Cubs

Bulls trading for Monta Ellis? Highly unlikely

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Bulls trading for Monta Ellis? Highly unlikely

AUBURN HILLS, MICH. A recent piece by San Jose Mercury News columnist Tim Kawakami suggested that the Golden State Warriors should look into trading high-scoring shooting guard Monta Ellis to the Bulls for center Joakim Noah.

This idea, which has been at least considered by the Bulls front office in the past, according to sources, is extremely unlikely to occur.

Before the Bulls acquisition of shooting guard Rip Hamilton, there was certainly a void on the perimeter, but although the Bulls struggled to score during Tuesday nights dramatic come-from-behind 76-74 win over the Hawks a game Hamilton sat out with a groin injury, but still the lowest-scoring total for a team through three quarters in the NBAs shot-clock era and Noah wasnt much of a factor because of foul trouble, a move like this shouldnt even be an option for management.

True, Noah has struggled to score early this season, with the exception of his 19-point effort in the Bulls win over the Clippers, but sacrificing his energy, defense, rebounding, size and intangibles wouldnt make much sense, especially given the fact that Ellis would make Hamilton redundant, let alone take the ball out of Derrick Roses hands at least some of the time.

At 5-1, the Bulls are sitting pretty, so even with backup point guard C.J. Watson currently out with a sprained left elbow, Hamilton nursing a groin injury and scoring still being a concern, theres no reason to push the panic button anytime soon and even consider dealing away Noah or young reserve big men Omer Asik and Taj Gibson, and especially not small forward Luol Deng, clearly the teams second-best player.

Chicagos frontcourt remains a strength, so to decimate it on an impulse to add more scoring punch wouldnt make sense and given that Ellis has been in the headlines for the wrong reasons recently not that the allegations, so far unfounded, will be proved to be true its doubtful that the Bulls, an organization that places a high emphasis on character, will want to add a player under such scrutiny to their mix.

But as fans, what do you think? Should the Bulls, a championship contender already, take a risk that could potentially put them over the hump?

The low-key move that may pay dividends for Cubs in 2018 and beyond

The low-key move that may pay dividends for Cubs in 2018 and beyond

The Cubs-Cardinals rivalry is alive and well and this offseason has been further proof of that.

The St. Louis Cardinals haven't made a rivalry-altering move like inking Jake Arrieta to a megadeal, but they have proven that they are absolutely coming after the Cubs and the top of the division.

However, a move the St. Louis brass made Friday afternoon may actually be one that makes Cubs fans cheer.

The Cardinals traded outfielder Randal Grichuk to the Toronto Blue Jays Friday in exhange for a pair of right-handed pitchers: Dominic Leone and Conner Greene. Leone is the main draw here as a 26-year-old reliever who posted a 2.56 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 10.4 K/9 in 70.1 innings last year in Toronto.

But this is the second young position player the Cardinals have traded to Toronto this offseason and Grichuk is a notorious Cub Killer.

Grichuk struggled overall in 2017, posting a second straight year of empty power and not much else. But he once again hammered the Cubs to the tune of a .356 batting average and 1.240 OPS. 

He hit six homers and drove in 12 runs in just 14 games (11 starts) against Joe Maddon's squad. That's 27 percent of his 2017 homers and 20 percent of his season RBI numbers coming against just one team.

And it wasn't just one year that was an aberration. In his career, Grichuk has a .296/.335/.638 slash line against the Cubs, good for a .974 OPS. He's hit 11 homers and driven in 33 runs in 37 games, the highest ouput in either category against any opponent.

Even if Leone builds off his solid 2017 and pitches some big innings against the Cubs over the next couple seasons, it will be a sigh of relief for the Chicago pitching staff knowing they won't have to face the threat of Grichuk 18+ times a year.

Plus, getting a reliever and a low-level starting pitching prospect back for a guy (Grichuk) who was borderline untouchable a couple winters ago isn't exactly great value. The same can be said for the Cardinals' trade of Aledmys Diaz to Toronto on Dec. 1 for essentially nothing.

A year ago, St. Louis was heading into the season feeling confident about Diaz, who finished fifth in the NL Rookie of the Year race in 2016 after hitting .300 with an .879 OPS as a 25-year-old rookie. He wound up finishing 2017 in the minors after struggling badly to start the season and the Cardinals clearly didn't want to wait out his growing pains.

The two trades with Toronto limits the Cardinals' depth (as of right now) and leaves very few proven options behind shortstop Paul DeJong and outfielder Tommy Pham, who both enjoyed breakout seasons in 2017.

Meet the Prospects: Blake Rutherford

Meet the Prospects: Blake Rutherford

The White Sox rebuild is in full swing. While it might still be a year or two before the big league team is expected to start competing for championships, the minor leagues are stocked with highly touted talent fans will be eagerly following in 2018. With that in mind, it's time to Meet the Prospects and get to know the future of the South Side.

Blake Rutherford

Rutherford, the 20-year-old outfielder, was the highest-rated piece of the return package that came back to the White Sox in the seven-player deal that sent Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to the New York Yankees last summer.

A California native, Rutherford was the 18th overall pick in the 2016 draft. After only playing rookie ball post-draft in 2016, he played 71 games with Class A Charleston last year before the trade, slashing .281/.342/.391 with 20 doubles and 30 RBIs to go along with a pair of home runs. After the trade, Rutherford played in 30 games with Class A Kannapolis, slashing .213/.289/.254 with 26 hits and 13 walks.

As of their most recent rankings, MLB Pipeline had Rutherford rated as the No. 4 prospect in the White Sox organization.

Get to know Rutherford in the video above.