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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Jose Quintana gets the Opening Day start for White Sox

Jose Quintana gets the Opening Day start for White Sox

 

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Jose Quintana has been named the Opening Day starter — for the White Sox.

While many are surprised he still hasn't been traded, few should be shocked by the news manager Rick Renteria delivered on Friday, when he announced Quintana would pitch the April 3 opener.

With Chris Sale gone to Boston, Quintana, a first-time All-Star in 2016, has been the odds-on favorite to take over as the team's ace. The only question seemed to be whether or not he'd still be in a White Sox uniform when the season began. But the club made it clear Friday that Quintana is their guy and he'll face the Detroit Tigers in the first game of 2017. The only one who seemed a little taken aback about the news is Quintana.

"I was surprised," Quintana said. "I knew I may get the ball for that day, but they didn't say nothing, so you didn't know. I just kept going and doing my workouts and all my stuff. I'm really, really happy with this opportunity. It's huge for me. I can't wait for that day to come.

"I'm excited to have this opportunity. It's a huge honor for me to have the ball for Opening Day the first time in my life. And I think it's a once-in-a-life opportunity."

Asked about the announcement earlier in the week, Renteria said he needed more time. Many speculated that it meant the White Sox were continuing to listen to offers for Quintana, who has drawn constant interest since the team began its rebuild in December.

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Quintana, who went 13-12 with a 3.20 ERA and 181 strikeouts in 208 innings last season, has looked fantastic all spring. Pitching in front of more than a dozen scouts on Thursday, Quintana made his first Cactus League appearance in a month and allowed two hits over seven scoreless innings. The left-hander also put on a brilliant performance for Colombia in the World Baseball Classic on March 10 as he retired the first 17 Team USA hitters he faced before allowing a hit.

"He's very happy about it," Renteria said. "He has obviously earned it.

"I don't know if he was surprised as much as he was elated and proud to be given the opportunity to be the Opening Day starter. It's a privilege."

Quintana's resume of consistency made him a clear-cut choice for the nod. He heads into 2017 having pitched at least 200 innings in each of the past four seasons. In that span, he's produced a 3.32 ERA and 18.1 Wins Above Replacement, according to fangraphs.com. That figure represents the seventh-highest WAR total among all big league pitchers in that span.

Even though he's viewed as the staff ace, Quintana — who potentially has four years and $36.85 million left on his current contract — said he was surprised by the news because the club hadn't yet informed him of the honor.

"It means a lot for me, especially after last year when you make the All-Star team and this year the opportunity to play in the WBC and now you have the opportunity to pitch on Opening Day," Quintana said. "That's a lot of things happening for me now and I'm happy. And really blessed. You just try to do all my things every time.

"Maybe they don't know what it means for me, but it's a big thing."

Carlos Rodon slated for MRI, could start season on disabled list with bicep tightness

Carlos Rodon slated for MRI, could start season on disabled list with bicep tightness

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Carlos Rodon has been scratched from Friday’s start with tightness in his upper left bicep and it could land him on the disabled list to start the 2017 season.

Though the development came as a surprise, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said that the team’s initial exam of their third-year starter was “positive” because they don’t believe he has any structural damage. But the White Sox intend to be extremely cautious with Rodon, who was headed for an MRI on Friday instead of the mound and is also likely to receive a second opinion early next week.

Rodon had been scheduled to face the Oakland A’s at Mesa, Ariz.

“We’re going to err on the side of caution here, even if it winds up costing him his first couple starts because we’re slowing down the schedule now by scratching him,” Hahn said.

“It’s too early to speculate how long we’re going to be without Carlos. I hate to speculate, but since we are slowing down his schedule by having him miss the start today, the odds are probably that he starts the season on the DL. But again we’ll know more after he takes his further exams.”

Both Hahn and White Sox manager Rick Renteria admit they’ve been caught off-guard by the sequence of events. Rodon informed the White Sox he felt some tightness in his bicep on Thursday, which led to an internal examination. But it was only Wednesday when Rodon said he felt great following a Tuesday bullpen session and asked about the possibility of his first regular season start being moved up. Rodon, who had been online to make his first start on April 8, had also responded well in the aftermath of striking out five batters over four scoreless innings in his Cactus League debut at Tempe, Ariz. on Sunday.

“As far as we know right now he’s OK,” Renteria said. “From the physical, clinical tests it seems like he’s fine, but obviously he’s going to get checked up. He still wanted to pitch. I think that even talking to him yesterday or two days ago, he was feeling great. For all of us it’s a little bit of a surprise.”

Rodon requested to make his start against Oakland after the initial exam, but the team declined and opted for an MRI.

With the intent of helping him avoid the fatigue he experienced last summer and also reaching the 200-inning mark this season, the White Sox took a slow approach with Rodon this spring. Similar to how they handled Chris Sale last spring, much of Rodon’s work this February and March on back fields and in simulated games.

Rodon -- who went 9-10 with a 4.04 ERA in 28 starts last season, striking out 168 batters in 165 innings -- finally debuted in the Cactus League on Sunday and flourished. Though his slow start drew some suspicion along the way as to whether or not Rodon was healthy, Hahn said his bicep issue is a total coincidence.

“I don't know if ironic is the right word, but we obviously tried to come up with a plan to keep him healthy for the long term and toward the end of this plan he expressed this discomfort yesterday,” Hahn said. “Again, he was feeling great, he was saying, with how he was coming along, with the program we had set up. Sometimes you make plans and the baseball gods laugh.”

While it’s too early to know how the length of Rodon’s absence, the White Sox have begun to develop contingency plans. The team has a few days off in April that could help them navigate through the issue, primarily on April 4 and April 10. Rodon originally was scheduled to pitch in the team’s fifth game, an April 8 home contest against Minnesota.

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Hahn suggested that despite the uncertainty he knows one tactic he won’t use is call upon one of the team’s top prospects. Reynaldo Lopez is close to major league ready and Lucas Giolito and Carson Fulmer have also already each accrued service time. But Hahn wants to avoid a taxi situation with frequent trips back and forth to the minor leagues.

He listed Saturday’s starter Dylan Covey and minor leaguers David Holmberg and Tyler Danish as among the possible replacements for Rodon.

“Our intention is to not have any player in Chicago simply because there’s a need in Chicago,” Hahn said. “It’s because they’ve answered all the questions that they have to answer developmentally at the minor league level and are ready for further development in Chicago. This is particularly true in the situation where it could just be a spot start or a few starts. None of us are inclined to potentially derail anyone’s development by moving them up and down, up and down. Our young pitchers, when the time comes for them to come to Chicago, will be guaranteed to get the ball every fifth day. We don’t have a specific plan for where it goes with Carlos, we need further examination and studies. And we don’t have a plan for how we’ll fill the void if one is created.”