The 2006 White Sox look like the 1986 Bears: unable to stop admiring their championship until they were no longer champions. What say you? --Bill Salivar, Green Valley, Ariz.
Bill, I think this team has turned the page on 2005. Although they've been sloppy at times, I think they know what's at stake. This year will be a challenge for them throughout the season, and they realize that.
Hi, Mark, with all the recent middle reliever problems, what is the current status of Dustin Hermanson and when is he projected to return to full time status? --Ray Winey, Mishawaka, Ind.
Ray, we might have seen the in a White Sox uniform. He hasn't given up on his recovery, but every time his rehab involves a game-like situation, his back problems resurface. It's a very delicate matter.
Did the White Sox sign any draft-and-follow players from the 2005 draft, prior to the 2006 draft? They usually do sign 1-5 each year, but I have not seen any notice of this. --Richard, Omaha, Neb.
Richard, thanks for your interest in this subject. There were no draft-and-follows from the 2005 draft, but there could be a few from this year's draft. Stay tuned.
Who do you think will be the next White Sox player from the championship team to leave? I think it will be Juan Uribe. --HLJ, Macon, Ga.
Uribe's defense makes it difficult to move him, but Alex Cintron has been very steady. Alex has come a long way since his days in Arizona.
Is Pablo Ozuna as bad a fielder as he appears to me? Is the reason he has not been successful in the majors is his apparent poor fielding? Can he play anywhere? --Robert McCracken, Surprise, Ariz.
Pablo had arm surgery that stunted his development as a shortstop. He's had to learn to play other positions, and he's not close to being polished at third. I'd like to see him work out more in left and center because he has the speed to play the outfield.
Why have Sox and other American League teams fans not protested over the raw deal AL teams get not being able to use a DH in both interleague and post-season play? Bud Selig clearly favors the NL by not enforcing the original agreement that the Diamondbacks switch to the AL after three years in the NL, creating two 15-team leagues. He caved in immediately to allow the Brewers to switch to the NL. Don't you believe the DH must be made the standard and that NL owner stooge Selig has got to go? I believe Bob Costas should be the next commissioner. --Sid, Los Angeles
One of Bud's biggest achievements is interleague play, and he loves to talk about how baseball was unwilling to change for several years. But I don't see the DH rules changing.
Mark, is 91 percent capacity the benchmark for a sellout? Your June 7 story lists 37,192 versus the White Sox Web site figure of 40,615 for capacity. --Frank, West Dundee, Ill.
I've answered this before, but the difference between the paid attendance and the capacity is the number of complimentary tickets distributed. Sellouts are based on tickets sold.
What are the chances that Ozzie Guillen might sit Juan Uribe for a while and let Alex Cintron start at short? --Art Schwarz, Palatine, Ill.
I think Uribe is the starter, but Cintron should get some action in interleague games.
Mark, I moved from Chicago two years ago and love the site. I can see all my teams and the comments from Chicago's point of view. My question is the polls. On a recent one Thome was selected team MVP. He has added much offense to the Sox, but JD plays defense and has similar numbers. MVP is most valuable player, not most valuable stick. --Brendon Diaz, Houston
Great debate. I remember in April there were those who had a legitimate case for Crede as the team MVP. But it was only April, and it's only June right now.
Do you agree that center field is the Sox's problem. I've watched three long flies go for doubles and triples over Rob Mackowiak's head. Brian Anderson would've caught these balls. --Tom Gregory, Sylvania, Ohio
Do you think that Kenny Williams would have had the option of trading either Jon Garland or Brian Anderson instead of fan favorite Aaron Rowand in the Jim Thome deal? Also, wouldn't it make sense right now to send Anderson back to Triple-A and recall hot, right-handed hitting Josh Fields? --Billy Wermes, Elmhurst, Ill.
Mark, love your column, keep up the great work. Your insight is especially great for us Sox fans no longer in Chi-town! I've heard rumblings of the Sox re-acquiring Aaron Rowand for Jon Garland. Any substance to this rumor? Do you think the Sox will move a pitcher (not necessarily Garland) to upgrade the outfield offensively? Thanks! --Andy Najjar, Imperial, Mo.
Mark, would it be ridiculous to ask if reacquiring Aaron Rowand is a possibility? We could really use his leadership in the outfield and his aggressiveness. --Alex Bartkus, Coconut Creek, Fla.
With all of the talk of trading for a CF, why doesn't Arizona's Eric Byrnes ever get mentioned? He seems to be a "grinder" with pretty good defense - an Aaron Rowand style wall smasher. --Craig, Oakland
What about Reggie Sanders from KC, and sliding Pods to center field? He seems like he always plays for playoff teams and could be a solid rent a player for a year. --Drew, Chicago
Mark, there is talk the Angels may want to trade Darin Erstad, who is a free agent next year. He would be a nice fit in center field. What would we have to give up to get him? --Ernie Cairo, Chicago
I have heard the Devil Rays are listening to offers for Carl Crawford with their surplus of outfielders. I think he would be a perfect fit with the South Siders with his base-stealing abilities. He also has options through 2011. --Pat Woyna, Oak Forest, Ill.
I know the Sox are looking for a CF now that Anderson has proven that he can't hit. How about we trade for Carlos Lee or Alfonso Soriano and put Podsednik in center? Didn't he play there in Milwaukee? --Bill, Mt. Prospect, Ill.
OK, there's much concern over center field. But Aaron Rowand isn't coming back unless Kenny Williams gives Phillies GM Pat Gillick the keys to the farm system (the same goes for Minnesota GM Terry Ryan involving Torii Hunter). This was a trade that has worked well for both teams. Gillick wasn't about to give Thome to the Sox for free. The Phillies needed a seasoned center fielder, and their scouts did their homework. I can see these teams doing business in the future, but I doubt Rowand will be involved.
I've known about Eric Byrnes dating back to his days at St. Francis High School in Mountain View, Calif., where he played for Chris Bradford. Eric gives his team plenty of energy and has some power. But he has been known to take some adventuresome routes, and I don't think he's the answer.
Ozzie is reluctant to move Podsednik from left to center, so I think that might rule out Reggie Sanders or Carlos Lee. I think you can forget Alfonso Soriano, who might be a better fit in New York. Darin Erstad is coming off an ankle injury. I like Carl Crawford, but Tampa Bay should be asking a lot for a talented and signed player.
How can you continually refer to Brian Anderson as an outstanding center fielder? You used the word "brilliant" recently. In the Texas series, twice he made the elementary error of failing to back up Pablo Ozuna, resulting in costly doubles that should have been singles. Twice in the same series he took steps toward home after catches that were not the last out of an inning, suggesting a concentration lapse. Thome was a great pickup, invaluable, but it's beginning to look as if Aaron Roward was not as expendable as first thought. This Sox team needs, most of all right now, a really good center fielder -- maybe not quite a Jim Landis or Ken Berry or Aaron Roward, but someone who can make all the plays, not just the ones involving long strides. Torii Hunter would be worth a lot of futures, because futures frequently turn out to have fatal flaws. --Bob Hammel, Bloomington, Ind.
So you're going to penalize a player for making a couple of errors in one series? Willie Mays was charged with a total of 18 errors in 1957 and 1958. Those were the first two years of 12-year run of Gold Glove awards for Mays. Before you embellish my words AGAIN, I'm not trying to compare Anderson's talents with Mays. "Solid" and "stellar" are some of the words that e-mailers have used to describe Anderson, and the fact that Ozzie sticks with Anderson despite his sub-.200 batting average is a testament to Anderson's defense. Sounds like you're caught in a Tom Abernethy screen.
Hey, Mark, what do you think of this idea that would kill two birds with one stone: The White Sox send Juan Uribe and Jose Contreras to San Francisco for Omar Vizquel and a middle reliever like Steve Kline or Jeremy Accardo. Omar is a defensive stud who is still hitting over .300 at age 39. The time to move Contreras is now while he's hot. This also opens up a spot for Brandon McCarthy and helps the bullpen at the same time. Thanks for the great column! --Dan Jukic, Durham, N.C.
Only Neil Cotts has more than a full year's experience in the pen, isn't it important to bring in a grizzled veteran? --Jim Gordon, Exeter, Calif.
I think the obvious need is help in the bullpen, and I know you agree. It would be nice to see Kenny Williams get a powerful setup guy like Fernando Rodney or Rafael Betancourt. --Tyson Shroyer, Peoria, Ill.
There's no way Kenny will trade Contreras. As for the Giants, I like Steve Kline as a person and a clubhouse guy (his brother is a prison guard), but I think the Giants would be more inclined to move Kevin Correira instead of Accardo. Seattle is grooming J.J. Putz as a closer. Jon Rauch deserves some consideration, but there's virtually no way Detroit trades Fernando Rodney or Cleveland moves Rafael Betancourt to a division contender. The Sox tried to acquire Scott Eyre last winter, but agent Tommy Tanzer was very successful in getting Eyre a three-year contract. Bobby Howry would be a great fit, but the Cubs would be crazy to trade him now unless they get an outrageous offer.
With the Marlins in the budget basement is there any chance they would move Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera? And if so, could the Sox get a deal done trading McCarthy, Fields plus and Anderson or Owens for Cabrera or going after Willis by trading Garland or Garcia to another team for good prospects and trading these and an Anderson or Owens for Willis? --JD, Chicago
I think Cabrera has the better chance of being dealt, but it's hard to get a read on the Marlins, who held onto A.J. Burnett last summer. McCarthy, Fields and Anderson/Owens is way too much for Cabrera, especially with McCarthy's value.
Mark, can you please tell all of these concerned fans to just take a deep breath and relax. The season is barely two months old. There is a long way to go. With some of these questions you're getting, you would think we are 10 games out. Sure, we need some bullpen help and maybe a CF, but you know Kenny Williams has something up his sleeve like he always does. Go Sox. --Steve, Park Ridge, Ill.
You said it, Steve. Many thanks.
I'm offended by Ozzie Guillen and Jeff Nelson's comments about news that Jason Grimsley disclosed other players taking steroids and growth hormones. Baseball is a mess, and Grimsley should come clean. If some of the Sox are implicated, then let them face their crime. Ozzie and Nelson seem to just want to sweep it under the rug. Boo! --Lou, Reno, Nev.
Jeff Nelson says of Jason Grimsley, "Take blame, take the hit and don't be putting it on anyone else." It seems to me that Nelson's "speak no evil" code is a big part of baseball's problem. See Mark McGuire's testimony last year. What's wrong with calling out cheaters, Jeff? What do you have to be scared of? --Darrell Holtz, Leawood, Kan.
Baseball players don't like snitches. Neither do managers unless they have clubhouse spies.
Mark, Can you please explain to me why Ozzie plays Paul Konerko every single game without a day off? I know that Paulie said the he wants to play everyday, but don't you think our slugger needs a break every now and then? --Chris, San Diego
Look for Paul to get a day off Sunday at Cincinnati.
Hi Mark, thanks for your insight into the Champs. I was wondering if the Sox might seek to trade Freddy Garcia. It seems to me that he has lost his stuff and he's trying to get by on guile, which hasn't been working lately. Still, he's a proven vet who could probably fetch bullpen help and a prospect to help the team in the future. Are there any internal discussions about dealing Freddy? --Pankaj Chhabra, St. Louis
One of the biggest decisions this off-season will be which starting pitcher doesn't return. I wouldn't single out Freddy as the one who is dealt. Let the competition for the rest of the season dictate who stays and who leaves.