Cubs

Word on the Street: Should Bears take flyer on Moss?

Word on the Street: Should Bears take flyer on Moss?

Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010
CSNChicago.com

Should the Bears take a flyer on Randy Moss?

Everybody seems to have mixed opinions on the matter. CSNChicago's own John "Moon" Mullin thinks it could be disastrous and the thought of having Moss and Cutler in the same huddle is "frightening."

Brian Urlacher says it wouldn't hurt his feelings at all when asked about adding Moss to the Bears on the Dan Patrick show on CSN this morning.

Chicago Tribune's Dan Pompei believes the Bears should at least be considering Moss, but also said the enigmatic WR would need to go to a "contending team with a void at wide receiver, a strong head coach, a secure quarterback whose leadership is unquestioned and an offensive scheme that will allow him to do his thing."

Kyle Koster of the Chicago Sun-Times feels Moss is the last thing the Bears need, citing the weak offensive line as the most prime need first and foremost. (CSNChicago.com, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times)

Still interested in Sosa's corked bat?

If you were interested in buying Sammy Sosa's corked bat from June 3, 2003 but wasn't able to attend the auction Sunday night, you're in luck. The infamous bat didn't sell.

The bat, which has been the property of former Cubs reliever Mike Remlinger since '03, was originally priced for 15,000, but the highest bid was for 14,407. The bat is now either going to be sold to the highest bidder or will be sold privately. (ABC News)

Is Adam Dunn a good fit in the Windy City?
The Cubbies Crib blog analyzes whether prized free agent Adam Dunn is worth it for the North Siders, as he will likely command a pretty penny for a team that is supposed to be cutting back on payroll. Writer Jordan Campbell offers three cheaper options, including Aubrey Huff, who just won a World Series ring with the Giants. (CubbiesCrib.com)

Five Chicago baseball prospects named to AFL Rising Stars game

Outfielder Jared Mitchell, infielder Eduardo Escobar and pitcher Anthony Carter of the White Sox' organization and pitcher Chris Carpenter and infielder Josh Vitters of the Cubs' organziation were all named to play in the Arizona Fall League Rising Stars game that will take place on Saturday. (Chicago Tribune)

Marlins set to sign Rodriguez as manager

The Florida Marlins are expected to announce Edwin Rodriguez as the organization's new manager as early as Wednesday. Reports came out late last week indicating the Marlins were very interested in White Sox skipper Ozzie Guillen and would even be willing to trade top outfield prospect Mike Stanton for the outspoken manager, but those reports were found to be untrue. (Palm Beach Post)

Warner has some words of advice for Cutler

Kurt Warner, a product of the "Greatest Show on Turf" in St. Louis with current Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz, has a few words of advice for current Chicago QB Jay Cutler.
Warner said Cutler is "a perfect fit from a confidence, from an ability standpoint."

"But where I think it has to adjust is he's got to be able to anticipate within that offense and see things ahead of time, throw the ball before a guy gets open, trust the guy to come open or move to his next read. That's where I see him struggling right now within that offense." (LA Times)
Texans waive Ogunleye

Defensive end Adawale Ogunleye, a former Bears player, was placed on waivers by the Houston Texans Tuesday. The Texans also picked up former Bear DE Mark Anderson when he was dropped from Chicago earlier this season. (Chicago Tribune)

Sky nab third pick in WNBA draft

The Chicago Sky, who finished 14-20 last season, wound up with the third pick in the 2011 WNBA draft. The Minnesota Lynx will pick first, followed by the Tulsa Shock. (Chicago Tribune)

Ben Zobrist knows reality of Cubs' crowded lineup: 'There are going to be good players that have to sit on the bench'

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USA TODAY

Ben Zobrist knows reality of Cubs' crowded lineup: 'There are going to be good players that have to sit on the bench'

MESA, Ariz. — Ben Zobrist has long been known for his versatility on the field. But it might take a new kind of versatility to get through what’s facing him for the 2018 season, being versatile when it comes to simply being on the field.

Zobrist was among several notable Cubs hitters who had a rough go of things at the plate in the follow-up campaign to 2016’s World Series run. He dealt with injuries, including a particularly bothersome one to his wrist, and finished with a career-worst .232/.318/.375 slash line.

And so, with younger guys like Javy Baez, Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. forcing their way into Joe Maddon’s lineup, it’s a perfectly valid question to ask: Has the 36-year-old Zobrist — just 15 months removed from being named the World Series MVP — been relegated to part-time status for this championship-contending club?

Obviously that remains to be seen. Joe Maddon has a way of mixing and matching players so often that it makes it seem like this team has at least 12 different “starting” position players. But Zobrist, ever the picture of versatility, seems ready for whatever is coming his way.

“I’m prepared for that, if that’s what it comes to. I told him, whatever they need me to do,” Zobrist said Sunday, asked if he’d be OK with being in a platoon situation. “You’ll see me at some different positions. As far as at-bats, though, I’ve got to be healthy. That was the biggest thing last year that kept me from getting at-bats and being productive. So if I can be healthy, I think I can play the way that I’m capable of, and the discussion then at that point will be, ‘How much can you play before we push you too far?’

“We’ve got a lot of great players, and there are going to be good players that have to sit on the bench on our team at times. But no one ever rusts because you know how Joe uses everybody. You’re still going to play. Even if you don’t start, you’re probably going to play later in the game. It’s just part of the National League and the way Joe Maddon manages.”

It’s no secret, of course, that when Zobrist is on, he’s the kind of player you want in the lineup as much as possible. It was just two seasons ago that he posted a .386 on-base percentage, banged out 31 doubles, smacked 18 home runs and was a starter for the team that won the World Series.

But he also admitted that last year’s injury fights were extremely tough: “Last year was one of the most difficult seasons I’ve ever had as a player.” Zobrist said that while he’s feeling good and ready to go in 2018, with his recent physical ailments and his advancing age, he’s in a different stage in his career.

“At this point in my career, I’m not going to play 158 games or whatever. I’m going to have to manage and figure out how to play great for 130,” he said. “And I think that would be a good thing to shoot for, if I was healthy, is playing 130 games of nine innings would be great. And then you’re talking about postseason, too, when you add the games on top of that, and well, you need to play for the team in the postseason, you’ve got to be ready for that, too.

“From my standpoint, from their standpoint, it’s about managing, managing my performance and my physical body and making sure I can do all that at the highest level, keep it at the highest level I can.”

Maddon’s managerial style means that Zobrist, even if he’s not technically a part of the everyday starting eight, will still get the opportunity to hit on a regular basis, get a chance to play on a regular basis. Baez figures to be locked in as the team’s No. 1 second baseman, but he’ll need days off. Maddon mentioned Sunday that Zobrist, along with Happ, have been practicing at first base in an effort to be able to spell Anthony Rizzo. It’s the crowded outfield where Zobrist could potentially see the most time. He’ll be a piece of that tricky daily puzzle along with Kyle Schwarber, Jason Heyward and the aforementioned Almora and Happ.

Unsurprisingly, in the end that versatility, combined with how Zobrist has recovered physically and whether he can get back to how he’s produced in the past, will determine how much he will play, according to the guy writing out the lineups.

“I think he’s going to dictate that to us based on how he feels,” Maddon said. “Listen, you’re always better off when Ben Zobrist is in your lineup. He’s a little bit older than he had been, obviously, like we all are. I’ve got to be mindful of that, but he’s in great shape. Let’s just see what it looks like. Go out there and play, and we’ll try to figure it out as the season begins to unwind because who knows, he might have an epiphany and turn back the clock a little bit, he looks that good. I want to keep an open mind.

“I want to make sure that he understands we’re going to need him to play a variety of different positions. He’s ready to do it, he’s eager, he’s really ready. He was not pleased with his year last year, took time to reflect upon it and now he’s really been refreshed. So I think you’re going to see the best form of Ben Zobrist right now.”

Two years ago, Zobrist played a big enough role to go to the All-Star Game and get named the MVP of the World Series. In the present, that role might be much, much smaller. But Zobrist said he’s OK with anything, admitting it’s about the number of rings on the fingers and not the number of days in the starting lineup.

“I’m 36 as a player, so I’m just trying to win championships at this point. It’s not really about what I’m trying to accomplish as an individual,” Zobrist said. “Everybody wants to have great seasons, but I’ve told (Maddon), ‘Wherever you need me, I’m ready.’ Just going to prepare to fill the spots that need to be filled and be a great complement to what’s going on.”

Jose Abreu has already begun mentoring Luis Robert

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USA TODAY

Jose Abreu has already begun mentoring Luis Robert

As the White Sox have added young Cuban stars in the making in Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert, Jose Abreu's long-term role on the team has shifted.

The 31-year-old first baseman has been looked at as something of a mentor for the two young Cubans. He seems to be delivering on that so far.

Abreu picked up Moncada from the airport when he first was called up to the White Sox last July. Now he's helping Robert in the batting cage.

The Cuban trio is expected to play a big part of the White Sox future in the coming years. 

Robert has already stated his goal of making it to the majors this year to join Abreu and Moncada, but that may be an overly ambitious goal. Either way, plenty of eyes will be on him throughout 2018 as he marches towards the White Sox roster and his Cuban teammates.