Friday, Sept. 24, 2010
Steve Stone dives into his mailbag toanswer your questions about Ozzie Guillen, Darwin Barney, maple bats and more!
Adam Highland, IN: Now that the Sox are eliminated from playoff contention, what do you think is the most important thing for them to do over the offseason to make sure theyre back in the playoff hunt next year?
Steve Stone: In order of importance, the main thing is to resolve the Ozzie situation where they know who is going to manage this team and then make plans on how to go forward from there. I think one of the things they would like is a left-hand difference maker, a guy who can produce some runs for them. I think they are going to have to make a decision on who is going to close, they have to find out if Brent Morel at third is a viable situation or if he needs a little more minor league seasoning along with making decisions with Paul Konerko and AJ Pierzynski, who are both free agents after this season. So a lot of work for the Sox.
Trevor - Chicago, IL: What do you make of all the rumors surrounding Ozzie? Do you think he could end up in Miami?
Stone: I think Ozzie could end up anywhere and just as well end up in the dugout with the White Sox. I think it has been made clear by Kenny Williams, he can do what he wants to do. The ball is in Ozzie's court - does he want to stay or does he want to go is the question.
Cathy Peoria, IL: In light of the broken bat incident involving Tyler Colvin, what is your opinion on maple bats? Should baseball get rid of them?
Stone: I think there probably is a less radical solution than banning maple bats form the game. It might have something to do with either a rubberized or some kind of coating, so when they break they don't explode into the stands or infield. That is something that has to be worked on and it they cant find a resolution, if they cant find a way to stop them from literally exploding, they may have to look at the radical step. Hitters seem to like them, they are lively and at least for the moment, they will be part of the game and usually, there is a solution on how to work this out without taking that next step of a complete ban.
Kevin Chicago, IL: Which of the Cubs late season call-ups has impressed you the most? Do you think any of them could be on the roster next season?
Stone: I think Darwin Barney has a legitimate shot as a very good swing player in the Majors. Not sure if there is a definitive place for him but he is someone who can play None of them really jump out at you. I believe a lot of the team for next year is settled if you consider you will keep Marlon in center which I assume you want to do. For most of the year he has hit .300 though it has slipped below that. Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez are coming back, Starlin Castro very promising. First seems to have an opening. The Cubs have a lot of questions to answer in solidifying their bullpen and perhaps one starting pitcher, depending on the Carlos Zambrano situation. They do have some talent but a lot that isn't quite ready yet.
Sean - Chicago, IL: Who do you think wins the NL West?
Stone: It's a tremendous race boiling down to San Francisco and San Diego - the final games are between them in San Francisco. It appears at this point with San Diego just a half a game back but tied in the loss column, but seems the winner will win the West. I like the Giants pitching a bit better, as far as hitting, they are both pretty much challenged as scoring is concerned. San Diego has proved a good road team, 8 games over and San Francisco is 15 games over at home. I think San Francisco wins the division but if they do, it will be by an eyelash.