Chicago White Sox

Steve Stone's Mailbag: Peavy's Struggles, Colvin

Steve Stone's Mailbag: Peavy's Struggles, Colvin

Thursday, April 29, 2010
9:02 PM

Steve Stone dives into his mailbag to answer some of your questions about Carlos Zambrano in the bullpen, Jake Peavy's struggles and more!

Question from Joaquin - Houston, TX: What do you think of the Cubs moving Carlos Zambrano to the bullpen? How long do you think will he be there?

Steve Stone: I think Carlos will be in the bullpen until he goes completely crazy and then he will go have a meeting with Lou and either be taken out of the bullpen or taken out of town. I don't think you pay 18 million to a guy to be a setup man. I think his ego will only allow him to be there so long. I understand there are some rumblings at this point and I understand why they made the move. They want someone in the 8th inning that can strike the occasional hitter out. I think the Cubs know that when you are the opening day starter and you view yourself as the ace of the staff, moving to a setup man is a demotion. I remember a couple of political candidates putting lipstick on a pig and you can call that job anything you want to call it, and certainly is essential to the ball club. I think Carlos cares about what happens to him so don't be surprised to hear he is going back to the starting rotation or you hear a big explosion over Addison Street.

Question from David - Chicago, IL: Do you think Tyler Colvin will be a starting outfielder in the near future?

Stone: It will be very difficult for them to make him that though he has shown he has a lot of talent. But because Jim Hendry has signed Xavier Nady and they owe this year and next year to the tune of 28 million to Kosuke Fukudome. They also have another 4 years and 5 month obligation to their fine left fielder, Alfonso Soriano and Marlon Byrd is a really solid center fielder who happens to be hitting the ball very well. So, unless Colvin can play second base, I don't see him playing everyday.
Question from Amie - Westmont, IL: I worry that the White Sox are relying on the home run too much, do you think that is an issue?

Stone: I don't think a team plans to just rely on a home run, in fact this is a team that has a lot more speed than recent White Sox teams. That being said, Gordon Beckham who can run hasn't been getting on and finally missed a ball game last night after going through a protracted slump. You have Juan Pierre hitting .115. If you aren't getting on base, you look like you are a team relying on home runs. Ozzie would love to use the running game but to use it, you have to have your runners get on base. That has not been the case for the Sox consistently to this point. If that doesn't turn around, they will have some problems. Though there are some guys who can hit home runs, I don't believe in the long haul, they can win or contend for the Wild Card simply with the long ball.

Question from Drake - West Chicago, IL: What's been going on with Jake Peavy? He doesn't seem like the pitcher we saw last fall in a Sox uniform.

Stone: One thing you have to understand, when Jake Peavy started his three games and won all three, he had rested almost the entire season and he was facing some guys who have played the entire season. The advantage went to him and he threw well. Spring training he did not start or finish well. In his five starts, it hasn't been pretty. One thing Jake did do that gives hope that after a disastrous first inning, he turned around and held that team into the 7th inning. Most pitchers would not have been capable of doing that. Do they need Jake to turn it on to become the Peavy of Old? Yes they do. Jake just has to make a couple of adjustments to his game. He has always been a fly ball pitcher and always in the National League. In the American League they probably have better hitters across the board and he is playing in the ball park where fly balls end up as souvenirs. The adjustment is going to have to be made by Jake. If he doesn't make that adjustment, it could be a long year for the Sox.

Question from Tommy - Glen Ellyn: Is Steven Strasburg the real deal? And when do you think we will see him in the majors?

Stone: Steven is indeed the real deal having watched him in the Fall League. There is no doubt he could start right now. Most teams are hesitant to bring a player up and start the clock running on arbitration and free agency. Look for about the middle of May which will allow Washington to control his rights for a year longer for arbitration and a year longer for free agency and miraculously he will have enough experience to come to the Majors. This is something most teams do, in fact you may remain Evan Longoria did not start his rookie season in the Majors for the Rays. It wasn't until toward the end of April when he signed his 7-year contract taking him out of his arbitration years and one free agent year where he burst on the scene becoming Rookie of the Year. They did not want to start the clock on his service time. It worked out pretty well for Tampa Bay as they have one of the most destructive 3rd basemen in the game, this year Longoria is hitting .325 and usually plays a golden glove caliber 3rd though this year he has made four errors. If the Rays wanted to give him away for those quick four errors, I'm sure the White Sox would take him but I don't think he is going anywhere soon.

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Anthony Rizzo: More than talent needed for successful rebuild

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Anthony Rizzo: More than talent needed for successful rebuild

Nearly eight months into their rebuild, the White Sox have accrued an eye-popping amount of young talent. The franchise continues to receive kudos even in trading a pair of relievers this week to add depth to what might be the best farm system in baseball.

But having the best farm system -- the White Sox have eight of MLBPipeline.com’s top 100 prospects -- won’t mean much until it’s realized.

Well versed on the subject having experienced it on his own, Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo acknowledged before Thursday’s 6-3 win over the White Sox just how uncertain the rebuilding process can be. In Rizzo’s eyes, it wasn’t just talent that got the Cubs over the hump, it was timing, too.

“It happened fast, but it could have went the other way, too,” Rizzo said. “We’re lucky with how everything turned out. Plus, a lot of hard work has gone into it.”

[MORE: Aaron Bummer on what it's like to get called up to the majors]

Similar to Yoan Moncada’s arrival last week, Rizzo was the first [hyped prospect to be promoted] after Theo Epstein’s plan went into place. Acquired the previous winter from San Diego, Rizzo reached the majors midway through the 2012 season with the Cubs only a few months into their rebuild. The three-time All-Star didn’t know it at the time, but he was the first new face the Cubs would introduce to their audience. While Rizzo often [was aware of skepticism of Epstein’s plan], he said he never felt the same pressure from fans. Rizzo also said he can understand why not all the Cubs faithful were on board.

“I think I was naïve and happy to be back in the big leagues,” Rizzo said. “You’ve just got to focus on playing baseball and not worry about everything else that you can’t control.

“I didn’t feel (pressure) at all. I know people were calling for the upper front office’s jobs. But they had a plan and they had a vision and they preached it the entire time.”

“As a fan I can understand why you get upset because you want to win. As a fan of football or whatever sport, if my team doesn’t win, I get mad. But obviously they knew what they were doing.”

So far the White Sox fan base has been mostly supportive of Rick Hahn’s efforts and embraced the idea of building through the farm system. But not everyone is on board with a 25-man roster teardown that appears to have the club hurtling toward its first 100-loss season since 1970.

This week’s Crosstown series is a reminder there are tough times ahead for the White Sox.

The Cubs lost a combined 197 games in 2012 and 2013 and 89 games in 2014. The second half of the 2017 season could be extremely difficult for a White Sox club that has traded Chris Sale, Adam Eaton, Jose Quintana, Tommy Kahnle, David Robertson, Todd Frazier, Anthony Swarzak and Dan Jennings all since December.

Rizzo thinks the way the Cubs handled those difficulties played into their success in 2015 and 2016.

“It’s life,” Rizzo said. “There are tough times in anything. There are going to be good times and bad times so it’s all about how you approach it and how you handle it.

“We always knew the potential we had, it was just a matter of going out and doing it. Ball’s bouncing your way, calls going your way and staying together.”

Aaron Bummer on what it's like to get called up to the majors

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USA TODAY

Aaron Bummer on what it's like to get called up to the majors

For Aaron Bummer, Thursday was far from a bummer.

While experience continues to pour out the door of the White Sox clubhouse, new opportunities arise with those exits. For the White Sox, openings seem to be arriving every other day and Bummer is the latest to get a chance after Dan Jennings was traded was the Tampa Bay Rays for minor-leaguer Casey Gillaspie on Thursday morning. Jennings is the sixth player traded by the White Sox since July 13 and the fourth reliever.

A left-handed reliever, Bummer started 2017 at Advanced-A Winston-Salem and on Thursday received his third promotion of the season, joining the White Sox before the finale of the Crosstown Cup. Bummer, who missed all of 2015 after he had Tommy John surgery, couldn’t quite believe he was standing in the White Sox clubhouse.

“It’s been kind of a crazy 15 months because about 12 months ago is when I made my debut back from TJ,” Bummer said. “Twelve months ago I was in rookie ball so it’s kind of a crazy turn of events. Could I have ever imagined this, absolutely not.

“To be here right now is unbelievable and an awesome feeling.”

The No. 28 prospect in the White Sox farm system, Bummer posted a 3.31 ERA with 54 strikeouts in 49 innings between Winston-Salem, Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte. Bummer’s fastball grades at 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale, sitting between 95-97 mph and touching 99, according to MLBPipeline.com. He also features a 55-grade slider.

The one area that scouts suggest Bummer needs to answer is control as he’s walked 20 batters this season.

“You have to allow them to be who they are,” manager Rick Renteria said. “It’s still 90 feet to the bases, 60 feet, 6 inches to the bases. It’s kind of a cliché, the Hoosiers rule, it’s the same. “You have to go out and execute pitches and trust the skillset and do it.”

Bummer’s great experience began when he learned the news of his promotion late Wednesday. He awoke his parents, who flew in to Chicago on Thursday, with the news and also told his girlfriend he was headed for the majors.

“it was a whole bundle of emotions for all of us,” Bummer said. “I’ve never been in something like this. I know a lot of these guys since Spring Training. And kind of had that bond and that vibes we are all together and these guys are all good teammates and everybody is pulling for each other. At the end of the day we are all here to win games and hopefully we can do that.”