The Mailbag: Which Of Our Crappy Baseball Teams Is Better?


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

And now that you know how to do it, let’s get to the this week’s questions.

The Mailbag returns after a week off as I was in south Florida last week and wasn’t asking anybody to send in questions, though some of you did anyway. I appreciate that, sorry I didn’t answer them, but I’m going to answer some of them (the ones that are still relevant) this week.

So, yes, some of you will be getting two questions answered this week. You should feel truly special.

Let’s get started.

The Cubs are playing well lately while the White Sox are starting to look like last year all over again. Which team is going to finish with more wins? – Eric Stone

Oh man you’re about to force me to play the which team is better game, huh? Well, let’s make one thing clear right off the bat, neither team is very good, so this is kind of like asking would you rather be punched in the face or punched in the balls.

As things currently sit the White Sox are exactly halfway through with the regular season, having played 81 games and winning 37 of them. That puts the Sox on pace to finish the season 74-88, which would be an 11-game improvement over last season, but not exactly a record to celebrate.

The Cubs have only played 78 games, winning 34 of them, and are on pace to finish the regular season about 71-91. That’d only be a five-game improvement over 2013.

So I guess this question essentially asks whether or not the Cubs can make up those three games they’re currently on pace to finish behind the White Sox. Yeah, they probably can, as it’s only three games, but I don’t think they will.

This question would be a lot easier to answer after the trade deadline than it is now, but just going by trade rumors that we’re hearing, while the Cubs are playing now I have a hard time believing they’re going to maintain this recent pace for the rest of the season. The Cubs are going to trade Jason Hammel before the deadline, and they could possibly trade Jeff Samardzija as well. While the White Sox will likely sell off some veteran parts, those parts won’t include Chris Sale or Jose Quintana. Sure, maybe John Danks continues pitching well enough to warrant interest from somebody, but even if he’s moved in a trade, the Sox trading Danks doesn’t have the same impact as the Cubs trading their two best pitchers this season.

So I would think that in the long run over the final few months of the year the moves the Cubs are going to make will have a harsher impact on their win-loss record than the White Sox. Plus, let’s be honest, the Sox have been fucking terrible over the last few weeks, but they aren’t going to play that poorly the rest of the season.

The White Sox will finish with a better record than the Cubs. It won’t be a good record, but it will be better.

Well this is a perfect question to follow that last answer up with, isn’t it? It’s also not a very difficult question to answer.

I’d say there’s a 110% chance that Jason Hammel is traded some time within the next month. He was signed to a one-year deal with the Cubs for the sole purpose of being flipped at mid-season if he performed well enough. I said that the day they signed him, and nothing has changed since then. Apart from that reason, though, I’d say Hammel is more likely than Samardzija just because he’ll be cheaper.

The Cubs want a lot for Samardzija. Probably a bit too much considering that Samardzija doesn’t have a history of pitching like an ace, even if he’s been one this season.  Plus, with Samardzija still having a year of control before becoming a free agent, the Cubs don’t have to be in a rush to move him. They can wait until the winter if they don’t receive an offer they truly like this summer.

Or they could just sign him to an extension. We really don’t know what’s going to happen with him.

I don’t see why not. I don’t know what the plan is going to be with McDermott on defense, as he’s not big enough to defend the four, nor is his quick enough to defend a wing player, but a part of me wonders if the plan on offense won’t be to use him as the shooting guard. He won’t technically be the shooting guard, but he could be used that way, which would also allow Jimmy Butler to play the three on offense, where he’s proven to be more effective.

I also wondered if the Bulls might run out a lineup of Rose-Butler-McDermott-Melo-Noah at times during the season if it happened. Going smaller could provide some benefits on offense, as that’s a lineup that would space the floor by quite a bit, giving both Derrick and Carmelo plenty of space to work with trying to get into the lane. Of course, on the other side of the court, Tom Thibodeau would have to figure out a way to have Jimmy Butler and Joakim Noah guard five guys.

But I’m getting off the subject a bit here concerning your question. Yes, they can co-exist. They play two very different games. Carmelo is a scorer than can score in a multitude of ways, while McDermott is just a pure shooter.

Of course, considering some of the latest reports on Carmelo, we’re getting way ahead of ourselves here. I still think he’s staying in New York.

Who will win the Bears backup quarterback job? – Eric Stone

I honestly think that the three Bears quarterbacks that will be on the roster come September will be Jay Cutler, David Fales and Jimmy Clausen. I’m not exactly thrilled about the idea of the Bears being one hit on Jay Cutler away from putting the offense in the hands of Jimmy Clausen, but when you look at the other options — like Jordan Palmer — it’s not like you’re any more comfortable with them.

Marc Trestman has worked with Clausen before, and obviously liked him, or else he wouldn’t have wanted to bring him in. Plus, the Bears may have said a lot of words about being comfortable with Jordan Palmer, but the fact they kept bringing in more quarterbacks for camp tells you how they truly felt.

And, hey, Trestman is a QB Whisperer. If there’s anybody that can make Jimmy Clausen a competent quarterback, it’s him. Trestman is my new Don Cooper that way. When the White Sox bring in a pitching reject from another team my immediate reaction is “Coop’ll fix em.” With the Bears and quarterbacks it’s now “Tresty’ll fix em.”

Well, I’m assuming you have at least one finger since you were able to type out this tweet, and I’m also assuming you have a butt. So shove it on up there and find out.

Either trade has its risks, for sure. As much as I love Kesler, he’s had problems staying healthy the last few years, but we no longer have to worry about that since Kesler was traded to Anaheim on Friday.

As for Spezza, he’s got a bigger cap hit than Kesler at $7 million, but he’s only got one year left on his deal. So the Hawks would have to clear a lot more room for him salary wise — trading Brandon Bollig helps! —  but they wouldn’t have to make as long a commitment to Spezza.

Personally I think the Hawks were a lot more interested in trading for Kesler than Spezza, and now that Kesler is off the market I’d expect them to sign a center as a free agent. It won’t be the ideal replacement, but more of a stop gap hoping that Teuvo Teravainen can be the long-term option he’s shown the potential of being.

But, no, you aren’t foolish at all. There are risks with any major move.

Yes they are. The deadline is July 18, and while Scott Boras is going to do everything in his power to get as much money for Rodon as possible, Rodon will have to sign eventually. He’s not going back to college, and a year away from baseball isn’t going to help his draft stock next season.

He’s going to sign with the White Sox, the only question is how much money he’ll get.

Who is Italy playing in the next round of the World Cup? – Krieger


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