Inbox: Who closes for the White Sox in 2012?
Beat reporter Merkin answers questions about bullpen, trades
CHICAGO -- The White Sox currently find themselves somewhere between rebuilding and retooling.
And as their offseason work continues, we will continue to tackle questions concerning the team. Let's open up the Inbox to take a look at this week's topics.Since the White Sox traded Sergio Santos to the Blue Jays, who is in line to become the White Sox closer in 2012?
-- Steve, Plainfield, Ill.
Assuming no other trades are made involving the bullpen, Jesse Crain and Matt Thornton would be the leading candidates to start the season. But Addison Reed is one of the major reasons why Santos became expendable.
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Reed, who turns 23 just after Christmas, had a 1.26 ERA over 43 games during four Minor League stops last year. He struck out 111 and walked just 14 in 78 1/3 innings, not to mention his 12 strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings with the White Sox. The right-hander definitely stands as the team's closer of the future, and the organization has no doubt he can handle the role.
Forgetting the marketing debacle of the idea of "All In" to promote last year's team, any idea what the slogan will be this year?
-- Nick, Park Ridge, Ill.
Brooks Boyer told the Tribune this past weekend that he has an idea, but he's not revealing it as of yet. The "All In" campaign made perfect sense after the White Sox added Adam Dunn and made their strong offseason commitment to the 2011 team winning it all. It was taken from what Ken Williams and the team was talking about.
As Boyer told me back in August, you take a chance with these slogans. Sometimes you get a major, memorable winner like "Win or Die Trying with the Grinder Rules" or "The Kids Can Play." And then other times, you get 2011. Boyer can't be blamed for the players coming up short.
Unlike a lot of White Sox fans, I'm looking forward to 2012. I even purchased my Pick 14 plan. With that being said, I do not like the talk about trading John Danks and Gavin Floyd. I do believe Williams will not just trade them for nothing. Is it possible to trade Adam Dunn to the Cubs? His left-handed power in Wrigley Field and playing first base might just rejuvenate his career.
-- Mike, Alsip, Ill.
Dunn won't be going anywhere, unless the White Sox take on another multiyear, high-end contract in return. The team's primary hope is that he bounces back to some form of his previous offensive excellence and puts last year's disaster behind him.
As for Danks and Floyd, I'm in agreement that Williams is not going to ship these guys out just to move them. The significant return of young, Major League-ready talent will have to justify trading starting pitchers of this value. The same theory holds true in a Carlos Quentin trade.
With Williams announcing that the White Sox will be "rebuilding," how deep will this rebuilding process go?
-- Karl, Sheldon, Iowa
I've been using the phrase "modified rebuilding" to describe the White Sox current process, and I've received more than a few e-mails or tweets asking me what that exactly means. Basically, the White Sox don't appear to be headed toward a complete rebuild because they have too many contracts locked in. Some of them, such as Dunn or Alex Rios or Jake Peavy, are not movable because of their poor 2011 numbers, money and years owed or injury concerns or a combination of the group.
Others, such as Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski, have full no-trade veto power and are players coming off of strong seasons -- and can contribute to the cause. So, the rebuilding began with the Santos trade but might include Danks, Floyd, Quentin and Matt Thornton before all is said and done. Basically, the White Sox are trying to get younger, cut payroll a bit and still be able to compete in the American League Central.
Hey Scott, I find it hard to believe how much the Dunn move (which I applauded) affected the future of the White Sox. My guess is that if we would have won the division, the team (and possibly Ozzie Guillen) would be coming back virtually unchanged. The crowds and the money would still be there. I know there were other factors involved with the demise of the 2011 team (Rios, Peavy, Gordon Beckham), but with a strong showing from Dunn, they could have overcome. I guess hindsight is 20/20.
-- Jim, Lockport, Ill.
When Dunn was signed, there were a few concerns expressed about his move from playing the field to full-time DH, his move from the NL to the AL and his move to an expected contender. Nobody, and I repeat absolutely nobody, could have seen what was coming last year.
Obviously, a better performance from Dunn would have helped the team succeed and might have helped keep everything intact. While the Dunn signing was the centerpiece of the all-in concept, he can't be held responsible for last year's bad overall White Sox showing. If Dunn comes back this year, launches 40 homers and drives in 115, he won't be the sole reason for a team bounce-back either.
With the White Sox not offering Juan Pierre arbitration and Alejandro De Aza and Brent Lillibridge going at it for the leadoff spot and outfield position, along with Rios and Quentin, why don't the White Sox let Dayan Viciedo play his original position at third base so he can play every day and finally move up? I think he's ready.
-- Raymond, Chicago, Ill.
Viciedo's days at third are done. The White Sox felt that Viciedo was a better fit in right field, and simply by watching Viciedo in limited opportunities, the decision appears to be a good one. Viciedo is ready and will be moving up to every day play, which ultimately might lead to Quentin's trade. And the White Sox believe they have a talented everyday third baseman already in place with Brent Morel.
Where did Terry Doyle rank in our system, and what was his projection? Heard he threw strikes, that's all I know. Good stuff?
-- John, Chicago
Doyle was sort of an unpolished, right-hand version of Mark Buehrle. He didn't have high velocity, but Doyle challenged hitters and threw strikes. He really wasn't in consideration for the 40-man roster until his first-rate Arizona Fall League performance. That showing put Doyle on the map and now gives him a chance with the Twins, who picked him in the Rule 5 Draft. He'd be rated steady over spectacular.