Steve Stone's Mailbag: Sergio Santos, Ted Lilly

Steve Stone's Mailbag: Sergio Santos, Ted Lilly

Friday, April 23, 2010
10:35 PM

Steve Stone dives into his mailbag to answer some of your questions about Sergio Santos, Ted Lilly and more!

Question from Bryan, Alsip, IL: Can history repeat itself & Sergio Santos move into the closer role by late July?

Steve Stone: I am not sure what the significance of late July is but Sergio Santos has closer stuff. What he doesnt have is experience. Santos has only pitched for a year. All who follow the Chicago White Sox know that Santos was a number one draft choice for the Diamondbacks as a power hitting shortstop. He finally decided that it wasnt going the way he wanted it to go and so he decided to start pitching. He has been very good so far in five appearances covering a total of 5 innings. He has only walked one, struck out 8 and given up one hit in those 5 innings but before we anoint him as a closer, we have to see a whole lot more of him in some pressure situations and allow him to get comfortable in a major league situation.

Question from &8232;&8232;Sacramento, Chicago, IL: Hey Steve, what are your thoughts on Konerko and Pierzynskis contracts? Do you think both sides will work something out before the end of this year? Or is this the last year for both in a Sox uniform?

Stone: Thirteen games into the season, its not really the right time to even think about contracts for next year unless you are talking about guys like Joe Mauer or really talented young guys that will be the foundation of your organization for years to come. I think that Kenny Williams will take a wait-and-see approach to both of these players, both Paul and AJ have done a good job. A lot depends on the economics and what each will want to give up their free agency and what some of the young guys might be able to do. If Dayan Viciedo shows that he can hit and Tyler Flowers is what the White Sox thought he was when the acquired him from Atlanta, then you have some candidates for first base as well as behind the plate or a combination of those 2 positions plus designated hitters. A lot has to do with what kind of attendance the Sox have this year which certainly have to do with how well they do in the standings. Right now with a payroll touching 105106 million dollars, Im not too sure how much higher if at all the Sox will go next year. It is safe to say that those decisions are best left for considerably down the road in both cases.

Question from &8232;&8232;Anthony, Frankfort, IL: What do you expect out of Ted Lilly when he rejoins the Cubs this weekend? What does he bring to the starting rotation?

Stone: He brings one of the most dependable left-hand pitchers in the National League in the last couple years. Lily has been a very reliable starting pitcher since putting on that Cub uniform in the 2007 season. In 2007 he was 15-8, in 2008, he was 17-9 and last year he was 12-9 for a mediocre Cubs team. In the 3 seasons with the Cubs, he has won more games than Carlos Zambrano.
Question from Eric, Northbrook, IL: Do you think Andrew Cashner could be on his way to provide bullpen help for the Cubs?

Stone: Since the Cubs drafted Andrew Cashner in the first round of 2008 with the 19th overall pick, I believed that the 66 210 pound right-hander is better suited for a role in the bullpen. The Cubs however have used Cashner almost exclusively as a starting pitcher. The cubs also feel that Jeff Samardzija is a candidate to be a starting pitcher. I dont agree with them on that assessment either. So it all depends on what the Cubs feel on the future of Cashner but the one thing we do know for sure, is at this point of the year with 5 blown saves, a 1-5 record, a 5.59 ERA and already one of the relievers on the disabled list, the Cubs bullpen is a mess. And if Jim Hendry does not get it straightened out, its going to be a very long year for the Northsiders.
&8232;&8232;Question from Larry, Schaumburg, IL: Who would you say is the MLBs top three MVPs these first couple weeks of the baseball season and why?

Stone: First of all, we do realize that MLB persay doesnt give out 2 week MVPs. If they did, it might surprise people around baseball that Scott Podsednik is leading the American League in hitting at .457 so I doubt that one of the newest members of the KC Royals is going to spend the majority of the season there and I dont believe he will win the MVP as well as Pudge Rodriguez leading the National at .444 for the Nationals and I dont think that he is going to stay there. If you like runs batted in, you could choose Nelson Cruz from Texas, hes got 15 to lead the American League. Or you can go to Jorge Cantu of Florida leading the National league at 16. If home runs is your choice, well you can stay with Cruz who has 7 and the National League you can go to Chase Utley who has 6. But its probably safe to say that somewhere along the line, you have to figure the usual suspects will start to creep up as the pretenders start to fall down.

An interesting note for Chicago fans is the Milwaukee 3rd baseman given to them for 20,000 courtesy of the Cubs is a fella by the name of Casey McGhee . McGhee is hitting .400 which places him 3rd in the National League and he has 4 homeruns which ties him for 4th in the National League. After hitting over .300 last year, he seems to be off to another great start. If you prefer pitchers, well then you can look at Derek Lowe, Roy Halladay, Ubaldo Jiminez or Tim Linecum as they are all 3-0. Thats in the National League. In the American League, youd have to say John Rausch was pressed into the closing role for the Minnesota Twins when Joe Nathan was lost for the season who is 6-6 in saves for the season. All this however goes to show you one thing, that is, the reason why they dont hand out 3 week MVPs.

Click here to visit SteveStone.com

Follow Steve on Twitter @BaseballStone

Hamstring still sore for White Sox Avisail Garcia

sox_pgl_hit_05-03_640x360_678966339807.jpg

Hamstring still sore for White Sox Avisail Garcia

The combination of soreness and cold weather looks as if it will keep Avisail Garcia out for a fourth straight game.

White Sox manager Robin Ventura said Wednesday afternoon he intends to be cautious with how he uses his designated hitter, who hasn’t played since Friday because of a sore right hamstring. The White Sox host the second game of a three-game set with the Boston Red Sox at 7:10 p.m. on Wednesday.

Garcia tested his hamstring before Tuesday’s game and still isn’t 100 percent, Ventura said. He intended to test it again during batting practice on Wednesday. While Garcia is listed as being available, Jerry Sands started at DH again.

“He still has something there,” Ventura said. “So even today, you’re a little nervous using him for a game and having him try to beat something out and sprint. So we’ll test him again today.”

Garcia tweaked his hamstring as he tried to avoid a tag on the final play of Friday’s loss.

The injury arrived just as Garcia had begun to finally hit. He went 8-for-18 with four RBIs and four runs and had a hit in all five games of the team’s road trip.

After Bears release Antrel Rolle, Matt Slauson, question looms: Who else?

snc_anthony_herron_talkback_05-03_640x360_678922307797.jpg

After Bears release Antrel Rolle, Matt Slauson, question looms: Who else?

Just as the draft selections of guard Cody Whitehair heralded the Chicago end for Matt Slauson, and safeties Deon Bush and DeAndre Houston-Carson brought in alternatives to Antrel Rolle – both vets let go sooner rather than later – an obvious question hanging fire right now in the wake of other draft picks and signings is, “Who else?”

One expectation this offseason is that the Bears would make a difficult decision on rush-linebacker Lamarr Houston, who’s due $6 million this year and next and $8 million for 2018. That situation won’t stand as-is.

The final year of Willie Young’s contract calls for $2.5 million this season. That’s only slightly less than the $2.9 million Slauson was due for 2016 and that was rendered expendable by the Whitehair draft selection and the signings of Ted Larsen and Manny Ramirez.

In the Houston-Young cases, the Bears used a No. 1 pick on Leonard Floyd, a Young-type edge rusher. They used a No. 3 pick on Jonathan Bullard, a 290-pound defensive end with size-rush blend that Young doesn’t have. The Bears re-signed Sam Acho, who doesn’t give the Bears what Houston does as an edge rusher, but Houston doesn’t do anything on special teams, the roster entrée for non-starters.

Then there is the matter of Eddie Royal, with an injury speckled 2015 injury resume’ that defines “vulnerable” for player at age 30 and carrying a $4.5 million salary for 2016. What little the Bears did draft-wise on offense included diminutive wideout Danny Braverman in the seventh round.

Teams don’t make roster decisions based on seventh-round picks before the first minicamp. But Braverman, who led all FBS schools in receptions last year, is 5-10, around 180 pounds.

Forget the knee-jerk comparisons to Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman and Wes Welker just because they’re little white guys (and why is it that people grab those instant so-called comparables based on skin color? For another time.)

But NFL slot receivers in the Braverman mold include Seattle’s undrafted Doug Baldwin (5-10, 189, also a Florida native like Braverman); Randall Cobb (5-10) up in Green Bay, a No. 3 slot guy his first three NFL seasons; Jamison Crowder, a true smurf at 5-8 who caught 59 passes for Washington as a rookie.

Braverman does not make Royal roster-surplus the way Whitehair did Slauson, or Bush did Rolle, or Floyd makes Houston or Young (whom the Bears reportedly tried to trade during the draft). And Royal was banged up in part because he was thrust into a starter role by the injuries to Alshon Jeffery and Kevin White.

But numbers on depth charts and salary cap balance sheets force decisions. And the surprise of the offseason would be if the Bears were done making theirs.

Blackhawks: Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews have taken their bromance to Twitter

stl_hawks_going_forward_04-26_1280x720_674358339585.jpg

Blackhawks: Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews have taken their bromance to Twitter

Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews have always had a brother-type relationship on and off the ice since coming up to the National Hockey League together in 2007-08, and now their bromance has shifted to social media.

Toews, who turned 28 years old last Friday, received birthday wishes all day from fans on Twitter, including Kane, who doesn't tweet often — at least during the season.

While the birthday wish was appreciated, the Blackhawks captain still felt a little empty:

It took a few days but Kane eventually gave in on Wednesday and followed Toews, albeit reluctantly:

Meanwhile, Toews is still getting the hang of Twitter.

Many of the replies he gets are from fans calling him "dad" or "goat," and he can't figure out why:

The Blackhawks even offered to inform him what it means, but the fans were quick to let Toews know (GOAT is short for "greatest of all time"):

Signing off for the day, Toews couldn't help but throw a friendly jab at Kane:

Oh, and Scott Darling joined in on the fun later on, posting a GIF of an actual goat:

It's safe to say the Blackhawks aren't used to these long summers. Chicago isn't either.