Garza trade rumors continue to swirl


Garza trade rumors continue to swirl

While the rest of Cubdom is focusing on Anthony Rizzo's impending call-up, Theo Epstein and his staff are still trying to add more young talent to their system.

Matt Garza is easily Theo's best trade chip, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe lists six teams that are reportedly interested in the 28-year-old starter, including the Braves, Tigers, Cardinals, Red Sox, Blue Jays and Royals.

The Red Sox, Blue Jays, Braves and Tigers are far from surprises, as they've been rumored to have interest in Garza for a while.

But the Cardinals and Royals are certainly intriguing.

Kansas City has made it clear it is looking to boost its pitching staff, and Garza would be an obvious step up. They probably wouldn't want to part with top pitching prospect Mike Montgomery or outfielders Wil Myers or Bubba Starling (the 2011 first-round pick), but Theo would probably want to at least discuss one of those guys, if not multiple.

Even if those three are taken out of discussions, the Royals have a plethora of young talent, ranking among the best farm systems in the league.

Third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert is currently blocked by Mike Moustakas and right-hander Jake Odorizzi would give the Cubs a potential impact pitching prospect, something the organization lacks.

The Cardinals, meanwhile, would be tricky to deal with. While Theo and Co. would want to get the best package available if they deal Garza, they wouldn't want to trade within the division to the Cubs' most heated rival.

Should they choose to discuss a deal with St. Louis, the Redbirds actually have a lot to offer.

Shelby Miller was ranked as the No. 8 prospect by Baseball America prior to the 2012 season and the 21-year-old right-hander started the season at Triple-A. They also have Oscar Taveras, a 20-year-old outfielder who is currently putting up a .947 OPS in Double-A Springfield.

The Cardinals have several good young pitching prospects and Theo could go there to stockpile the system.

Of course, the Cubs could wind up signing Garza to an extension or just simply hang on to him and look for offers again over the winter. If they decide to trade Garza, there should be no shortage of buyers, with other teams like the Yankees possibly jumping in as the deadline approaches.

Bears still have much to prove after disappointing loss to Patriots

Bears still have much to prove after disappointing loss to Patriots

 Beating the, arguably, best coach and quarterback pairing in NFL history is a difficult enough task. Trying to do it while allowing two touchdowns on special teams? Good luck. 
The Bears will leave Soldier Field frustrated with their 38-31 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday for a number of reasons, but top of the list will be Cordarrelle Patterson’s 95-yard kickoff return score and a blocked Pat O’Donnell punt that was raced into the end zone by Kyle Van Noy. A special teams unit that had been solid all year — and forced a fumble on a Patterson kickoff return in the first quarter Sunday — suddenly became a disaster, allowing an uncharacteristically undisciplined Patriots side back into the game, and then ahead in it. 
Add in an inaccurate game from Mitch Trubisky — who completed 26 of 50 passes for 333 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions — and an uneventful afternoon for Khalil Mack and the pass rush, and the Bears had to scratch and claw to hang with New England. 
Interestingly, after all week hearing from Bears coaches and players about how they couldn’t let the Patriots take them out of their own game, it felt like Bill Belichick and Tom Brady did exactly that. Mack frequently dropped into coverage — but so did Leonard Floyd, so maybe it wasn’t all about Mack’s injured ankle. While Brady frequently got the ball out quick, when he didn’t he was rarely pressured. 
And on offense, Taylor Gabriel had the same number of targets (one) as offensive lineman Bradley Sowell until midway through the fourth quarter. Trubisky dazzled with his legs, covering over 70 yards on an eight-yard touchdown run and dancing his way to a 39-yard scramble that set up a touchdown in the third quarter. 
But Trubisky’s struggles were clear, with the second-year quarterback throwing two ill-advised passes that should’ve been picked off in the end zone and then underthrowing Anthony Miller in the fourth quarter, allowing Patriots safety Jonathan Jones to make a tremendous interception. New England drove 96 yards after that pick into the end zone, with Brady taking apart a defense that missed two tackles on a 55-yarder to Josh Gordon, extinguishing any hope the Bears had of a comeback.
While Trubisky did lead a scoring drive after Adrian Amos assisted Kyle Fuller for an interception, cutting the deficit to seven. And Trubisky nearly pulled off a miracle with a Hail Mary to Kevin White, which was completed just shy of the end zone. 
The loss dropped the Bears to 3-3 and heaps plenty of pressure on Matt Nagy’s side to win seemingly-winnable games in the next three weeks: At home against the New York Jets, on the road against the Buffalo Bills and at home against the Detroit Lions. But then again: When the Jets come to town next weekend, it’ll have been nearly a month since the Bears’ last win. How the Bears fare over these next three games will be a clear window into if this team is a legitimate contender or one that faded after a strong start. 

WATCH: Mitchell Trubisky runs like Michael Vick for 8-yard touchdown

WATCH: Mitchell Trubisky runs like Michael Vick for 8-yard touchdown

The New England Patriots defense wasn’t giving Mitchell Trubisky many options through the air, so he decided to take matters into his own hands at Soldier Field.

The young quarterback’s legs were the Bears’ most-effective weapon in the first quarter, as Trubisky led the team with 35 rushing yards on four carries in the opening period of play.

He capped it off with an eight-yard touchdown scramble that had him looking like Michael Vick on the field.

The Bears will need to have a more well-rounded offensive attack to keep up with teams like the Patriots, but Trubisky found what was working in the first quarter.

Perhaps most importantly, he’s been smart and safe with his running, opting to slide and go to the ground on his big plays to avoid any big hits.

His legs continue to make this offense more dynamic, to keep up with top-notch opponents like New England.