I wonder what the record for combined losses is (between the Cubs and Sox) for one season? Do you know the magic number? -- Paul Leathem
In 1948, the Cubs and Sox combined to lose 191 games, which stands as the worst combined Chicago season in history. The Sox lost 101 games, the third-most losses in franchise history, while the Cubs lost 90. Entering Friday, the teams have a combined 181 losses with 19 total games left to play. So there is still a possibility this could end up being the worst baseball season ever in Chicago.
Robin Ventura said Adam Dunn has looked good at times. Just when was that? How can he possibly justify batting him fourth or even fifth? -- Ted Cee, Las Vegas
It’s true that this month is not one of those times that Dunn is looking good. He is hitting .137 with two home runs, a .214 on-base percentage and a .255 slugging percentage in September, all season lows in a month. But he had rebounded from a slow start, including hitting a combined .272 in June, July and August and finding positive results when he focused more on hitting to the opposite field. He still leads the Sox with 32 home runs and 83 RBIs on a team that lost a lot of its power this season.
Can I get my wish to return to pitching, speed and defense? This means lose the whole current infield and replace Paulie with a glove, keeping Dunn as DH. Do we have prospects along with Leury Garcia to take over? -- John Browning, Flemington, N.J.
I think the Sox share your wish, especially when you’re talking about improved defense, although the struggles have stretched beyond just the infielders this season. As for prospects, infielder Marcus Semien has gotten off to a pretty good start since he was called up Sept. 3, hitting .314 in his 11 games, though he has committed two errors. The Sox certainly like the speed of infield prospect Micah Johnson, who led the minor leagues with 84 stolen bases in the regular season and hit .312 among three A and Double-A clubs. His contributions might be a year or two off, but he is someone to watch.
Two questions for you. Do you believe the Sox will get Jose Abreu? If Paulie wants to come back next year and you were Rick Hahn, what would you do? -- Ralph Esposito, Oswego, Ill.
I wish I had an answer for you on Abreu. The Sox certainly will consider trying to obtain him. They have extra cash available from trades this season, should they choose to allocate it that way. But there are too many other interested parties to be able to guess who will come out the winner.
As for Konerko, this is my first “Play the GM” question. Call me sentimental, but if Konerko wanted to come back, I would try to strike a deal with him. Even if his numbers have dipped this season, he has value to the team as a veteran leader in a clubhouse that needs them and as a fan favorite. But I did say deal, weighing how the cost of another Konerko year would fit in with the offseason transactions I (or the real Rick Hahn) hope to make.