White Sox

Sox Drawer: Will White Sox see YOU at U.S. Cellular Field?

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Sox Drawer: Will White Sox see YOU at U.S. Cellular Field?

The White Sox just swept the Cubs at Wrigley Field for the first time in 13 years. Theyre back to .500 for the season. Despite the dire predictions of just about everyone with a baseball column, radio show or Twitter account, theyre actually in the A.L. Central race (2.5 games behind Cleveland, a half game ahead of Detroit).

Adam Dunn is back. So is Jake Peavy and Alex Rios. A.J. Pierzynski is having a career-season. Gordon Beckham has started to hit. Dayan Viciedo is crushing the ball, and did so in the pressure-packed clean-up spot over the weekend. Alejandro De Aza has been the perfect lead-off hitter to open a game. Addison Reed looks like the right guy to close them.

And Tuesday night when the White Sox return to the South Side, Paul Konerko is expected back in the lineup after taking a baseball to the face. The Captain can see, but when he takes the field, the next question is this:

Will he see you?

Something has been missing from home White Sox games this season.

The fans.

Where have you been?

Definitely not at U.S. Cellular Field. It's been a ghost town for the first quarter of the season, with an average attendance of just 20,295, fourth lowest in the majors; ahead of only Seattle, Oakland, and Cleveland.

The White Sox have had a show-me fan base for years, and theres nothing wrong with that. If youre willing to pay the money to watch the team play, you deserve a good product on the field. The failure of 2011 created a ton of wounds to the moral of White Sox fans, and it hit the front office right between the eyes to the tune of 32 million being slashed from the payroll.

Throw in the putrid weather this spring, and the Sox 7-12 record at home (worst in the American League), and you probably made the right decision to stay away.

This summer might be a different story.

Things are happening with this White Sox team. Little things like stealing bases, throwing out runners, hitting cut-off men. And big things too -- Philip Humber throwing a perfect game, Peavy pitching like a Cy Young candidate, Dunn hitting baseballs to Mars.

And the best part: they havent even gotten hot yet. This could be the start.

We havent really clicked on all cylinders by any means, said Peavy, whos now 5-1 with a 2.39 ERA. We are starting to pitch well, watching Johnny (Danks) get back to doing what hes doing, Phil (Humber) bouncing back and having some good starts here. If they can keep going on the right track with the guys swinging the bats the way they have the last few days, we should be able to play a little more consistently.

Playing inside a noisy ballpark like Wrigley Field seemed to help. The White Sox fed off that energy and put on a show.

Its always fun to beat the Cubs, Peavy said. It was a great atmosphere. We had a good showing over here at Wrigley with the Sox fans wearing black. It was a lot of fun.

Tuesday the last-place Twins come to town. Why not kick them when theyre down? Then its the first-place Indians for a three-game series this weekend. Ive checked the weather forecast. High are expected in the 70s and 80s all week with little or no rain.

The White Sox seem poised to make a move.

Will you?

Are the White Sox about to sign Marcell Ozuna or not?

Are the White Sox about to sign Marcell Ozuna or not?

Depending on which report you choose to believe, the White Sox could be on the verge of filling the void in their outfield with one of the bigger names on this winter’s free-agent market.

Dominican reporter Frank Castillo tweeted Saturday that the White Sox will sign Marcell Ozuna, planning to announce the free-agent deal Monday.

Well, that was followed up by a report from The Score’s Bruce Levine, who said the White Sox are not about to sign Ozuna.

So there’s that.

The White Sox were connected to Ozuna earlier this offseason, as well as more recently, with MLB.com’s Jon Morosi writing last week that the team had interest in Japanese import Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, but were waiting to hear on the decisions of Ozuna and fellow free agent Nicholas Castellanos first.

Ozuna turned heads with his fantastic 2017 season for the Miami Marlins, when he slashed .312/.376/.548 with 37 homers and 124 RBIs. Since being dealt to the St. Louis Cardinals, Ozuna hit .263/.327/.452 with 52 homers and 177 RBIs in two seasons.

The White Sox have a pressing need in right field, making it little surprise that they’ve been tied to numerous options, including Ozuna, Castellanos and Joc Pederson. Ozuna, though, exclusively played left field in St. Louis. Were the White Sox to add him, would they insist he play right field? They’ve expressed little to no interest in moving Eloy Jimenez out of left field.

It’s rumor season, and there should be plenty more of them with the Winter Meetings starting Monday in San Diego. The White Sox are expected to continue the aggressive approach they’ve displayed already this winter with the signing of Yasmani Grandal and their reported high bid to Zack Wheeler, who took less money to pitch for the Philadelphia Phillies.

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2020 NFL Draft: Bears land CB, OT in 7-round mock draft

2020 NFL Draft: Bears land CB, OT in 7-round mock draft

The 2019 NFL season is in its final quarter, and with the Bears essentially needing to win-out while also getting some help around the league to make the playoffs, it's important to keep track of the trending NFL Draft narrative building around this team.

The funny thing, however, is that that narrative continues to change.

Just a few weeks ago, the Bears were considered a team that would potentially dip into the pool of quarterback prospects in the early second round, but with the emergence of Mitch Trubisky (he's thrown for 582 yards and six touchdowns in the last two games alone), it appears less likely that GM Ryan Pace will use one of his few draft assets on one.

Tight end was also considered a target for the Bears in the second round, and that could remain the case as the season marches on. But Jesper Horsted is beginning to look like a legitimate sleeper to emerge as part of the answer at such a critical position in coach Matt Nagy's offense.

So where does that leave this team's hierarchy of draft needs as the offseason inches closer? 

According to CBS Sports' new seven-round mock draft, the first two positions the Bears will address with their two second-round picks are cornerback and offensive tackle. In this mock, Chicago grabs TCU corner Jeff Gladney (No. 49 overall) and Iowa offensive tackle Alaris Jackson (No. 50 overall).

Gladney will participate in this year's Senior Bowl at the end of January after a standout career with the Horned Frogs. He was rated the No. 1 cornerback in the Big 12 by Pro Football Focus in 2018 and has been solid once again this season, although he's managed just one interception on the year. 

At 6-foot, 183 pounds, Gladney has an NFL frame and the kind of high-end coverage skills the Bears should be looking to add to the roster. Prince Amukamara's contract expires at the end of next season, and drafting a player like Gladney, combined with 2019 sixth-round pick Dukey Shelley, would strengthen the team's pipeline of young cornerbacks who will eventually be called upon to play.

Jackson, who the Bears take with their second second-rounder in this scenario, suffered an early-season knee injury but returned to earn Third Team All-Big 10 honors this year.

Jackson combined with Tristan Wirfs to give Iowa one of the best offensive tackle duos in college football, but Jackson offers a little less upside on the edge moving forward. Still, the Bears have suffered from underwhelming offensive line play all season and won't hesitate to add a player with Jackson's pedigree early in this year's draft.

As for the rest of the Bears' draft haul, here are some highlights:

Round 4 (projected compensatory pick): Colby Parkinson, TE, Stanford

Parkinson began the 2019 season with some chatter that suggested he'd end the year as the top tight end in the class. And while he ended the season with 48 catches for 589 yards and a touchdown, it wasn't quite the production expected from a player who was supposed to be the next in the long line of promising Stanford tight ends. 

Parkinson's underwhelming season could be the Bears' gain, however. The best part of his game is his ability as a receiver, which is what Chicago is missing most from its offense right now. If he slides into Day 3 and the Bears end up with a compensatory pick in this range, he'd certainly be a viable target.

Round 5 (from Eagles): K.J. Costello, QB, Stanford

Why not tap into the Stanford program twice on Day 3? This time, the Bears go with the guy who was throwing passes to Parkinson. Costello is a solid Day-3 quarterback prospect who has some physical limitations and an awkward throwing motion, but it's critical that Pace adds a developmental passer to the roster even if it's just to become a long-term backup for Trubisky (assuming Trubisky keeps the job).

Costello's been injured all season and was limited to just five games in what was supposed to be a senior year that put him in the first-round conversation. Instead, he'll slide into the third day (at least, he should). He'd make a lot of sense for the Bears, especially from a public relations standpoint. He isn't quite good enough to legitimately challenge Trubisky in 2020, but he has enough talent to potentially develop into a respectable starter down the road.

Round 7: Tucker McCann (K, Missouri)

Kicker alert! Would the Bears dare using a draft pick on a kicker? It seems highly unlikely, especially since Eddy Pineiro is beginning to play better. He's made all of his field-goal attempts during Chicago's three-game winning streak.

That said, Pineiro is connecting on just 76% of his kicks this season, which ranks 25th in the NFL. Not good.

Pace is a pretty loyal guy, and with Pineiro kicking under some of the most intense pressure of any kicking situation in the NFL, one could argue he's weathered the storm pretty well.

The next three games will determine whether Pineiro's roster spot is safe in 2020. If he remains hot, he'll be back. It's as simple as that.

Here is the total Bears' mock draft:

Round 2: Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
Round 2: Alaric Jackson, OL, Iowa
Round 4: Colby Parkinson, TE, Stanford
Round 5: K.J. Costello, QB, Stanford
Round 5: Larrell Murchison, DL, NC State
Round 5: Kalija Lipscomb, WR, Vanderbilt
Round 6: Tyler Higby, G, Michigan State
Round 7: Tucker McCann, K, Missouri

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