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View from the other side: White Sox questions for Brett Ballantini of South Side Sox

Seattle Mariners v Chicago White Sox Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

The Blue Jays played the White Sox last week in Toronto and since someone was too lazy enjoying a week in Toronto we didn’t do a view from the other side for that series. Fortunately, MLB scheduling being what it is, we play them again in Chicago this week, so I get to correct that error.

The White Sox are 19-22, good for 3rd place in the AL Central. They are 9th in the AL in runs scored per game at 4.56 (the Jays are 15th at 3.60). On the defensive side the White Sox are 3rd worst in the AL in runs allowed per game at 5.60 (the Jays are 6th best in the AL at 4.33).

I sent off some question to Brett Ballantini of South Side Sox and he was kind enough to answer them for me. He also sent me some questions (not all about Vlad) which I answered last night, while enjoying a post Raptors game drink or two, so I apologize to Brett for my answers.

With Carlos Rodón out for the rest of the season (and part of next year) who gets his spot in the rotation? Are they going to be looking outside the organization to fill out the rotation?

Nah, if the White Sox didn’t sign anyone of consequence in the offseason, when it was clear the AL Central was pretty wide open, they sure aren’t going to now. Dylan Covey, who famously outdueled Chris Sale in Fenway Park last year but spent the early season down in Triple-A Charlotte, takes Rodón’s spot; indeed, a downgrade. This on top of already needing a rotation replacement for fifth starter Ervin Santana, who the White Sox signed for twice as much as Gio Gonzalez this season and could hardly last the month of April even with a late start to the season; that pitcher is ancient lefty prospect Manny Bañuelos, who is both ineffective as a starter and, as of Tuesday, also hurt.

Speaking of injuries, I see Eloy Jiménez is out. What’s going on with him and when do you expect him back?

Eloy’s misadventures in left field have made many feel a need to apologize to GM Rick Hahn for having mocked him late last year when the quite obvious service-time fakeout reasoning behind keeping Eloy down in Charlotte was “defense” (although in reality, Eloy should have enough value with the bat that the Sox could tell Eloy to stand out in left and sleep in the flowers and come out OK). None more so than when he chased an obvious home run ball in almost Bump Bailey manner, crashing hard and awkwardly into the outfield wall. Diagnosis was high ankle sprain, which sure smelled like a post All-Star break return. But, in a what can only be termed unorthodox injury news for the White Sox in 2019, Jiménez sat for like a week before beginning his rehab assignment in Charlotte. Rick Renteria needs to make it clear to Eloy that until further notice (and drills), Jiménez is not to even touch the warning track.

Yonder Alonso isn’t exactly hitting the way you would like, how long a leash does he have? Who could replace him?

Yonder’s leash will get tight right around the time the plate appearances incentive that automatically renews his contract for 2020 closes in. Chicago’s (hindsight) desperate and pathetic attempt to cajole Manny Ramirez Manny Machado to Chicago by signing brother-in-law Yonder and close bud Jon Jay (you didn’t ask, but Jay, projected as the Opening Day right fielder, is currently residing on a milk carton, last seen at an extended spring training game in Arizona a week ago, working out his “hamstring injury”) has not resulted in a consolation prize of Alonso being able to hit like a major leaguer. But is nothing else, Alonso will forever be a trivia question answer: What player was traded for in 2018 and then proceeded to convince the White Sox’s prize free agent target to sign in San Diego, not Chicago?

The White Sox have a core of good young players. How long do you figure until they are ready to contend? On a slightly different topic, you wouldn’t like to trade divisions would you?

Well, the core of good is Yoán Moncada, mashing third baseman, and Tim Anderson, who I believe you fans in Toronto are somewhat familiar with. Is there anyone else? Oh, well, Lucas Giolito has shown actual flashes of No. 1 starter potential so far this season, and Reynaldo López is trying to shadow that performance. That’s about it besides Eloy. So, five guys, at least if you don’t count the several dozen recovering from Tommy John (No. 2 prospect Michael Kopech, No. 6 Dane Dunning, No. 7 Micker Adolfo). You are so very generous, Tom.

I believe the window was possibly due to crack open as early as next year, but it seems the best-case might be wild card contention in 2021.

Though I do not envy you in the AL East in the least, we have enough trouble sorting out which 97-loss team will finish third in the Central in 2019 (don’t laugh that’s where the 97-loss Tigers landed last year).

What do White Sox fans think of manager Rick Renteria? Strengths/weaknesses?

Mixed. Probably skewing negatively, because he loves to bunt, enforces his “hustle rules” inconsistently, and changes pitchers approximately 13 times per game. He does seem like an eminently decent fellow, however.

(Does he sound like Charlie Montoyo to anyone else)

Is your media playing up the ‘bat flip’ exchange between Anderson and Grichuk? Personally, as a fan of the team that may not have invented the bat flip, but who did turn it into an art form, I don’t get why there is a problem, baseball is a kids game and it should be enjoyed.

Oh, it’s a big deal … we’re still promoting the STICK TALK T-shirt of Anderson on our site, and it continues to sell well. What a ludicrous “controversy.” Grandpa Grichuk should chill, huh? And on the other hand, how cool was it that sworn Anderson blood enemy Marcus Stroman penned that letter in support of TA. Cap tip to Marcus, Bravo.

If there anything else you would like to tell us about the White Sox?

It is only May 16, but it feels like September. Please, Tom, don’t make me do extra credit. Oh! But, OK, the White Sox turned two sections of right field seating into a beer garden, complete with a massive duck head and … a moat. So don’t ever again accuse the White Sox of being unwilling to lay money down to make their team stronger, as that acquisition has bumped its Microbrews Above Replacement up to around 2.3 MAR.

Thanks Brett. The beer garden makes me think I should plan another trip to the Chicago. If they have alligators in the moat (They have a moat! Rogers, I have a request....) that would guarantee another trip to Guaranteed Rate Field.