Also, any ideas about what happens in the 2007 Sox outfield? Pods is out, I think, but Sweeney can't take his place because then Brian Anderson or Juan Uribe becomes the leadoff hitter. Fields seems to have some speed, but he's not an outfielder. So does Sweeney become the platoon outfielder with Fields starting in left? (I realize that I'm asking for info the Sox haven't decided yet.) --Andrew, St. Louis
The Sox need more consistent production out of the leadoff spot. I understand why some people want Podsednik replaced, but it's hard to find a very productive leadoff hitter without giving up value. Either someone might have to fill in on a one-year basis while Owens continues to develop, or they might have to move another position player to fulfill the leadoff spot.
I was a big fan of Aaron Rowand. Are his leadership intangibles missed on the Sox this year and are they just as good without Rowand this season? --Alan Orenstein, Austin, Texas
I think everyone misses Aaron's friendship in the clubhouse and his fearlessness and unselfishness on the field. He did hit into a lot of double plays last year. They had to move his salary to help get Thome and break in Brian Anderson.
I find it amazing how quickly some fans will give up on certain players who are having a bad stretch. And everyone seemed shocked that Kenny kept the same starting rotation after the trading deadline. I don't understand it. Mark Buehrle has been a solid pitcher for five years, but after one bad stretch, people say his career is over. Same with Garcia. I'm glad that Kenny kept these guys. They shined last year and just need to perform better. Who would Kenny have gotten to replace them? It would not have been worth giving up so quickly on players who have performed so well in the (recent) past. --Pete, Chicago
Very true, Pete. But one starting pitcher will have to be dealt this off-season, and I don't think it will be Jon Garland, Jose Contreras or Mark Buehrle.
Why do many of the Sox players hold their batting gloves in their hands while running the bases? It looks goofy and effeminate, especially when Paulie does it. I'm pretty sure the uniform pants still have pockets. --Dave, Chicago
I've been told it keeps the players from extending their fingers and possibly jamming them or risking a break.
I know it's early for trade thoughts but I think they should trade high and send Crede, Uribe and any starter of their choice for Tejada (and maybe a prospect). Fields would take 3B and McCarthy become a starter. What do you think? --Mel Fleeman, Alhambra, Calif.
I don't think Tejada is in the Sox's sights right now. If they could get a shortstop who could bat leadoff, that would be great. I think Crede should be an All-Star, and financial reasons would be the only way he'd go elsewhere. Fields presents a pleasant problem. It will be a busy off-season.
Do you think Kenny regrets trading Chris Young, who is tearing up the Pacific Coast League, for a pitcher with no heart? What do you think we can get for Javier Vazquez in the off-season? If I had to choose, I take Garcia over Vazquez. Give me someone with some fight in him. --Jim Harlan, Chicago
When are the Sox going to realize it's time to give up on Vazquez? The guy's a bum. Give him away and spread the money around to the guys who deserve it like that Gold Glover at the hot corner. It blows my mind that Vazquez is the highest paid on the staff. --Ryan Ostrowski
I don't think Kenny regrets trading Young because the Sox wanted a durable pitcher with a great upside like Vazquez has. I think Javier brings a lot of value, but his salary for next season ($12.5 million) could make a deal difficult.
Hey Mark, I am a White Sox fan living in Connecticut and I'm going to see them play the Red Sox at Fenway on Labor Day. Any tips on visiting Fenway as a White Sox fan? --Luis Santiago, Hartford, Conn.
Arrive early, enjoy the neighborhood, and don't mention the Yankees. Boston fans were very classy after the White Sox eliminated Boston last October.
Is it me or are the Sox pitchers giving up a lot of homers this year, especially the crucial ones? --Jay Choi, Glenview, Ill.
There seem to be a lot of crucial homers, especially by the likes of the Tigers (Craig Monroe) and Minnesota (Torii Hunter) lately.