Cubs

Word on the Street: Kerry Wood returning to Cubs?

Word on the Street: Kerry Wood returning to Cubs?

Thursday, Oct. 28, 2010
CSNChicago.com

Sullivan's death weighs on Notre Dame players, University to investigate

Declan Sullivan, a 20-year-old student filming practice, died after his video lift toppled in windy conditions. Several Irish players then took to Twitter to post their thoughts on the tragedy.

A post from linebacker Brian Smith read: "In the midst of a season where you are disappointed with the outcomes ... you can lose sight of what's most important. Sad day at practice."

From defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore: "Never take life for granted I hate that some times it takes something like this to realize this"

In addition, the University will open an investigation into Sullivan's passing.

"There is a lot to learn here, we will learn it all, we will learn it in an expeditious manner," athletic director Jack Swarbrick promised during a Thursday news conference. (chicagobreakingsports.com)

Race a factor in Bears nightclub incident?

Bears veterans took the rookies out on Monday night for their traditional sinner but things didn't go as planned when Angels & Kings in Chicago turned away the group. While it's purely speculation at this point, some members of the team, including Lance Briggs and Israel Idonije believe the act was racially motivated.

Kerry Wood returning to Cubs?

Kerry Wood began his career as a dominant flame-thrower at the friendly confines of Wrigey Field, could he make a return? According to multiple sources, the Cubs would welcome Wood back to bolster their bullpen if payroll permits that they can.

Wood, 33, could serve as a quality set-up man to Carlos Marmol and figures to look for a multi-year deal in the 6-8 million range. After a mid-season trade send Wood from the Cleveland Indians to the New York Yankees, Wood posted a 0.69 ERA and 1.23 WHIP in 24 games. (cubbiescrib.com)

Bears DT Anthony Adams wins Ed Block Courage Award

Chicago Bears DT Anthony Adams was named the team's recipient of the 2010 Ed Block Courage Award today. The prestigious award is presented to one player on all 32 NFL teams who best exemplifies a commitment to sportsmanship and courage and serves as an inspiration in the locker room. The recipients of the award, who are voted on by their teammates, symbolize professionalism, great strength and dedication, and they are considered community role models.

Know as a leader throughout the locker room, Adams is in his fourth year with the Bears after spending his first four NFL seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. A hard worker with a humorous attitude, Adams has started 61 of 101 career games played in his NFL career, recording 289 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 22.5 tackles for losses, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. (chicago.sbnation.com)

Illini lose one recruit, gain another

Rock Island point guard Chasson Randle announced Wednesday he will not attend the University of Illinois, choosing instead to play his college basketball at Stanford. Randle is ranked 68th in his class by Rivals.com.

However, there was good news on the recruiting front for the Illini, as De La Salle forward Mike Shaw announced he will take his talents to Champaign. Shaw is the No. 58 senior on Rivals.com. (dailyillini.com)

Bulls name Green Team Ambassador

Former Bull Sidney Green was named a Team Ambassador, the Bulls announced on Thursday. Green joins Scottie Pippen in that position. Green averaged 9.2 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game while playing for the Bulls from 1983-86.

"I would like to thank the Bulls organization for promoting me to this position," Green said. "I will work to my utmost ability to earn and justify the confidence the Bulls have shown in me. It is great to work for such a first-class organization, which is not only successful on the court but also is so committed to the betterment of our community. (chicagobulls.com)

Spartans police escort out of Evanston raises questions

Michigan State created a traffic gridlock as the team cut and weaved out of Illinois after defeating Northwestern on Saturday. In a maneuver usually reserved for U.S. presidents and other VIPs, Illinois State Police troopers for the first time escorted the Michigan State football caravan from Ryan Field on the Northwestern campus and along the Edens and Kennedy expressways toward Michigan. Previously, Evanston police would escort teams only to the entrance of the Edens Expressway in Skokie.

State police officials downplayed any negative impact, saying the traffic-stopping escort was no different from accompanying a funeral procession or a truck hauling an oversize load. (chicagotribune.com)

Agent: Martin Havlat underused by Wild

Allan Walsh, the agent of former Blackhawks winger Martin Havlat, spoke out about the Minnesota Wild's use of his client. Walsh claims that the Wild are limiting Havlat's playing time and, by doing so, his productivity.

"When Chuck reached out to Marty Havlat two summers ago after he led Chicago to the conference finals while leading the team in points in the regular season and playoffs, he shared a vision of building an up-tempo offensive team with Marty as a pillar to this strategy," Walsh said in an e-mail to the Star Tribune. "That's why he signed with the Wild."Since that time, Marty has been used in a purely secondary role. Look at this season, he's played four straight games at about 14 minutes of ice time, he's used on the second power-play unit, he sits for long stretches, he's not used in the shootouts. At a certain point in time, one has to ask, 'Why is he here?' One has to ask, 'Why pay this guy 30 million to not play?' (startribune.com)

Why Cubs should make Jim Hickey an offer he can't refuse

1023_jim_hickey.jpg
USA TODAY

Why Cubs should make Jim Hickey an offer he can't refuse

Monday’s interview with Jim Hickey in Chicago — roughly 72 hours after the Cubs fired pitching coach Chris Bosio and within a week of manager Joe Maddon saying “of course” he wanted his entire staff back — is a first step in the reboot at Wrigley Field.

Maddon would probably like to have that answer back, knowing he could have softened the language with corporate speak and created some wiggle room in the middle of a National League Championship Series where the Los Angeles Dodgers dominated the Cubs in every phase of the game.

But Hickey, the former Tampa Bay Rays pitching coach, is a familiar face and an expert voice at a time when Maddon’s honeymoon period appears to be over, repeatedly first- and second-guessed about his decisions, from the World Series Game 7 the Cubs won last year through a frustrating 43-45 start to this season and deep into another playoff run.

That staff is already in flux, with bench coach Dave Martinez scheduled to interview with the Washington Nationals for Dusty Baker’s old job and assistant hitting coach Eric Hinske now leaving to take a lead role with the Los Angeles Angels hitters.

Here’s why the Cubs will probably have to make Hickey an offer he can’t refuse:

— A rival scout noticed how often Maddon looked like a solitary figure in the dugout, standing there looking down at his lineup card. Whatever friction Maddon felt with Bosio — a big presence who pitched 11 seasons in the big leagues and isn’t afraid to tell you exactly what he thinks — Hickey is someone the manager trusts after their eight seasons together with the Rays.

Maddon insisted he wasn’t maneuvering behind the scenes when he reached out after Hickey surprisingly parted ways with Tampa Bay in October, but it still showed the depth of their relationship: “I called him to console a friend.”

— While working for the Boston Red Sox, Cubs president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer got an up-close look at what Hickey did in the American League East, helping build the small-market contender that advanced to the 2008 World Series, the beginning of five seasons with at least 90 wins in six years.

Between his time with the Rays and Houston Astros, look at the All-Star pitchers Hickey has worked with: Chris Archer, David Price, Alex Colome, Brad Boxberger, Matt Moore, Fernando Rodney, James Shields, Rafael Soriano, Scott Kazmir, Roy Oswalt, Brad Lidge and Roger Clemens.

— Hickey can also offer unique insight into Alex Cobb, a free agent the Cubs will have to do more background work on as they try to replace 40 percent of their rotation. Cobb — who went 48-35 with a 3.50 ERA in 115 career starts for the Rays — just turned 30 and has only 700 innings on his major-league odometer after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in the middle of the 2015 season.

“He has a talent that most organizations search for relentlessly,” Cobb told the Tampa Bay Times after Hickey left the Rays with a year remaining on his contract. “He will have a great time being a free agent.

“I’m not going to try to explain how great Jim Hickey is. There’s really nothing I can say that would speak louder than his track record. All I can say is how fortunate I was to have him when I got to the big leagues. No one could have prepared me better.”

— Beyond the connection to Maddon, Hickey is someone who knows Chicago after growing up on the South Side, and that hometown draw will probably matter at a time when the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals are among several marquee teams in the market for a new pitching coach that now might be thinking: "Better Call Boz."

In latest twist to Cubs-Nationals, Dave Martinez will interview for Dusty Baker's old job

In latest twist to Cubs-Nationals, Dave Martinez will interview for Dusty Baker's old job

Dave Martinez – Joe Maddon’s bench coach during unprecedented runs of success with the Cubs and Tampa Bay Rays – is ready to step outside of the star manager’s shadow and run his own big-league team.

A Washington Nationals franchise coming off back-to-back division titles – while having some big personalities in the clubhouse and obvious internal issues – could still be that ideal opportunity.

The Nationals have reached out to set up an interview with Martinez, a source said Monday, confirming a Washington Post report in the wake of Dusty Baker’s messy exit, eight days after a massively disappointing playoff loss to the Cubs.

Martinez had been an X-factor in Washington’s search two years ago, when negotiations broke down with Bud Black and the Nationals eventually circled back to Baker, the former Cubs manager.

Martinez has the built-in credibility that comes from playing 16 seasons in the big leagues, which would be an asset for a team that has Bryce Harper entering his final season before free agency and Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg at the top of the rotation.    

Martinez, who is fluent in Spanish and analytics, spent the last 10 years working as the bench coach for two data-driven organizations, putting him at the cutting edge of defensive shifts, bullpen management and game-planning systems.    

While Maddon thrives in the front-facing aspects of the job, dealing with the media before and after every game and selling a vision to the public, Martinez handles a lot of the behind-the-scenes issues, putting out clubhouse fires and interacting with the players in one-on-one settings.

The partnership worked to the point where the Rays captured the 2008 American League pennant and the Cubs won last year’s World Series. While the Cubs have advanced to the National League Championship Series for three straight seasons, the Nationals have been knocked out of the first round of the playoffs four times since 2012.

In the middle of the grueling five-game playoff series where the Cubs outlasted the Nationals – which may have been a tipping point against Baker for Washington executives – Maddon lobbied for Martinez to be in the manager mix during baseball’s hiring-and-firing season.

“He belongs in the group,” Maddon said. “I know all these people being considered, and I promise you our guy matches up with every one of them.

“He was such a heady, aggressive, gritty kind of player. Bilingual. All that matters. He's not afraid to have the tough conversations (that) people in that position may shy away from.

“Believe me, I see all the names. There are a lot of good names, and I like a lot of these dudes. But I’m just telling you: To not include his name with those other people baffles me.”