The Tribune's Mark Gonzales answers questions about the future of the White Sox, umpire Joe West, Ozzie Guillen's future, and why the Sox didn't claim Brian Fuentes on waivers.
Ken Williams has a "win now" attitude and traded away some good pitchers like Richard and Hudson, but the Twins are a CONSTANT pest for the Sox every year because they bring up bats drafted through their farm system. They do it every year and lose guys who sign bigger contracts elsewhere, but another one ALWAYS comes up again. Meanwhile, KW brings in "big name" guys like Carl Everett, Griffey Jr, and now Manny. Viciedo could have done the job, but Ozzie and KW stubbornly decided to stick with Teahen and Kotsay. Why are Minnesota's GM and scouts so much better than the Sox at evaluating talent from their system and why do they bring it in to be a pain to the Sox EVERY year? Who's to blame most for the Twins always being the Sox's Achilles' heel? - year in, year out: Ken Williams, Ozzie, the scouts, or the players themselves? -- Cy, Beaverton, Ore.
American League Championship Series I wrote a story about the structure of the Twins' front office and how they include everyone in their decision-making process and how well their organization is structured.
Ron Gardenhire is a very good manager, but a lot of those players that are called up are ready to perform without any deficiencies. This is a credit to their scouting and player development departments. I think this tends to be overlooked, as many seem to have a man crush on Gardenhire.
There's a lot of trust that goes on in that organization, and it shows in the fact there's little turnover in the front office.
Any idea if Sox would want to and will be able to re-sign Omar Vizquel? Does he want to play next year? If so, how much money would he want and would other teams try to make a play for him considering how much he helped our infield defensively? -- Adrian C., Streamwood, Ill.
He told me on July 6 that he felt so good he wanted to dictate on his own terms when he would retire. I think the Sox need to get younger, but there is a place for him because the lack of playing time in the first two months actually kept him fresh. I think he's a great fit here for many reasons and he's one of baseball's class acts.
Tony Pena has saved the bullpen a number of times this year, but he's also had a very inconsistent year with an ERA near or over 5.00. Do you think the White Sox would consider non-tendering Pena considering that he will get a decent raise from arbitration? -- Gordon W., Elgin
There would be a stronger chance of Pena getting non-tendered if the Sox had other options within their organization. But I'm not sure how much leverage Pena will have with an ERA over 5.00.
Do you think that the Sox might consider getting rid of Ozzie at the end of the season? A lot of questionable decisions lately. Why did he let Jones hit in the bottom of the ninth last Saturday when he had Kotsay sitting on the bench? You knew that Jones would strike out and we needed to get a man on base. Second guessing I know, but I think that Ozzie gets outmanaged by Gardenhire and the Detroit manager all the time. -- Le Roy Poellot, Rockford, Ill.
I think the off-season will be eventful. Ozzie is signed through 2011 and certainly won't give up that money, but I can see a situation where he's allowed to go elsewhere. There are too many issues that have surfaced dating back to last winter that make his current status very fractured and questionable as to whether it can work for both sides.
If he doesn't return in 2011, it will have nothing to do with his managing.
So I know Hawk Harrelson is a homer, always has been, and will always be. But how do Hawk and the CSN television crew get away with the public flogging they gave Cowboy Joe West? Don't get me wrong, I think there was a great deal of merit in many of the things Hawk brought up, but this was over the top. Do you think they went too far by essentially creating an afront on the credibility of the game. -- Al B, Montgomery, Ala.
First, here's my observation on the controversial rainout. West, the crew chief, checked with a groundscrew worker 20 minutes before the game. The Royals were in charge of the game until they gave the lineups to West. The Royals could have simply delayed the start (until the rains arrived). And West could have elected to not start the game, because the weather radar indicated that the rains were arriving no later than 30 minutes after first pitch.
So I blame the Royals and West for that.
Each team seems to have problems with specific umpires, but they eventually vanish. As for West, he has better job security than pitching coach Larry Rothschild does with the Cubs. West is president of the World Umpires Association, so he has a lot of power.
As for the verbal flogging, I only heard parts of it. But it had to do with West's duties on the field and not his weight or his bush-league behavior in an elevator at Kauffman Stadium after the Aug. 22 game.
Freddy Garcia has done great this year. What do you think the chances are of the White Sox resigning him are?-- Becki. Everett, Wash.
I think there's a chance, especially if Danks is traded to acquire a catcher or left-handed hitter.