Inbox: Engel's role to diminish going forward?

Beat reporter Scott Merkin answers questions from White Sox fans

May 7th, 2018

How long will the White Sox be sticking with ?

-- Mo, Plainfield, Ill., @richland63

Engel still has the capabilities to be a Gold Glove-caliber center fielder and told me Tuesday in St. Louis he's starting to feel better at the plate. General manager Rick Hahn was very forthright when talking about Engel, in that he certainly can help the team defensively but needs to produce more offensively to figure into the long-term plan.

So the 26-year-old really is doing more than trying to keep his spot on the active roster. Like a number of other young veterans in a similar position with the White Sox, he's proving where/if he belongs as part of the rebuild moving forward. Engel will continue to get those chances to find himself as a hitter, even if they might not be everyday opportunities.

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Do you think we have so many prospects that if the current team comes of age and , Matt Davidson, and develop into legit stars, we can offer "rebuild in a can" to the Angels for . Thoughts?

-- David, Munster, Ind.

I'm not even going to try to construct what a deal would look like for Trout. But just as not every prospect will pan out as planned in a rebuild, some highly touted prospects inevitably will end up as parts of trades in the future. Maybe not for Trout, but quite possibly for significant players to help complete the rebuild.

Wasn't the emergency catcher? If so, who is now?

-- Phil, Fox River Grove, Ill., @pjdusza

The White Sox haven't specified one, but I would go with or Sanchez. One of my favorite stories this season was Saladino talking about the excitement he had warming up pitchers in between innings, but the slight trepidation creeping in when he almost had to warm up and his 100-mph fastball.

Tyler Johnson and Zack Burdi were both some of the best college closers of their time. Which one is most likely to be a closer in the Majors and do you see a future with one as the closer and the other as an eighth-inning setup man?

-- Thomas, Birmingham, Ala.

These two won't be the only options for future White Sox closer, although they should figure in the picture. An even more likely scenario is one of the present starters becoming a late-inning force.

Will Davidson survive the rebuild or be shipped off eventually?

-- John, Chicago

Here's an interesting stat on Davidson: His 17 walks have him tied with for the team lead and also leave him two free passes away from matching his 2017 total achieved over 443 plate appearances. Davidson clearly can hit the long ball, but his offensive approach also is evolving. Very few rebuilding teams reach the pinnacle with nothing but young prospects, so Davidson is putting himself in the picture as a "veteran" presence moving forward.

Should the Sox turn into an -type pitcher?

-- Ken, Justice, Ill.

Rodon, who is working his way back from arthroscopic shoulder surgery as a starter, will be given every opportunity to remain a starter and quite possibly become a top-of-the-rotation performer, as the White Sox envision. But there's no denying the value of the role held by Miller, who has 66 career starts but none since 2011.