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Hoge’s White Sox Mailbag: Is Leadership A Problem?

Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko

Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko (Photo Credit: Getty Images, By: David Banks)

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(CBS) Adam Hoge answers your questions about the White Sox as they continue to try to stay afloat in the sub-par American League Central Division.

On top of the White Sox being horrible for the entire season, they just aren’t very exciting. It’s been a frustrating, boring season and it doesn’t seem like the players are having fun and there doesn’t seem to be good leadership. Is there a problem in the locker room? – Pat, Grayslake

I don’t think there is necessarily a leadership problem. Paul Konerko doesn’t get enough credit as a team captain because he’s not a “fiery” player, but he’s still a tremendous teammate and a smart veteran who can help the younger players.

With that said, it doesn’t help when some of the highest paid players on the team aren’t performing. The highest paid players aren’t always the leaders, but there is still a responsibility to play well and when they don’t, I think it can have a negative effect on the rest of the team.

I’m not in the clubhouse every day, but I am there enough to know that it’s not the best clubhouse atmosphere I’ve ever seen. With all the struggles and the constant Ozzie-Kenny drama, some divisions are only natural. With that said, I don’t think it’s a major problem. The players are still loose and get along. There are much bigger problems.

With the trade deadline looming, do you think the White Sox will be buyers or sellers? After all they have given away in recent years, I don’t feel like they have much to give up anymore. Is anyone untouchable in the minors? – Brad, Beverly

I think the only untouchable is Dayan Viciedo. They’ve invested a lot of time and money in him and he is proving that he deserves a call-up soon. The minor league cupboard certainly isn’t full, but it’s also not empty. While the White Sox might not have very many pitchers in the minors coveted by other teams, don’t forget about guys like Jordan Danks and Tyler Flowers. And yes, I know Flowers is with the big league club right now, but he is still a prospect and an interesting one at that. Until about a month ago, I got the sense that the White Sox had given up on him. But he had a huge month in Charlotte before getting called up to replace the injured Ramon Castro. Now it’s up for the White Sox to decide if his recent play is a fluke or a sign of things to come. If they think it’s a fluke, it might be a good time to use him as trade bait.

Now, are the White Sox going to be buyers? I doubt it. They can’t add salary and they still believe they have enough talent on the roster right now. I also don’t they will be sellers. If they do sell, they better take those “All In” ads off the TV and radio.

Why is it that Ozzie is always the one rumored to get fired? Kenny Williams has spent so much money on bad talent and should be held accountable, not Ozzie. What is Ozzie supposed to do when this team just can’t execute? – Tom, Palos

First off, I agree that there isn’t much more Ozzie Guillen can do. He’s made some questionable decisions with bunts recently, but I honestly think he’s confused about what his players can and cannot execute. It’s easy for a manager to look bad when the players don’t execute. At the same time, it’s really hard to find a bad trade on Kenny Williams’ resume. Name a player Kenny gave up who is now starring for a different team. And please spare me Chris Young, Clayton Richard and Daniel Hudson. Those are just guys. They aren’t going to haunt the White Sox for years to come.

Now, has Williams taken on a questionable amount of salary with players who aren’t performing? Sure. But you have to remember that he was given permission to add salary by Jerry Reinsdorf who is at the heart of this “All In” campaign because he wants another ring before his time runs out. I’m not going to criticize a guy for adding Jake Peavy and Adam Dunn. Alex Rios and Mark Teahen, however? Yeah, those are problems.

If everyone stays healthy, will the Sox keep the six-man rotation all season? – Jerry, Kenosha

I think so, but that doesn’t mean I agree with it. I have a huge problem with how the team has handled Jake Peavy this season. While I don’t think he has been completely honest, the team knew he wasn’t going to be 100 percent when the season started and they’ve still thrown him out there time and time again. It’s obvious Peavy isn’t healthy enough to handle the grind this season. To me, if the other five guys are healthy, put Peavy in the bullpen for at least the rest of this season. That’s how you are going to maximize his contribution to the team. He simply can’t pitch six-plus innings regularly right now. Then, if you still feel like he can be a starter, put him back in the rotation next season when he is healthier.

Even though the White Sox didn’t sweep the Tigers over the weekend, it seems like something was different. They were taking the extra base, they were swinging for simple base hits instead of home runs and they were simply executing at a higher level. How do you explain this change? – Jeff, Chicago

The players held a closed-doors meeting before the Tigers series and whatever was said, it sure looked like they were playing with more of a spark over the weekend. That translated to two wins and an early 3-0 lead Sunday. The fact they blew that lead hurts and now the question is, can they continue to play at the same level in Kansas City and Cleveland this week? I don’t know that answer. Every time they seem to put a good run together, they lose two out of three to a bad team. The Royals? Well, they are a bad team.

Have a question for Adam’s next White Sox mailbag? E-mail him at ahoge@cbs.com or find him on Twitter (@AdamHogeCBS). Please include your first name and location on all questions.

Do you agree with Adam? Post your comments below.

adam hoge Hoges White Sox Mailbag: Is Leadership A Problem?

Adam Hoge

Adam is the Sports Content Producer for CBSChicago.com and specializes in coverage of the White Sox, Blackhawks and college sports. He was born and raised in Lincoln Park and attended St. Ignatius College Prep before going off to the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he earned a Journalism degree. Follow him on Twitter @AdamHogeCBS and read more of his columns here.