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View Full Version : With eye on 2003, here are some questions on minds of many Sox fans


Jerry_Manuel
09-24-2002, 01:54 PM
With their three-game weekend sweep of the Twins and 20 wins in their last 28 games, the White Sox have answered one big question.

They're not quitters.

But with little to play for but pride, it's time to ask some questions about the 2003 season.

Q. Will the Sox contend for the playoffs in 2003?

A. If general manager Kenny Williams lands a proven veteran starting pitcher over the winter, the answer is a resounding yes.

"I feel very good about the position players,'' White Sox manager Jerry Manuel said Sunday. "But I'm still somewhat concerned about the pitching. I'd like to have a better handle on where we are with the pitching.''

For the past five years, the Sox have loaded up on offense and tried to outscore everybody.

This season, the Athletics, Angels, Yankees and Twins sit at the top of the American League in team pitching, and that's the main reason they're all heading for the playoffs.

Q. Who's in the White Sox' starting rotation next year?

A. Mark Buehrle, obviously.

Jon Garland also seems to have a spot locked up, but he needs to show much more consistency. Ditto for Dan Wright.

Q. What about Todd Ritchie?

A. Ritchie (5-15, 6.11 ERA) has been one of the biggest busts in baseball this season.

Still, the Sox are prepared to offer the 30-year-old right-hander salary arbitration over the winter and bring him back in 2003.

That speaks volumes about the scarcity of quality pitching available, but the Sox think Ritchie is going to be much better after straightening out his mechanics.

Q. What about Keith Foulke?

A. Like Ritchie, Foulke failed to perform when the season was on the line. But the former closer has been dominant down the stretch, allowing only 1 run over his last 29 innings.

If Williams can't find a suitable starter outside the organization, Foulke should get a shot at winning a job in the rotation.

Q. Is Frank Thomas coming back?

A. That's the $10 million question.

Look for the White Sox to trigger Thomas' "diminished skills'' clause at the end of the season, which gives the 34-year-old designated hitter 45 days to shop himself as a free agent.

Some members of the Sox' front office have grown tired of the turmoil that always seems to surround Thomas. If he departs via free agency, the White Sox could plug in Carlos Lee at DH and play promising rookie Joe Borchard in left field.

Q. Who is going to be the White Sox' leader next year?

A. Paul Konerko and Jose Valentin both qualify, but Buehrle is emerging as the Sox' best leader.

"If you ever had to have a model for a pitcher or a person or a teammate, it would be Mark Buehrle,'' Manuel said. "He's really one of the true leaders on the team. He's a guy I'll ask questions to get a pulse on the team.''

Q. Can all of these new guys really play?

A. We'll hold off on that answer until the stakes are higher at the start of next season.

But so far, third baseman Joe Crede looks like a budding all-star and second baseman D'Angelo Jimenez has been outstanding.

And don't forget center fielder Aaron Rowand. Not only is his bat coming to life, Rowand is cutting down base runners who test his throwing arm.

Q. With all of the talent on hand, why aren't the White Sox positioned to go to the playoffs?

A. A lack of consistent pitching put the Sox in a deep hole before the all-star break, and they didn't have enough time to dig out of it.

But the offense's lack of clutch hitting also hurt, as did some bone-headed base running.

In just about any other organization, Manuel and Williams might have been let go when the season slipped away. White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf is a very patient man, but he's going to expect much better results in 2003.

idseer
09-24-2002, 02:21 PM
Originally posted by Jerry_Manuel


i was wondering where this article comes from. you didn't atrribute it to anyone.

hold2dibber
09-24-2002, 02:22 PM
I agree with most of the answers in the post, although I'm not sure that adding a "proven" starter will necessarily get the Sox over the hump -- they still would need Garland and/or Wright to become a consistently effective starter as well.

It also occured to me while reading this that the likelihood of the Sox converting Foulke to a starter seem more and more remote. KW is on record as saying that they will look to improve the pitching via an acquisition during the off season and they appear to be prepared to bring Ritchie back. That means Buehrle and the TBA acquisition in the rotation, with Ritchie, Garland, Wright, Biddle and Rauch all fighting for the final three spots. I don't see the Sox converting Foulke with all five of those guys, who have spent all or most of their careers as starters, already battling for spots in the rotation.

Iwritecode
09-24-2002, 02:42 PM
In just about any other organization, Manuel and Williams might have been let go when the season slipped away. White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf is a very patient man, but he's going to expect much better results in 2003.

Patient? Yea, right. The word cheap comes to mind. He likes "yes men". That's it. I agree with the rest of it though, Burly is a lock for next year. If Garland and Wright can continue to improve (big if) and Ritchie can return to pre-bad-mechanics form (bigger if) and if they can aquire a FA starter (that's the biggest and most unlikely if) they have a chance to contend next year.

Jerry_Manuel
09-24-2002, 03:10 PM
Originally posted by idseer
i was wondering where this article comes from. you didn't atrribute it to anyone.

The Daily Herald.

duke of dorwood
09-24-2002, 03:39 PM
If we get some left handed power, we'll be fine.

hold2dibber
09-24-2002, 04:10 PM
Originally posted by duke of dorwood
If we get some left handed power, we'll be fine.

:liefer

"I've got all you'll ever need."

:harold

"You've got my number; I'm ready to go."

:canseco

"I can hit lefty better than any of those chumps."

:reinsy

"Now those are the kind of low cost alternatives I like!"

RichH55
09-24-2002, 04:44 PM
Originally posted by hold2dibber
I agree with most of the answers in the post, although I'm not sure that adding a "proven" starter will necessarily get the Sox over the hump -- they still would need Garland and/or Wright to become a consistently effective starter as well.

It also occured to me while reading this that the likelihood of the Sox converting Foulke to a starter seem more and more remote. KW is on record as saying that they will look to improve the pitching via an acquisition during the off season and they appear to be prepared to bring Ritchie back. That means Buehrle and the TBA acquisition in the rotation, with Ritchie, Garland, Wright, Biddle and Rauch all fighting for the final three spots. I don't see the Sox converting Foulke with all five of those guys, who have spent all or most of their careers as starters, already battling for spots in the rotation.


Moyer!