Is there anything the Sox can do to improve enough to go to the playoffs? I am so disappointed in the pitching -- we get leads and can't keep them, the starters are mediocre at best -- and Alex Rios and Adam Dunn are terrible disappointments. I am just very depressed about this year and don't see any hope for the future as long as Kenny Williams is the GM. We would be better off with the 2005 team, all of them. -- Peggy Heilig; Arden, N.C.
The obvious solution would be for the offense to produce runs, especially early in games so the pitchers have some margin for error. Executing bunts would help, too. But it's a moot point if the batters can hit with runners in scoring position. Nevertheless, the pitchers need to do their part as well. And the defense has to play smarter than it has through the first four months.
American League Central rivals frequently and convincingly.
After watching a replay of Dunn's at-bat, it's clear his swing is more of an uppercut than level swing. It seems that this type of flaw should be correctable or at least minimized although there are many major leaguers who are described as having an "uppercut" swing. If he could make level contact a lot of these high flies would be HRs. I think about my poor golf swing and when I dip or something you get the equivalent of a pop up. I'm not capable of more than simple analysis but it seems like contact with an uppercut swing is increasingly difficult the higher the pitch. No really new thoughts here but we need to salvage this guy. -- Nils Peterson; Schaumburg
He'll have to take some batting practice in the off-season, but I don't think that's the exact solution. He's missed many pitches by a convincing margin, so I'd be curious to see if he gets his eyes examined and what those findings are.
At the outset of the season, the Sox broke camp with Lastings Milledge on the roster, only to have to send him down out of necessity. Considering the team's overall struggles, trouble in the leadoff spot, etc. why haven't we heard his name in months? It seems as though he could've been consideration for a call-up instead of Alejandro De Aza. -- Shane Seddon; Las Vegas
Compared to the rest of his teammates, Juan Pierre is doing exceptionally well at the leadoff spot. Also, De Aza was the most deserving of the healthy Triple-A Charlotte players to get promoted. Milledge has raised his batting average recently, but I believe De Aza was more deserving.
Is there any recognition at the absolute highest levels of team ownership/management of two huge sources of future problems ... 1. The Sox have simply been unable to develop an effective farm system under Ken Williams (witness recent Baseball America ratings); and 2. The apparent deficit in organizational talent evaluation that has led to all of the bad trades and free agent signings. Where is the next Al Goldis, who was key to the jackpot of talent the Sox developed in the early '90s (e.g., Thomas, Fernandez, McDowell, Ventura -- even Alvarez through the Himes trade). Now that was a farm system. -- M. Peregrine; Glencoe
The game of trading prospects to land veterans is a risky game. One of the ways to correct this is to do the opposite, as the Sox did after 2006 by trading Freddy Garcia for Gavin Floyd and later landing a much-younger John Danks in a deal involving Brandon McCarthy.
The problem now is that there are so many players with large contracts and varying degrees of no-trade rights that the flexibility is limited. That's why you see the names of Carlos Quentin and Matt Thornton frequently mentioned. They're under contract with no full no-trade rights. One emailer took me to task for alleging that I wrote that the Sox could get a pitcher in return for Quentin. What the emailer failed to see was that the Sox could get at least one pitcher in return as well as another prospect, since Quentin could be a Type A free agent under the Elias rankings (although Quentin isn't eligible for free agency until after the 2012 season) and command two draft picks if he were eligible for free agency.
Doug Laumann recently completed his fourth draft, and his 2008 draft ranks as one of the Sox's best in recent years. Three of his picks have reached the majors (Gordon Beckham, Brent Morel and Daniel Hudson), and four others with a shot.
But trades have depleted the depth, which puts a lot of stress to make successful picks and for the farm system to properly teach these picks. They could use some strength in the middle infield and starting pitching at the higher minor league levels.
Open letter to Jerry Reinsdorf c/o Mark Gonzales
You are loyal to a fault. I wish you had a little George Steinbrenner in you so you could dump Kenny Williams before he screws up your entire franchise. If Kenny is unhappy with the current team and wants to blame someone, he can look no farther than the face staring back at him in the mirror. He has no patience and trades any prospect with value for an expensive veteran, and then complains every year that the payroll is too high. If he would stick to the under-the-radar moves, he actually has a decent track record -- Jenks, Quentin and Humber to name a few.
But the egotist in him isn't satisfied with that because it doesn't make headlines for him. He has to make the big splash so it looks like he is doing something. The Sox didn't need a front line pitcher when he traded for Peavy. Clayton Richard showed flashes of talent but wasn't perfect every time out (which is common in young players), so he trades him for a salary buster. And check out the players he gave to San Diego for him. I'm sure (Mike) Adams would look good in the Sox bull pen right now. And he exhibited the same lack of patience with Daniel Hudson. Hudson and Gio Gonzalez would look good in the rotation right now, and Sweeney in center (The Swisher trade was another sick one). And there was a reason Toronto let Rios go for nothing. And Williams tried to give up players for him!
The Sox didn't need Dunn, either, because they had a very good and productive first baseman in Konerko, with a future replacement in Viciedo. That was a dumb "want" even if he was playing better. If you analyze his trades over the last five years he basically is giving away your money and young players. I've been a Sox fan since I was 7 years old in 1959 but the Twins are the team to emulate: Home grown and nothing flashy, they just win, baby.
Someone with Jerry Krause and Larry Himes' judgment of talent and Roland Hemond personality is what I'm looking for.
Thanks for listening, Rosy
Has Alex Rios set a record for the most softly hit two-hoppers to shortstop this season? Is he using a Nerf Bat? -- Ron; Palos Heights
Mark Gonzales' White Sox mailbag
The Tribune's Mark Gonzales answers questions about what it will take for the Sox to make the playoffs, the accountability of the front office, the terrible season of Alex Rios, as well as fan's open letter to chairman Jerry Reinsdorf
Ozzie Guillen rubs his face as Adam Dunn comes up to bat. (Brian Cassella / Tribune photo)