The Mailbag: A Whole Bunch Of Bulls And White Sox Questions

paumelo

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.

We’ve got a lot of questions this week, with most of them centering on the Bulls and White Sox, so let’s get right to it.

I’m actually starting to think that there’s a good chance we could see both in Bulls uniforms next season. While it’s not official yet, all signs point to Pau Gasol and the Bulls coming to an agreement sometime Saturday. Odds are it’ll be a sign-and-trade that includes Mike Dunleavy and a bunch of those non-guaranteed contracts the Bulls have going to the Lakers to complete the deal.

But since you asked which is worse, I honestly don’t know.

I’ve written plenty of words about how I feel about Pau Gasol both here and on Twitter over the last week, but to sum it up as succinctly as possible, I think Gasol is an improvement over Carlos Boozer. I just don’t think it’s that large of an improvement where it would make a big difference in this team’s ceiling next season.

Now, with the way the Eastern Conference has been shaken up in the last few days, with LeBron leaving Miami, maybe the Bulls don’t need to improve all that much to be the best team in the East. At least not next year. My problem with Pau is that he doesn’t improve any of the Bulls’ weaknesses.

And that’s where Lance Stephenson would come in, as he would be an improvement at the shooting guard spot. My problem with Stephenson is that Lance Stephenson is crazy.

Now, I have nothing against crazy athletes. I like crazy athletes, as they make things a little more fun. What I have a problem with are crazy athletes who are still crazy off the court as well. While it doesn’t get talked about all that often, Lance Stephenson is still the same guy that was accused of doing this.

Authorities say the confrontation occurred around 5 a.m. Sunday when the woman, Jasmine Williams, was returning home to her apartment building with two friends. Witnesses said Stephenson was waiting for her and yelled, “Are you kidding me?” before pushing her down the stairs.

A criminal complaint provided Monday by the Brooklyn district attorney’s office said that as Williams lay at the bottom of the stairs, Stephenson picked up her head and slammed it on the bottom step.

When police arrived, Stephenson told them the woman had fallen down the stairs, prosecutors said. The complaint said Williams suffered head and back wounds and possible damage to her neck.

Not sure that’s a guy I want the Bulls giving about $10 million a year to.

Of course, even if you removed the whole pushing a woman down the stairs stuff, I’m just not sure Stephenson is good enough to justify the insanity.

So I guess what I’m saying is that I’d prefer Pau Gasol simply because he’s a known quantity, and he wouldn’t be signed for nearly as long as Stephenson would be. I feel like signing Stephenson to a longer term deal has a better chance of being a move the Bulls would regret than Gasol.

I do not know and I am not willing to check for you.

If the Bulls get Pau Gasol can they still get Carmelo Anthony? – Eric Stone

Yes, but I’m not exactly optimistic about the chances. The problem is, if the Bulls are getting Gasol in a sign-and-trade involving Dunleavy and others like I posed above, pulling off a sign-and-trade with New York for Anthony becomes a lot tougher to do because they won’t have as many assets available.

Basically the Knicks would have to take Carlos Boozer in return, and probably Taj Gibson as well.

Now, if that does happen I’d be a lot more comfortable with the Gasol move because he’d basically be your replacement for Taj in the short-term, and could help with the development of Nikola Mirotic. It’s just I don’t think that’s going to happen. As I’ve felt all along, I think Carmelo is going to stay in New York, and I actually think LeBron going to Cleveland made it more likely.

The Knicks are no longer in the same division as LeBron. The Bulls are.

I’m going to have to say it’s more important to get Melo because I don’t actually go to very many Bulls games, so the pizza options at the United Center aren’t that important to me. But I do agree that frozen pizzas are a bit bush league.

This is Chicago, damn it.

Depends on your definition of Basketball Hell, I suppose. In my mind, Basketball Hell is a more apt description of being a fan of a team like the Milwaukee Bucks. Sure, you just got Jabari Parker, and he could be a great player, but you’re still the Milwaukee Bucks.

Milwaukee is never going to be a premiere destination for free agents. Odds are if Parker develops into a star he’s just going to leave via free agency anyway.

That’s Basketball Hell. Knowing that all the good players you’re going to get are going to leave eventually, and that you’ll live an entire existence of just being that team that hopes to be scrappy enough to cause one of the good teams some problems in the playoffs.

I consider the Bulls to be in Basketball Purgatory right now. They’re going to be pretty good, and they may even reach the NBA Finals if things break right, but as the league is currently constructed they aren’t going to win any titles. Not unless they get that next superstar.

When I was a kid and Starter jackets were all the rage, I had a San Jose Sharks one. My mom bought it for me from Carson Pirie Scott or some such department store. She knew I wanted one, so she got it for me.

I never had the heart to tell her she got me the wrong kind. I wanted the pullover kind, but she got me this big, bulky, winter jacket type. And it was fine, really, as it came in handy being that I lived in Chicago and winter lasts around seven months. It served its purpose, but it was always the wrong kind.

I never got that pullover that I wanted.

But if I were to choose one now I’d choose the same one I wanted then.

bullsstarterjacket

It still exists, you just need to read the fine print.

(1) The batter shall keep at least one foot in the batter’s box throughout the batter’s time at bat, unless one of the following exceptions applies, in which case the batter may leave the batter’s box but not the dirt area surrounding home plate:
(i) The batter swings at a pitch;
(ii) The batter is forced out of the batter’s box by a pitch;
(iii) A member of either team requests and is granted “Time”;
(iv) A defensive player attempts a play on a runner at any base;
(v) The batter feints a bunt;
(vi) A wild pitch or passed ball occurs;
(vii) The pitcher leaves the dirt area of the pitching mound after receiving the ball; or
(viii) The catcher leaves the catcher’s box to give defensive signals.

Look at you sneaking two questions in.

I don’t think it’s Robin Ventura’s fault, I didn’t think it was Ozzie Guillen’s fault. I think it’s just the fact that the White Sox don’t have any great defensive players. Having said that, I don’t think the White Sox infield defense has been all that bad this season.

Alexei has been his normal self, making spectacular plays, showing good range, and occasionally screwing up something simple. Gordon Beckham is not the Gold Glover Hawk Harrelson would have you believe he is, but he’s still a plus defensively at second.

At third Conor Gillaspie is not great. He doesn’t have great range, but I don’t consider him a problem either. And Jose Abreu is actually better than I thought he’d be at first base, even if he’s still not very good. But, frankly, I don’t care about what Abreu brings defensively.

The problem has been in the outfield, where Dayan Viciedo has been forced to play out of position in right field most of the season thanks to the Avisail Garcia injury. Viciedo is an adventure in left, and in right he’s basically a disaster. Alejandro De Aza is sub-par in left as well, and Adam Eaton has been good in center, but he’s not good enough defensively to cover both Viciedo and De Aza to either side of him.

Overall the defense could certainly be a lot better, but if you look at who the real problems are, you’ll also notice that they’re players that aren’t projected to be here long-term.

I’m assuming you mean of players that are still active, which limits the options a bit. That being said, it’d have to be Mark Buehrle. He’s having a great season in Toronto, and even though I don’t think adding Buehrle would make the White Sox a contender, the only other player I’d really consider is Alex Rios.

Yeah, Addison Reed would probably be the best option in our bullpen at this point if he were to return, but this team doesn’t need a good closer, and Reed hasn’t even been a very good closer this year anyway.

So just give me Buehrle. At least games would be shorter every fifth day.

Paired you two together since you’re essentially asking the same question. The Sox will be sellers, whether that means they’ll be able to sell much, I don’t know. Just because the store is open doesn’t mean somebody is going to walk in the front door and buy something.

I don’t think they’ll look for any particular position in return for players, as much as they’ll look for whatever value they can get in return. Be it a right-handed starter, an outfielder, an infielder, or catching, it’s not like the Sox have a shortage of areas they can improve upon. It’s just that I don’t know what kind of players they can get in return for what they’re selling.

The most valuable trade asset the team has right now is Alexei Ramirez, but I don’t know that the Sox are all that eager to move him, and even if they are, Alexei isn’t bringing back some top-tier prospect. The Sox don’t have a guy like Jeff Samardzija to move. Well, they do, actually. They have two of him — Chris Sale and Jose Quintana — but they aren’t moving either.

Any moves the Sox make will mostly be for salary relief and to clear spots for younger, cheaper players already in the system.

I’m guessing the players on the block are Alexei, Dayan Viciedo, Alejandro De Aza, Gordon Beckham, Adam Dunn and any bullpen pieces like Ronald Belisario that could draw interest. I’d say the most likely of those players to be traded would be Gordon Beckham, and the least likely would be De Aza. Not because the Sox want to keep him, but because I’m not sure who is going to want him.

Matt Davidson is still struggling mightily in Charlotte. While he’s hit 16 homers and is showing a bit more power as of late, his overall line is still .206/.280/.405. Meanwhile Conor Gillaspie is continuing to rip shit up in Chicago, and has even added the long ball back to his repertoire, hitting four home runs in the last week after not having any all season.

Gillaspie is performing well enough that you have to consider him a long-term player with the White Sox at this point, especially with Davidson’s struggle.

What I wonder, though, is if the Sox might want to consider playing Davidson in left field. When the Sox traded for Davidson the scouting reports all said that he wasn’t good defensively at third, and would be average at best there. I haven’t heard anything different since then, really, so I wonder if moving him to left field could help him get to Chicago.

I’d be fine with an average fielding left-fielder who could provide some power to the lineup, and it might be his best path to Chicago at this point. Especially if Dayan Viciedo is moved before the deadline.

When is football getting here? – Krieger

Not soon enough, my friend. Not soon enough.

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