Do you know how the Sox, or any team, decides who is a prospect? Stefan Gartrell hit 23 homers last year, already has 24 this year, and yet he never even gets listed as a prospect. We keep hearing about Jordan Danks and Tyler Flowers, neither of whom hit nearly as well as Gartrell. Is it just because Gartrell was not drafted until the 31st round? David Landsburg, Rogers, Ark.
I consider Gartrell a prospect because he was placed on the 40-man roster last fall. He opened some eyes in spring training, and you mentioned his power numbers. If he cuts down on his strikeouts, he'll move up the ranks.
I keep hearing all of this praise for Viciedo, and I'll grant that the guy seems to be able to hit the ball hard. But has anyone noticed that as a third baseman he's the equivalent of a fencepost? Seriously, can he really drive in enough runs to make up for his awful defense? Mary, Chicago
I always compare Viciedo to Pedro Guerrero at the plate and in the field, although Viciedo has a better arm than Guerrero did.
The Sox need Viciedo's bat in the lineup. He hits everything hard. Now is the time to use his bat. We are heading into the home stretch. We lost two games by one run to Baltimore and Viciedo could have made the difference in those two losses. What are your thoughts? Jim Martin, Las Vegas
I would have liked to have seen him handle the DH duties more often while he was with the club. But he needs to get more at-bats in the minors, show better pitch selection so the manager will have more faith in him when he gets promoted on Sept. 1.
Why is ESPN so biased against the White Sox? Sunday Night Baseball was filled with information, video and commentary about practically all the division-leading teams except the White Sox last week. Is Buck Showalter to blame? Ken Bill, Clarendon Hills
I'd be careful about blaming Buck about anything. He's coming to town next week.
I think the comments made four years ago by Scott Reifert, the Sox's vice president of communications, clearly represent the Sox's feelings toward ESPN.
Do you think they made a mistake giving up Daniel Hudson? His ERA is 1.13 in three starts? Look around the league at ex-Sox players -- Gio Gonzalez, John Garland, Dan Hudson, John Ely and Clayton Richard!! It sounds to me Ken Williams has no interest in his farm system. It's can you throw 100 mph or hit homers? We have won this year so far with, speed, and defense and also timely hitting, what do you think? Mitch Greenberg, Gurnee
They had no choice but to move Daniel because he was their biggest bargaining chip. I hated to see him go because he was a very mature kid for his age, and I think a lot of people overlooked that he jumped four levels in 2009. He will do very well as long as certain Phoenix media members don't try to manipulate him.
The Sox are always in a win-now mode, so the trading of prospects will continue. Gio, by the way, had a decent chance of beating Minnesota last week if it weren't for a strike zone the width of a postage stamp on certain calls.
Neal Cotts was one of my favorite Sox. How come he never really made it in the big leagues? Where is he now? Ken, Chapel Hill, NC
Ken, thanks for your interest from Chapel Hill, one of the most beautiful towns in the world. Let's hope Tar Heel Gate doesn't spread to the men's basketball team.
Neal had elbow and hip problems in the Pittsburgh organization and didn't pitch this year. He's recuperating from hip surgery.
I don't get it. Castro homers the last game and scores two runs, has a rocket arm but sits against a lefty. Why does Oz continue to start A.J. against a lefty when clearly he can't hit, and Castro can? Mo, Cicero
Some of it has to do with who is the starting pitcher that day. Castro and Garcia work well, but Castro also has worked well the few times with Buehrle. Ozzie said recently that Castro would get a few more starts, but only to preserve A.J.'s strength. Ozzie also likes the fact that A.J. has laid down a few bunts and executed hit-and-run plays. We'll see how that carries out in the next few weeks.
Why do the White Sox hitters refuse to take a walk? The Orioles shut them down because they wouldn't take a walk, particularly the top and bottom of the lineup. The Sox clearly have an elite pitching staff. But, oh my, I can't stand watching this team be farmers, swinging at low lying garbage. And they've got to know statistically that they do it. The Twins throw nothing but junk, and the Sox will swing at it. Demosthenes Papaeliou, Las Vegas
A lot of the problems are due to pressing too much at the plate, reverting to the bad habits that haunted them in the first two months such as lunging at first-pitch breaking balls (Mitch Talbot). Liriano's slider is pretty deceptive, but they had him on the ropes without taking advantage of him.
Am I the only person who has noticed the the Minnesota Twins are entirely too comfortable at the plate against the Sox pitchers? They dig in and pound away, bristling with confidence that they are in charge of the confrontation. Are Cooper/Ozzie ethically opposed to the brushback? Wouldn't a few fastballs at the legs be a time honored way to reestablish pitcher dominance? Sorry, just tired of the one-sided batting practice. Ted Schenk, Austin, Texas
Ted, I completely agree with you. There was a game earlier this year where Mauer was barely grazed by a pitch, and he was virtually halfway to first base before the umpire awarded him the bag.
I'm not saying the Sox should be headhunters, but it doesn't hurt to get a batter off the plate. It's getting old.
I am writing to you from Berlin, Germany and I am 7 years old. Do you think Gordon Beckham will have the strength to stay on the team? Do you think Paul Konerko's going to get AT LEAST 30 home runs this year? Do you think the Sox are going to win the World Series this year? That's all I'm asking. Nicky Edwards-Levin, Chicago
Enjoy the rest of your vacation, Nicky.
Does anybody realize just how good Alexei Ramirez is? Everyone seems to focus on his offense which is indeed well above average for his position in both average and power. But has anyone looked at his fielding stats lately? As of Aug. 11, he had 556 total chances -- 43 more than his nearest Major League competitor. He has been involved in 80 double plays, nine more than his closest competitor and his range factor (whatever that is) is second in the majors. True, he has made 14 errors but every one of the other top 10 shortstops in innings played is at least in double figures in errors. I think we can permanently stop the talk of Beckham playing shortstop instead of Alexei. Williams was right, this guy is that good. Mickey Shattow, Mount Desert, Maine
Alexei has been terrific, and it might be time to consider signing him to a multi-year deal. I just wish he'd get acclimated more quickly to the cold weather in April and May.
You mentioned a while back that the Sox might try to re-sign J.J. Putz. How much do you think it will take to re-sign him? Also, will Bobby Jenks be traded? If so, do you know what team would want a closer with an above 5 ERA that will probably make between $8-9 million? Tom L., Northbrook
J.J. is represented by Craig Landis, who also is the agent for several current and past Sox players. This might be J.J.'s final 'lucrative' contract, and the closer market is very fluid. Since he is healthy and been relatively effective, I'd expect a lot of competition for his services.
As for Bobby, there's always a team or two looking for a seasoned closer. And his representatives can point to his streak of consecutive save conversions as a starting point.
Crazy idea! Sox had wanted Cubs left handed outfielder Kusuke Fukudome before the Cubs got him. Cubs want to get rid of his salary now. From what I had heard in past years, Cubs had interest in Teahen as a left-handed bat. This December, would the Sox and Cubs ever try to trade bad contracts -- Teahen and Linebrink for Fukudome straight up? This would save the Sox about 2.25 million altogether for 2011 and 2012 (but have to pay all the strange perks that Fukudome receives) and receive a backup left-handed OF for Quentin that might do better with change in leagues, replace Andruw Jones, and open up reliever spots for Sale and Threets next year and infield spots for Vizquel, Lillibridge, and Viciedo. Steve H., Bloomingdale, Ill.
Steve, I love your creativity. But I think the Sox would prefer to get more production out of one player that they would be obligated to pay more than $12 million. Teahen would like a shot at regaining his starting job at third base, and it won't happen with Aramis Ramirez in front of him.
Two questions. Is there anything in the CBA that limits how long a rehab assignment can last before a team must either activate a player or designate him for assignment? Obviously, this is only for players that are out of options and I think they have to have six years of service. I think Teahen has both. But, I was curious in general. If Cliff Lee was traded a few days earlier, the Mariners wouldn't have had an All-Star. Is there a policy in place for a last-minute replacement? Or would the M's have been out of luck? Has this happened before? Brett Bauer, Oswego
1: Minor league rehabilitation assignments can last up to 20 days for a position player and up to 30 days for a pitcher. A team then can decide to reinstate the player to the 25-man roster, option him or designate him for assignment.
Each team must have at least one representative for the All-Star Game. Bartolo Colon was traded from Cleveland to Montreal in late June after winning 10 games for Montreal, but he wasn't selected to the game. Omar Vizquel was Cleveland's representative and Vladimir Guerrero and Jose Vidro played for Montreal.
My question is about the Sox's seeming inability to overcome modest deficits in games this season. The past week and a half has been hard, and I notice that whenever they fail to score first in a game, or fall behind by two runs or more, the chances are that they will lose. I wonder if this is just a recent thing that contributes to the frustrating second half (so far), or has been the case throughout the season. Is my memory correct? I come from Taiwan, where we call a ball club that can only win games it leads from the beginning as "playing tailwind ball." Are the White Sox playing tailwind ball for a while now (even during the miraculous surge in June and July), or is it only a recent problem due to a severe lack of clutch hitting? Thanks! Ken, Chicago
Monday was the perfect time for a day off for these guys. It's time to take inventory, especially with the Twins series looming and that their second-half problems started there when they could have won two games that they blew.
The lack of another big bat comes into play when you assess the reasons they can't overcome modest deficits.
Recently both the Sox radio and TV announcers implied that Ozzie does not give any of his hitters, Paulie and Rios included, the green light on 3-0. Is this true? Jimmy D, Sugarland, Texas
I can't remember the last time someone swung on a 3-0 count.
What has Jerry Krause been doing? I was hoping to hear that we had signed some new prospects like the other teams have done by now. Bill Wiggins, Rockville, Va.
I know Jerry scouted the IBAF World Junior Baseball Tournament last month in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The tournament included players from Cuba, South Korea, Australia, Chinese Taipei, Canada and the United States.