Mark, if you were the GM, who would you move and who would you keep? To me, it seems Jose Contreras' time is winding down. Maybe move him for some prospects. Plus, he has a rather large salary, that could be used in other areas. --Griff, Omaha
Griff, when you finish in the second division, you usually have to overpay to entice free agents to sign. That's why I'm a firm believer that you listen to as many offers for as many players as possible to address certain needs. In a perfect world, if you move Contreras, you free yourself of $20 million over the next two years, open competition for his spot and hopefully address an area or two in return for a pitcher like Contreras.
The Dye situation is delicate because the Sox currently don't have a power-hitting outfielder ready to take his place. Getting draft picks as compensation is always a possibility, as well as perhaps re-signing him (although that's unlikely with some teams looking more at his past than this season).
Rob Mackowiak attracted interest from San Diego earlier this season, and his current hitting makes him very attractive to a team seeking a left-handed hitter.
Are you sure Posednik has a stronger arm than Luis Gonzalez? I think I have a stronger arm than Posednik even though I turn 70 soon. --Jim, Viera, Fla.
I saw Luis Gonzalez play every day for four consecutive years (2000-03). He started a throwing program midway through the 2003 sesaon, only to develop arm problems that led to reconstructive surgery.
Can the Sox really afford to have two such slow runners as Thome and Konerko in the center of their lineup? I am a big fan of both, but this seems like a huge liability. --Jim, Vienna, Va.
At this point, the Sox have no choice. If the batters ahead of them got on base more frequently, their lack of speed wouldn't be so noticeable. That's not to say they're acquitted here. I thought Jim would hit more homers, but maybe he's capable of a home run surge before the season ends.
I'm mystified by all the talk about Josh Fields as a ready replacement for Joe Crede. I can see where he might become an offensive replacement for Joe (though it remains to be seen whether he'll be the kind of clutch hitter Crede is), but his defense is woeful. It's not the errors, it's the balls he doesn't get to, the tough plays he doesn't make. --Mark Pollock, Chicago
I think everyone understands what a defensive loss it was when Joe was lost for the season. But the bullpen's woes are more severe than Josh's fielding.
Am I the only person who heard Ken Harrelson say "Goddammit" on Saturday's telecast when closer Bobby Jenks wild-pitched in the tying run in the ninth? Will this cost him his job? --Benny Fontane, New Iberia, La.
Benny, I didn't hear the telecast because I was in Baltimore. I can tell you Hawk is baffled by the performance of the team. I can also say that Hawk's security is as strong as anyone's in the organization.
In a you stated, "Contreras is 1-7 with a 6.92 ERA in his last nine starts. But he remains healthy, and the fact that he's under contract the next two seasons at a total of $20 million is appealing to teams, considering the escalating market for starting pitchers." Please tell me what team would want a pitcher who may or may not be 36 and is putting those numbers up and allowing free reign on the base paths at $10 million per season. --Mike S., Bonita Springs, Fla.
I can't see the Sox eating $20 million to get Jose out of Chicago. There's more than a week left in the non-waiver trading period, and strange things have happened. Remember when the Mets traded for Victor Zambrano and gave up a young left-handed named Scott Kazmir?
I'm not saying this is going to happen, but if Victor Zambrano can get traded
Iguchi should stay, no better replacement. Crede, if his career is not over, can be signed for less money. We will get no one better than Dye. Erstad and Pods are question marks. Fields can play the outfield. Contreras to the bullpen or to the Mets for El Duque and somebody good. What do you think? Ron Churlin, Chicago
Ron, the question with Iguchi will be his asking price in the free agent market. Crede's representatives will point to his production prior to 2007, so I'm not sure a pay cut is automatic in the goofy world of salary arbitration. Jose has been a starter for his entire career, and I'm not sure how he would adjust to the bullpen. El Duque has been hurt quite a bit, and I think he's a better fit for the Mets right now.