The Tribune's White Sox beat writer answers reader questions throughout the season. This week, who blinked on the Buehrle signing, the cab situation at U.S. Cellular Field and anger over the doubleheader sweep.
As a long-suffering Sox fan, since the late 50's, I was pleasantly surprised at the Buehrle signing. Why do you think it happened and who blinked? --Dave Krasula, Long Island, N.Y.
Sorry I couldn't get to everyone's e-mails before the Buehrle signing. Nearly 86 percent of those who inquired about Buehrle wanted the Sox to re-sign him, with the rest wanting the Sox to trade Mark as part of a retooling/rebuilding process.
Mark wanted to stay with the White Sox, and the Sox made it attractive enough for him to stay for more than just monetary reasons. These were true negotiations, with each side making concessions to make it work for both sides. These also were high-profile negotiations. This isn't the first time a no-trade clause became a major issue.
But Kenny Williams came very close to trading him. I know this from talking to a few GMs at the Futures game.
Who are you going to recommend the Sox trade next? Maybe you could write a few game stories now. --Frank Chambers Jr., Chicago
Frank, now that the Sox are winning with some consistency, I can get back to writing about the games instead of the poor play that led to the GM implying that changes could be made.
Someone needs to tell the Sox ownership that there is a serious problem after games, in that visitors, who arrive in taxis from hotels, are left stranded after games. In most cities, the cabs are lined up and waiting. Several families, including mine, were stranded for two hours . Our pleas for help to Sox Security personnel leaving the game were rebuffed and even derided. Our requests to traffic control individuals were met with, "Our radios are only for emergencies, and this is not an emergency." Our calls to cab companies and police were ignored. With the growing darkness, with the lights all going out, we decided to walk for a long way, lost and feeling very angry. I write to you because, as you know, the MLB sites eschew giving ANY contact information, not wishing to be bothered by complaints from paying customers. A 12-0 pasting on the inside and zippo outside, as well. We will not soon return. --Sandra P. Burns, Jackson, Miss.
Sandy, I understand your concerns. I ended up giving members of Detroit's medical staff a ride back to their team hotel after an .
Does Jim Thome have a no-trade clause? Would he have more value than Jermaine Dye? I am reticent to trade the 2005 World Series MVP who has maintained he would like to stay even if that required a hometown discount. --Andrew, St. Louis
Jim has a no-trade clause that was negotiated in his contract with Philadelphia.
Mark, are Greg Walker and the Sox working with Jerry Owens to shorten his swing? Owens has a big, long, looping swing that will keep him from being a major league hitter, especially a leadoff hitter. --Kevin, Chicago
I like that Jerry has been attempting nearly one bunt a game. If he can do a better job of angling the ball, he will reach base with more consistency.
I noticed on the Sox stats page that Toby Hall actually has a lower OBP (.174) than batting average (.178). How is this possible? And how rare is this? --Señor Sock, Sherman Oaks, Calif.
Computing on-base percentage includes all plate appearances, minus sacrifice bunts. Then that is divided by the number of times a player reaches base safely (excluding those on errors and fielder choice plays).
It's pretty rare.
Mark, I realize the bullpen needs as many capable arms as possible, but I do not understand why Nick Massett is being wasted in the bullpen when he should be sent down to Charlotte and get him back to starting games. It feels like the Brandon McCarthy saga all over again. --Eric, Hoffman Estates
It almost looks like Nick is being treated like a Rule 5 pick the Sox don't want to lose.
What has happened to Bobby Jenks' fastball ? In the the other night, he was constantly throwing this weak get-me-over curveball that had HIT ME written all over it. In 2005 his fastball was in the 100's and almost unhittable. What happened? --Marty, Las Vegas
I think Bobby has become a more complete pitcher by using more of his pitches. This is part of his development so hitters don't sit on his fastball. Yes, his fastball has "dropped" to 96 mph, but he has a better assortment of pitches.
I hear talk of Gio Gonzalez, Gavin Floyd, Lance Broadway, Adam Russell and so on. What about Jack Egbert? 24 years old, 101 to 29 strikeout to walk ratio in 109 innings and a 2.81 era. I know numbers can be deceiving sometimes but this kid seems like he could be good. What are Williams thoughts on this kid? And should we expect him to get a shot in the rotation anytime soon? --Tom, Elk Grove Village
Egbert has grown on a few people with his solid numbers. If he keeps performing this way, he'll kick somebody's door down to a promotion or closer look.
Why have the Sox given up on Ryan Sweeney? With his batting average the highest of the Triple-A outfielders, why did they leave him and bring up outfielders with lower batting averages> Is it his glove, lack of speed, or no power? --Bob McCracken, Surprise, Ariz.
Bob, I don't think the Sox have given up on Ryanyet. It doesn't hurt for him to get another full season at Triple-A and make some adjustments that were apparent in his last major league appearance. He needs to lay off certain pitches instead of leaving himself vulnerable, such as allowing himself to get jammed on cut fastballs, etc.
Major League Baseball is the only professional sport to not allow teams to make trades that involve draft choices. What is the possible logic in this rule? --Rich Nowak, Cumming, Ga.
The rich teams can buy amateur talent if there are trades involving draft choices. The way MLB has recommended the slotting of bonuses recently should temper some of the talk about trading picks.
Friday, July 6, 2007. That was the day that the Chicago White Sox played the 18 worst innings of their entire history in the same day. It was a debacle. An embarrassment. The White Sox were owned, totally and completely, by the Twins. What an absolute horror show this White Sox team is. It's simply unreal in the fact that this team does absolutely nothing well. It's time for a new outlook. Kenny Williams did his job and brought a World Series Championship to Chicago, but he seems to have lost his touch.It's time for Kenny Williams to pay the price for putting this team together so haphazardly. --Rich Conboy, Chicago
Mark, after watching the Twins' doubleheader, I am convinced that the house cleaning needs to start with Kenny "the idiot" Williams. I am done with the Sox until they clean house with the management and coaching staff. --Spiro, Maryland
Rich, sorry, but I had to trim your e-mail a little bit. July 6 was the ultimate Twin-killing. Spiro, it looks like you'll have to wait until at least after the 2008 season and perhaps longer to jump back on the Sox's bandwagon. Kenny has the firm support of the Chairman.
Mark, it would seem right now that the Sox will exit this season set only at first, third, hopefully four starters, a closer, and at DH meaning they will need a lot in the off-season. Where on earth will they fill all these voids? --Dan Bowman, Marlette, Mich.
Danny Richar will get a strong look at second if Iguchi isn't re-signed. Shortstop could be an issue.
Mark, I know a manager is as only as good as his players, but I gotta believe since Guillen arrived in 2004, his record against Minn. is well below .500. Can you find that out? --Michael Klempin Jr., West Frankfort
Ozzie Guillen's teams are 34-34 vs. Minnesota.
Mark, what are your thoughts on the young pitchers? How good do you see Danks being? Does Floyd has a future as a starter? What about Gio, Masset and Broadway? How many of these guys in your opinion are trading pieces and which ones are bona fide starters? Who is the best of the group? --Isaiah, Ft. Wayne, Ind.
I like Danks a lot as a No. 2 or No. 3 pitcher. Floyd is a back-of-the rotation prospect. Gio could be a solid No. 2 starter. Masset is raw but has a tremendous upside. If Broadway works out, he could be another John Burkett.
Is there any substance to the Jose Contreras to the Mets for Lastings Milledge rumor? I know Milledge is on a rehab assignment after injuring his foot. Could he be a possible solution to the solidifying the outfield for the rest of this season with the uncertainty of Podsednik and Erstad staying healthy. I don't think the current outfield of Mackowiak, Owens and Terrero will strike fear into many teams. --Kevin, Milwaukee
Milledge recently was promoted by the Mets. The Sox and Mets have had several talks. I know the Mets like Jermaine Dye, but they're expecting the return of Moises Alou. They also are looking for relief help and could have their rotation set if Pedro Martinez returns.
Do you think the Sox will get Aaron Rowand back? Worse mistake Sox made in trading him. Thanks. --Jan, Oswego
Jan, I think the Sox will make a strong push toward re-signing Aaron but they desperately need to solidify their leadoff position next year.
What has happened to Brian Anderson? Has he been so terrible that he can't get called up with all the outfield injuries and poor performance especially at the plate? --John Pokornik, Elizabeth, Ill.
Brian got off to a slow start and then battled head and shoulder injuries. He's starting to hit with more authority but could use a strong finish at Triple-A Charlotte.
O.K., now that Aaron Rowand is an All-Star for Philadelphia, can those of us who did not love the trade, and who were beaten down verbally by those "in the know", say "we told you so"? We had one of the best hitters of all time as a DH in Frank Thomas and we won exactly zero championships. I don't care how good a hitter is; if he is only capable of being a DH, he is only half of a player. --Matt, Evanston
I figured it out Mark! The Sox have shown their commitment to winning in '08 by locking up Buehrle. Here's a realistic way of how they can put a great team on the field next year for about the same payroll ($110 million) as 2007: trade Contreras; let Dye, Crede and Podsednik walk; exercise buyouts on Erstad, Mackowiak and Uribe. Put Josh Fields at 3B, Pablo Ozuna in LF and either Gavin Floyd/Gio Gonzalez/Nick Massett at SP. Re-sign Tad Iguchi (2B). Sign free agents David Eckstein (SS), Aaron Rowand (CF), Luis Gonzalez (RF), Scott Linebrink (RP-R) and Jeremy Affeldt (RP-L). This gives the team a high-OBP, top-of-the-order guy (Eckstein), a fan favorite and solid No. 5 hitter (Rowand), and solidifies the pen with two of the game's best middle relievers (Linebrink and Affeldt). Meanwhile, Luis Gonzalez will hold the fort down while one of the Sox's outfielders develops, and Ozuna gives speed at the top of the lineup. What do you think? --Joe Dennis, Athens, Ga.
Although Crede is hurt, it will be tough to let him go without getting any compensation. At least the Sox could get draft picks for Dye, who will become a free agent. I'm not sure Ozuna is an everyday player. Luis Gonzalez is a great clubhouse influence with some power, but he is a defensive liability. Scott Podsednik has a stronger arm than Luis.
And I think Danny Richar will get a long look at second if Iguchi isn't re-signed.
Do the White Sox regret making the Ross Gload for Andrew Sisco deal? It seems to me that Gload would have been the best choice in right field during Jermaine Dye's many absences. --Mike Renderman, Chicago
Ross would have been a nice fit in right when Jermaine went down, but the Sox already had a left-handed hitting outfielder in Rob Mackowiak.
Kenny Williams has emphasized that Sisco was rushed to the majors as a Rule 5 pick. This trade will be judged on how Sisco develops and helps the Sox.
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