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Inbox: What will Hot Stove bring for White Sox?

Beat reporter Scott Merkin answers questions from fans

CHICAGO -- I would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and assure you there are no turkeys in this week's White Sox Inbox. Now, on to the questions.

Will there be any takers for Adam LaRoche?
-- Chuck, Hammond, Ind.

Here are some facts involving LaRoche. He had a rough 2015 season, in which he hit only .157 with three extra-base hits against left-handed pitchers. He also is owed $13 million in '16. As of now, the White Sox are banking on LaRoche returning to the level he performed at prior to the '15 struggles. And in talking to the proud LaRoche at the end of the season, I know he's on a bit of a quest to not only figure it out, but excel in the designated hitter's role.

Hot Stove Tracker

If the players remain the same in the outfield and at designated hitter/first base, then the White Sox have an extra talent chip in play with Trayce Thompson's emergence last season. So there is room to maneuver.

Video: [email protected]: LaRoche hits a two-run homer to right-center

As much as I was an Alexei Ramirez fan, he should have been traded after the 2013 season when he had real value. Besides Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Carlos Rodon and Jose Abreu, we don't have anyone to trade for a Major League catcher or third baseman, the very positions every team in baseball is looking to fill.
-- Warre, Phoenix

Third base and catcher certainly stand as two of the Hot Stove focal points for the White Sox, but I personally would not trade any of the names you've mentioned above to fill those spots. The White Sox might have to get creative and dip into some of their younger pitching prospects to get what they need.

What are the chances that the White Sox bring back Mark Buehrle? He would be a valuable asset -- not only for his pitching, but he can help to lead the youngsters.
-- Josh, Nashville, Tenn.

I've not heard Buehrle's name associated with the White Sox this offseason, but then again, I haven't heard much about Buehrle's future plans in general. A healthy Buehrle certainly would help any team in regard to the innings and consistent quality starts he's been able to log for the past 15 seasons, but I don't envision the White Sox going with five southpaws in their rotation.

Buehrle stands as one of the best clubhouse presences I've ever covered. If 2015 was his last season, the question becomes whether Buehrle is Hall of Fame worthy. His statistics make for an interesting case, and I've heard people present strong defenses, both for and against.

Video: Former skipper Renteria named White Sox bench coach

What will Rick Renteria provide the team?
-- Brian, Shorewood, Ill.

Renteria will show that as he goes. But he seems to be the consummate baseball guy, someone who will not only help manager Robin Ventura but the entire White Sox staff, based on what people have said about him from stops with the Padres and Cubs. He clearly was a White Sox target, with Ventura having talked to him last offseason to gauge his interest in joining the organization. Mark Parent did a solid job in this role, but the White Sox felt it was time for a new voice.

Why have the White Sox picked up so many ex-Cubs (Jacob Turner, Geovany Soto, Zach Putnam, Tony Campana, Jeff Samardzija and Mike Olt)?
-- Mark, Chicago

Where a player came from previously matters very little in the equation of adding talent. It's more about the present White Sox fit. But it did seem as if playing for both the Cubs and White Sox during a player's career was much more unique when I was younger than it is now.

Scott Merkin is a reporter for Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and listen to his podcast.
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