White Sox

Blackhawks breakdown: Bryan Bickell

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Blackhawks breakdown: Bryan Bickell

CSNChicago.com Blackhawks Insider Tracey Myers and PGL host Chris Boden will evaluate the 2011-12 performance of each player on the Hawks roster. One breakdown will occur every weekday in numerical order.

Coming off his first full season in which he scored 17 goals with 20 assists in 78 games, Bryan Bickell's numbers dropped considerably. In 71 games during the 2011-12 season, Bickell managed just nine goals and 15 assists and finished minus-3 with 128 hits (down from 178 the prior season). Bickell scored two goals in the playoff series vs. Phoenix, with both coming in Game 2 -- including the game-winning goal in overtime.
Boden's take: The 6-foot-4 winger had an encouraging start from where hed left off in his 17-goal season of a year ago: two goals and two assists in the first five games.Then, Bickells game completely disappeared. And not only was he unproductive, he wasnt using his size and he was taking bad penalties. But in the middle of that nine-game nightmare in February, his game started coming back again and was very effective with Dave Bolland and Andrew Shaw on that third line down the stretch and into the Phoenix series.But he cant deliver another nine-goal campaign as he did this year when you examine his full body of work.It almost seemed like Stan Bowman chose between Bickell and Troy Brouwer (18 goals, 15 assists, 247 hits with the Capitals in 2011-12) a year ago after the latter underachieved.He chose Bickell on what he saw, and the two players made it look like a mistake.

Myers' take: Let's look at the end of the regular-season and playoffs when it comes to Bickell, shall we? Hey, we're just saving you time. Because there wasn't much to talk about with Bickell through the start and middle of last season. Bickell had the chance to be that big body up front, that physical presence that the Blackhawks have lost so much of the past two offseasons. And he was -- late in the season.

For most of it, however, Bickell was invisible; and the several healthy scratches he got didn't seem to stoke the fire much. If Bickell had been playing at the beginning as he did at the end, he would've been a much more noticeable presence.

2012-13 Expectations
Boden: Bickells 541,000 salary played into that Bowman decision, too.This coming season, Bickell has money at stake becoming an unrestricted free agent a year from now.He knows what hes counted on for, and admitted during his three-month absence he wasnt doing his job. Hes a real nice guy, but one wonders if hes capable of finding that nasty switch to turn on when he hits the ice.He has to carry over his finish and keep it consistent.And by the way, the Hawks need net-front presence and youd think Bickell is tailor-made for that.On top of that, there should be other big bodies pushing him for ice time in Jimmy Hayes and Brandon Saad.His finish may have worked him back into Joel Quennevilles good graces, but based on this past season, figure his leash to be a lot shorter.

Myers: Bickell's entering the final year of his current contract, and if there's anyone who could use the ol' contract-year type of season, it's Bickell. He needs to come out of the gate physical and strong. He and Bolland have formed good chemistry on the checking line the past two seasons and Bickell needs to build off that. When he wants to be good, Bickell can be just that. But he can't spend the first four months of the season playing mediocre hockey.

How do you feel about this evaluation? As always, be sure to chime in with your thoughts by commenting below and check out highlights of Bickell above.

Up next: Ray Emery

SportsTalk Live Podcast: What should be the plan to call up the White Sox prospects?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: What should be the plan to call up the White Sox prospects?

SportsTalk Live is on location for White Sox Authentic Fan Night. Phil Rogers (MLB Network), Mark Carman (WGN Radio), David DeJesus and Ozzie Guillen join Kap to talk about Manny Machado Mania, Anthony Rizzo’s struggles and the White Sox plans for calling up their best prospects. 

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

White Sox add Alex Presley at Triple-A, another veteran outfielder who could factor into 2018 plans for banged-up outfield

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USA TODAY

White Sox add Alex Presley at Triple-A, another veteran outfielder who could factor into 2018 plans for banged-up outfield

Not long after the White Sox brought Michael Saunders into the organization, another outfielder with major league experience is joining Triple-A Charlotte.

Alex Presley — a 32-year-old who played 71 games last season for the Detroit Tigers and has also spent time with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Minnesota Twins, Houston Astros and Milwaukee Brewers — is the latest addition to the Knights’ outfield. He’s a guy who could potentially be used to help the White Sox outfield, which has seen two Opening Day players go on the disabled list for extended periods of time.

Avisail Garcia is in his fifth week on the DL while dealing with a Grade 2 hamstring strain. Nicky Delmonico is expected to miss the next four to six weeks while recovering from a broken bone in his hand. The White Sox might feel that the collection of Adam Engel, Trayce Thompson, Leury Garcia and Daniel Palka might be enough to get them through those injuries. But the results have not been great from that group. Engel and Thompson are both hitting under .200, while Leury Garcia and Palka have on-base percentages just above .300.

Presley, like Saunders, could be an option for a midseason promotion should he hit well in the minors. He hit .314 with a .354 on-base percentage in those 71 games with the Tigers last season. This year, he was playing in the Baltimore Orioles’ organization, where he hit .275 with a .347 on-base percentage in 26 games.

It’s possible we won’t see either veteran outfielder on the South Side this season (though having Presley here for Elvis Night would be pretty excellent), but it gives the White Sox options should the lack of production from their current crop of outfielders and the injuries to Avisail Garcia and Delmonico keep them out longer.

It’s also quite possible that none of the names mentioned to this point will have a role to play in this team’s long-term future, not an outlandish thought considering Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, Micker Adolfo, Blake Rutherford and Luis Alexander Basabe are all still developing in the minor leagues.