White Sox

Bulls Draft: Free agency look-ahead

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Bulls Draft: Free agency look-ahead

Gar Forman insisted the Bulls would look for the best player available Thursday night, and he stayed true to his word when he drafted Kentucky point guard Marquis Teague with the 29th overall pick of the NBA Draft.

And if his comments last night were any indication, the Bulls general manager will be active in free agency, which begins July 1.

Forman specifically addressed trade rumors that first surfaced after the Bulls first round playoff exit in Philadelphia, when small forward Luol Deng and center Joakim Noah were being floated as potential trade pieces.

We dont respond to rumors. We like the direction in which were headed, Forman said. It was disappointing how this year ended with the injuries, and Ive said short-term, weve taken a little bit of a hit. Weve hit a bump in the road. But as far as what were looking at long-term, we still feel were headed in the right direction.

Forman noted that trade discussions involving the Bulls may have come up, but that the foundation the team had built was too talented to disassemble.

Were we actively shopping our players? Absolutely not. Were there conversations? All 30 teams have conversations about everybody on their roster, Forman said. But we like the core of this team, and its our job to continue putting pieces around Derrick and some of the other core guys and try to continue to trend up.

Many of those rumors stemmed from the strict financial constraints the Bulls will face this off-season. Forman, however, said the team moving forward will look to build on the basketball side first.

Much of that, Forman said, has had to do with Jerry Reinsdorfs commitment to allow the front office to build a winner.

Our decisions up to this point, and our decisions this summer will be basketball decisions. They wont be financial decisions, Forman said. Now, are finances a part of it going out the next three, four, five years? Of course, it always is in any decision you make. But were making basketball decisions.

Many expected the Bulls to draft a shooting guard or scorer on the wing Thursday night. Instead, the Bulls opted for Teague, a 19-year-old who had fallen to the Bulls pick. And while a point guard was not Chicagos most pressing need in the short-term, Forman said the team took both short and long-term needs into their selection process.

Youve got to weight both things, but we thought of what was left that (Teague) was the best prospect left on the board and in a scenario where, going forward, the next three, four, five years were going to have a need there, needs at several places, Forman said. But again, we were going to draft the best player. We werent going to draft for a specific need. Draft the best prospect that was left.

Forman said the team has several positions they must address in free agency, talks they have already discussed as an organization. Starting Sunday, they will begin speaking to free agents directly.

The contract statuses of small forwards Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer, and point guard C.J. Watson are sure to be at the forefront of those discussions.

And even with Teague on board, Forman said the team will address the point guard position in free agency. Whether that means bringing back Watson or signing a veteran free agent, someone else is likely to join Teague and the injured Rose in the back court this summer.

We still have to make a decision in regards to C.J., Forman said. And right now, were still gonna have to add another point guard one way or another.

And just as Forman made good on his promise to draft the best player available Thursday night, its also a good bet that the Bulls will be active in the free agency market.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Manny Machado Mania

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Manny Machado Mania

Manny Machado to the White Sox?? It's been the dream for many White Sox fans for months.

With Machado in town to the play the White Sox, Chuck Garfien and Vinnie Duber discuss the White Sox chances of signing the soon-to-be-free agent.

Garfien also talks with Nicky Delmonico who played with Machado and fellow free agent to be Bryce Harper on the U.S.A. 18-under national team.

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

Rick Renteria issues another benching after Welington Castillo doesn't hustle on popup

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USA TODAY

Rick Renteria issues another benching after Welington Castillo doesn't hustle on popup

One thing you better do if you play for Rick Renteria is run to first base.

Yet again, Renteria benched one of his players Monday for the sin of not hustling down the line.

Welington Castillo, a veteran, not a developing player in need of ample “learning experiences,” popped up to first base with two runners on and nobody out in the sixth inning of Monday’s eventual 3-2 loss to the visiting Baltimore Orioles. He did not run down to first, instead staying at home plate.

So when the inning ended and the White Sox took the field, Castillo stayed in the dugout.

Ricky’s boys don’t quit, or so the slogan goes. But what happens when a player doesn’t live up to that mantra? What happens when they don’t play their absolute hardest for all 27 outs, as the T-shirts preach? This is what happens. A benching.

“It was towering fly ball in the infield at first, probably had 15, 20 seconds of hangtime,” Renteria explained after the game. “I assumed the dropped ball. It has occurred. He could, at minimum, at least start moving that way.

“That’s uncharacteristic of him, to be honest, it truly is. Maybe he was just frustrated in that he had the fly ball and just stayed at the plate, but there was no movement toward first at all. And you guys have heard me talk to all the guys about at least giving an opportunity to move in that particular direction.

“Everybody says, ‘Well, 99 out of (100) times he’s going to catch that ball.’ And then that one time that he doesn’t, what would I do if the ball had been dropped? Would it have made it easier to pull him? Well, it was just as easy because you expect not the best, but the worst.

“That is uncharacteristic of that young man. I had a quick conversation with him on the bench, and he knew and that was it.”

It might seem a little overdramatic, a little nutty, even, to sit down a veteran catcher brought in this offseason to provide some offense and to do it in a one-run game. But this rebuild is about more than just waiting around for the minor league talent to make its way to the South Side. It’s about developing an organizational culture, too. And Renteria feels that if he lets this kind of thing slide at the big league level, that won’t send the right message to those precious prospects who will one day fill out this lineup.

“There’s one way to do it, you get your action, you start moving toward that direction in which you’ve got to go,” Renteria said. “What would’ve happened if everybody’s watching it — and I’m setting the tone for not only here, our club, (but also for) everybody in the minor leagues — and they’re saying, ‘Well, at the top, they said they’re going to do this and then they don’t do it.’

“It’s really simple. And people might like it, not like it. I’ve got to do this, do that so everybody understands what we’re trying to do here. We’re not done with what we’re trying to do.”

This isn’t the first time this has happened in 2018. Avisail Garcia was taken out of a game during spring training for not giving maximum effort. Leury Garcia was removed from a game earlier this month for not busting it down the first-base line on a weak grounder that went right to the first baseman.

It’s become a somewhat common tactic for Renteria, and while it might strike some as taking things a little too seriously, what good is this developmental season if a culture goes undeveloped? The White Sox have placed their bright future, in part, in Renteria’s hands, and they’ve talked glowingly about how the players have bought into his style and how the team played last season under his leadership.

If Renteria truly is the right man for the rebuild, things like this are how he’s going to establish his culture. And it will, he hopes, impact how all those prospects play when they’re no longer prospects and the White Sox are contending for championships.