I think the chances are slim. I think they should bring him back, but I'm not sure how much they trust him at third, given the lack of chances he received in spring training and at Triple-A Charlotte.
There's certainly an awareness of how a certain player would fit against the rest of the division. Remember how Kosuke Fukudome was supposed to come off the bench in pinch-hitting and spot starting roles against the rough right-handers in the American League Central. Anyone else surprised that Mark Parent hasn't been given some consideration for vacant managerial positions? I'm surprised Colorado hasn't contacted him, but there are some strange things going on there. There's plenty of analysis over each game and the next game in the coaches' locker room as well as during post-game meals and pregame lunches.
Do you think the White Sox could sign Josh Hamilton or Mike Napoli? -- Jarret Palmisano, Palos Park
I'm not crazy about Hamilton because of some of the issues that have even caused his biggest backers in the Dallas-Fort Worth media to back off on him. I like Napoli, but I'm not sure about his asking price (he made $9.4 million in 2012). His production dipped and his strikeouts increased, so I'm not sure what you'll be getting. Might be fitting that he's born on Oct. 31. Either he's a trick or a treat.
This should probably fall under the heading of "conspiracy theory" but do you think there is a correlation between all the walks the Sox gave up the last month-plus of the season and the fact that Hawk Harrelson was constantly berating the umpires on the air? -- Paul Fiala, San Luis Obispo, Calif.
I'm all for conspiracy theories, especially after the ending of the Seattle-49ers game as well as the end of the 1982 NFC title game in which Joe Montana never put his knee down while trotting into the end zone. A few years ago, I had an umpire express his unhappiness with Hawk's criticism of a certain umpire. But I don't think his comments can be correlated to the high increase in walks. I just think some of the pitchers either were tired or had control issues. The umpires are graded throughout the season, and I think the ones who have a shaky strike zone are told about it. Also, there are a few websites that remind those of their inconsistent zones. I don't like calling balls and strikes from my living room, but I don't like what I've seen in several of the playoff games. And they've involved umpires whom many players, managers and even announcers have questioned in the past.
At this point it's probably a silly question, but when Miguel Cabrera was on the trading block several years ago, Ken Williams refused go after him because the Marlins insisted on including Dontrelle Willis' bad contract. How does passing on this deal look now? -- Ken, Crestwood
You can look at it the following ways: 1. The Sox won the American League Central the following year. I remember the days leading up to the Cabrera trade, and KW's anger of the criticism he received after Cabrera went to Detroit. It was more than just Willis' contract that swayed in Detroit's favor. The Tigers were willing to trade six minor league players -- including two high-profile prospects at the time in Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller. I'm not sure the Sox could have absorbed moving six prospects and absorb the financial obligations they would have taken on, in addition to the likes of Paul Konerko, Mark Buehrle, Jim Thome, Jermaine Dye, Javier Vazquez, etc. 2. Mr. Illich was willing to absorb a huge financial cost to acquire a future Hall of Fame hitter as well as Willis' salary, and it's finally paying off handsomely with two consecutive AL Central titles and now a World Series berth.
Are you as surprised as I am about all the media and Sox personnel scratching their heads about only 2 million fans (or just under) showing up this year? I went to three games and had a great time, but let's review: For most of the season, out of 14 teams in the AL, the Sox were running between fifth and eighth, and they finished ninth!! That's not the stuff of filled stadiums. And running a pitching staff of "Jake Peavy and Chris Sale and pray for hail" was tough to watch, given the maddening inconsistencies shown by all pitchers. (Philip Humber!). Kenny and staff should have known better that the pitching would be inconsistent. (Liriano!) It was a fun season, but finishing with 85 wins? Big deal. Yawn. Let's get over 95 wins next year, finish in the top three in the league, and the Sox will rebound with 2.5 to 3 million in attendance! THAT is how to fix the attendance issues. The park is great. The product? Meh. -- Matt, Bolingbrook
Yes, I was extremely surprised that the Sox didn't reach 2 million in home attendance, but I became less surprised in August and earlier September. But I'll say it again -- I'll never tell people how to spend their money. I think the performances of Sale, Jose Quintana, Nate Jones and Hector Santiago give the fans plenty of promise for the future, although Detroit still looms as a perennial contender with Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and the return of Victor Martinez. The Sox were on track to win more than 90 games before their miserable skid, and the quality was more entertaining than in two of the three previous years. I'm not sure 95 wins will guarantee 2.5 million in attendance next year. Reducing season ticket prices is just one of many steps that the Sox will have to address. With the Red line scheduled to be closed for repairs next May, getting fans from the south to get to the park will be a challenge.
After watching Dayan Vicedo play right and excel, and then move to left and played well above average, why not move him back to his main position -- third? He was not great, but adequate, and after watching the guy improve at everything else he does, it's obvious he is an athlete and can become good enough at third and will also brings power to that position. This can leave a spot to bring in a Mitchell or a free agent in left. Viciedo has handled everything thrown at him so far. I believe now is the time to try it before he feels to comfortable to move from the outfield. -- Eric, Indianapolis
I would be in favor of Viciedo moving to third, but there is some hesitation. If the Sox opt or learn toward a rotation with four left-handers, that would place a greater emphasis on defense on the left side of the infield, with opponents stacking their lineups with right-handed hitters. Viciedo has handled the position changes as well as any 23-year-old. At some point, he deserves some stability. But the Sox must find no worse than an adequate left fielder to consider making the switch.
In reporting that the Royals had fired hitting coach Kevin Seitzer, the Kansas City Star quoted manager Ned Yost saying Seitzer's philosophy was, basically, to stay to the middle of the field and to the opposite side. In recent years, the White Sox have had trouble hitting to the opposite field in some situations and against some pitchers. Is there any chance the White Sox could hire Seitzer as an assistant hitting coach or roving hitting instructor to work with all the hitters in the White Sox system on their ability to hit up the middle and to the opposite field? -- Steve Kleinmaier, Madison, Wis.
There will be some changes in the farm system, but I believe they'll have more to do with the managerial positions. For instance, Tommy Thompson has done a solid job with the group he's worked with at Class-A Kannapolis and Class-A Winston-Salem, and I wouldn't be surprised if he's promoted.
With all the talk of pitchers being tired late in the season, why don't teams have six-man starting rotations? -- Ken Akers, Fancy Gap, Va.
Some teams struggle to find six dependable starters in the heat of a pennant race. Other teams would rather send their five best pitchers or four best (if there's a day off) as much as possible. I think not using a six-man rotation in 2006 hurt the White Sox after their World Series season. The team ERA jumped by nearly one-half run in the second half.
This past season was very instructive, and quite frankly all Sox fans should be buoyed by the infusion of young pitching talent on this roster. The Sox have an abundance of young arms, and for the most part they acquitted themselves this year. If the truth be told, I would have preferred losing down the stretch with the kids, rather than losing with the likes of Matt Thornton and Francisco Liriano. The question is going forward, who starts and who comprises your bullpen. The fact is that Sale and Quintana are the only starters that we are certain of for the 2013 season. Jake Peavy's contract situation may price him out of the rotation. Gavin Floyd's buyout is not a given. John Danks health is tenuous at best. Francisco Liriano was a rent-a-player gone bad which was no surprise. His record was 50-52 when he arrived. So even though we have an abundance of young arms, where do they fit? Hector Santiago is a starter and may end up in the bullpen because baseball has an unwritten rule that you can't have three or more left-handers in your starting rotation. I submit the Sox don't have the luxury of bowing to conventional baseball wisdom. They need to play the best players available and let the chips fall where they may. Where does Phil Humber, Dylan Axelrod and Leyson Septimo fit in the future plan? Brian Omogrosso, Donnie Veal, Nate Jones and Addison Reed are bullpen-ready. Do the Sox shop or keep veterans Jesse Crain, Brian Bruney and Brett Meyer? These questions need to be addressed before moving on to positioned players. They are internal questions and should have been anticipated before the end of the season. However, I would rather have these questions of abundance than the alternative. -- Robbie, Memphis
Robbie, I expressed my thoughts and opinions on these subjects in position-by-position analyses that can be found at here.
With limited payroll room, the Sox should really look at players who can play multiple positions such as a Ben Zobrist, Jeff Keppinger or even Angel Pagan. Obtaining these type of players would increase our overall depth. I hope you agree. -- Jeff S. Chicago Ridge
Part of the ''problem'' is that so many of the positions are set. But I agree that versatility helps and could play a huge role in keeping players stronger down the stretch.
Is the enthusiasm level at Sox games as dead as it seems on television? It seems like a funeral. Do the Sox do anything to liven the crowd? Do they have fireworks nights?? Who does their public relations? They should study the Pirates' PR operation. -- J. Kochalka, Wheeling, W.V.
Yes, I'd say the enthusiasm is meek, and I'm glad the Sox are looking into ways to invigorate the fans. I'm extremely curious to see how they will spice up their telecasts and broadcasts, especially if there is a change in the television booth. I was surprised at the level of discontent from those who submitted emails expressing your opinions on the telecasts, but I'm glad you expressed them and made your points. Yes, there are plenty of fireworks nights on Friday nights, and those games are well-attended. The in-game entertainment department, not the media relations department, is in charge of engaging fans in the game.
Is it looking like the Sox are going to resign Pierzynski, or are they going to let him go? -- Dennis Bowman, Omaha, Neb.
I think he ends up getting a multi-year contract elsewhere. Interesting that he and Napoli are among the top free agent catchers, although A.J. has been much more durable.
I just want to let you know that I have been a season ticket holder for almost 30 years. Since 1985, my tickets are going up over 2 percent! I am in section 129, row 6, with four seats. Each seat went up over $1,000 per seat. So, in regards to prices getting lower, that is quite an increase. -- George Mervosh, Tinley Park
George, you were part of the 13 percent who didn't receive a price reduction, as those sitting in the first 10 rows between first and third base absorbed an increase as the lower deck seats between first and third base are priced on a tier system based on the rows the seats are located.
OK, I know I wrote last time that I thanked all of you for your questions during the season. But with the Sox remaining quiet on potential front office changes, I decided to answer your insightful and plentiful questions. Enjoy the off-season.