The Tribune's White Sox beat writer answers reader questions throughout the season. This week, the futures of Paul Konerko and Josh Fields and the similarities between this year's squad and 2005.
Ryan Braun was atrocious at third, so they moved him to left. Carlos Lee couldn't play third, he was moved to left. Chuck Knoblauch couldn't throw to first, so he got moved to left. Alfonso Soriano was Washington's worst fielding second baseman, so he was moved to left. The Astros needed to make room for Jeff Kent, so they banished Craig Biggio to left. So how awful must Josh Fields be if he can't cut it in left when left field is where all the players exiled from their old positions end up? --Jeff Jhee, Chicago
I have contacted my Pima County Supervisor. I have said that in no way should the White Sox be allowed out of their contract for spring training. Make them stay and then have no one show up for the games. What a sense of entitlement Reinsdorf has. --George Sullivan, Tucson, Ariz.
If no one shows up for the games, then Pima County and the Tucson community stand to lose as well.
Any chance of moving Konerko for some pitching or prospects? I love him and appreciate the contributions over the years, but right now I think he might bring the most back in a trade. Swisher could step in at first base and maybe Fields could learn the position as well. We'd save money from Konerko's contract to go toward resigning Crede if he looks healthy after another few weeks. I know Ken Williams says they will address the Crede contract after the season, but I think he would do it at any time if he thinks it is the right deal and makes the Sox better. --Chris D, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Mark, what do you think about keeping Crede and moving Fields to first. This would mean trading Paulie but we would get younger and get a little more speed. I think this would be the best move to keep Fields and Crede. --Jose, La Vernia, Texas
So this year, how long does Guillen go with Konerko, Thome et al as they continue to show that they cannot hit anymore? --Jeff Hartnett, St. Louis
All of these e-mails were sent before Konerko hit his grand slam Sunday. I realize that Paul has gotten off to a slow start in three of the past four seasons but sooner or later manages to warm up. I think if Ken Williams wanted to move Konerko, he would have done so this winter.
Keep April 30 in mind. That is the date when Konerko earns 10-and-5 rights (at least 10 years of major league service, with at least the last five with the same team). That means Paul can veto any trade.
Happy New Year! After last year's stinker of a Sox team I feel much better about the 2008 Sox. Watched them all spring on the practice fields in Tucson and quite a few of their games. This is a much better team! Alexei Ramirez impressed me. Any chance of him starting some place in the near future? --Allman, Tempe, Ariz.
Ramirez's best chance to start could be in center field if Quentin tails off and Anderson doesn't produce or is used solely as a reserve (with Swisher moving to left), or in 2009 if the Sox elect not to re-sign Cabrera, who is getting untracked at the plate and looking more like the No. 2 hitter the Sox envisioned.
Do you get the eerie feeling that this Sox team is very similar to the 2005 team? They seem to be a tough grind-it-out team. To think we thought Dye, Thome and Konerko were too old and should retire! --Brian Little, Oak Park
I actually like the way this lineup stretches out better than 2005. And having Gavin Floyd as your No. 5 starter with the ability to pitch past the sixth inning is more encouraging than El Duque, who showed that he is a tournament/big stage-type pitcher but rarely pitched past six innings with regularity.
The 2005 team always will stand out for its knack for scoring runs when it needed to, whether it was Scott Podsednik reaching base in the first inning and scoring to give the starters an early cushion, or the offense scoring enough in the late innings to hold on.
Do you think it's possible that Joe Crede might take contract matters into his own hands, a la A-Rod with the Yankees? A-Rod was not pleased with agent Scott Boras' handling of the situation and went on his own to stay with New York. Is Joe capable of doing this? -- T. Maze, Wantagh, N.Y.
I can't see this. Besides, Scott Boras got his commission off the A-Rod deal. One of Scott Boras' greatest strengths as an agent is maximizing a client's value as a free agent, and Joe is approaching free agency with a chance to gain many millions and security on the open market.
First timer here. What is the issue with Jose Contreras? He has seemed to get more and more ineffective the longer he is in a White Sox uniform. This is eerily familiar to his stint in New York. --Bob M., Sun City, Ariz.
Bob, thanks for joining us. I think we need to look at Jose as a veteran member of the Sox's rotation but certainly not a starter with ace-type stuff. His velocity has dipped, but his split-finger fastball remains effective when he can get ahead of hitters. I noticed in the Detroit game he was throwing more from a sidearm angle than in his previous start.
Mark Gonzales' White Sox mailbag
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