First off, I'd like to extend a big thank you to Kevin Goldstein. Not only did he do a real good job of giving strong answers to our questions, he got back to me -- on two separate instances -- within a day. If you're reading this, Kevin, I really appreciate everything.
And now, for the Q&A...
SSS: What do you think of Lance Broadway? John Sickels was optimistic about him, but I have trouble believing he'll ever be a useful major league pitcher.
Goldstein: I don't know what John wrote about him, so I'm not sure just how optimistic he was, but to say he'll never be a useful major league pitcher is a bit strong. I think Broadway was an overdraft - he had some very strong starts down the stretch of the 2005 season, but for me there wasn't enough of a track record or a power-pitching profile for him to be selected as high as he was. My biggest problem performance-wise is that he doesn't miss a ton of bats - which is troubling. He doesn't throw especially hard, but his curveball is a very effective pitch, and he throws a lot of strikes. Future star? Highly doubtful. But I could see him as a back of the rotation type.
SSS: What are your thoughts on Josh Fields? Do you think he'll be able to handle 3B competently enough, or is he more suited for a corner OF spot? And, do you think he has a long term spot with the White Sox?
Goldstein: He's had a very good year obviously, and made great strides in transforming his outstanding athleticism into baseball production. He has cooled down a bit from his May/June surge, and his K rate is a bit of a red flag. He's a competent third-baseman, but he might end up in a corner because I think they'll want to get him into the lineup next year and Crede will still be around. He's a better third baseman than, for example, Carlos Lee was, but because of the situation, I could see him ending up in left or right and staying there.
SSS: The Sox are an older team. Which non-obvious veterans should they move in the off-season? I'm thinking maybe Iguchi and Konerko would be good candidates. Would trading Dye be the ultimate "sell-high" move?
Goldstein: I like Iguchi, and you really can't trade Konerko because of the contract. I don't think you'd exactly want to trade a guy like Dye who's an MVP candidate either. The thing is, the White Sox don't really have a lot of offensive prospects, especially at the upper levels, so why create a hole? I might be more inclined to see if I could get something for a lesser starter and I would not bring Podsednik back.
SSS: Since the White Sox clearly want to move Brandon McCarthy into the rotation for the 2007 season, who would YOU trade this offseason (out of the current five in the rotation)?
Goldstein: They all have some issue as for as getting value goes. As weird as this might sound, I might toss Jon Garland's name out there to see if I could get somebody to overpay. I'm always uncomfortable with pitchers who have those kind of ratios. It's hard to find ones who can sustain the kind of success Garland has had over the past couple of years.
SSS: Talking about McCarthy again, what do you think his potential is?
Goldstein: I don't think he's any kind of ace or savior in any way whatsoever. He doesn't have blow-you-away kind of stuff to project as that. I think he's a solid No. 3 type starter - which is a very valuable thing to have.
SSS: What are your thoughts on Brian Anderson? I've compared him to Torii Hunter in the past, mainly because of his defense, but for the past three months, the offense has come around. Is that a fair comparison?
Goldstein: I think he's a good centerfielder, but I don't think he's as good as Hunter. I also don't think he has Hunter's power. That's a little optimistic. I've said it before. The White Sox would be a much better team this year without Javier Vasquez, and WITH Chris Young in center field.
SSS: Has Joe Crede really made the jump from an average hitter to a good-to-great hitter? Or has the last year been a fluke? And what is his overall value to the team with his stellar defense and better offense?
Goldstein: This year his overall value is immense because of his bat and his glove. He's been outstanding. Obviously, he's one of the better defensive third basemen around. As far as this year's offensive explosion goes - I'm not convinced he's really a .300 hitter, but I do believe, and always have, in the power.
SSS: Pedro Lopez is a 22 y.o. SS posting an .825 (or so) OPS in the pitcher friendly Southern League. He is being played at an age appropriate league for really the first time in his career. Does he have elite level defensive skills and is he still a prospect?
Goldstein: He's an above-average defensive shortstop, and those are hard enough to find in their own right, but I would not have him 'elite' defensively. The problem with him offensively is that he HAS to hit .300+ to have any sort of offensive value, because he doesn't have any other way to get on base and he doesn't have much power. I think he has future value as a utility guy, but that's about it.
SSS: Oneli Perez has come on strong this year and has stood out in an extremely weak White Sox system. What kind of 'stuff' does Perez have, and could he possibly help out the backend of the bullpen in September?
Goldstein: The numbers are obviously outstanding, and it's so out of nowhere. As far as his stuff goes, I've gotten very mixed reviews - but I'm talking to a Southern League scout this week to get a better feel for him. You will not see him in the big leagues this year.
SSS: Will Ryan Sweeney ever hit 20 or more HR in the big leagues? Is he a future batting champion or just a guy who is going to hit .280 with 15 HR?
Goldstein: I think he's much better than a .280 hitter, but I think the 15 HR is pretty accurate.
SSS: White Sox fans have complained that the Sox organization doesn't do a good job of scouting/signing players in the international market, specifically in Latin America. In comparison to the rest of baseball, are the Sox really lacking in that area?
Goldstein: Yes. The certainly do not work Latin America in the ways some other teams do, and I do think that is not a good thing.
And, finishing with a mad-lib...
SSS: The unknown Sox farmhand worth paying attention to is ___ because of his potential to ___.
Goldstein: Aaron Cunningham; be a pretty damn good hitter.