Stone's Mailbag: Does Peavy Have What it Takes?

Stone's Mailbag: Does Peavy Have What it Takes?

Thursday, Apr. 15, 2010
10:05 A.M.

Steve Stone dives into his mailbag to answer some of your questions about Starlin Castro, Tyler Colvin, and Jake Peavy.

Question from Jake, Arlington Heights, Ill. Is Starlin Castro the next Hanley Ramirez, and where do you see him in the future a leadoff hitter or more a mid of the order hitter?

Steve Stone: Starlin is going to be a very good player but will not have the power. Hanley is one of these devastating players who came out of the Boston organization as a young man with a tremendous amount of promise. Castro needs some more minor league at bats, he has pretty good plate coverage, still swings at pitches he shouldnt but thats a product of youth and lack of experience as opposed to anything else. He will be a very good major leaguer. When you are talking about Hanley Ramirez, who is 63, 225, that is going to be bigger than Starlin Castrol. Ramirez hit .342 last year, drove in 106 runs and stole 27 bases. When you look at those numbers, adding 24 home runs into it, I think that you realize that a few of those numbers will be out of reach for Starlin. That being said, I think the Cubs are happy to have developed someone from their system who looks like he will be a big leaguer for a long time, especially a shortstop.

Question from Cole, Cedar Falls, Iowa How do you see the right field situation playing out for the Cubs? With Nady and Colvin on board are Fukudome's days numbered?
Steve Stone: When you are paying Fukudome 14 million and he has this year and next on his contract, as far as his days being numbered, it depends on which number mister Ricketts is going to allow Jim Hendry to eat if he indeed does want to trade. He had two somewhat disappointing seasons but when you sign back loaded contacts, the highest salaries in the last year make it more difficult to trade. I think it will be awfully hard for Lou to get the amount of bats that he is going to have to get a young player to enable to keep them sharp. Especially Tyler Colvin who has played just about every day wherever he has been, and now youre asking him to take a seat on a major league bench and we will try to fit you in when we can. I dont believe thats in the best interest of Colvin and in fact if they view him, and I believe they do, as their starting right fielder of the future, sitting on the bench watching, they will limit his bats. I think thats a big mistake the Cubs have made and Colvin has one at bat in two games. We know he will get more, this is a young man who probably needs 30-35 at bats a week and I dont think he will get anywhere close to that with a major league team.
Question from Alex, Oak Forest, Ill Does Jake Peavy have what it takes to win 20 games this season?

Steve Stone: I think Jake always has what it takes. We saw briefly last year in three games where he was 3-0 and dominating everyone. At his best he is good. One thing to bear in mind is and has been that the AL is just a tougher league than the NL. You dont have to look at All-Star games, which the AL has dominated for some time, but look at the results year after year after year of inner-league play and you will see the AL is a tougher league. Factor in that he wont be facing the pitcher but yet another hitter in what already is a very strong lineup, it makes it a lot more difficult for pitchers to throw in the American League than it does in the national. If the White Sox could be assured Jake would be healthy all year they would take that and allow his stuff, best in the game, to determine the outcome. Whether he will or wont be healthy remains to be seen.

Question from Josh, Morton, Ill. What do you think the chances are of Sergio Santos making an immediate impact with the Sox this season?

Steve Stone: First thing, he has to get into a game. Its hard to look good if you are warming up or on the bullpen bench. He is in a catch 22 in that in order to get Ozzies confidence, he has to get people out but in order to get people out, he needs Ozzie's confidence. I think Ozzie will put him in, in hand-picked sit in the 6th inning. If guys struggle, if Sergio is throwing well, he will move to the 7th. But lets see him get to the major league mound and then we can further evaluate how he will adapt. Everything you need, big strong, throws awfully hard, good change up and very good slider. Still asking a guy who played major league infield and was a number one pick in the draft by the Diamondbacks as a short stop to become a quality major league pitcher.

Question from Katie, Chicago, Ill. How will the Twins adjust to playing outdoors in their new stadium?
Steve Stone: I dont know how because they havent played outside in April in Minnesota in the lifetime of any roster players. They started their season in California playing the Los Angeles Angels, a tough team taking the first two of three which is of this writing, all theyve played. Look down that lineup, they are very impressive. One thing to worry about is replacing Joe Nathan but Jon Rauch is now 2-2 in saves though he did give up a run in two hits last night with the twins, beating the Angels 3-2. I look at the lineup that added Orlando Hudson this year and features Bernard Span at the top and three fairly devastating hitters in a row. You have to figure offensively in for another big year. The question for them is the starting rotation and the tail end of the bullpen.

Click here to visit SteveStone.com

Follow Steve on Twitter @BaseballStone

The last White Sox rebuild: Bobby Howry remembers aftermath of '97 'White Flag' trade

The last White Sox rebuild: Bobby Howry remembers aftermath of '97 'White Flag' trade

Bobby Howry wasn't aware of the fact he was part of one of the more infamous transactions in White Sox history until a few years after it happened. 

In 1997, with the White Sox only 3 1/2 games behind the division-leading Cleveland Indians, general manager Ron Schueler pulled the trigger on a massive trade that left many around Chicago — including some in the White Sox clubhouse — scratching their heads. Heading to the San Francisco Giants was the team's best starting pitcher (left-hander Wilson Alvarez), a reliable rotation piece (Doug Drabek) and a closer coming off a 1996 All-Star appearance (Roberto Hernandez). In return, the White Sox acquired six minor leaguers: right-handers Howry, Lorenzo Barcelo, Keith Foulke, left-hander Ken Vining, shortstop Mike Caruso and outfielder Brian Manning. Only Foulke had major league experience, and it wasn't exactly good (an 8.26 ERA in 44 2/3 innings). 

Howry was largely oblivious to the shocking nature of the trade that brought him from the Giants to White Sox until, before the 1999 season, he was featured in a commercial that referenced the "White Flag trade."

"I don't even know if I knew it was called that before then," Howry recalled last weekend at the Sheraton Grand Chicago at Cubs Convention. 

The trade was a stark signal that youth would be emphasized on 35th and Shields. Both Alvarez and Hernandez were set to become free agents after the 1997 season, and the 40-year-old Darwin wasn't a long-term piece, either. With youngsters like Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Lee rising through the farm system, the move was made with an eye on the future and maximizing the return on players who weren't going to be long-term pieces. 

Sound familiar? 

It's hardly a perfect comparison, but when the White Sox traded Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox in December for four minor leaguers — headlined by top-100 prospects in Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech — it was the first rebuilding blockbuster trade the organization had made since the 1997 White Flag deal. Shortly after trading their staff ace at the 2016 Winter Meetings, the White Sox shipped Adam Eaton — their best position player — to the Washington Nationals for a package of prospects featuring two more highly-regarded youngsters in Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez. 

[SHOP WHITE SOX: Get your White Sox gear right here]

And there still could be more moves on the horizon, too, for Rick Hahn's White Sox (Jose Quintana has been the subject of persistent rumors since the Winter Meetings). But for those looking for an optimistic outlook of the White Sox rebuilding plans, it's worth noting that the club's last youth movement, to an extent, was successful.

Only Howry (3.74 ERA over 294 games) and Foulke (2.87 ERA, 100 saves over 346 games) became significant long-term pieces for the White Sox from those six players brought over in 1997. And it wasn't like Schueler dealt away any of the franchise's cornerstones — like Frank Thomas, Albert Belle and Robin Ventura — but with future starters in Lee, Ordonez and Chris Singleton on their way the White Sox were able to go young. A swap of promising youthful players (Mike Cameron for Paul Konerko) proved to be successful a year and a half later. 

And with a couple of shrewd moves — namely, dealing Jamie Navarro and John Snyder to the Milwaukee Brewers for Cal Eldred and Jose Valentin — the "Kids Can Play" White Sox stormed to an American League Central title in 2000. 

"It was great," Howry said of developing with so many young players in the late 1999's and 2000. "You come in and you feel a lot more comfortable when you got a lot of young guys and you're all coming up together and building together. It's not like you're walking into a primarily veteran clubhouse where you're kind of having to duck and hide all the time. We had a great group of guys and we built together over a couple of years, and putting that together was a lot of fun."

What sparked things in 2000, Howry said, was that ferocious brawl with the Detroit Tigers on April 22 in which 11 players were ejected (the fight left Foulke needing five stitches and former Tigers catcher/first baseman Robert Fick doused in beer). 

"About the time we had that fight with Detroit, that big brawl, all of a sudden after then we just seemed to kind of come together and everything started to click and it took off," Howry said. 

The White Sox went 80-81 in 1998 and slipped to 75-86 in 1999, but their 95-67 record in 2000 was the best in the league — though it only amounted to a three-game sweep at the hands of the wild-card winning Seattle Mariners. 

Still, the White Flag trade had a happy ending two and a half years later. While with the White Sox, Howry didn't feel pressure to perform under the circumstances with which he arrived, which probably helped those young players grow together into eventual division champions. 

"I was 23 years old," Howry said. "At 23 years old, I didn't really — I was just like, okay, I'm still playing, I got a place to play. I didn't really put a whole lot of thought into three veteran guys for six minor leaguers." 

White Sox Talk Podcast: Zack Collins discusses staying at catcher

White Sox Talk Podcast: Zack Collins discusses staying at catcher

White Sox 2016 first round pick Zack Collins joins the podcast to talk about his future with the White Sox, when he hopes to make the big leagues and the doubters who question whether he can be a major league catcher.   He discusses comparisons with Kyle Schwarber, his impressions of Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, why his dad took him to a Linkin Park concert when he was 6 years old and much more.