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Inbox: Should White Sox call up Cease?

Beat reporter Scott Merkin answers questions from Chicago fans
@scottmerkin
May 15, 2019

CHICAGO -- Here are this week’s White Sox inquiries. What are the White Sox plans for pitching with Carlos Rodon going out? -- Brian, South Elgin, Ill. The rotation took another apparent hit Tuesday when Manny Bañuelos departed in the fifth with a left shoulder strain, and Banuelos had already

CHICAGO -- Here are this week’s White Sox inquiries.

What are the White Sox plans for pitching with Carlos Rodon going out?
-- Brian, South Elgin, Ill.

The rotation took another apparent hit Tuesday when Manny Bañuelos departed in the fifth with a left shoulder strain, and Banuelos had already replaced Ervin Santana. If he’s out for more than a start or two, there doesn’t seem to be a clear-cut replacement.

I take that back: Dylan Cease, the No. 22 overall prospect per MLB Pipeline, certainly would make sense. But the White Sox won’t rush a prospect because of what’s happening at the big league level if they don’t deem him ready. Moving Cease now seemingly would fly in the face of that concept preached and followed consistently by general manager Rick Hahn.

Kyle Kubat, Jimmy Lambert and Bernardo Flores all could get the call from Double-A Birmingham, and 33-year-old Ross Detwiler had a 10-strikeout debut for Triple-A Charlotte on Tuesday. But the team might have to go outside the organization. Free agent James Shields certainly is familiar with the White Sox.

No major move will be made by the White Sox presently without consideration for how it will help them in the next few years or its fit into their planned prime contention window. They are not looking for a one-year fix.

Assuming Kelvin Herrera and Alex Colome have productive, if not above-average seasons, who would you prefer to keep and who would be worth trading near the Deadline?
-- Jeff W., Minneapolis

I would keep them both, with Kelvin Herrera under contract for the next two years with a club option for 2021, and Alex Colomé arbitration eligible in '20. The White Sox have two stable arms at the back of their bullpen, and they can let the young pitchers develop around them.

What are the long-term plans for Alec Hansen? Is he still thought of as a rotation piece or someone who would come out of the bullpen?
-- Phil D., Fox River Grove, Ill.

The plan per Hahn and director of player development Chris Getz was to use Alec Hansen in relief at the season’s outset, continue building up his innings and eventually get him back into the rotation. He has a 3.00 ERA over three appearances since jumping to Birmingham, but he has thrown one inning per game. It has been a nice bounceback season to date after the struggles of 2018.

The kids and I want to see the White Sox in some road ballparks this summer. Which road city typically has the most White Sox fans at the games? What’s your favorite ballpark?
-- Jon, Grafton, Ill.

Definitely check out a game at Target Field, and Kauffman Stadium is a great venue as well. Depending how far you are willing to travel, Fenway Park is a must-see. T-Mobile Park, home of the Mariners, might be the best ballpark in baseball, and I also enjoy games at Angel Stadium and Minute Maid Park.

By your calculations, how much of the $250 million the White Sox offered Manny Machado have they actually spent so far (as they promised they would)?
-- Brian, Mokena, Ill.

I understand this issue is a main talking point, considering what was said by Hahn and executive vice president Ken Williams after Manny Machado signed with the Padres. But if you look back at the quotes, there was nothing ever said about the money being spent immediately or within a certain window. The White Sox are in Year 3 of the rebuild, and like it or not, this is a process.

Who are the White Sox considering with their first-round Draft pick this year?
-- Kyle W.

Even at No. 3, that pick still is somewhat dependent on the Orioles and Royals drafting above them. The White Sox will get an elite talent at this spot with franchise-changing ability, and I would not be surprised to see them go with a high school player.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.