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 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.