 = Schmidt 04.

Similar, nearly identical injuries. Similar, nearly identical surgeries. Similar, nearly identical rehabs and timeframes.

I'm not saying Pettitte will be as good as Schmidt, but I'm not saying he won't either. The Astros are depending on their big three to carry them more than the Cubs are.

Brian (Chicago): Will, what have you heard on the recovery of Big Frank? I have heard a couple of opinions, one that he will be back in April or May, the other that he will be back in May or June. At what strength should his foot be at when he returns? Thanks.

Will Carroll: When Ozzie Guillen said that he expected Frank back in June, I think ... well, I'm never sure what Ozzie is saying. Someone recently told me that it's not the accent, that Ozzie doesn't always make much sense in Spanish either.

I've heard May 1 as their target date. I'm not sure if that includes a rehab stint to shake the rust off his big bat.

jordanneuman (Skokie, IL): With advances in conditioning and sports medicine, and with certain teams experimenting with pitchers' usage patterns in the minor leagues, is there a chance that we may see an MLB team change the "5 starters, LOOGY, set-up man, closer and three other guys" model for a pitching staff?

Will Carroll: Yes, there's hope. Teams are beginning to get creative, do the research, and realize that the results their getting might be improved on. Expect things like two-way players, four-man rotations, and completely new usage patterns in the minor leagues as the minds in front offices get more and more open to the ideas that, to us, are old news.

pjfsks (morristown nj): Any insights on Victor Zambrano's elbow? Also, 2005 PECOTA gives Cliff Floyd 381 at bats, and 342 for Piazza. Your guess as to the over/under for these two?

Will Carroll: I've heard good news on Zambrano. I'm still not sure that the Mets got so screwed on that deal.

Floyd sounds about right; Piazza a bit low.

Stringer Bell (West Baltimore): Fantasy question will..NL only, 10 team, saber based league--OBP,slg,runs,rbi and sb-cs are the hitting categories...Helton,Bonds,Abreu,Beltran and Pujols have been selected--who should go next in your opinion?

Will Carroll: Aww, String, I was sorry to see you go out like that. "The Wire" is criminally underappreciated.

I'm torn between Adam Dunn and Miguel Cabrera. Then again, you might go with a pitcher like Jason Schmidt or Mark Prior, just to be wacky.

Evan (Vancouver, BC): "I haven't seen anyone with this injury that hasn't had a recurrence. It's a very common injury in, of all things, rugby." I assume you mean Sexson's injury. Subluxation seems like a rugby sort of thing.

Will Carroll: Yes, Sexson's shoulder - sorry if that wasn't clear.

kgknapp (Palo Alto, CA): Will, I had an idea when reading your top 50 catching prospects chat. All these guys with big bats, but marginal C skills (Barton, Willingham, Craig Wilson in the Majors) aren't being used correctly. Couldn't they serve as a team's backup C in the Majors while still playing another position full time? I would think that 30 games of Daric Barton catching for Kendall would be better than 30 games of Adam Melhuse. You could spot start Barton against teams that don't steal bases well. Plus, it's better roster construction. You don't even have to carry Adam Melhuse any more for a measly 30 games and 150AB. I mean, Piazza's stick made up for his terrible D.

Will Carroll: The "LeCroy Plan"? I like the way you think, K.

I'll leave it to the rest of the BP braintrust to tell me why this one doesn't work, aside from service time issues.

GBSimons (Seymour, IN): Will, as a Cubs fan, what's your opinion on the Sosa trade and subsequent signing of Burnitz?

Will Carroll: Sosa had to go. We all knew that. I'll miss him and hope that his memory will come back to the way it was once. He's a Hall of Fame talent who should wear a Cubs hat on his plaque.

Burnitz ... well, he's just the type of player that Dusty has success with. I'll keep the sharp implements away from myself for the first couple weeks. Someone, please, rescue me from Cubsfandom.

Neilage (Atlanta): Hi Will, I greatly anticipate the return of your UTK columns as well as the "traffic light" reports. Q: There has been a lot of praise for the Marlins signing Al Leiter this off-season, however I have not heard any concerns about his fraying labrum and tendinitis in his pitching shoulder that appeared to catch up to him in the second half of 2004. Does Leiter's decision to avoid surgery make him a flashing red light?

Will Carroll: Thanks.

Leiter's going to be a red light, of course, but he's not the normal circumstance. If he had the surgery, he'd likely be calling it a career and if he's not pitching, he doesn't need the surgery. He'll go out and pitch as much as he can as well as he can until, well, he can't. I wonder if McKeon can do as good a job of handling him as Rick Peterson did last season.

doog7642 (Blaine, MN): What's your best guess at an over/under for the number of years that Joe Mauer's primary position will be catcher?

Will Carroll: Two.

dangor (New York): I've always wondered about something in the obsession with pitch count. How come bullpen warmups don't count? Some guys throw 90 in the bullpen. With relievers, wouldn't pitching 2 innings every other day be better than pitching one inning on consecutive days so that you could completely rest your arm?

Will Carroll: Teams watch this already. They don't let a reliever "dry hump" too much, to use the colorful term for getting up in the pen without coming in to the game.

Again, you're looking at fatigue and recovery, an area we need a lot more research on and an area I'm focusing on.

Race Bannon (Des Moines): One pitcher (regardlees of salary) for the next 5 years: Sheets, Santana, O. Perez, or Prior? Or someone else? Thanks, Will!

Will Carroll: Can't go wrong there.

Wow, Prior in a squeaker and yes, that's probably irrational.

John (SF, CA): Any updates on Mark Ellis? Will he be healthy for spring training, or is the Ginter trade a sign of things to come at 2B?

Will Carroll: An update from the A's? Hahahahahahah ....

I think Ginter is good insurance and a good backup if Ellis is healthy.

Cris E (St Paul, MN): Can you elaborate on your remark that Joe Mays may be a Tommy John failure? Is it something medical, is he a wuss that won't rehab or is it simply control not returning? Most TJ patients do come back, so what makes this case different?

Will Carroll: "Failure" is a tough word and I didn't mean any of those things. I just mean that in any given population, a certain percentage doesn't work for any number of reasons. About 90% of TJs come back, though about 10% have ulnar nerve problems and another 10% have some shoulder problems. I'm not sure what's going on with Mays specifically, just commenting that he was headed towards being that 10% that doesn't come back. I wish him, like any injured player, the best.

Cris E (St Paul, MN): I've been reading Robert whiting's book "The Meaning of Ichiro". While the Japanese pitchers quoted were pleased by the lower amount of throwing they do over here, they were pretty unanimous in thinking that it went too far the other way and that more was really needed. When you wrote Saving The Ptcher did you look at Japan at all? Have you looked at their injury rates for pitchers? Whiting flat out says the high innings destroy pitchers all the time but I was curious to see what you thought.

Will Carroll: Yes, there's a section on Double Spin Mechanics, the new Japanese biomechanical model. Their pitchers do tend to burn out younger but there's also a massive survivor effect. Japanese pitchers take massive workloads from high school on. Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched some insane number in a HS tourney and then again in his Olympic stint. There's a lot of research, but there's also a bit of a translation problem.

Noel (Vancouver, BC): Hi Will... Any inside info on the rehab progress of Rafael Soriano, Joel Pineiro and Eddie Guardado? And your opinion of the chances of the Mariners not blowing out Felix Rodriguez's arm in the next year or two? Thanks.

Will Carroll: Noel meant Hernandez ... "King Felix" is everybody's all-american and I mean that in every DeFordian sense. Can anyone survive expectations this high? The M's have a horrendous, woodchipper-like effect on young pitchers and I really don't know why. They're doing SOMETHING and I hope Mat Olkin will do some digging. Hernandez, like any young pitcher, has a high chance of injury. If I told you that you had the next Doc Gooden, would you be ecstatic on peak value or bummed on career value?

Cris E (St Paul, MN): So what's your expectation for Jason Giambi in 05? He's breaking some new ground here coming back from parasites, tumors, and "muscle mass loss" to say nothing of the bad knee from 03. Any word on who's going to show up in his uniform in three weeks?

Will Carroll: LOTS of steroid questions, most of which I'm ignoring ... for now. I'm knee deep in writing of "The Juice", my book that takes a scientific look at steroids and performance-enhancing drugs in baseball. I just interviewed the creator of THG and I think everyone will enjoy this book. Of course, I'm biased.

Giambi should come to camp physically ready, according to reports, but it's the mental strain that he'll have to deal with. This isn't going to be easy for him, going in to every stadium, even his own, and being treated like a villain rather than a star. It's this type of thing that makes the penalties in the new drug testing accord so powerful. You're gonna be on Sportscenter and that's much more powerful than a fine or suspension.

Ed D. (Chicago, IL): Will, I'm looking forward to the team health pages. Always insightful. In the meantime, I've been wondering if you or another BP author is planning to analyze PAP^3 trends over the last few years and provide thoughts on which pitchers you feel are most likely to miss time due to injury in 2005. The only one that stands out to me as an obvious risk is Carlos Zambrano. Any others that you suspect?

Will Carroll: PAP is Rany and Keith's baby and I know they've talked about adjustments to the system as well as hard looks at the data. It's still the best system available. I'll talk more about the end of the Velocity Project in a couple weeks. I'm buried right now with "The Juice" and the THRs.

Every young pitcher is a risk. Make me say some names and I'll go with guys like Sabathia, Bedard, and Myers before I'd say Zambrano.

dave (boise): Can you comment on what was the most useful bit of info you got from the ASMI meeting?

Will Carroll: Wow. All of the above?

I think Michael Axe's soreness index was probably my most "wow" moment. Tom House had an amazing presentation that's going to change some things we think about pitching. Mark Verstegen was amazing - if I lived near his facility, I'd pay whatever it took to work with him. I think I learn the most from Kevin Wilk and Mike Reinold, two PT's at ASMI, just because I know less about their area of expertise than most of the others.

medeaschild (Los Angeles): Certain young players--and I'm thinking of guys like Nick Johnson, Casey Kotchman and Austin Kearns--seem to have already developed a reputation for being injury prone. I'm wondering about your opinion on these players--are they significantly higher risks for injury, or simply victims of bad luck. For that matter, if you see any of the three as the latter, are there other players you'd identify as unfairly having a reputation for being injury prone?

Will Carroll: Yes, there is such a thing as injury prone. When you see someone injured, over and over, in different ways, one has to consider that there's something about their style of play, preparation, or genetics that makes them more likely to be injured -- or as a team doctor told me, "more human."

Sure, luck is involved, but it's the non-chronic, differentiated injury patterns that worry me most.

skidave (rapid city, SD): You're reporting that Carlos Guillen won't be back till May, while the Tiger's website and Detroit newspapers are saying he'll be ready to go by Opening Day (and in some reports earlier). I've noticed this with other players, but as a diehard Tiger fan, I've paid more attention in this case--what's the deal on the difference? Are you talking to different sources, getting different doctors' opinions, are there internal disputes that aren't being reported, or are local newspapers just trying to stir up fan interest by being overly optimistic?

Will Carroll: All of the above. Add in a lack of information and a very open question about the rehab/recovery time necessary from ACL surgery and there's bound to be confusion.

Bob (Ogallala Ne): What is the prognosis on Wade Miller?

Will Carroll: I'm going to the lightning round now.

Great signing.

Kevin (Houston): Any updates on Oswalt's ribcage? Will he be fully ready by Spring Training and will he be a red light after being worked so hard down the stretch last year?

Will Carroll: He's ready and I haven't done the math on Oswalt yet. I'd guess high yellow.

Mark (Miami): How much concern should there be about AJ Burnett's elbow soreness down the stretch? How many stars do you think he'll make?

Will Carroll: Be concerned and watch his workload. 30.

Bryan (Maryland): What are your thoughts on the Mets new medical staff?

Will Carroll: Ray Ramirez comes with a great resume. Now, let's wait for results.

shamah (DC): What's your take on the Magglio deal? Will he actually play out all 5 years?

Will Carroll: Sure, Albert Belle completed his contract.

Magglio's likely to play. He just may be an Edgar Martinez type player.

anthonyjoseph (Chicago): I am trying to choose between Joe Mauer and David Wright. Neither is a need pick. Who would you take and why?

Will Carroll: Wright. Less risk, more upside.

mcgraw111 (Miami): Hey Will Tough question. AL Keeper league......who would you hold on to, for this year and in the future..3rd Bsm. Eric Chavez or A. Beltre. League focus is Power and OPS. Is there any truth to the facts that might indicate that Chavez's power may have peaked. As for Beltre, fluke year, potential problems going back to AL, park problem in Seattle or rising. star? Any thoughts. McGraw

Will Carroll: Chavez. Put me in the "show me" category for Beltre going forward.

steve S (Davis, CA): Please comment on the ESPN.com report that "Barry Bonds’ right knee had to be re-sutured after fluid leaked following arthroscopic surgery a week ago." Is this a news story only because it is Bonds?

Will Carroll: Bonds ... sutures pop. I'm surprised someone hasn't blamed this on steroids building up his leg muscles so fast they couldn't hold the wound.

"Innocent until proven guilty" used to mean something. Now that we have a decent (not perfect, but decent) testing program in baseball, can we wait for a positive test before condemning anyone?

spost (da UP): Why are all the Cards' good pitchers in AAA hurt last year?

Will Carroll: I guess Dyar Miller would know better than me. Of course, last I heard, he said that Mark Prior was headed for Tommy John surgery and that the earth was flat.

medeaschild (los angeles): More likely to get injured: Huckabay or Sheehan?

Will Carroll: Huckabay's had a better off-season, really getting in shape. His lack of activity makes me worry if his wrists can handle the workload. Sheehan's been very durable, pumping out columns and not succumbing to the allure of the local poker room like some other writers. It's a toss up!

Will Carroll: Thanks for all the questions. I'm sorry I couldn't get to all of them, but I have to get back to "The Juice." I hope we can have a lot more of these chats. Remember, we do take calls on BPR so be on the lookout for those opportunities. I need a refill ...

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