Mark Gonzales' White Sox mailbag

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What do you think -- will GM Kenny Williams get fired after this season? -- Steve M., Chicago

I think everything is under evaluation. The Sox certainly haven't received their money's worth for a payroll over $126 million, but the chairman is a very loyal boss. The Toronto trade that saved more than $9 million and brought back Zach Stewart was a solid move for the future, but the future is now.

A staff member repeated the famous line that ''winning takes care of everything.''

Where do you rank Kenny Williams on the list of baseball's GM's? Despite the recent stumblings of Alex Rios and Adam Dunn, Rios did have a good year last year. He also brought us Alexei Ramirez, Carlos Quentin, Gavin Floyd, John Danks, kept Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski in Sox uniforms (a very underrated decision I think) and has built up one of the best rotations in the AL. Sure he's had some misses, but surely Williams is still amongst the best GM's in the game, right? -- Tom C; Columbia, Mo.

Interesting question, since an agent usually emails me annually in the dead of winter to rank the GMs, 1-30, and we compare our rankings. I don't have the exact list from last January, but I believe had KW listed somewhere between 16-20, a significant drop from past years. The agent had KW ranked higher, but I believe the agent had a bigger agenda with some of the other GMs.

Some would argue with you about the retaining of Pierzynski, saying his return had more to do with the chairman's involvement, and others would say that it was a bad decision because of the ineffectiveness of shutting down the opponents' running game and his penchant for swinging at the first pitches and not working deep counts.

Many outside the organization admire KW for aiming for the division title and beyond every year.

When will Ken Williams make good on his promise to "accept responsibility" for this train wreck? Jake Peavy can't back up his talk, Dunn can't hit anymore and Rios seems disinterested in fielding, hitting and baserunning. All three are KW's costly blunders. Will he have the grace to resign or will he be fired? -- John; Albany, Calif.

"The size of the contract is not Ozzie's problem. It's not Jerry's problems. It's not the coaches' problems. That's my problem."

"Have the best players play. Give us the best opportunity to win. Throw the contracts and salaries aside. If we've got $20 or 30 million sitting on the bench, then that's a Kenny Williams problem."

Those words came from KW after Alejandro De Aza was promoted on July 27. I'd say there's plenty of responsibility in those comments.

What do you think of the Cubs firing their GM? They think he made some bad deals. Look at Williams' deals -- Mark Kotsay, Mark Teahen, Peavy, Dunn, Rios and Nick Swisher. That's a great resume, isn't it? Oh and don't forget keeping Greg Walker around. Another great move. -- Ted Cee, Las Vegas

I think the Cubs should have made sweeping changes after 2006 instead of making the manager at that time their scapegoat. But there certainly was a plan to spend like crazy and then sell the team.

Let's just say that the Florida Marlins decide to give us Logan Morrison to get Ozzie Guillen to be their manager ... Morrison is going to play left field on the Sox. That leaves us with three questions: 1. Who's going to be the leadoff guy? 2. Where do we put Dayan Viciedo on the field? 3. Who do you think will be traded to make room on the team? If this situation takes place, we have four starting outfielders with Morrison, Rios, Viciedo and Quentin -- what's your take on this scenario? -- Francisco, Puerto Rico

If the Marlins want Ozzie that badly, then they'd better pay up with more than just Morrison. The Sox hold the cards on this one.

Assuming his average remains in the .160-.170s, will the Dunn Line (actually the Done) line replace the Mendoza Line as the mark of major league batting futility? -- George, Homewood

It will among several Sox fans.

When are the White Sox going to give Brent Lillibridge a permanent outfield spot? If you look at his stats from just playing part time this year, he would have had more than 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases given 500 at-bats. He is an excellent glove man and always hustles. I think the organization is wasting his talents and may lose him in the off-season to a team willing to give him a starting position. He reminds me of Joe Crede, tough as nails, good in the clutch and a defensive gem. P,S. We win more often then we lose when Lillibridge plays. -- Mike Mucker; Wichita Falls, Tex.

I don't think Lillibridge will earn a permanent outfield spot any time soon, but he's developed into a player who could start at least 50 percent of the time because he has a nice blend of power, speed and defense. He has experienced some valleys at the plate.

Has Jon Gilmore's recent surge at the plate at AA Birmingham restored his prospect status at the hot corner? -- Michael Messerschmidt; Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Yes. The big issue for Jon is finding a spot for him, and he's playing more first base recently to enhance his chances of advancing.

"I don't see a leadoff hitter in the Sox's farm system who could be ready next season, so they'll either have to trade for a leadoff hitter or bring back Juan." Tyler Kuhn is not an option? .367 at Birmingham and currently .297 at Charlotte. -- Vic Fiebig; Springfiled, Va.

I wouldn't get too excited yet. This is Kuhn's breakout year, and hopefully for Sox fans, he continues that ascent. But he's another player who has to settle in at a specific position. If it's second base, he's got Beckham and Drew Garcia ahead of him. But Kuhn's production as a left-handed bat is attractive, and he's shown his versatility.

Have you heard anything about the Sox bringing up Kuhn in September? He hit pretty good at Birmingham, and after moving to Charlotte he got off to a slow start, got hot, and looks like possible lead-off man of the future. -- Bob Hugus; Westville, Ind.

They currently have three spots open on the 40-man roster. But I have not heard Kuhn's name mentioned yet, and I believe Eduardo Escobar would be considered before Kuhn because he's more advanced at this point than Kuhn. I can see Kuhn going to the Arizona Fall League.

Who's calling the shots at who plays -- KW or Ozzie? The way Rios has been loafing in center, most managers would have sat him down (a la Bobby Cox with Andruw Jones) and it's August 15th. How long does Dunn get to "hit his way out of his funk"? -- Ron Williams, Northbrook

KW sets the roster, Ozzie makes out the lineup. There is input from the manager and coaching staff on the roster needs' and who are the best options on a certain day.

More recently, De Aza is starting more in center against right-handed pitchers, and Lillibridge at first base against left-handers.

A while ago, I thought I read where Jerry Krause quit to work for the Rockies or Diamondbacks. If so, where does that leave the Sox for a replacement in Latin America scouting? -- Craig Parmenter; St. Louis

Jerry left the organization at the end of spring training to become a special assistant with the Diamondbacks.

The Latin American scouts are collectively overseeing the operations. Scouting director Doug Laumann said in late July that the Sox appear more ready to bid on some amateur talent there that they may be able to sign after July 2.

I've been thinking, has Adam Dunn had his vision checked lately? I'm not being sarcastic. Do they all have their vision checked regularly? -- Carol Christofano, Lemont

Many organizations put their players through a series of tests when they conduct physical examinations before spring training. Adam said in May that his vision was fine, but I'd say it's advisable for everyone to get their eyes checked at least once a year, regardless of their profession.

Could the White Sox send Dunn to the minors with his permission? Is Ramon Castro done for the year? Do we still hold the rights to Ron Karkovice or Sherm Lollar? -- Matt Schaub; Wayne, Neb.

The minor league season is ending soon, so it wouldn't be that beneficial for Adam to be sent down.

It would be a longshot if Castro rejoins the team before the end of the season.

I'm sure Ron Kittle would be interested in rejoining the Sox if asked.

There's a real possibility that Dunn could end up with more strikeouts than his batting average. Has that ever happened before in baseball history? Also, the folks in the Bulldog nation want to know about Beckham's job security. His performance over the past two seasons has been subpar, but I keep telling everyone there's really no second baseman in the Sox's system to take his place. Is that a correct assessment? -- Joe Dennis; Athens, GA

As recently as last year, Mark Reynolds struck out 211 times and batted .198 for Arizona.

There is little doubt that Gordon is one of the best defensive second basemen in the American League. His offense has been subpar, to say the least. I'd say he has better job security than Mark Richt, but that's not saying much. Drew Garcia isn't regarded as a top prospect, but he keeps getting the job done. And Kuhn has played his way into prospect status, with second base as his best position, according to those who evaluate him.

What is Guillen's problem? Talk about mismanaging his bullpen. Sergio Santos has done everything he needs to do to provide a solid ninth-inning closer, and all Oz can do is show him no respect with this so-called committee approach. Doesn't he know from seeing empirical history that committees only serve to debase your bullpen, especially your go-to guy? Time for Ozzie to go! -- Mark; Boston

Mark, since you're from Boston, you probably remember that disastrous closer-by-committee approach the Red Sox attempted during the beginning of the 2003 season that exploded quickly and resulted in the acquisition of Byung-Hyun Kim.

I think Sergio has had many ninth-inning opportunities, but I do see the value of using Chris Sale on occasion to close games.

Can you shed any light on why Ozzie is still playing Rios and Dunn? To me, this a slap in the face to the team, and to the fans. Less than 40 games left in the season and he continues to trot out a lineup that is less than the best available. Rios is especially disturbing, as he does not hustle in addition to being a complete waste at the plate. Don't you think teammates like Konerko see this? He has called the Chicago fans ignorant multiple times. I am thinking he might be the one who is a can short of a six pack. Hope he heads to South Florida. -- Mike Battuello; Montello, Wisc.

Ozzie is going more with the percentages, which is why De Aza is playing more against right-handed starters (with Rios on the bench) and Lillibridge at first base (leaving Dunn on the bench while Konerko heals as the DH).

Rios has shown signs of improvement at the plate lately. When Quentin returns from his injury, I'm curious to see who gets pulled for defensive purposes -- Quentin or Rios.

In a rain delay that could last for a few hours or less -- do they pull a starter after two innings or three? It can't be because they think he's tired. Do you lose something sitting idle a while? Take a guy like Mark Buehrle who almost always pitches at least six innings a start. If you can do that why can't you pitch two innings, wait an hour and pitch the other four on the same day? You get time to warm back up after delay. -- Mark Kozler; Jackson,Tenn.

I once covered a game in which a starting pitcher came back after a two-hour, 53-minute rain delay after he pitched three innings, and he went on to pitch three more innings. The delay didn't hurt his arm, but the delay made me drive to the airport more aggressively and creatively than I normally drive.

Anyway, a rain delay, like a long half inning, can cause pitchers' arms to tighten or lose their rhythm There was a huge controversy in Florida in 2006 when Josh Johnson came back after an 82-minute rain delay and later underwent elbow surgery.

Since 2007 until this recent draft, the White Sox have spent the least amount of money. Why is that? -- Scott, Chicago

In past years, it was because the Sox traditionally finished with a winning record, picked in the second half of the first round and rarely took changes. But they did give some players bonuses over the recommended slot in past years, such as Beckham and Trayce Thompson.

This year surprised me a lot because they gave Keenyn Walker and some of their other high picks signing bonuses that were over the recommended slots. They were the first team to sign their first seven picks, but obviously teams waited longer and gave more bonus money.

The Sox need some quick returns soon with a veteran roster. There is plenty of pitching that was well compensated.

Since Rick Hahn is being talked up so much as a prime GM candidate, shouldn't the White Sox promote him to GM.? I only get a chance to see the Sox on occasion from Ohio, and the team is hard to watch at times. I think Kenny has run his course. The 2005 championship was great, but his legacy since is pretty uneven because of gambles on high-priced unproductive players that will hinder the club for years, and a relatively thin farm system. It's time to make a change. -- Howard; Columbus, Ohio

I think you have to treat each case separately, starting with KW. If the chairman deems that KW isn't effective any more, than he has to make a change. If he believes he's still effective, then he'll keep him in charge.

I think Rick will be an effective GM -- whether it's with the Sox or elsewhere. I'm not sure elevating KW to team president just to make Rick the GM is the right move.

Do you think that the possible emergence of Zach Stewart can salvage the now in retrospect horrible Daniel Hudson- Edwin Jackson trade? Also, with the signing of Adam Dunn with Paul Konerko, do you think that Kenny was attempting to duplicate the David Ortiz-Manny Ramirez duo of the 2004-2008 era in Boston? -- Gary Zenker, Elmira

Stewart definitely has some upside and was more highly touted out of the draft than Hudson.

The Sox desperately needed production from the left side, and that's why they targeted Dunn as early as last summer. They had only 186 RBIs from the left side in 2010.

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