Steve Stone's Mailbag: Sergio Santos, Ted Lilly

Steve Stone's Mailbag: Sergio Santos, Ted Lilly

Friday, April 23, 2010
10:35 PM

Steve Stone dives into his mailbag to answer some of your questions about Sergio Santos, Ted Lilly and more!

Question from Bryan, Alsip, IL: Can history repeat itself & Sergio Santos move into the closer role by late July?

Steve Stone: I am not sure what the significance of late July is but Sergio Santos has closer stuff. What he doesnt have is experience. Santos has only pitched for a year. All who follow the Chicago White Sox know that Santos was a number one draft choice for the Diamondbacks as a power hitting shortstop. He finally decided that it wasnt going the way he wanted it to go and so he decided to start pitching. He has been very good so far in five appearances covering a total of 5 innings. He has only walked one, struck out 8 and given up one hit in those 5 innings but before we anoint him as a closer, we have to see a whole lot more of him in some pressure situations and allow him to get comfortable in a major league situation.

Question from &8232;&8232;Sacramento, Chicago, IL: Hey Steve, what are your thoughts on Konerko and Pierzynskis contracts? Do you think both sides will work something out before the end of this year? Or is this the last year for both in a Sox uniform?

Stone: Thirteen games into the season, its not really the right time to even think about contracts for next year unless you are talking about guys like Joe Mauer or really talented young guys that will be the foundation of your organization for years to come. I think that Kenny Williams will take a wait-and-see approach to both of these players, both Paul and AJ have done a good job. A lot depends on the economics and what each will want to give up their free agency and what some of the young guys might be able to do. If Dayan Viciedo shows that he can hit and Tyler Flowers is what the White Sox thought he was when the acquired him from Atlanta, then you have some candidates for first base as well as behind the plate or a combination of those 2 positions plus designated hitters. A lot has to do with what kind of attendance the Sox have this year which certainly have to do with how well they do in the standings. Right now with a payroll touching 105106 million dollars, Im not too sure how much higher if at all the Sox will go next year. It is safe to say that those decisions are best left for considerably down the road in both cases.

Question from &8232;&8232;Anthony, Frankfort, IL: What do you expect out of Ted Lilly when he rejoins the Cubs this weekend? What does he bring to the starting rotation?

Stone: He brings one of the most dependable left-hand pitchers in the National League in the last couple years. Lily has been a very reliable starting pitcher since putting on that Cub uniform in the 2007 season. In 2007 he was 15-8, in 2008, he was 17-9 and last year he was 12-9 for a mediocre Cubs team. In the 3 seasons with the Cubs, he has won more games than Carlos Zambrano.
Question from Eric, Northbrook, IL: Do you think Andrew Cashner could be on his way to provide bullpen help for the Cubs?

Stone: Since the Cubs drafted Andrew Cashner in the first round of 2008 with the 19th overall pick, I believed that the 66 210 pound right-hander is better suited for a role in the bullpen. The Cubs however have used Cashner almost exclusively as a starting pitcher. The cubs also feel that Jeff Samardzija is a candidate to be a starting pitcher. I dont agree with them on that assessment either. So it all depends on what the Cubs feel on the future of Cashner but the one thing we do know for sure, is at this point of the year with 5 blown saves, a 1-5 record, a 5.59 ERA and already one of the relievers on the disabled list, the Cubs bullpen is a mess. And if Jim Hendry does not get it straightened out, its going to be a very long year for the Northsiders.
&8232;&8232;Question from Larry, Schaumburg, IL: Who would you say is the MLBs top three MVPs these first couple weeks of the baseball season and why?

Stone: First of all, we do realize that MLB persay doesnt give out 2 week MVPs. If they did, it might surprise people around baseball that Scott Podsednik is leading the American League in hitting at .457 so I doubt that one of the newest members of the KC Royals is going to spend the majority of the season there and I dont believe he will win the MVP as well as Pudge Rodriguez leading the National at .444 for the Nationals and I dont think that he is going to stay there. If you like runs batted in, you could choose Nelson Cruz from Texas, hes got 15 to lead the American League. Or you can go to Jorge Cantu of Florida leading the National league at 16. If home runs is your choice, well you can stay with Cruz who has 7 and the National League you can go to Chase Utley who has 6. But its probably safe to say that somewhere along the line, you have to figure the usual suspects will start to creep up as the pretenders start to fall down.

An interesting note for Chicago fans is the Milwaukee 3rd baseman given to them for 20,000 courtesy of the Cubs is a fella by the name of Casey McGhee . McGhee is hitting .400 which places him 3rd in the National League and he has 4 homeruns which ties him for 4th in the National League. After hitting over .300 last year, he seems to be off to another great start. If you prefer pitchers, well then you can look at Derek Lowe, Roy Halladay, Ubaldo Jiminez or Tim Linecum as they are all 3-0. Thats in the National League. In the American League, youd have to say John Rausch was pressed into the closing role for the Minnesota Twins when Joe Nathan was lost for the season who is 6-6 in saves for the season. All this however goes to show you one thing, that is, the reason why they dont hand out 3 week MVPs.

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Wake-up Call: Miggy gets the boot; Rodon's rocky debut; More bad news for Cubs?

miguel_montero_cubbies.jpg
AP

Wake-up Call: Miggy gets the boot; Rodon's rocky debut; More bad news for Cubs?

Where it all went wrong for Cubs and Miguel Montero

White Sox willing to overlook 'rough' patches as healthy Carlos Rodon returns

Kris Bryant’s sprained ankle is more bad news for Cubs: ‘You can’t cry about it’

Can Leonard Floyd break out in 2017? The Bears like the early signs

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: What's next for Blackhawks as free agency looms?

Preview: Cubs wrap up series with Nationals today on CSN

Preview: White Sox host Yankees tonight on CSN

Bulls Talk Podcast: An NBA gone wild and Zach LaVine sit down interview

How Rick Renteria has tried to help White Sox players combat travel fatigue

What pushed Theo Epstein over the edge in making Miguel Montero decision: ‘It screamed out’

 

White Sox willing to overlook 'rough' patches as healthy Carlos Rodon returns

White Sox willing to overlook 'rough' patches as healthy Carlos Rodon returns

The two fastballs that soared to the backstop on Wednesday night should give you a strong indication that Carlos Rodon was far from perfect.

But in making his first start of the 2017 season, the White Sox pitcher also offered his team plenty of signals that his health isn’t going to be an issue.

Rodon returned to the mound for the first time since last September and brought the goods that made him one of baseball’s top pitching prospects several years ago. Given he’d missed three months with bursitis in the left shoulder and the potential value he offers to a franchise only half a season into its first rebuild in 20 years, that was plenty for the White Sox to overlook the rust Rodon showed in a 12-3 White Sox loss to the New York Yankees at Guaranteed Rate Field.

“He started a little rough early obviously, got some high pitch counts,” manager Rick Renteria said. “And then he kind of settled down.

“Having him back in the rotation and getting him back out there on the big league field, coming out of there feeling good, healthy. I'm sure he will continue to get better as he continues to get out there and move forward.”

Renteria said he wasn’t surprised that Rodon struggled with his command as much as he did against the Yankees. The issues the pitcher displayed in uncorking a pair of wild pitches, walking six batters and throwing strikes on only 41 of 94 pitches were also present during Rodon’s four rehab starts in the minors.

But as long as the stuff was there, the White Sox would be OK with any issues that accompanied the performance. Rodon began to alleviate those concerns immediately when he earned a called strike on the game’s first pitch with a 93-mph fastball to Brett Gardner. Featuring a four-seamer with an absurd amount of movement and a nasty slider he struggled to control, Rodon checked all the boxes the White Sox hoped for from a pitcher they believe will be a frontline starter for years to come. Rodon also was pleased by how he felt before, during and after the contest.

“I was pretty excited,” Rodon said. “I was going a little fast in the first. But it was good to be out there. Next time out, it’ll hopefully be a little better. Arm feels good, body feels good, all you can ask for.”

Well, it’s not ALL you can ask for, but it’s pretty damn good out of the gate given how slow Rodon’s return took. His four-seam fastball averaged 94.9 mph according to BrooksBaseball.Net and touched 97 mph. His two-seamer averaged 94.4 mph and touched 95. And his slider, though he couldn’t control it, nor locate it for a strike, averaged 86 mph.

“You could see (Omar Narvaez) going over to try to catch some balls that were having tremendous run,” Renteria said. “That's (Rodon). He's got some tremendous life, he's just trying to harness it the best that he can and being able to execute where he wants to get as many strikes as possible.”

[VIVID SEATS: Get your White Sox tickets here]

The strikes were about the only thing Rodon didn’t bring with him. He walked Gardner to start the game and issued two more free passes after a Tim Anderson error allowed a run to score and extended the first inning. Rodon threw 37 pitches in the first, only 15 for strikes.

He also reached a full count to each of the batters he faced in the second inning. Rodon walked two more with two outs in the third inning after he’d retired six batters in a row.

And there were those pesky first-inning wild pitches that resembled something out of ‘Bull Durham.’

But all in all, Rodon and the White Sox ultimately saw enough in the first outing to be pleased.

“Great stuff, great life, but the goal is to put it in the zone and let them swing it to get guys out early,” Rodon said. “That’s not what happened. I’ll get back to that.”

“It’s a tough loss, but it’s better to be with the guys out on the field grinding than sitting on the couch and watching, for sure.”