Stone's Mailbag: Sandberg next Cubs manager?

Stone's Mailbag: Sandberg next Cubs manager?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010
7:31 PM

Steve Stone dives into his mailbag toanswer some of your questions about Ryne Sandberg, Juan Pierre and more!

Question from John - Johnstown, NY: Right now the Twins are the class of the division. I'm still not sold on their bullpen. If the Sox can stay close I think they will have a chance. What do you think?

Steve Stone: I couldn't agree with you more.

Question from Ryan - Cedar Falls, IA: If the Cubs decide to part ways with Lou Piniella, do you think they might consider Ryne Sandberg. Do you think he would be a good MLB manager?

Stone: If Mr. Ricketts bows to the pressure to the fans, the next Cub Manager will be Ryne Sandberg. It's difficult to comment on a manager's major league abilities when he has never majored in the majors. There will be a number of qualified guys out there if this is in fact Lou's last year which has yet to be determined. If they get in to the playoffs, I could see Lou coming back and that would buy Sandberg another year in the Minors and another year of managing at the highest minor league level. There is probably one better candidate and for the right offer, he might just come back to the Cubs. Bear in mind, I dont believe the Cubs have the courage or the creativity to make a move this far our of the box or to at least for the moment turn their back on Ryan Sandberg who would be an instant crowd favorite and certainly have the backing of the Wrigley Field faithful. But lest I get too cryptic, there is a fine manager currently wearing the pinstrips of the Yankees who's contract ends at the end of this year. He has one thing that Ryne doesn't have and thats one World Championship. His name, Joe Girardi. Joe has alwayd had close ties to the Chicago community, was a former Cub player, managed with distinction with the Marlins before winning a World Championship last year with the Yankees and with another chance to win one this year with those same Yankees. The question you might ask is, would he come here and the answer is, for the right contract, I believe he would. Will it happen? I believe it won't. At the end of the day, the Cubs will bow to public pressure and name Ryne Sandberg a much less expensive alternative as the new Cub manager.

Question from Darrin - Milan, IL: What are the chances that the Cubs would ever pad the outfield wall at Wrigley?

Stone: I really have no idea how many people have asked this question over the years but the chances of padding going up and anything that obscures the ivy-covered walls which are a trademark look of Wrigley Field are about the same as me playing in the NBA next year and starting at Center for the Bulls.

Question from Todd - Chicago, IL: Who do you think should be the White Sox leadoff hitter?

Stone: The man who is primarily leading off, Juan Pierre. He is off to a slow start but let me go back and remind you when he was with the Cubs, after the first couple months of the season, his on-base percentage was .260 including hits and walks going on that season to get 200 hits. He will finish anywhere from .290 to .305 this year and be the leadoff hitter he has been. He is a prolific worker and starting to refine his bunting ability again and taking a look at the lineup, Juan is the prototypical leadoff hitter with the assets that the Sox have at hand.

Question from Ben - West Chicago, IL: Should the White Sox have kept Scott Podsednik? He would look good at the top of the White Sox lineup.
Stone: Juan Pierre is a better leadoff, base runner and in the mind frame that Juan will have the same kind of batting average of Scott. That in mind, Scott had a good series against the Sox, he has made himself a very good higtter and I like Scott as a person I just thought it was an interesting ability that Scott had to be a very good base stealer and a very bad base runner. If you doubt that, think of all the times he got doubled out last year and picked off last year. The same thing is going to happen to him this year. As far as the defense is concerned, neither throw particularly well and I know Pier has had some problems in the early going as far as balls hit over his head but I think that will take care of itself. I think the Sox are comforable with what they have and we wish him the best except of course when he plays the Sox.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Chris Sale returns to Chicago

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Chris Sale returns to Chicago

In this episode of the SportsTalk Live Podcast, Mark Carman (WGN Radio), Chris Hine (Chicago Tribune) and Seth Gruen (Bleacher Report) join Mark Schanowski on the panel.

Chris Sale is back in town. Do the White Sox miss their old ace?

Meanwhile, Jake Arrieta’s agent defends his client’s velocity drop. Does he have a point?

Plus LeBron James talks about his legacy, Tiger Woods’ fall from grace continues and the panel remembers legendary sportswriter Frank Deford.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Is the White Sox run differential a sign of better things to come?

Is the White Sox run differential a sign of better things to come?

From a record standpoint, the White Sox are maybe slightly above where most expected them to be this season.

From a run differential standpoint, the White Sox are way above any expectation.

After Monday’s 5-4 win against the Red Sox, the White Sox improved to 24-26 on the season. Impressively, the Sox have a plus-28 run differential, which is good for third-best in the American League.

The two AL teams higher than the White Sox in the category are both first-place teams. Houston is 36-16 with a whopping plus-74 differential while the Yankees are 29-19 and come in at plus-57.

The White Sox have the best run differential in the AL Central. The division-leading Twins (26-21) actually have a negative run differential at minus-7. The Twins are one of two teams with a negative run differential and a winning record (Baltimore is 26-23 with a minus-6 differential).

There are 15 teams in Major League Baseball with positive run differentials and the White Sox are the only team in that group more than one game under .500.

So what does that mean? Well, for one it could be a positive sign that the White Sox are actually a better team than their record. More plainly, it means the White Sox are winning games by bigger margins than they are losing them.

Monday’s win improved the White Sox record in one-run games to 5-7. The Sox are also 2-4 in two-run games and 3-5 in three-run games. That's a 10-16 mark in games decided by three runs or less. Meanwhile, in games decided by four runs or more the White Sox are 14-10.

What’s even stranger about the lack of success in close games is that the White Sox have the fourth best ERA among relievers in MLB.

May isn’t quite over yet so things can still even out in one direction or another, but these are certainly some odd numbers.