The Tribune's White Sox beat writer answers reader questions throughout the season. This week, there's talk about trades, the off-season, and how the Sox can get back in the race this season.

Mark: I realize Iguchi is a rental player for the Phillies, but is a Single A pitcher fair value for a starting second baseman? --David Czurak, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Consider that the Sox saved about $1 million by moving Iguchi, so let's see what happens in the off-season as to how they invest money in players.

Mark, I know (Danny) Richar is getting a long look at 2B, but do the Sox still view him as their future SS? If so, I would love to see them go after Luis Castillo this off-season at 2B. -- Joe, Chicago

Manager Ozzie Guillen prefers to keep Richar at second, where he looks comfortable and not overmatched. I don't blame you for wanting Castillo, but the Mets could make a strong push to keep him past this season.

What do you think the chances are that the White Sox would go after Eric Byrnes in the off-season? He can play anywhere in the outfield (has 8 assists), hit for home runs (about 20+ a year) and steals bases at a high success rate (85 percent over the last two years). I think he can provide the energy that we have been missing since Aaron Rowand left. Do you think the White Sox would throw some money at him this off-season (he is making less than $5 million in his walk year)? -- Herman Rojas, El Paso, Texas

Eric Byrnes has grown on me this year as a player. He gets results, although I can go without the unnecessary antics at times. If he doesn't seek Gary Matthews Jr.-type money, then I'm all for making a push toward him. But from what I've been told by a Diamondbacks beat writer, he's looking for a big raise.

Mark, Living in Texas, I don't watch many games anymore (even with my MLB package on DirecTV), but I do watch every box score. The most alarming thing I've seen are the string of 0.0, 0.1, 0.2 innings pitched by our relievers. Even back at the beginning of the year, when Kenny's deals were smelling sweet while Aardsma was racking up big strikeouts, Ozzie's use of the bullpen was quick in and quick out. I've not seen Ozzie or Coop's handling of the bullpen questioned. How does a pitcher get into a rhythm or feel ownership of an inning or game when they see such little of it? -- Trent, Frisco, Texas

Trent, it's a matter of trust. Ozzie managed the pitching staff in New York and Detroit as if each game were the seventh game of the World Series, and it paid off with a 4-2 mark. Right now, I'd say Bukvich and Wassermann are the closest to regaining the trust of pitching more than one out (with the exception of Jenks).

Why does Kenny keep trading for Class A pitchers? The Sox farm system is weak at just about every position and could use some reinforcements there, don't you think? -- Erik, Evanston

Erik, especially catching, but no one wants to give up catching. I suspect that Kenny could move one of the young pitchers (Sisco?) if it means helping land a valuable position player. In that scenario, one of the young pitchers acquired could stand a better change to move up. I'm told that Link, the pitcher acquired from San Diego, has a pretty good slider and made progress this year. But he's 23 and still in Class-A.

Mark, I'm not sold on Jerry Owens yet. Has Walk talked to him about going the other way? He grounds out to 2nd base more than he should. -- Bill, Fox River Grove

I agree with you on the grounders to second. But he's made some pretty good strides in his second stint this season, so there's no reason why he shouldn't improve on that.

Mark, what is Kenny thinking not trading Dye? I realize the Red Sox offer wasn't great with Pena and Craig Hansen, but Hansen has good upside and a chance to be a good reliever. Instead of this, we're gonna lose Dye, get picks that we won't see for 3-4 years. Also, get Ryan Sweeney some at bats, seems likely that he gets a spot on the team if Dye isn't brought back right? He seems to be getting rated as a top 60 major league prospect with great potential, he looked solid when he first good a look. So I ask WHY BRING DYE BACK? -- Dan, Chicago

Why would Boston give up Hansen so soon? I know they have Papelbon and Gagne, but I wonder. Pena could be Glenallen Hill, at best. Sweeney is out with a wrist injury that could bench him through this month. Ryan is only 22 and has minor league options, so everyone should keep that in mind. Signing Dye for no more than two years might be a good deal for both sides.

Please, don't tell me Aaron Rowand has more home runs and RBIs than Jim Thome. Is there a reason the White Sox can't make a trade with anybody outside Philly? -- Chuck, Orlando

Is there any heat from Reinsdorf being placed on Kenny Williams? He has had a horrible year as most of his recent trades have been busts. For the first time, I've lost faith in Williams and I'm terrified to think what he's going to do this winter. Is his job safe? -- Mike Krenski, Orland Park

Kenny's job is safe, and he's made several trades with Arizona as well as Philadelphia. But it looks like the player development department will be under scrutiny after changes in the amateur scouting department were made.

If Jose Contreras does not return as one of the starters and the other four remain the same who in your opinion is the leading candidate within the present system to break into the #5 spot? -- Dan Bowman, Marlette, Mich.