I had a chance yesterday to run a few quick Cub-related questions by Will -- here are his responses:
Q: Let's talk about Mark Prior's labrum surgery. Why do you think it took so long for them to do this? And what's the prognosis for his future? Finally, could the two injuries he suffered -- the collision with Marcus Giles in 2003 and the broken elbow from Brad Hawpe in 2005 -- have altered his mechanics and caused the shoulder troubles?
A: Rule 1: Always avoid surgery. This one was relatively minor; Hendry's not wrong in calling it a tune-up. Aside from the labrum repair, there's nothing TERRIBLE there. It's just a lot of abuse coming to roost in the form of pain. Still, you have to do everything possible before doing surgery so I can't fault anyone for trying that. Would surgery have been better a year ago? Maybe, but easy to say that now. I'd put a lot more in the latter, as a "piling on" to problems he was having. Let me put this in the simplest terms: according to my sources there was no evidence of ANY TRAUMA. Suggestions that the Giles collision had anything to do with the findings now are incorrect or at the very least shows no clear indication of being the cause.
Q: Is the hamstring injury to Alfonso Soriano going to slow him down?
A: Literally! At least for a bit. He's shown that he's smart about running, knowing there's a recurrence risk. I think that giving up some speed and range is a fair trade, assuming his bat makes the trip to Chicago soon.
Q: What's up with Kerry Wood? What's his prognosis and future?
A: Remember that rule [see above]? Wood did and now he's at the stage where things are either going to come together or they're simply not. I wish I could say something more scientific here, but at this point, Wood's not so much a medical case as he is a mechanical case. I'd love to see him work on nothing but mechanics -- stopping from throwing across his body -- for a couple weeks just to see what happens.
Q: Same for Wade Miller. Any point in keeping him?
A: I never saw the point in having him. What don't you know about your pitchers that you needed another month or two to find out. Miller at this point is at best a passable placeholder. If you really think Miller, right now, is better than Guzman, right now, then you need to cut bait on Guzman and go down the depth chart. There's a lot more to be gained from that approach than merely treading water with a guy you know is going downhill.
Q: If there's anything else you'd care to add that's Cub-related, go ahead!
A: Everyone that thinks the sale of the team is going to have big changes in 2008 is likely wrong. This isn't going to be as quick or as neat a process as most are making it out to be. There's almost no chance that the team will be sold quickly enough to change management by the time of next year's winter meetings in Nashville. Given some of the prices we're hearing, there's a lot of people that think move #1 might be a fire sale.