AL Central rumor roundup


AL Central rumor roundup

With the trade deadline fast approaching, we'll have a daily digest of all the rumors swirling around the AL Central from today through July 31. Today, we lead off with Zack Greinke and look at what Detroit may do next after their blockbuster deal this week.

The White Sox "want Zack Greinke badly" but given Milwaukee asked Baltimore for top prospect Manny Machado, don't expect a deal to be done soon, writes CBS Sports' Jon Heyman. Chicago Tribune Live debated whether the White Sox have the pieces to obtain Greinke on Wednesday:

Earlier, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal proposed the White Sox send Gavin Floyd to Toronto for pitching prospect Justin Nicolino and package him with Jared MitchellTrayce Thompson and a young major-league reliever. That was just speculation, though, but it'll be interesting to see if Milwaukee could come up with a better offer than that between now and Tuesday.

As an aside, the Gavin Floyd-to-Toronto rumor is right up there with the it-won't-die Paul-Konerko-for-Chone-Figgins rumors of years past.

The Tigers, fresh off completing their big move to land Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante, may be done making big deals but could be interested in Reed Johnson or a comparable right-handed hitting outfielder, reports FOX Sports' Jon Morosi.

Minnesota has a few players that could interest teams, but reportedly the asking prices on Josh Willingham, Denard Span and Justin Morneau are high. Cincinnati, which apparently turned down a deal for Shane Victorino, checked in on Span. There also appears to be a strong market for Francisco Liriano, with six teams reportedly showing interest as of earlier this week.

The Indians fell back to .500 with a 3-2 loss to Detroit, and there's not much out there regarding the Tribe until they decide whether to buy, sell or stand pat at the deadline. Rosenthal reported earlier this week that Cleveland could look to move closer Chris Perez regardless of their decision.

Kansas City is also rumored to be taking calls on closer Jonathan Broxton and outfielder Jeff Francoeur, with the latter making sense to move to make way for top prospect Wil Myers.

Unfinished Bears job a 'bitter pill' for John Fox, but the legacy lies beyond just the W-L record


Unfinished Bears job a 'bitter pill' for John Fox, but the legacy lies beyond just the W-L record

When John Fox succeeded Marc Trestman in 2015, neither he nor the Bears were looking at the situation and Fox as any sort of “bridge” hire – a de facto interim coach tasked with winning, but just as importantly, developing and getting a team turned around and headed in a right direction.

The heart of the matter is always winning, but in the overall, the mission statement also includes leaving the place better than you found it. Fox did that, which is very clearly the sentiment upstairs at Halas Hall as the Bears move on from Fox to Matt Nagy.

“It would’ve been nice to see it through,” Fox said to NBC Sports Chicago. “That’s kind of a bitter pill but you sort things out and move forward.

“I do think it’s closer than people think. We inherited a mess... but I felt we were on the brink at the end. I think that [Halas Hall] building is definitely different; they feel it. I do think that it was a positive.”

(Fox is probably not done coaching at some point, but that’s for another time, another story, and anyway, it’s his tale to tell when he feels like it. Or doesn’t.)

One measure of the Bears change effected: Virtually the entire Trestman staff, with the exceptions of receivers coach Mike Groh and linebackers coach Clint Hurtt, was jettisoned along with Trestman. By contrast, Nagy has retained not only virtually the entire Fox defensive staff under coordinator Vic Fangio, but also arguably the single most important non-coordinator offensive coach by virtue of position responsibility – Dave Ragone, the hands-on mentor of quarterback Mitch Trubisky.

Obvious but extremely difficult decisions are coming, as to shedding personnel and contracts – Josh Sitton, Pernell McPhee, Willie Young being among the most difficult because of tangible intangibles that no organization wants to lose.

“Bridge” results

Fox was never intended as a bridge coach but the results point to that function having been served. To exactly what end remains to play out under Nagy and the quarterback whom Ragone and Fox’s handling began developing.

Rick Renteria was one of those “bridge” guys for the Cubs, intended to be part of pulling out of or at least arresting the slide into the Mike Quade-Dale Sveum abyss, and leaving something for Joe Maddon. The late Vince Lombardi effectively served as that, at age 56 and for an unforeseen one-year for a Washington Redskins organization that’d gone 13 years without a winning season before Lombardi’s 1969 and needed a radical reversal. The culture change was realized over the next decade under George Allen and Jack Pardee, much of the success coming with the same players with whom Washington had languished before the culture change.

The Bears were in that state after the two years of Trestman and the three years of GM Phil Emery, certain of whose character-lite veteran player acquisitions (Martellus Bennett, Brandon Marshall) and high-character launchings (Brian Urlacher) had left a palpable pall over Halas Hall. A Fox goal was to eradicate that, which insiders in Lake Forest say privately was accomplished even amid the catastrophic crush of three straight seasons of 10 or more losses, and with injuries at historic levels.

What happens next is in the hands of Nagy and GM Ryan Pace, after a third John Fox franchise turnaround failed to materialize. Or did it? Because much of the core, from Trubisky through the defensive makeover, came on Fox’s watch, like him or not.

“You wish some things would’ve happened differently obviously,” Fox said, “but there was a lot positive that happened.”

Blackhawks ban four ejected fans from future home games

Blackhawks ban four ejected fans from future home games

The Blackhawks have banned the four fans — who were ejected from Saturday's game against the Washington Capitals for their racist remarks towards Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly — from future home games.

On Monday, a Blackhawks spokesperson released this statement:

We have contacted the select individuals involved in the incident on Saturday to notify them that they are no longer welcome at our home games. Racist comments and other inappropriate behavior are not tolerated by the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks also wanted to remind fans that they can alert security at the United Center by texting the following to 69050: UCASSIST <SPACE> followed by the seating section, row and a brief description of the issue.