Hoyer has managers back in Sveum vs. Castro


Hoyer has managers back in Sveum vs. Castro

MILWAUKEE Getting through to Starlin Castro came up when Dale Sveum pursued this job last fall.

Cubs executives knew all about Castro spacing out during an ESPN Sunday night game last season. They wanted a manager to create a culture of accountability and preparation.

So when Castro forgot how many outs there were on Monday, Sveum called it the last straw, but ultimately didnt bench the All-Star shortstop. And its Sveum who has final authority over the lineup not the front office.

That was something we talked about during the interview process, general manager Jed Hoyer said Wednesday. (Starlin) already had that Bobby Valentine moment where he missed the pitch.

We were hoping that wed never have another incident, but we did, and thats why you hire a manager. Thats the managers job.

If the players feel like were managing that, I think it totally undercuts Dale. So Dale did that on his own and I think he struck the perfect tone.

Sveum and team president Theo Epstein have already denied the USA TODAY report that Castro could be had for two impact prospects. Hoyer thinks it would be wrong to connect those dots.

Its frustrating, Hoyer said. You dont want that. Its certainly something that hes going to have to get beyond in his career. But as far as he fits into our plans, hes a huge part.

Hes a shortstop that can hit and can run and hes getting better defensively. Those are hard to find. You look around baseball and almost every time we play another team we have the better shortstop on the field. Thats a great feeling to have.

Before his 22nd birthday, Castro led the National League in hits and played in the All-Star Game. Hes hitting .310 at a premium position, and is generally viewed as a good worker whos coachable. But there are only so many teaching moments left.

The media certainly likes playing up these showdowns. As the Cubs try to rebuild, Sveum and Castro will be tied together, for better or worse.

Dale has really struck the perfect tone with Starlin: Hey, I like you, I get it. But its gonna have to stop, Hoyer said. Thats a big part of why we hired Dale. I think he can strike that balance and I dont think Starlin resents him for it. Starlin understands.

Maybe that was a good thing that happened in the long run. Im hopeful thats the case. Sometimes you have to make mistakes and learn from them and maybe that sort of straw that broke the camels back from Dales perspective (ends) up being a big positive.

Bears have fifth-best odds to win Super Bowl LIII

Bears have fifth-best odds to win Super Bowl LIII

The Bears pulled out a huge 25-20 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football at Soldier Field, extending their NFC North lead.

The offense looked great, the defense looked dangerous, and special teams came through in a big way. The Bears were clicking on all cylinders.

Not only are the Bears in a good position to win the division, but oddsmakers like their chances at winning the Super Bowl. (Yes, Super Bowl.)

According to, the Bears have the fifth-best odds to win Super Bowl LIII.

Check it out:

Team Percentage
Kansas City 34.1%
LA Rams 22.3%
New Orleans 11.8%
Pittsburgh 8.1%
Chicago 6.2%

How about that?

Now, there's a lot of season left to play, but if the Bears keep playing like they did on Sunday night, their chances are pretty darn good.

The Bears will have the opportunity to host one of the teams ahead of them, the Los Angeles Rams, on Dec. 9, a game that got flexed to Sunday Night Football in Week 14. Will that be a preview of the NFC Championship game?

Time will tell.

The fun part is, we get to sit back and watch it all unfold.

White Sox among a whole bunch of teams reportedly interested in Nathan Eovaldi

White Sox among a whole bunch of teams reportedly interested in Nathan Eovaldi

The White Sox have already been linked to the two biggest names on this winter’s free-agent market, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. And now they’ve been mentioned as one of a host of teams interested in one of the top free-agent starting pitchers, as well.

The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo listed the White Sox as one of the “early suitors” for Nathan Eovaldi. But they’re not at all alone, with Cafardo including the Milwaukee Brewers, Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Angels, Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants as other members of that group.

That’s a lot of competition.

It’s not terribly surprising to hear the White Sox have apparent interest in Eovaldi, as they’ve publicly stated starting pitching as a team need they’ll be addressing this offseason. They have two holes in their 2019 starting rotation thanks to Michael Kopech’s recovery from Tommy John surgery and James Shields’ departure. One way or another, the White Sox will have to fill those holes, though their financial flexibility gives them the option of going with a couple one-year fill-ins and waiting for their young arms to fill out the group in 2020, or adding someone for both the short and long terms.

Eovaldi would fall into the latter category after his breakout second half and postseason with the Red Sox, who acquired him in a midseason trade with the Tampa Bay Rays. After coming to Boston, Eovaldi posted a 3.33 ERA with 48 strikeouts in 54 innings. In the playoffs, he allowed only four earned runs over six appearances totaling 22.1 innings. That postseason run was highlighted by his six innings of one-run ball in the marathon Game 3 of the World Series.

All that success in a Red Sox uniform will likely get him a nice payday this winter, and perhaps that success is why, as Cafardo reported, Eovaldi “would love to stay in Boston.”

But it is worth noting that Eovaldi’s numbers prior to last summer’s trade were not nearly as wonderful. Before he missed the 2017 season while recovering from his second Tommy John surgery, he turned in a 4.42 ERA in 84 appearances, 81 of those starts, from 2014 to 2016 with the Miami Marlins and New York Yankees. His 8.2 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9 were good showings in 2018, but during that three-season stretch, those numbers were 6.8 and 2.5, respectively.

With Eovaldi coming off a career season, however — a season that saw him throw harder than he has at any other point in his career, a Tommy John success story — it’s no shock that interest in high around the league. As is the case with any top free agent, the rebuilding White Sox would likely have to get Eovaldi to buy into planned long-term success versus the ability to win multiple championships right now.

But they’re apparently interested, another potential example of their seeming willingness to land a big fish this offseason.