CHICAGO -- To borrow a page from David Letterman's old NBC shows, I've had my fair share of brushes with greatness during October.
I recently twittered, and by the way you can find me @scottmerkin, about walking past the stunningly beautiful Kate Hudson during the American League Division Series. Then, there was my wish of good luck for Michael Bloomberg in his re-election bid for New York mayor when I saw him in Yankee Stadium, not to mention two near brushes with the honorable Rudolph Giuliani.
On Wednesday night, though, I topped all of these celebrity sightings. After attending the Chicago Blackhawks game with my friend Beth and viewing my fourth hockey loss in a row at the United Center, we saw Jillian and her fiance, Ed, who apparently were on The Bachelorette this past season. I don't watch the show, so I defer to Beth for identification.
For those who care, and apparently these people do exist, they seemed happy together. But enough pop culture references and name-dropping.
In an Inbox dedicated to Ozzie Guillen's debut as a World Series analyst, and he will be informative as well as entertaining, let's take a look at this week's questions.
By all accounts, Jermaine Dye seems to be gone. Is there any chance that he comes back as a designated hitter? I would love to see a more athletic right fielder but would hate to see Dye go.
-- Bert, Northlake, Ill.
Your opinion about losing Dye has been felt and expressed throughout the organization, Bert. Dye has stood out as a first-class individual, a steady clubhouse leader and an extremely productive middle-of-the-order hitter since 2005. Yes, Dye had what he termed as one of his worst career slumps in the second half of the 2009 season, but I still don't believe that a healthy Dye suddenly has lost the ability to hit the ball.
With all of this deserved praise factored in, I just don't see Dye coming back to the White Sox -- especially at the $12 million that his mutual option currently dictates. He could return as the team's designated hitter, possibly on a one-year deal, but I see that spot being filled more by a rotation of players, as opposed to having a front-line singular presence such as Jim Thome served for parts of four seasons. And Dye certainly should draw deeper attention on the open market, so he has to weigh those offers against his desire to stay in Chicago and his potential role on the South Side.
Is the Nick Swisher/Yankees deal the most one-sided in a negative way during Ken Williams' time as general manager?
-- Marci, Skokie, Ill.
It would be easy for me to present the rah-rah answer and say it's too early to tell how this trade is going to play out. But at face value, it certainly looks as if the Yankees got the better of this deal.
Jeff Marquez went from the leading fifth-starter candidate early on in Spring Training to pretty much out of the picture by the season's end. Wilson Betemit was ... yeah, not good. Jhonny Nunez certainly still could figure into the White Sox relief picture for 2010 and beyond.
Before Williams is criticized for this deal, remember that Swisher really had to be moved. The only spot for Swisher to play in the outfield would have been center field, and that option didn't really work out in 2008. If Swisher was around, there might have not been a need for the White Sox to sign Scott Podsednik or add Alex Rios through waivers. Ultimately, Swisher, a good guy to cover, punched his ticket out of town with the same way he handled a move to the bench late last season.
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Why has Williams not seriously looked into getting a better manager for this team? Guillen's inability in knowing to leave pitchers in or out of games is questionable.
-- Maurice, Chicago
Isn't that a question plaguing every manager at some point, with prime examples coming in Thursday night's American League Championship Series contest involving Mike Scioscia and John Lackey, and Joe Girardi and A.J. Burnett? Wasn't it just three or four years ago that Guillen was not only considered one of the best managers in the game but also as popular in Chicago as Oprah, Mike Ditka and the person who opened Al's Italian Beef sandwich shop all rolled into one?
Guillen certainly is not perfect and would be the first one to admit such a fact. But he knows the game, has a deep passion for the White Sox and is really a welcome character in Major League Baseball.
We seem to hit this question somewhat regularly in the Inbox. But Guillen is not going anywhere.
Do you think the White Sox will try to trade for Adrian Gonzalez? Or how about Josh Hamilton, after a down year? As far as leadoff, could or would Williams consider trading for Brian Roberts again? I have a scenario where I could see all three of these guys being added.
-- Thomas, Manila, Philippines
I would like to hear that scenario where Gonzalez, Hamilton and Roberts all end up on the White Sox. I'm guessing Williams would also like to be informed. Gonzalez would be an interesting addition, in regard to his immense ability and affordability at first base. He would also require quite a bounty of young players in return, and I'm not sure if the trade dynamic with San Diego is different now that Kevin Towers is gone.
Coming up with these sorts of trade ideas is what makes the Hot Stove period interesting. And unlike the White Sox brass, fans don't have to worry about depleting the farm system or the financial constraints of certain moves.
What do you think was the main reason for Podsednik's success offensively (other than staying healthy)? Do you think, given his age (34 next year), he'd be awarded a multi-year contract if he stays with the White Sox? Thanks.
-- Jan, San Diego, Calif.
Podsednik felt as if he wasn't taking enough advantage of his speed and leaving too many hits out on the field. He was also completely healthy during his highly successful second stint with the White Sox and seemed to enjoy his great run a little more this time. He was more at ease and comfortable with what he was doing.
As far as Podsednik's upcoming deal, with his injury history, I would guess a one-year deal with a solid option for a second year would be most likely. But Podsednik's new training regimen employed last offseason leaves him confident those injury woes are behind him.
I am not convinced that Josh Fields is washed up, as many others believe. Is there a place for him as a designated hitter with the White Sox in 2010?
-- Colin, Manteno, Ill.
Nobody really thinks Fields is close to washed up. Not with his talent and not at the tender age of 27 when next season begins. Fields was victimized early on by a high strikeout total, and by the inability of Betemit to serve as an adequate backup at third base. That combination led to Gordon Beckham receiving an early big league opportunity, and Beckham ran with it to the level of Rookie of the Year stature.
Fields would be better suited going elsewhere this offseason, unless the White Sox somehow figure him into the designated hitter mix, as Colin suggested. By the way, congratulations to Fields and his wife, Ashleigh, on the birth of their son, Kaden.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.