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WSI News - Sox Interviews

WSI CELEBRITY CHAT with

WSI CELEBRITY CHAT with

Phil Rogers!

Phil Rogers has been covering baseball for the Chicago Tribune since 1997.  Before covering the Sox for the Tribune that season, he has worked in Dallas for both the Times Herald and the Morning News as both beat writer and national reporter.  He has also worked for the Florida Times-Union, Albuquerque Journal, and Shreveport Journal.

Phil took over the baseball beat for the Tribune in 1998.  He is also a frequent contributor at ESPN and Baseball America.  He authored the book The Impossible Takes a Little Longer.  It's about the Texas Rangers, but the title certainly fits the Sox, too.  His time in Chicago has been quite auspicious, especially from a totally biased Sox Fans' point of view:


Phil Rogers, baseball columnist who coined the term "White Flag Trade" joins WSI's totally biased Sox Fans for chat!

It was PHIL who broke the news about an impending sell-off of talent in 1997.

It was PHIL who provided many of the key tidbits (including quotes from ex-teammates) from what became a national story about Frank Thomas's troubles on the cover of Sports Illustrated in March, 2000.

And it was PHIL who coined the term "White Flag Trade" back in 1997, now universally recognized in the world of sport as any attempt to rebuild a team for the future at direct expense to near-term championship opportunities.  Ah yes, such is life for Sox Fans...

daver :  Welcome Phil

kevingrt :  Howdy Mr. Rogers, not the one that is dead

doublem23 :  Ah, damn, my 15 minutes are over

daver :  Time for Voodoo to take over folks

progers0826 :  hey, this works ... unlike most of you guys (I think) I never trust technology ... anyway, greetings

daver :  I trust Technology on this site Phil

voodoochile :  Hi Yeah, FWC does a good job.

voodoochile :  I'd like to give it just a few more minutes to let people finish logging in. I figure we can start with the questions about 7:15 unless Phil is short on time

progers0826 :  it seems simple to me ... but i am low-tech by nature ... for what it's worth, i just arrived in tucson but did not make it to the afternoon game at t.e.p. m

daver :  Phil,I am as Low Tech as you can get

DrCrawdad :  Sounds like Loiza (sp?) pitched well today.

kevingrt :  You going tonite Phil?

progers0826 :  as soon as we're done I'm off for the ballpark ... glad Heredia is starting. I saw him against San Diego this week so I won't miss somebody I want to see.

DrCrawdad :  Joe, nice smash yesterday.

daver :  We appreciate you giving us some of your time Phil

progers0826 :  Yeah, that was a long one, Joe.

voodoochile :  definitely.

joecrede :  thanks

daver :  On behalf of the WSI community I would like to say Thanx

voodoochile :  ditto

progers0826 :  My time is your time. I really enjoy trolling the boards on your site and seeing what you guys think. You aren't the typical fans, you know.

kevingrt :  How long you out there Phil?

kevingrt :  In Arizona I mean?

daver :  I would like to think we are the typical fans

DrCrawdad :  What do you mean? In what way are we lousy Sox fans atypical?

progers0826 :  I'll be here about 10 more days unless something happens to require me to stay longer. I'm looking forward to it.

DrCrawdad :  Meant in jest.

progers0826 :  Daver, I do a lot of talk radio, etc., and you guys are a lot more informed than the typical fans. You guys get it from the amateur draft all the way up. That's unusual. As you know, there are many guys in my business who don't really pay attention ...

progers0826 :  until somebody is in a big league uniform.

daver :  I have a lot of disdain for a lot of the media in this town, including our mutual buddy

DrCrawdad :  I'd love for you to start spilling names, but I know that incite too much trouble.

kevingrt :  What's the weather out there Phil?

progers0826 :  It's an interesting mix ... By the way, I agree with you about the Southtown serving Sox fans well.

hose :  we got some young guys in here that might be baseball writers some day.

daver :  I really don't need anymore trouble right now Doc

progers0826 :  Oh, it was probably low 80s today and is expected to climb a little bit this week. Very nice weather now after cool, rainy start in Arizona.

DrCrawdad :  I suppose the last few articles that you've written may cost you.

voodoochile :  Daver, I thought trouble was your middle name...

daver :  Joe Cowley does the Sox well

joecrede :  Phil thanks for taking time to visit, I think it was a mistake to sign konerko to such a big deal given the market for first basemen, will they be able to keep both konerko and lee now?

daver :  I am just a simple minded redneck Voodoo

doublem23 :  shuh

progers0826 :  Joe pays attention and gets players to talk to him. I'd agree with you Dave.

voodoochile :  Phil is that the same Joe Cowley who at one time set the consecutive K record to start a game?

progers0826 :  Joe C., thanks for the baseball question ... Some of you guys hammered me when I wrote about Konerko maybe pricing himself out with the big year last year.

doublem23 :  Meanwhile, its 14 degrees here in P-Town

kevingrt :  Cannot wait for the 40 degree opening day in the Upper Deck!!!

progers0826 :  Turned out the Sox could keep the four right-handed hitters together for '03 but I think something has to give in the next year.

kevingrt :  Include wind chill and elevation we got 20 degree day

doublem23 :  ARGH! And it gets nice here just as soon as I leave for Spring Break

DrCrawdad :  Phil you mentioned the amateur draft, how do you think the Sox did in the past draft? Also, how do you rate the drafts that KW has "controlled" for lack of a better word?

daver :  Voodoo, I think we can get started

progers0826 :  Not the same Cowley, who I best remember for seeing Toby Harrah flatten him during a game at Yankee Stadium.

progers0826 :  Regarding the draft, I don't give the GM that much credit. That's really Duane Shaffer's area, and I think Duane is a well-kept secret. He does a good job. Last year's draft was excellent.

voodoochile :  Okay, guess we'll go with the questions I have.

kevingrt :  Royce Ring BABY

voodoochile :  First question: Hey Mr. Rogers this is Brett from Buffalo Grove... AKA Kevingrt

voodoochile :  I know a lot of Sox fans hate the Chicago media because most believe they are more biased towards the Cubs then Sox, which can be seems by the weekly thread on WSI named Chicago's Weekly Media Watch, which plain rips the media. Now I don't really give a damn about how much time we get in the papers or on TV, all I care about is how this team does on the field. Do you have any clue why many Sox fans get so pissed off because we do not get much media coverage?

progers0826 :  Royce Ring didn't thrill me, to be honest (college closer and all) but he got good pitching prospects in Haigwood, Rodriguez, Rupe and McCarthy and seems to have hit HR w/Schnurstein.,

progers0826 :  Shaffer is really excited about Schnurstein, who he compares to a young Matt Williams.

HITMEN_OF_77 :  We show up the Cubs when it counts most, on the field

progers0826 :  Brett, I'd say being pissed off is part of the whole White Sox experience. I'm sure it comes from the second city status the franchise has taken on under the Reinsdorf regime. That's my guess.

voodoochile :  Question from Andrew AKA Kermit

DrCrawdad :  LOL

voodoochile :  Phil, when you are evaluating prospects for Baseball America what are the most important skills you look for in hitters and in pitchers?

progers0826 :  Well, for starters I rely very much on other peoples' eyes and opinions because I don't get a chance to see many younger prospects. I'd say it's a balance between tools and performance. I probably lean more toward getting excited by performance -- say a

progers0826 :  Matt Guerrier, than tools, say a Rylan Reed. I pay attention to the age of players and their placing in the system. I have some guys in the Sox system I talk to who are on top of it.

voodoochile :  Also, does BA give you guidelines for what skills to look for or do you make the call on what is important?

progers0826 :  I'm pretty much an independent operator although Allan Simpson and some of their staffers make suggestions as we put the Top 10 together. Allan's range of knowledge is impressive. By the way, the Sox are steamed about the new Top 100 list.

voodoochile :  Question from Mark AKA Lipman

daver :  That would be Mark Liptak

voodoochile :  Many WSI fans frankly, are sick of Jerry Manuel constantly changing thing. Especially after his published comments last year that he continues to make lineup changes even though "most of the time they don't work..." (his words)

voodoochile :  What's your opinion of a "set" lineup versus one with changes made to accomodate bench players and the opposition's pitcher?

progers0826 :  This isn't an answer, but I don't see many set lineups. Most managers tinker, as does Manuel. But to give you an answer, I like a set plan with platoon considerations, where guys know who plays vs. lefties and righties, not certain pitchers..

voodoochile :  Another question from Mark Liptak

voodoochile :  WHY are the Sox so bad with baseball fundamentals? Are the Sox players just "baseball dumb?" or is the problem with the manager and the coaches in the way they teach these things.

progers0826 :  Good question. Witness Porzio's throw into center yesterday. I was tempted to write that the Sox are already working on their unearned runs. I think a lot of it is from emphasizing offensive players. You climb their system by hitting, period.

daver :  I would like to add at this point, that Mark Liptak is the one that brought WSI to Phil's attention

progers0826 :  That's not the case in Minnesota, by the way. They have hitters who get stuck because they aren't complete players.

voodoochile :  Is that fixable with better coaching, in your opinion?

progers0826 :  Yes, Mark's been e-mailing me for a year and a half and I started checking the boards this winter.

voodoochile :  Final pre-submitted question this one from Andy the clown

progers0826 :  I'll tell you what Buddy Bell (then managing Colorado) told me when I told him one team had brought in a coach to fix the fielding. He said, "You know how you fix that? You fix that with better players.'' I don't see it as a coaching issue, really. w

voodoochile :  Andy the Clown's question: Thanks for taking the time answer our questions; In your opinion who will suprise/go to the next level on the current pitching staff?

progers0826 :  Among the guys who get talked about, I'd say Corwin Malone is capable of a surprise this year. The Sox made a mechanical adjustment this spring and he's been throwing very well. He'll go to Double-A but could jump back onto the radar screen quickly. I also

progers0826 :  like Ryan Wing and Brian Miller to have breakout seasons.

 

voodoochile :  Okay, that's it for the questions in MY inbox. You all can talk as long as you want and as long as Phil can stick around. Me personally, I have to go. Thanks again, Phil...

daver :  That is all we have in prepared questions Phil, do you have some time to field random questions, or do you need to get to the game?

progers0826 :  Another guy who has opened eyes in camp is An, the Korean who came from Boston. He and the other guy in that trade, Francisco, are in much better shape than when the Sox got them. ,

progers0826 :  No, I've got plenty of time ... I'm only auditing the course tonight at TEP. I filed a column earlier on the Cubs, so I'm in good shape.

joecrede :  Phil, Sox fan are a hard boiled bunch, but that aside ... compare and contrast the Williams regime versus the Schu regime in terms of how they operate, not necessarily results

daver :  That would be the result of working with Kirk Champion I would assume

DrCrawdad :  What's the word on Wright? Is Wright's elbow going to be a hindrance for him early this season?  Jason Dellaero, I saw he got into this afternoon's game. Any word on the plans for Jason?

progers0826 :  Yes, I think you're right about Champion ... Cooper is also hands on with Malone, who he knows well. The only real difference I see in the Williams vs. Schu question is that Schu seemed beloved by many of the old, hard-line scouting types in the organization; Kenny is proving himself to some people he works with, in my opinion. But Reinsdorf called many shots with Schu and still does, I believe.

daver :  Can we try and keep this to one question at a time to avoid confusion?

doublem23 :  Yes, I will be right back as I have to walk home now.

progers0826 :  Doc Crawdad, I didn't see today's box. I assume Dellaero played short?

daver :  I know Reinsdorf handled Frank's deal was that a mistake for the Sox?

DrCrawdad :  Yes

progers0826 :  Regarding Wright, I think you've got to be concerned. He came to camp throwing poorly then said he wasn't right. This bears watching closely, I believe.

THE_HOOTER :  If injuries dont cause many problems, how many games do you see the Sox winning?

progers0826 :  Dave, Reinsdorf handles all big deals and has for as long as I've known. Schu used to tell me to ask Reinsdorf when I'd ask him about contract extensions for guys like the great Robin Ventura (I still miss that guy).

progers0826 :  Hooter, I was thinking about this today. I i

daver :  But was re-signing Frank a mistake in your opinion?

progers0826 :  I'd put the over and under somewhere between 87 and 89, I think, and I'd probably take the over right now. I am very optimistic about this team in this division.

DrCrawdad :  Even more now with the Milton news.

progers0826 :  Dave, I think the Sox handled it right, actually. But I'm going to have to give you a long answer to that question. Bear with me.

daver :  K folks hold off on questions while Phil types

progers0826 :  Going back to the White Flag trade, to me that was a very good business decision but totally went against the competitive nature of sports, which is what fans by into. So I understood the reasoning but still think Reinsdorf sold out his fans, and especially a hard-nosed guy like Ventura, who was busting his butt trying to win. I bring this up because the Thomas thing breaks the same way with me.

daver :  The Milton news was bad for the Twins though Doc

progers0826 :  All sentiment aside, the Sox would have been fine without Frank. It would have made sense to cut the cord, move Lee to DH and get on with it. But I think a player with Frank's resume deserved better than that. So, to me, Reinsdorf made a decision that was

progers0826 :  a nice compromise. I also think Frank will bust his ass and have a good year.

joecrede :  who would be in line to replace Manuel if they start off slowly? they wouldn't go with Backman in that instance would they?

DrCrawdad :  I'd love to see Frank have a monster year.

progers0826 :  Joe, that's a good question. I'm planning on exploring that for a column later this week. I do believe Backman is next in line but I do not know that for a fact.

Jerry_Manuel :  Phil, if Frank does have a good season, could you see him opting out of his deal and going to the Dodgers?

DrCrawdad :  @#%^ I thought I was in-line for the job.

daver :  Sorry Doc,I am ahead of you in line

progers0826 :  I can see Frank opting out but I'm not sure about the Dodgers. He might be more of an AL guy. And if the market doesn't rebound, I'm not sure Frank will have anyplace to go. It's going to be very interesting to see.

DrCrawdad :  And play 100+ games at 1st? Although Frank might be a better glove at first than McGriff.

daver :  Hey Kermit

kermittheefrog :  howdy

Jerry_Manuel :  I've been under the impression that Evans wants to get Thomas if he shows he can still produce.

progers0826 :  Frank vs. Fred would be quite a battle ... Ventura would take Frank because he always praised the big guy for saving infielders throwing errors.

daver :  Phil, why would they offer the job to Backman over Nick Leyla?

progers0826 :  Dave, I'm not saying they would, but I think Backman made a huge impression last year at Birmingham. The organization thought the team would be awful and it won a title. Plus he's the polar opposite of Manuel, which is the way teams usually move.

daver :  So is Nick, and he is better qualified

DrCrawdad :  I've always said that Frank is a decent glove at 1st, just don't ask him to throw. Frank throws like a ...

daver :  The Barons had a lot of talent last year too

hose :  phil, are the Sox going to take 3 catchers north?

progers0826 :  The Dodgers really don't have a young first baseman in line. They moved the Taiwanese guy back to OF so there could be a hole there for Frank. And, yes, Frank's throwing is awful. Quick, what's the worst fielding play anybody can remember the Sox having? I've got a candidate in mind that's going to be hard to beat.

DrCrawdad :  Worst play, or player?

daver :  Royce Clayton leaps to mind Phil

kermittheefrog :  Hmmm... could anyone who has been here since 7 do a good ole, copy paste and email to kermit?

progers0826 :  If Josh Paul hits enough, they might take three catchers. Given the starters they have, they shouldn't need seven relievers. So an 11-man staff might leave room for a third catcher, providing he's got genuine value off the bench.  The

daver :  We will have the chat log on the main page Kermit

progers0826 :  No, Dave, I'm sorry ... worst single play.

DrCrawdad :  So many bad plays, brain overloading..

Jerry_Manuel :  Josh Paul is awful in my opinion Phil. I can't believe that keep him around.

Jerry_Manuel :  *they keep him around

progers0826 :  I haven't seen a lot of value from Josh, either. But I'm open minded.

joecrede :  Phil, I think they are going to go with Munoz and try to deal Wunsch before the end of spring training, could they get a backup catcher for him?

daver :  You must be Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeealll open minded then Phil

hose :  worst play ? how about C Lee in the Hump Dome

kermittheefrog :  Hey Phil, do you think that Manuel and/or Kenny should have lost their jobs after the 2000 96 win team fell apart?

progers0826 :  Yes, they probably could get somebody's third catcher for one of their lefties ... That's the kind of thinking I say distinguishes your site, by the way. The Sox are badly in need of catching insurance, even if it's somebody to play every day at Triple-A.

daver :  They signed a catcher to play at AAA, Kermit give me his name

progers0826 :  No, Kermit, I don't ... Turns out getting Clayton was bad (ditto Ramirez and Baines) but the biggest problem was so many injured and worn out pitchers. I think the Sox's pitching staff took much abuse to make the playoffs in 2000 and in some respects

progers0826 :  2001 was an inevitable payback. You should have seen all the ice on elbows and shoulders in that clubhouse. Simas PITCHED with a torn ligament in his elbow, for goodness sakes. Those pitchers were tough in 2000.pitc

progers0826 :  Oh, one other thing on 2000 ...

hose :  Good call Joe crede ....you are reading my mind on Wunsch

progers0826 :  I also, in 100 percent hindsight, think Schueler miscalculated by micromanaging the roster in August and September, beginning with the Charles Johnson trade and ending with leaving Mark Johnson off the playoff roster (still the most cold-blooded decision I've seen around baseball) and that the spirit the Sox had for four months in 2000 was broken. I think that showed in 2001, as well. I don't think it came back until after the 2002 purge.

joecrede :  thanks hose ... good stuff on your site by the way, kermit

kermittheefrog :  Thanks Phil.

kermittheefrog :  btw - I don't know who the Sox signed to catch in AAA

Sun Mar 9 21:02:18 2003:daver :  Phil,while you like the Sox in the Central division,should they be considered the favorites?

progers0826 :  Dave, they've got guys at Triple A but nobody you'd want to see here if Alomar got hurt and Olivo went in the tank. They need a Pat Borders/Chad Kreuter type. Even

daver :  They do not have a catcher signed to the Knights roster

progers0826 :  Dave, I think there will be a split of opinion, probably leaning toward Minnesota, in terms of a consensus on Central favorite. I personally think a lot of people overrate Minnesota (but maybe I underrate the Twins).

kermittheefrog :  they signed Jamie Burke

daver :  They have one signed to a minor league contract as an invitee to ST but his name escapes me

HawkDJ2k2 :  they signed Burke, Acevas and Morales

progers0826 :  Steven Morales and Jamie Burke are the two non-roster guys still in camp who figure to play in Charlotte.

daver :  Thats the name I was looking for thanx Kermit

kermittheefrog :  no prob

Jerry_Manuel :  Didn't they sign someone from the Joliet Jackhammers Daver?

daver :  Acevas was with Birmingham last year

progers0826 :  Morales might be worth watching but Burke is your classic 4-A player.

HawkDJ2k2 :  my bad daver

daver :  Ryan Sienko,he is on the Barons roster

Jerry_Manuel :  Phil, I know this is a Sox chat, but who do you see coming out on top of the NL East this year?

daver :  Acevas is probably a four A player as well

hose :  Phil, what are your thoughts on centerfield?

progers0826 :  It's hard to pick against Atlanta. I liked the Phillies two weeks ago but they've gotten off to a bad start. Mesa has been very shaky. Really, any team in that division could win 85-90 games, even Montreal or Florida. t

kermittheefrog :  Phil, if the Sox could go out and get one guy right now who do you think they should get? Within reason of course. I'd say Carlos Beltran.

progers0826 :  I think Borchard is the guy long range (too many extra-base hits to ignore) but I think Rowand and Harris will be there in April.

DrCrawdad :  Harris in center is scary.

daver :  Can Borchard learn at the MLB level? I think he can, but most think I am wrong

kermittheefrog :  What time table would you put on Borchard reaching the majors?

progers0826 :  Is Vlad Guerrero for one year within reason? Probably not. Or Tejada. Probably not. Beltran's a good one but his contract would force somebody good to leave, maybe even Maggs. I think Borchard's the better option for the payroll.

joecrede :  Phil, it had been widely reported that Evans was Schu's choice to replace him. How much tension and backstabbing -- by all parties-- was there in this organization to be Schu's successor?

progers0826 :  Many hitters learn more in the big leagues, with big league instructors and all the video equipment, than in Triple-A. Yes, I think Borchard can learn on the job here. He'll strike out a lot but nobody's going to like pitching to him. Plus he might be the

DrCrawdad :  Great question Joe!

progers0826 :  fastest guy on the team, outside of maybe Harris.

progers0826 :  Earlier I said that Reinsdorf calls all the shots (no news bulletin). And for years, Kenny watched games at Comiskey in Reinsdorf's box while Dan watched them with Schu and the scouts. Dan's resignation spoke for him, I suppose. I thought he and Kenny

progers0826 :  work together but I was wrong about that.

kermittheefrog :  Phil, who is the best little known player in the Sox minor league system? You made a great call a couple years ago with Corwin Malone, do we have anyone like that right now?

daver :  Phil thanx for your time, your off the hook, and we appreciate you taking part in this Q+A

progers0826 :  Kermit, I'd say Borchard will definitely be with the Sox for the June stretch against the Cubs and Twins, although if somebody gets hurt he'll be there sooner.

progers0826 :  Dave, I can hang a little longer if you want. Your call.

daver :  No it is your call, I asked for an hour, and that is up

progers0826 :  Oh, Kermit, thanks for noticing on Malone. Can I also get credit for Munoz? Give me a second to think about your question.

daver :  And Phil I will give you credit for Munoz, you made me take a harder squint at his numbers

progers0826 :  These aren't guys that will come fast but I like Thomas Brice and Michael Morse as guys with high ceilings who fly under the radar.

hose :  phil, any chance the sox can sign Colon next year or is it a pipe dream?

kermittheefrog :  you definitely deserve credit for munoz

kermittheefrog :  Do you think Morse will play short or third and do you like him more than Andy Gonzalez?

progers0826 :  I only wish I hadn't let the BA staff guys talk me down in 2002. I had him listed at 9 or 10 in the Top 10 but wound up with him at 17, I think. Munoz, that is.

kermittheefrog :  you did write about him pretty glowingly, I have the book in my hands right now

progers0826 :  I like Gonzalez better because he's safer but the Sox are sticking with Morse at shortstop. He is a very good athlete although he's huge for the position. If he starts to hit, he'll be a very interesting player.

daver :  I know you think highly of Micah Schnurstein, what can the fans expect from him?

progers0826 :  Anybody seen the 2003 Prospect Book? I hear it is out ... And before I forget, the worst fielding play I've seen was in '97, maybe against Detroit ... Frank throws into left field on a force play and Albert overruns the ball for a second error. E-Thomas,

progers0826 :  E-Belle on the same play. Now that's a rare combo.

kermittheefrog :  I can't afford the 2003 prospect book just yet, give me a couple weeks...

daver :  It was against Detroit

progers0826 :  Dave, he's a pure hitter ... uses the whole park, makes hard contact ... I think he's got those Jim Thome/Matt Williams type of huge hands. He's a very strong kid.

kermittheefrog :  oh man I have so many minor league questions, wish I had gotten here earlier

DrCrawdad :  Belle was rough in the field.

kermittheefrog :  Whatever happened to Casey Rogowski? He looked like a potential breakthrough guy to me this time last year?

DrCrawdad :  Huge hands, ok Jerry Krause...

progers0826 :  Kermit, I've got time for minor-league questions ... don't sweat it ... Maybe it was just me, though, Doc, but I really liked watching Albert hit. He was fierce.

daver :  Unlike most here I have seen Kris Honel pitch,how do you rate his chances of being a starter in the maors?

progers0826 :  Rogowski tore up his shoulder (I believe) and missed most of last season. He got back on track late in the year but didn't show as much pure power. He needs a solid year to get back on the map.

DrCrawdad :  I loved Belle as a hitter. FANTASTIC!

joecrede :  Phil, how much longer will Reinsdorf own the Sox in your opinion?

progers0826 :  Dave, I think it's a question of when, not if. I'm surprised he's climbed as well as he has, considering he was limited by Illinois' rotten weather. He

daver :  I can answer that one,till he dies

joecrede :  I think Belle went back to corking his bat the second half of '98

progers0826 :  's a nice combination of a fresh arm and surprising polish. If this was 1998, the Sox would be talking him and maybe pushing him to Double-A this year with a shot on a September promotion. I think they move slower these days, which is probably good..200

kermittheefrog :  Is Rylan Reed making much progress?

progers0826 :  I think Daver's right ...

progers0826 :  Kermit, I haven't heard anything this spring -- I'm spending time in the Sox's minor-league camp this week -- but, yes, he made strides at the end of 2002. He just gets overshadowed.

kermittheefrog :  Are the Sox taking things slower with starting pitchers because the major league team is more competitive or because of a change in minor league philosophy? Or both?

progers0826 :  Both, I think ... Kenny will

daver :  I think the Sox wasted a number one pick on Royce Reed, can you expand on that?

progers0826 :  Williams and Don Cooper as minor-league pitching instructor were very aggressive moving guys. Bob Fontaine is much more conservative by nature.

DrCrawdad :  I remember Kenny saying that he believed that the Sox had been rushing players thru. KW wanted to change that.

progers0826 :  I think you mean Royce Ring, right? ... He's a college closer and those guys haven't done well in the pros. But he's also a left-hander and the Sox have done a good job stockpiling those guys. Ring is going to get a chance to close in Double-A. He could

kermittheefrog :  what can you tell me about Pedro Lopez?

progers0826 :  become a commodity if he pitches well there but the Sox seem set with lefties for a long time in Marte, Munoz and Sanders (who has been great this spring).

daver :  Yes I meant Ring,sorry

progers0826 :  Kermit, Pedro is the rare minor-league infielder who gets noticed for his fielding. Plus he has an idea of the strike zone and has shown the ability to become a tough out. I guess you'd say he's got a chance to become Fernando Vina.  is

DrCrawdad :  The Sox sure seem to do a great job developing lefties.

kermittheefrog :  The 2002 prospect book says Andrew Fryson throws hard but where are the K's?

progers0826 :  I think their minor-league coaches do a good job developing all pitchers ... Buehrle and Wright jump to mind ... they've drafted a lot of lefties the last few years. All those Tony Castillo/Juan Pena seasons made them start collecting them.

progers0826 :  Kermit, Fryson's a mystery to me, too. His reputation was similar to Rylan Reed coming in but the numbers don't show it ... he was in the small print in that 2002 book, right?

kermittheefrog :  Fryson was in the draft recap. What about Wyatt Allen? His name was mentioned right next to Fryson but I've heard Allen has lost velocity. How is Allen developing?

progers0826 :  Oh, if I can throw in one more personal favorite who hasn't gotten much attention yet, let me direct your attention to Heath Phillips. He'll be in tthe Double-A rotation this year and has a chance to give the Sox another mini-Buehrle.

hose :  Phil, I would like to get your thoughts on the chances of signing Colon next year

progers0826 :  Allen was a project because of poor mechanics at Tennessee. I think the Sox are happy with him. He'll compete for a job at Double-A. He's a guy with upside but he might not be as projectable as, say, Felix Diaz. ie

 kermittheefrog :  Why did Charlie Lisk hit .202?

daver :  Diaz is a question mark since he is was recovering from an injury when the Sox acquired him,is he healthy now?

progers0826 :  Hose, good question on Colon. I think the chances are remote unless the Sox make a major move -- like trading Ordonez or Konerko for a lot of Triple-A talent. Losing Frank would help. So would drawing 2.5 million fans. But I think it's unlikely he'll stay.

DrCrawdad :  Seems like the Sox may fare better than initially given credit for with the trade deadline deals, correct?

progers0826 :  Diaz has thrown well this spring ... he had a decent winter, too. His injuries have always been little things, not elbow and shoulder issues.

joecrede :  Phil, wasn't Konerko's contract the result of Williams horribly misreading the market what with guys like Ortiz, Fick, Daubach getting non-tendered?

kermittheefrog :  Is Jim Bullard any good or is he just tall?

HawkDJ2k2 :  quick update here: Heredia gave up 3 runs in the 1st against Colorado

progers0826 :  Definitely. My hard-learned philosophy on deadline trades is they are almost always better for the teams shedding players than those getting them. The Sox collected a very interesting bunch of arms. Even the Pacheco kid they got from Colorado for Alomar

progers0826 :  throws in the mid-90s. The only one I haven't seen an upside with is Atkins from Oakland.

daver :  I can tell you that I saw Bullard pitch and he was not much more than average bullpen help on a bad team

DrCrawdad :  Atkins, good diet though.

progers0826 :  Regarding Konerko, I think his contract was a bone to the fans. I think the Sox realize that he's become one of their most popular players and rewarded him for it. I've gotten mauled any time I've suggested they consider moving him for a left-handed hitter

progers0826 :  or some other commodity.

kermittheefrog :  Phil, when you brought up Thomas Brice I was in a rush to ask you about some other players. What kind of upside does Brice have?

progers0826 :  I saw Bullard at the Hall of Fame game last summer ... only thing I noticed was he is very big.

progers0826 :  Brice gets compared to Olerud but he is very, very raw ... There's a good story there. Sox have an Australian scout (Harris, I think) who spied him and then stashed him at an Alabama juco. Nobody had heard of him last year but some scouts told BA he was

progers0826 :  the best prospect in the state of Alabama. Of course, he hasn't played in a full season league yet, so who knows? But he's interesting. I think he's got a sweet swing and sprays balls around. Good low-ball hitter from cricket.

daver :  Cricket?

daver :  We eat those where I come from

Jerry_Manuel :  Phil, have you heard anything on the naming rights situation? Did the ISFA sign off on it?

progers0826 :  No kidding ... he's played more cricket than baseball. I've talked to guys who have seen him take BP by hitting pitches skipped in to the plate.

hose :  probably was a irish hurler

kermittheefrog :  Is Jason Stumm healthy? And is he still a prospect?

progers0826 :  No, I haven't heard about the rights deal. I assume it's going through.

progers0826 :  Stumm isn't expected to pitch until June. He had a second surgery last September, which was supposedly minor, but he hasn't been right for two years now. He was throwing in the high-90s (best in the organization) in two-inning stints before saying ouch.

kermittheefrog :  What do you know about Josh Fields?

daver :  BTW Phil,feel free to bail at any time,you have given us more of your time than I ever expected

progers0826 :  Stumm's a very high character guy so don't count him out; but it's not looking good.

progers0826 :  No sweat ... Sorry, Fields is just a name to me. I haven't picked up anything on him.

joecrede :  Webster, Phil? thanks for your time too ....

kermittheefrog :  Thanks for all the answers Phil. What do you think of Brian West right now?

progers0826 :  Brian West has some proving to do ... He's moved through the system and is slated for Triple-A this year but he's been average everywhere he's been, except maybe low-A. Webster is a born hitter.

kermittheefrog :  Are we going to get Gary Majewski back? Is he worth having back?

daver :  Webster can hit, but will he ever be able to field a position/

progers0826 :  If anybody could do it, a good trip this year would be to see Kannapolis (with a ton of good position players) and Winston-Salem (with Honel and lots of very good pitchers).

joecrede :  The Sox seem to value tools

joecrede :  sorry

progers0826 :  Dave, I haven't seen Webster, so I'm going on reputation. The Sox guys think he'll be OK, maybe even in center. Have you seen him?

joecrede :  that was kinda funny though =)

daver :  I have seen limited tape, I was no impressed

kermittheefrog :  Phil, how's Rauch pitching right now? Will Carroll says he's go no movement or velocity.

progers0826 :  Interesting ... I rated him No. 3, I think in the top 10, and do think that was a stretch. I went on tools and short-season totals.

progers0826 :  I haven't seen Rauch this spring but hope to soon ... With the exception of those two games against the Twins, I've never seen him with much velocity or movement. Command has always been his thing.

daver :  Think about Phil, I am a plumber and you get paid to do this, my opinion means little

kermittheefrog :  Is Ginter going to be an effective major leaguer?

progers0826 :  Dave, if you care enough to watch tape, your opinion counts a lot. It's not arthmetic. There's no black and white.

joecrede :  Phil, would you say its a fair assessment that the sox scouts value "tools" over skills such as plate discipline?

progers0826 :  In the right spot (not Chicago) Ginter might blossom. He seems to have run his course here. Although if I had room, I'd put him back into the rotation at Triple-A and see what happens. He was very good a couple years ago but hasn't shown it at Comiskey.  it

daver :  The AAA team roster is rather barren to say the least

progers0826 :  I think most scouts value tools, especially in high school players. The Sox definitely take chances on guys, like Dan Wright (awful at Arkansas). Some of that is they have had so many compensation picks they can gamble.

kermittheefrog :  Is Tim Hummel still a prospect in your opinion?

daver :  Dan Wright throws five pitches for strikes, that counts for something

progers0826 :  The Triple-A team will be older but it will have some effective guys in it. I've been very impressed with Mario Valenzuela this spring and Charlotte will have Hummel (who, yes, I still like a lot), Aaron Miles and Jorge Nunez. The pitching could be

bigfoot :  Phil~ Speaking of D Wright, how long will the ? of his soreness be a factor? Week, two or ? .

kermittheefrog :  Oh man Wright's injury scares the bejeezus out of me

progers0826 :  good with the Birmingham promotions.

DrCrawdad :  Wright matter has been asked and answered.

kermittheefrog :  What does Brian Miller have to go along with his fastball?

progers0826 :  Wright's elbow will be an issue until he's throwing 92-93 again. He doesn't have to be out much longer until he's opening the season on the DL.

daver :  Birmingham will be hard pressed to regain their title

bigfoot :  How have to two young lefties from AAA looked so far?

daver :  And the Radar gun should be banned from MLB

progers0826 :  Miller has a good breaking ball (slider, I believe) and an improving changeup). He was rated the top high schooler in Michigan two years ago and seemed headed to Mich. State before Sox threw some money his way.

joecrede :  any chance at either Finley or Rogers, Phil?

progers0826 :  Dave, the best scouts hate the radar gun but I've got to admit that when I'm at a park without gun readings I miss them. I try to sit behind scouts when I can during spring games.

kermittheefrog :  Out of the lefties you mentioned at the end of your BA top 10 prospects report, Haigwood, Rodriguez, Wing, who has the best stuff? Who is the most polished?

progers0826 :  Now if Dan Wright is going to be out a while, the Sox might go back after Rogers w/ a little better offer but I doubt it.

progers0826 :  Kermit, Wing clearly has the best stuff. Haigwood is incredibly polished and, surprisingly to me, hits 90 on the gun. I don't know how he slid to the 17th round of wherever.

joecrede :  yeah, cant see the chairman negotiating with boras from a position of weakness

daver :  The radar gun has hurt more pitchers than anything else period

kermittheefrog :  What do you think of Jeremy Reed?

progers0826 :  Guys, I think I'm going to call it a night. I enjoyed the visit.

:DrCrawdad :  Thanks!

bigfoot :  thanks phil

Jerry_Manuel :  Thanks Phil

daver :  Thanx for the time Phil

kermittheefrog :  Thanks Phil!

progers0826 :  OK, one more answer. Reed's a good bet to play in the big leagues but might be a fourth outfielder type, a la Dave Martinez.

kermittheefrog :  it's been great

hose :  thanks phil looking forward to reading your coloum

daver :  Phil I owe you one

hose :  thanks daver

joecrede :  thanks Phil

progers0826 :  Adios, guys. And for everybody who reads the Trib, despite that little Cub thing, thanks a lot.

daver :  Why thank me?

hose :  i thought you took over for voodoo

progers0826 :  I'm hoping to convert you one day, Dave. Bring you into the fold and all. Either that or get some advice on my sump pump. Really, thanks again.

daver :  LOL

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