White Sox

Could Brodeur be who the Blackhawks need?

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Could Brodeur be who the Blackhawks need?

It was a Twitter jolt felt round the hockey world this morning when TSN.cas Darren Dreger first reported the news: Martin Brodeur hired agent Pat Brisson and could test the free-agent market on July 1.

Its almost too stunning to believe. Brodeur, who has spent his career with the Devils (and just wrapped up a six-year deal worth 5.2 million a year with them) possibly playing elsewhere in 2012-13? And no sooner did the news come out that national hockey scribes prognosticated on where Brodeur could land. Several, including Sportsnet.cas Mark Spector, have the veteran going to Chicago.

Here are the pros and cons of the Blackhawks grabbing the future Hall of Famer:

PROS

Fantastic mentor: If Brodeur stays with the Devils, hes still a starter. In Chicago, hed start as the backup (considering recent history, lets emphasize start) to Corey Crawford. Theres nothing like some veteran tutelage, and Crawford said he picked up a few things from backup Ray Emery last season, including Emerys strong pregame preparation. Imagine what Crawford could learn from Brodeur, just by watching him on a daily practice basis?

Now in relief : Lets say Crawford gets off to a tough start and the Blackhawks, once again, look to their backup goaltender to right the ship. Brodeur could handle that workload. Up until the 2010-11 season, Brodeur played 70-plus games a season on a fairly regular basis. Even the past two seasons he played 56 and 59 games, respectively.

Hes Martin Brodeur: Its not about what he could bring Crawford, but also to the Blackhawks as a whole. Brodeur has three Cups, records galore and has a locker-room savvy and a calming influence that would be felt throughout that organization. As Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador told me about Brodeurs presence during their Cup run, when you have a guy who holds every record and has won everything and still has the passion to win, at this point in his career that alone is uplifting.

CONS

Hes 40: Yes, Brodeur is that rare breed of player who, at 40, hasnt lost a whole lot. But when does his age start becoming an issue? Brodeur has always kept himself in great shape and doesnt have a lot of past injuries, outside of a torn bicep that cost him much of the 2008-09 season. Still, there are always other factors that can accelerate the wear and tear, which brings us to

Western Conference schedule woes: God bless the Eastern Conference teams (and their scribes) who never have to know the rigors of the Western Conference schedule. Its brutal, even for a very centrally located Blackhawks team. Brodeur has had it nice, schedule-wise, for a long time; the Devils most distant division foe is Pittsburgh, is a mere 360 miles away. The Blackhawks division isnt, but its the rest of the West that were talking about. East teams take, what, one long trip per year vs. West foes and then stay in their own time zone for the rest of the season? It would be a big change, and one that could affect the aging goalie.

Other needs rank higher: Just one scribes opinion, but the Blackhawks need to bolster their defense should still be top priority. Brodeur could still want a decent amount of cash (although probably not the 5.2 million he earned each of the last six seasons). Yes, making the right moves could get the Hawks a good defenseman and Brodeur. But ultimately, solidifying the D, not the backup goaltending spot, will probably be the way the Blackhawks go.

White Sox fans dreaming of Patrick Corbin: His free-agent destination might already be booked

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USA TODAY

White Sox fans dreaming of Patrick Corbin: His free-agent destination might already be booked

For the biggest dreamers among the White Sox faithful, here's how this offseason might be playing out.

Rick Hahn said the team will make some additions to the pitching staff. So for those dreamers, it's a rush to the top of the list of free-agent starting pitchers, right? Why not hook one of the biggest fish in the pond?

The top of that list looks like this: Clayton Kershaw (should he choose to opt out of his deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers and seek a new, more lucrative one), Dallas Keuchel and Patrick Corbin. Some might even have those last two names flipped, with Corbin, coming off an All-Star season with the Arizona Diamondbacks, second only to one of the best to ever throw a baseball.

The White Sox might not be capable of outbidding baseball's biggest spenders, and that's without even mentioning that they might simply not be looking to ink a hurler to a long-term contract. After all, that's what all those talented prospects are for, right? Assembling the rotation of the future? Carlos Rodon, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez are all already part of the 2019 staff. Michael Kopech, when he's done recovering from Tommy John surgery, will join them in 2020. And Dylan Cease was just named MLB Pipeline's minor league pitcher of the year. With all that in mind, any offseason additions to the rotation for 2019 might simply be one-year fill-ins.

But fans often like to dream big, and a lot of them have Corbin on their wish list.

That's not surprising when you look at his numbers. He threw 200 innings last season and struck out 246 batters while finishing with a 3.15 ERA, those last two numbers the best of his six-year big league career. He's 29 years old and a long-term deal would figure to have him in the starting rotation as the White Sox plan to shift from rebuilding mode to contention mode.

Just one problem: There's plenty of belief out there that Corbin's destination this winter has already been booked.

This has been a talking point for a while now, as the Yankees tried to bring Corbin to the Bronx via trade last offseason. They're expected to try to do so again, this time via free agency, as they've got a ton of money to spend. Corbin was quoted in the Nightengale story from April saying: "It would definitely be great to play there. I grew up a Yankee fan."

Sorry to burst your bubbles, White Sox fans. But don't blame me. Blame the Yankees, which seems to be becoming a frequent refrain. If Didi Gregorius' elbow injury means Manny Machado ends up in the Bronx this winter, too, White Sox fans might drop the Cubs as Public Enemy No. 1.

The White Sox have enough hurdles to clear in any pursuit of one of the game's top free agents: They have to compete with baseball's traditional big spenders, and they have to try and beat win-now pitches with a pitch of planned — though not yet arrived — long-term success. It's not like that hasn't been a winning battle before, though, as the rebuilding Cubs got Jon Lester to believe in their future and brought him in to help make their transition from rebuild to championship contention.

But throw in the hurdle of a history between a player and another team, and it makes it an even harder job.

The White Sox will be making some additions this offseason, though they might not be the ones fans are dreaming about. But not landing the winter's biggest fish doesn't mean the organization's biggest, most important dream of building a perennial contender on the South Side is going anywhere.

Top White Sox MiLB moments of 2018: Omar Vizquel's award-winning managerial debut

Top White Sox MiLB moments of 2018: Omar Vizquel's award-winning managerial debut

With the White Sox season over, we're looking back on the top 10 moments of the club's minor league season. We'll unveil one per day for 10 days, showcasing each moment in chronological order.

The moment: Omar Vizquel is named the Carolina League Manager of the Year, Sept. 13.

Vizquel became the third Winston-Salem Dash manager to be named Manager of the Year. The Dash went 84-54, the second-highest win total in franchise history and won the division title in both the first and second half.

Vizquel's season: As soon as Vizquel retired after the 2012 season, he went straight into coaching. First, he was an infield coach for the Angels in 2013. Then, he became the first base coach for the Tigers.

Vizquel remained there until taking the Dash job in the White Sox organization this season. Winston-Salem was an important post because seven of the top 10 and 16 of the top 30 prospects from MLB Pipeline's rankings spent some time there in 2018.

Vizquel was able to guide that talent to a whole bunch of winning. The Dash had the best record in the Carolina League in the regular season.

The playoffs did not go so well. The Dash got swept by the eventual league champion Buies Creek Astros in the first round.

Still, it was a successful managerial debut for Vizquel and the White Sox got to take advantage of his experience with a number of top prospects playing under him.

He may not manage the White Sox any time soon, but Vizquel's ties to the organization (two years playing with the team and now coaching in the organization) make him a possible candidate at some point in his managerial career.