As we've previously discussed, Will Carroll over at Baseball Prospectus did his Team Health Report for the Rangers earlier this month, evaluating the injury risks for the Ranger regulars, rotation, closer and setup man.
Will -- who also blogs over at Baseball Toaster -- graciously offered to answer a few follow up questions about the Rangers THR, and related Rangers/injury issues...
So follow the jump to check out the Will Carroll Q&A...
AJM: A guy who isn't included in your THR for the Rangers, but who is probably going to get a lot of playing time in 2006, is Gerald Laird. He's missed a fair amount of time the last couple of years due to injuries...is he a "red," or are his injuries just a natural by-product of being a catcher?
Carroll: Laird would be red. Catchers by nature are risky, so their base rate is "yellow" to begin with. Add in Laird's seeming inability to either stay healthy or play through the nicks and knocks a catcher has to in order to get 400 PA's and he's definitely red. I think his upside is Gregg Zaun.
AJM: Francisco Cordero as a "green" surprised me, given his battles with injuries earlier in his career. Does his rather extensive injury history from earlier in his career factor into the ratings, or does his injury-free last few years give him a clean slate?
Carroll: The last few years certainly weight more. He's come through the last couple seasons without significant problems. There's an inertia to the system - if you were healthy last year, you're more likely to be healthy again - up to a point. Nagging injuries, like we see sometimes with someone like Bobby Abreu or with a weardown like Chris Young, are negative signs.
AJM: How concerned should the Rangers be with all those yellow lights in the outfield - particularly Wilkerson and Mench, whom the Rangers need big seasons from to compete?
Carroll: Mench is always hurt, so expecting him to suddenly have a healthy season where he lives up to his potential is just foolish at this stage. We overvalue potential so much, something Nate Silver's been talking about lately. Wilkerson's a known quantity - the shoulder was a problem, but the Rangers surely did their homework before making the deal. It's a perfect "buy low" kind of trade for Daniels.
AJM: Do you agree or disagree with Rangers' management's assessment that Adam Eaton is a better bet to stay healthy and avoid wearing down in August and September than Chris Young?
Carroll: Eaton's done it, Young hasn't. I love Chris Young's potential and he seemed to be starting to put things together but I can certainly see the logic of dealing him. I'm not sure I'd have done it, but I'll bet Daniels had more info than I do now when he pulled the trigger. One thing I always do when there's a trade that looks skewed or unexpected is try to figure out if I missed something - teams often trade away injury when its not a known.
AJM: Laynce Nix underwent surgery on both shoulders last season, after it was determined that a collision with a wall in 2004 resulted in a partial labrum tear which had never been fixed. Are Rangers fans justified in believing that his disappointing performance the past year and a half is attributable to the injury? And would Nix be a "yellow" or a "red," if you had included him?
Carroll: He's red. It's certainly something you have to factor in. He's always had talent and maybe it was the injury that held him back. If you have a guy who's underperforming and he has a correctable injury, that's a great time to take a chance on him. You get a lot of value there.
AJM: A hot topic of debate among Rangers fans the past couple of offseasons has been whether players coming back from injury should play winter ball. The Rangers have butted heads with several young players (Laird, Mench, Nix) on this issue, with the Rangers wanting them to go play winter ball, and the players preferring to stay in Arizona and rehab their injuries to ensure they were 100% for spring training. From a medhead standpoint, when dealing with players coming off of significant injuries, do you think playing or rehabbing is the better way to go in the offseason?
Carroll: It really depends. I think some clubs do a great job rehabbing and certain players need the strict control. Others do better on the field, getting their feel back.
AJM: As far back as I can remember, folks have blamed the weather in Texas for many of the Rangers' struggles, contending that the players wear out in the heat and those fade down the stretch. Do you think there is any validity to that argument? And does the heat present any sort of additional issues for the team from a medhead standpoint, particularly as it relates to injury risks?
Carroll: It's certainly a factor, but not one that I can nail down. Do more players get injured in a certain month or when the temps above a certain threshold? Not that we can find in a meaningful pattern. Most of baseball injuries are overuse and accident; those have nothing to do with the weather.