The Tribune's White Sox beat writer answers reader questions throughout the season. This week, re-signing Mark Buehrle, trading for Aaron Rowand and whether it's time to can Ozzie.

The first letter writer in your May 15th column went on a rant about Reinsdorf being cheap. I don't get it. Mr. Reinsdorf has brought seven championship banners to the city of Chicago, which is exactly six more than have been produced by the other major sports teams in the city over the last four decades. This perception of Reinsdorf being cheap is not only grossly inaccurate, but it is also detrimental to the reputation of the White Sox organization. I'd be thrilled to have the opportunity to shake Mr. Reinsdorf's hand and thank him for all he has for the Chicago sports scene. --Larry Bristow, Calvert City, Ky.

I'm sure he'd be grateful for your support and appreciation for his commitment to the Sox.

I'll grant that compared to the rest of the lineup, Darin Erstad has a better batting average, but your conclusion was that he's produced, period. Relative to the entire league, he's been awful. His OPS+ (on base plus slugging, adujusted for ballpark and league by is a deplorable 72 (where 100 is average). This could be forgivable if it just meant an absence of power. However, according to, the average on-base percentage for AL players is .333. Erstad has managed a mere .297 OBP. The job of the leadoff man is to get on base, and he's abysmal. He's 5th worst in OBP and you'll find that his walk rate is worse than those comparable. A supportable claim is that he still plays good defense and that he's stealing bases, suggesting that at least he's maintaining his wheels. All I'm asking for is a retraction. --Colin, Chicago

Are you kidding? Erstad's asset at the top of the order is to adjust to every situation. If he doesn't get that clutch two-out hit off Zambrano, the inning doesn't roll around for Pierzynski to hit the grand slam. Monday, he contributed to rallies with RBI singles. He's been a perfect fit for this team in the leadoff spot and a life saver since Podsednik went down with an injury. It's not his fault that he draws a leadoff walk Sunday and Pierzynski hits into a double play.

Entering Monday's game, he ranked sixth among AL leadoff batters with a .296 average. There is more to mastering the leadoff spot than just on-base percentage. Ask manager Ozzie Guillen, bench coach Joey Cora or any of the Sox's players, and they'll tell you Erstad is the Sox's best person at the leadoff spot right now.

Why does everyone constantly want Rowand back? I would never make a trade for him—we'd have to get rid of too much. We don't need him! Erstad has been playing just fine out there and center field has not been our problem this year. In addition, Rowand is an overrated fielder, as well. Our team can use some offensive help, but I think it would be a big mistake to trade for the over achieving Rowand. What do you think? --Chris, San Diego

I think Rowand is an exceptional center fielder. My only concern with him when he played with the Sox was that he grounded into 17 double plays. He brought a solid presence in the clubhouse. But I don't think Philadelphia would get rid of him now, and Erstad fits the Sox's needs better as a leadoff batter, regardless of what some think.

Could there be any possibility that Reinsdorf is nickel-and-diming the Sox so he can pay the Bulls young guns the money they will all command to stay in Chicago? Face it, I think most Chicago fans would rather see the Bulls win for the next 10 years or so than see the Sox have a chance at just making the playoffs. --Scott Halasz, Dayton, Ohio

I can't speak for the fans' preferences. But I'm pretty sure both teams operate on separate budgets. I think Jerry's passion is with baseball but he isn't about to downplay his joy over the Bulls' championships.

Reading articles on comments of players who are struggling, it almost seems like it is no big deal for them. Konerko is probably the most quoted and the lowest average of the supposed big bats. Dye, Crede and Iguchi are among the rest making Mario Mendoza look good. How long do you think Sox brass will go with the above under achievers efforts before benching them? --Joe Hendrickson, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

Joe, great to hear from Southern California. I think Kenny Williams' stern comments Sunday say it all about his thinning patience.

Mark, could the Sox please sign Buehrle already? It's my opinion that we need to keep this guy and that the wheels will fall off without him. Plus, he was on the Wheaties box! What can Kenny be thinking? --John Browning, Flemington, N.J.

John, I said last year that evaluating left-handed starters who don't throw hard is difficult. I don't blame both sides for tabling talks until after this season. It may cost the Sox more to sign Buehrle, but the season is only 25 percent over and Mark still has something to prove.

Hi Mark. I'm writing you from upstate New York. I'm like the only White Sox fan in the state but I wouldn't trade it for anything. Question: What was the White Sox all time won-loss record at old Comiskey Park? Thanks. --Corey Taylor, Queensbury, N.Y.

Sox were 3,024-2,926 for a .508 winning percentage. Many thanks to the Sox's media relations department for listing this record in their 2007 media guide and saving me valuable time.

Mark, Kenny Williams is looking mighty foolish for not unloading Mike MacDougal and Rob Mackowiak for Aaron Rowand in spring training when the Phillies were reportedly begging him to do so. When are the White Sox going to trade or sign a legitimate starting third outfielder? Heck, I'd take available free agents Phil Nevin or Carl "The Truth" Everett right now in a heartbeat! Your thoughts? --Bill Wermes, Elmhurst

The phone wasn't ringing off the hook at the office of the agent for Phil Nevin, and Carl is playing in an independent league. MacDougal was doing well until the past three weeks.

With the Sox' offense in a coma, didn't it seem odd to you that Ozzie didn't arrange his rotation to give his best-hitting pitcher, Garland, a start against the Cubs? As for the bullpen: What good is a "power arm" if it gives up five hits in a row? --David L. Beck, St. Petersburg, Fla.