Welcome to The Chicago Homer’s Mailbag. It runs once a week unless it doesn’t, and in it I answer questions from readers via Twitter or email. The questions can be about any damn thing you please, and there likely isn’t a question I won’t answer. There may be questions I can’t answer, but I’ll try.
If you’d like to submit a question for the next edition of the mailbag it’s pretty simple. Either ask the question on Twitter using the #AskTCH hashtag — as long as you use the hashtag I will see it — or send an email to TCHMailbag@gmail.com.
And now that you know how to do it, let’s get to the this week’s questions.
After a week-long hiatus AskTCH has returned to you, the people of the internet. Sorry about not having one last week, but with all the puppy stuff going on I simply forgot to remind readers to send in questions, and though I received a couple, I just didn’t have the time to answer them.
But I’ve adjusted to life with the puppy, and getting up a few different times during the night, and arising from bed for good around 6 am (I thought it was a myth). So I’m settling into the groove. A tired, hazy, “please stop chewing on my toe, Frankie” groove.
Let’s get to the questions.
When will the White Sox fire Robin Ventura? – Eric Stone
Judging by the fact that GMail says this email hit my inbox around 1am last night/this morning, I’m guessing this is a reaction to the White Sox blowing a 5-0 lead to the Angels in the eighth inning last night, with the major blow being a Mike Trout grand slam off of Chris Sale.
Listen, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t awake for this. I was lying in bed watching this game on my Kindle and it was still 5-0 Sox in the top of the eighth. The next thing I knew it was 3am and I was taking the dog out in the rain. I didn’t realize what happened in last night’s game until I saw your question in my inbox and sensed that shit went sour after I fell asleep.
Sure enough, Chris Sale ran into trouble in the eighth and finished the night with 115 pitches. So I’m guessing you want to fire Robin Ventura because he let Chris Sale throw 115 pitches, or if it’s not the pitch count, it’s because Ventura left Sale in too long.
But here’s the thing: Chris Sale is the ace of your staff. Yes, he’s incredibly important, but it’s because he’s so damn important that you need to give him some leeway. Not enough to where he could seriously injure himself, but I don’t think 115 pitches is an extremely dangerous pitch count. Especially considering that Sale didn’t throw a single stressful pitch until the eighth inning last night.
Up until then he’d been cruising.
But as I’ve written before after Sale was hurt, I think blaming the pitch count is a bit too easy for fans and analysts to do because the pitch count is the thing we see. We don’t actually know anything about how a pitcher is feeling.
So I’m not going to sit here and say Robin Ventura should be fired because he left Sale in, or let Sale throw 115 pitches. That just seems a bit too reactionary to me, and now that you’ve had a chance to sleep on it, I’m sure you feel the same way.
There are plenty of things Robin Ventura does that I don’t agree with. I tend to think he’s a bit slow to remove a starter at times, but look at the bullpen he’s dealing with this year. If Nate Jones and Matt Lindstrom are both healthy this year then Sale is out of last night’s game the second things get hairy.
But with the current bullpen, I’d roll my dice with Sale over any of my other options too.
I can say with a fair amount of confidence that there’s no chance the White Sox will take Nick Gordon with their first pick in the draft. I already answered this question on Twitter, but I’m including it here because, had the Marlins taken Carlos Rodon, I’d have much preferred the White Sox took Nick Gordon or another position player over Tyler Kolek.
Most pitchers don’t work out, even the ones taken early in the draft. High school pitchers even less so. So while Kolek may be huge, and he may throw 100mph with regularity, his arm is still only 18 years old. He hasn’t put a lot of mileage on it, and this Sox rebuild isn’t one that, like the Cubs, is supposed to take a lot of time. Rick Hahn would like to be ready to contend in 2015, and taking a pitcher like Kolek, who wouldn’t be able to help until around 2019, isn’t the way to go about doing that.
All that said, you already know I’m thrilled with how things turned out.
Despite the Sox adding Tim Anderson/Matt Davidson and having a reboundish season from Courtney Hawkins, the Sox farm system still kinda sucks. But the White Sox are decent this year and after hoping for a Tank Season from the Bulls, I’m tired of rooting against my teams. I’m jealous of the Cubs’ prospects but not the many years of losing. What should I hope for the rest of the year from the Sox? – Kevin Shannon
I don’t think the Sox system sucks much anymore, considering the prospects Rick Hahn has added to the system, and just the sheer amount of Sox farm system products currently on the big league roster. I mean, it’s easy to be jealous of the Cubs prospects because the Cubs prospects are the only thing you ever hear about when it comes to the Cubs.
And while I love Kris Bryant, and I think Javier Baez has a chance to be really good, we still don’t really know a damn thing about any of these guys. It’s much like the allure of the high school pitcher to scouts. Fans love to talk about these prospects because they’re much more interesting than the product on the field at the moment, and anything is possible at this point.
Kris Bryant could be Hank Aaron. Javier Baez could be Manny Ramirez. It’s fun to dream.
As for the actual question in your question, as I write this the White Sox are currently 4.5 games behind Detroit in the division, and two games out of a wild card spot. All of which has led to talk about the Sox possibly competing for a playoff spot this year.
I don’t see that happening. This team is a lot better than last year’s squad, and it’s a lot more entertaining to watch, but this is still a team that’s going to hover at or slightly below .500 all season long. That’s going to be enough to keep them in “contention” for the playoffs, but it’s not going to get them there.
I know there’s been some talk of the Cubs bringing up guys like Bryant — Todd Hollandsworth certainly wants them too — but I just don’t see the point in it. I know it’s tiring watching the Cubs lose all the time (though this current win streak is a nice break), and not having any expectations for the year other than to secure another high draft pick, but bringing up Bryant or Javier Baez now won’t change any of that.
All it would do is make the losses slightly more interesting to watch. It doesn’t really benefit Bryant or Baez to come to Chicago right now, the only people it would benefit are the fans. And, sorry, we’re not the most important thing right now.
Plus, while Bryant is tearing up Double-A right now, we need to see how he handles Triple-A before making a call on whether to throw him in the Majors. And he will be in Iowa soon enough, but he won’t be making the trip from Iowa to Chicago this year.
I’d say next season at the earliest, and even then, not until sometime in June.
Yes, there’s a lovely little inn with a staff made up entirely of former first round Sox draft pick pitchers that couldn’t quite reach the end of that road paved with dreams. Say hello to Lance Broadway, Kris Honel, Kyle McCulloch and Tyler Lumsden for me.
This isn’t really my area of expertise, but while I totally see where you’re coming from here, I just don’t think it’s all that feasible. The reason the draft is the way it is now is because of the organizational structure of youth baseball in the United States right now. I’m not talking about Little League, I mean at the high school and college levels.
You don’t really have that on the international level. Instead what you have are academies that are set up by Major League teams, who go and sign incredibly young prospects by the dozen and hope that a few of them turn out to be gems.
In that way it’s just like the draft, except you don’t have to wait your turn for the team in front of you to make their pick.
Now, it may happen the way you suggest in the future, or maybe what will happen is there will be two drafts, one domestic, one international. I don’t know. I have heard talk about it in the past, but I don’t know if there was ever any serious consideration. I just know that it won’t be happening any time soon because, with Bud Selig getting ready to step down, he’s not about to undergo this kind of endeavor to make it happen, and something tells me the guy who replaces Selig won’t have “changing the draft structure” at the top of his to-do list.
Also, I think another thing to consider is that adding international players to the draft won’t make the draft more interesting from a television standpoint, either. The MLB Draft will never get the rating that the NFL or NBA drafts do because, save for a small sampling of die-hards, the American public just doesn’t follow the amateur baseball. And if you don’t really know the players being drafted, it’s hard to get excited about the draft itself.
You wrote that it’s possible either Brent Seabrook or Patrick Sharp will be traded this offseason for some cap relief. Which one do you think is the most likely to be dealt? – Dave
While I’d prefer it to be Seabrook because I think he’s already played his best hockey, I think Sharp is the more likely to be moved. He didn’t have the best playoffs, though he came on with a surge late in the Kings series, and he’s coming off a season in which he scored 34 goals. Not including the lockout-shortened season last year, Sharp has scored at least 33 goals in each of the last three 82-game seasons.
That’s the kind of production that’s valuable to a lot of teams.
I also think Sharp’s loss would be easier for the Hawks to absorb than Seabrook’s. While Niklas Hjalmarsson is already the team’s second-best defenseman, moving Seabrook would leave the Hawks with a lot of question marks behind him and Duncan Keith. Meanwhile, the wings have never been an area where this team lacks depth.
So I think if the Hawks can move Sharp for some cap relief, and add another center or defenseman in the process, they’ll do it.
Will Jimmy Clausen lead the Bears to a Super Bowl? – Krieger
Just when I thought I’d escaped the possibility of the Bears signing Tommy Rees, they went and signed Jimmy Clausen while I wasn’t paying attention.
Part of me wanted to be mad about this, but it’s hard to be. I’m actually pleased. Going into the offseaon the Bears talked about how they were comfortable with Jordan Palmer as a backup to Jay Cutler, and that made me uncomfortable. Since then they’ve drafted David Fales and signed roughly 45 free agent quarterbacks to compete for a job this summer.
Which shows you the Bears were just as comfortable with Jordan Palmer as I was.
As for Clausen, hey, if he plays well enough to win a roster spot, he plays well enough to earn a roster spot. I don’t exactly hate the kid, but can you imagine having Jay Cutler and Jimmy Clausen in the same QB meetings?
It’ll be a battle to see to who can give less of a fuck.
THIS WEEK’S PICTURE OF THE PUPPY
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