White Sox

Inside the Forte deal: The price was right

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Inside the Forte deal: The price was right

Forget about arguing over who won in the taffy pull between the Bears and running back Matt Forte.

The Bears four-year contract agreed to by Forte falls into that fuzzy good deal hopper on the basis that if both sides of a negotiation leave the table just a little grumpy because they didnt get what they wanted, its probably about right.

As expected, both sides budged off their guaranteed money. Forte wanted 20 million guaranteed, the Bears were holding in the range of 15 million. CSNChicago.com shared some weeks back that the key to the deal would be the Bears giving enough to let the Forte camp save face, and that would take about 17 million. That allowed both sides to rightly say that they had made a solid concession and the details proceeded from that point.

Mike Florio over at ProFootballTalk.com breaks down all of the specifics down in exacting detail and a few of the elements warrant a closer look.

The entire pact can be worth just over 30 million if Forte achieves play-based goals in the final three years of the contract. Those represent a hedge by the Bears on a running back with mounting workload mileage.

If he continues to play with the durability hes exhibited through his first four seasons (only games missed last season because of game 12 knee injury), he could potentially make 2.4 million.

The issue wasnt concern over Fortes knees; if that were in fact a problem, the Bears would not have tagged Forte in the first place nor left their offer on the table. It was about a running back who would be in years 5-8 during this contract, when durability does become an issue.

The Bears were once scalded for lavishing a contract worth (potentially) 40 million on Devin Hester when he moved full-time to wide receiver. But the deals final two years became worth 10 million each only Hester reached performance targets on the level of a No. 1 receiver.

Hester didnt so the Bears werent out the money. But the player was given a contract structure that rewarded him for hitting targets.

Such is Fortes. His roster bonuses are devices normally in place to require roster decisions in advance of free agency in this case dont commit the Bears to anything that Forte doesnt earn by being on the field.

Fortes guaranteed money is basically what the Bears would have needed to franchise-tag Forte for this year and next. CSNChicago.com was told that a second tag was never in the plans but the tag amounts here factor into a deal longer than just the two year tags wouldve covered.

If Fortes production down-spirals, the Bears are not locked into guaranteed money in years three and four, but they have bought themselves options at 5.5 million for 2014 and 6.5 million in 2015.

The Bears, negotiator Cliff Stein and GMs Jerry Angelo and now Phil Emery have written deals without funny money in later years that no one expects to see. If Forte is playing at a high level, his contract pays him accordingly.

If hes not, theres always Michael Bush.

Dylan Covey attempting to right the ship via mechanics and mentality

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USA TODAY

Dylan Covey attempting to right the ship via mechanics and mentality

It was only a couple of months ago that Dylan Covey had an earned-run average of 2.22 and was being touted as a possible future stalwart in the White Sox rotation.

Fast forward to the present, when the 27-year-old right-hander is sitting on a four-game losing skid and sports a 6.06 ERA.

So what happened?

Location, location, location.

Covey has struggled to keep the ball down in the zone and has paid the price as hitters are teeing off on the high offerings.

“I just kind of got away from trying to keep the ball down in the zone and have that be my main focus,” Covey said. “Sometimes when I’m up in the zone I’m trying to be up there, but I need to get back to my bread and butter, which is pretty much being down in the zone with everything.”

The issues have been a combination of mechanics and mentality, according to Covey.

“Having good mechanics will lead to getting the ball down into the zone but more so it’s having the focus be down in the zone,” he said.

Covey’s next attempt to right the ship will be Saturday when he’s scheduled to pitch against the Royals at Guaranteed Rate Field. Despite his struggles, which include a 1-6 record and 7.71 ERA in his last seven starts, manager Rick Renteria has continued to give Covey the ball.

“I’ve kind of been given the luxury to have a couple of opportunities and I appreciate that,” Covey said. “They see me work and they see the stuff that I have. When I can harness it and get control of it, it can be pretty good.”

Renteria said the Sox are “confident and hopeful” that Covey can turn things around.

“In real terms, he’s the one that's got to do it,” Renteria added. “He’s worked and gained a lot of experience and knowledge and had some successes this year that I think will bode well for him. Getting it down, for him is really, really important because the ball has a lot of tremendous action below the zone. We need him to do that in order to be effective and we believe he will continue to progress in that regard.”

Covey said that a stretch from May 23-June 13 when he went 4-0 with a 1.53 ERA gave him the confidence he needs to get through this difficult stretch.

“I’ve seen it this year--I’ve had the success,” Covey said. “When things are working for me I know I can be a really good pitcher. I just need to limit the mistakes and then learn to make an adjustment sooner rather than later.”

With about six weeks remaining in the Sox’s season, Covey plans to use his opportunities on the mound to secure a place on the 2019 roster.

“That’s where a lot of guys on this team are,” Covey said. “Obviously, we want to win games right now but for me, I want to finish this season strong and get some momentum going into next year and leave off on a good note. Just to have that feeling of, ‘OK, this is what I did last year and how I finished and let’s just carry on from there and pick it up from where I left off.’”

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Should Roquan Smith make his debut against the Broncos?

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USA TODAY

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Should Roquan Smith make his debut against the Broncos?

Seth Gruen, Chris Emma and Matt Zahn join Kap on the panel. Jon Lester pitches like Jon Lester again and the offense does just enough to win in Pittsburgh. Jim Deshaies joins the guys to talk about the Cubs.

 

Should Roquan Smith make his preseason debut in Denver? Plus the Ohio State controversy takes a salacious turn. Will Urban Meyer keep his job when the investigation wraps up Sunday?

 

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below: