Please, please, please tell me there's a chance the Sox can get rid of Adam Dunn before next year. I can't take another year of watching him strike out. There's a reason that he's never been on a playoff team -- because he's on the team! He may be a nice guy and a good teammate, but the hole he puts in a lineup is just a killer. -- Tom Lukas, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Here’s what I can tell you about Dunn: He is owed $15 million for the final year of his four-year, $56 million contract in 2014. He reportedly cleared waivers in August and was eligible to be traded to any team, but he wasn’t. After an upswing in June, July and August, his performance in the final month of the season took a nosedive. He hit .159, struck out 34 times in 69 at-bats and recorded an on-base percentage of .237 and slugging percentage of .348.
For your wish to come true, another team would have to want to take on a high-priced player who underperformed this season or the Sox would have to eat some of that very large salary in trying to dump the player that led the team with 34 home runs.
As a newly transplanted Chicagoan to the Phoenix area, I saw Marcus Semien in spring training last year, and he immediately struck me as being in the mold of Barry Larkin (Larkin, 6-feet 185 pounds; Semien 6-foot-1, 190). He was pretty smooth handling several plays, especially rounding off a couple grounders. Seeing that he has some pop in his bat (first major league home run Sept. 23) in addition to his minor league career showing ability to also take a walk (.401 on-base percentage in 137 games in 2013), it seems he’s a rarity coming out of the Sox system. My question is if the Sox are projecting him as their shortstop of the future, or will he be pigeonholed as yet another utility type player? -- Michael Modica, Tolleson, Ariz.
The Sox were also impressed with what they saw from Semien during his month with the team, from his comfort level playing multiple positions to his simple approach at the plate. Though he says he is most comfortable at shortstop, Semien was also used at second and third as the Sox tried to see where he might fit. The Sox like the versatility, but general manager Rick Hahn said earlier this month he is likely to settle in as an everyday player. The position he plays could depend on the Sox’s roster moves this offseason and beyond. If you want to see more before spring training, Semien will be coming your way for the Arizona Fall League, which starts next week.
What's the latest on Gavin Floyd? Many discussions on Sox pitching for '14 don't include him. Isn't he under contract for the next few years? -- Fred Burnstine, Glenview
Floyd actually becomes a free agent this offseason after the Sox picked up his $9.5 million option in October 2012. He pitched in only five games this season in April, going 0-4 with a 5.18 ERA, before surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament and a torn flexor muscle in his right arm on May 7. He was given a 14-19 month recovery time. With several starting pitching prospects in the mix for 2014, his future after seven seasons with the Sox appears to be uncertain.
The Sox catching situation is a mess -- (Tyler) Flowers and (Josh) Phegley and (Bryan) Anderson simply overmatched. With the draft coming up, are there any catchers deserving of the third pick? Although early, who is in the top three discussion? -- Cary, Grayslake
The Sox could address their immediate catching situation with offseason moves. That being said, if they want to add a catcher in the draft, Alex Jackson, a high schooler from California who also plays in the outfield, is ranked among the top five to 10 prospects by several organizations. It is early, but North Carolina State left-hander Carlos Rodon is generally favored as the No. 1 prospect and his college teammate and shortstop Trea Turner is also highly rated.
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