Fire

Despite loss, Wolverines will be fine

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Despite loss, Wolverines will be fine

If youre worried about Jabari Parker and the Simeon Wolverines after Thursday nights nationally televised loss to DeSoto, dont be. It looks bad that the No. 1 team in the nation has already fallen, but its not nearly as bad when considering the circumstances behind it.
Simeon hasnt played a game since Dec. 1, a stretch of 11 days without any serious competition. But for DeSoto, it was their 15th contest of the 2012-13 season. It was obvious the Wolverines weren't in sync as a team because they dont have many games under their belt.
Simeon trailed 27-24 at halftime, but scored just five points and shot 1-of-15 from the field in the third quarter. The inability to put the ball in the basket allowed DeSoto to jump out to a 43-29 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Name the last time that has happened to a team coached by Robert Smith.
Early in the final quarter, the Wolverines 2-2-1 full-court zone press turned DeSoto over to get them back in the game. It also had Simeon looking like a team that has won three consecutive Illinois State Championships and features four players going to high-major college programs next season, one of which is an All-American and the No. 2 player in the country.
So what appeared to be missing on Thursday night is actually there; its just going to take more games to put it together. 
Also consider that the DeSoto game was Jabari Parkers second in the last five months.
Parker is still a ways away from being the player he was last year, all the way up until his foot injury in late July. It will take time to shake off the rust and the weight and become the superstar fans are used to seeing on the court.
The good thing is the Wolverines wont have another layoff of that length, as their schedule picks up with enough games in succession to help them get their rhythm back as a team. On Saturday they play a game in Memphis and then come back to Chicago for games next week.
On Monday theyll face off against Carver on the road, then its back home for a game on Wednesday against Larry Hawkins, and Friday they host Brooks. That caps a stretch of five games in eight days that should be enough to have Parker looking like more like the All-American that he is and, as a group, have the Wolverines ready for the 2012 Pontiac Holiday Tournament taking place Dec. 27 though 29.
This early season loss isnt the end of the world for Simeon. It's just an unfortunate bump in the road to a potential national championship due to scheduling that has them trying to catch up with teams whose seasons have already started and who have a better sense of continuity on the court.

Fire stay busy on draft day, trade David Accam to Philadelphia

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USA TODAY

Fire stay busy on draft day, trade David Accam to Philadelphia

The dominoes continue to fall on the Fire's offseason, and seem to be doing so at an increasing pace.

After making two trades on draft day, the blockbuster move of the day broke after the first round completed. As first reported by Paul Tenorio and later announced at the draft, the Fire traded winger David Accam to Philadelphia for $300,000 in General Allocation Money and $900,000 in Targeted Allocation Money. The $1.2 million total is among the biggest allocation money trades in league history.

The move will have major implications on 2018 due to Accam's production since joining the Fire in 2015, but also because it likely is a move to set up other moves. Accam had his best year with the Fire in 2017 with 14 goals and eight assists while only making 24 starts (30 appearances in total).

However, he had voiced his displeasure about being left off the All-Star Game roster by coach Veljko Paunovic, saying he was "disappointed my coach ignored me." Accam seemed to be appeased when the Fire picked up his option for 2018 in August. With his contract situation somewhat more sorted out, it appeared Accam may still have a future with the Fire despite having previously stated a desire to return to Europe at some point in his career.

While the move is a big one for Philadelphia in getting a player like Accam, the Fire likely aren't done. This is typically not the type of move that is made without another move in mind. Juan Quintero rumors continue to float around with the Fire and Argentine club River Plate both being mentioned as possible landing places for the Colombian international who has scored at a World Cup.

With Accam leaving, the Fire have an open spot for a Designated Player. Nemanja Nikolic and the recently re-signed Bastian Schweinsteiger are the two DPs on the roster.

White Sox reportedly one of teams 'expressing interest' in Christian Yelich, but does a trade for Marlins star make sense?

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USA TODAY

White Sox reportedly one of teams 'expressing interest' in Christian Yelich, but does a trade for Marlins star make sense?

A big offseason splash for the rebuilding White Sox?

After being rumored to potentially trade for Baltimore Orioles star Manny Machado last month during the Winter Meetings, the next name on many fans' offseason wish list is Miami Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich.

Yelich is an intriguing candidate for the obvious reason that he's really good, but he also has an uncommon amount of team control remaining on his contract, as many as five years, to be exact. It all adds up to him being a far better fit for a rebuilding team like the White Sox than the aforementioned Machado, who is slated to hit free agency after the upcoming 2018 season.

According to a Friday report from Jon Heyman, the White Sox are one of many teams "expressing interest" in Yelich, who figures to be on the trading block soon given the Marlins' activity this offseason. The Fish, now headed by Derek Jeter, have already traded away several All-Star players, with Giancarlo Stanton going to the New York Yankees, Marcell Ozuna going to the St. Louis Cardinals and Dee Gordon going to the Seattle Mariners. Yelich, who would figure to fetch a hefty return package, is speculated to be the next to go, along with catcher J.T. Realmulto. Yelich's agent told ESPN's Jerry Crasnick a couple days ago that Yelich's relationship with the Marlins is "irretrievably broken."

Joining the White Sox on Heyman's reported list are the Philadelphia Phillies, Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Angels, Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston Red Sox, Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres.

That's obviously a lot of competition, but the White Sox and their stacked farm system would figure to line up well with any team looking to move a star major leaguer for a big package of prospects. With all the minor league talent general manager Rick Hahn has acquired over the past year-plus, there are more highly touted players than there are spots in the White Sox lineup and rotation of the future, meaning some of those players could eventually turn into trade candidates.

But the key word there is "eventually," and it might speak to why a Yelich trade doesn't quite make sense for the White Sox right this moment.

The White Sox aren't expected to contend for a championship in 2018, and that could very well be the case in 2019, as well. This year and perhaps the next will be dedicated to waiting for all these young players to develop, and when that process concludes, Hahn and his front office will have a far better idea of what they have and what holes they need to fill — be that through a big free-agent signing or a trade. But the team hasn't reached that point yet.

Of course, there's plenty to love about Yelich. The 26-year-old already has five big league seasons under his belt, with a collective .290/.369/.432 slash line and a combined 146 doubles in those years. Plus, the power numbers have spiked in the last two seasons, with 21 homers and 98 RBIs in 2016 and 18 homers and 81 RBIs last season. He's also a Gold Glove winner in the outfield and has that alluring contract that thanks to an option could keep him away from free agency until after the 2022 season, definitely past when the White Sox hope to be perennial contenders.

A hypothetical trade for Yelich makes much more sense than one for Machado, that's for sure. But the White Sox still have spent a lot of time and effort carefully laying rebuilding plans, and those plans would need to be drastically altered, one would assume, in order to land a Fish like Yelich. It makes far more sense for the White Sox to exercise the patience that Hahn preached at the Winter Meetings and wait to see exactly what they have — and where — with their mountain of prospects.