Bears

Steve Stone's Mailbag: Cubs Need Run Producer

Steve Stone's Mailbag: Cubs Need Run Producer

Friday, October 9th
CSNChicago.com

Steve Stone dives into his mailbag to answer some of your questions about Alex Rios, Geovany Soto, Derrek Lee, and his picks for ALNL CY Young Awards.

Question from Sacramento, Chicago, IL: Hello Steve, what do u think Greg Walker will try to do with Alex Rios this off season? I've heard his stance is really horrible for a guy his size. I really feel bad for the guy, it seems like he is really trying out there. What can be done to fix his swing this off season?

Steve Stone: I dont think Greg Walker is going to do anything with Rios this off season. I think he will go back home to Puerto Rico. I think whatever work there is to be done will be done in spring training. The swing itself seems to be okay, but perhaps a little tweaking of the stance or the hand position as he moves down into his swing is something that Greg might want to deal with this spring. I think he will bounce back in 2010 but when he has had success with a batting style, it's hard to ask to change it. I believe in some minor tweaking instead a major overhaul will probably work the best.

Question from Bruce, Walkerton, Indiana: Hi Steve, to become more athletic and faster for next year, would someone like Nate McLouth be an answer to a Quentin, McLouth, Rios outfield? Then re-sign Podsednik as DH?

Steve Stone: Nate would certainly be a nice addition to the team but I dont think Atlanta will give him up after trading for him with the Pirates. When the White Sox inquired about him, Pittsburgh didnt want anything to do with him, which knowing the talent in the White Sox system makes me wonder about the wisdom of Neil Huntington, their new GM. As far as signing Podsednik for the DH, possibly but Ozzie said he will rotate DH's for next year. I dont think a one year contract for Podsednik would be a bad idea especially if it is incentive laden to guard against the injuries that he has suffered in the past. I think from a hitting standpoint, he had a remarkable three quarters of the season for the White Sox. When you factor in base running and defense, the total picture isnt quite as good but as a designated hitter as part of his job description, especially with a lack of a leadoff hitter that the Sox currently have, it seems like a reasonable thing to do.

Question from Charlie, Scottsdale, AZ: Geovany Soto had a tough year, but seemed to turn it around late. Do you see him as the Cubs starting catcher next season?

Steve Stone: Charlie from Scottsdale, Geovany Soto did have a rough year; as far as turning it around late, when you are hitting in the two teens, it's hard to say you turned it around. Yes I do see him as a starting catcher next year, however the Cubs have a decision to make. Either get Soto in terrific shape this offseason so he comes back and enjoys a kind of year like he did his rookie year, or let him gain as much as he wants to, suggest he hit his weight and then hope for a remarkable season. I prefer the former to the latter. The Cubs have said however that Soto didnt gain a lot of weight coming into this year which surprises me because everybody seems to believe that he looked a little more rotund after his stay at the World Baseball Classic. Im not saying that marijuana and brownies go hand in hand but I heard that sometimes, thats what happens.
Question from Lee, Chicago, IL: Derrek Lee has to be the Cubs team MVP right?

Steve Stone: Lee from Chicago, when the team doesnt go to the playoffs, there really is no reason to have a team MVP. Could they have not made it to the playoffs without Derrek Lee? I think so. Just like you could take anybody off the team and they still would not have made it to the playoffs. I believe he had a wonderful year especially when you factor in that much of the time he didnt have a lot of offensive support around him. But understand, dont assume he will have the same kind of year. Take Derrek back to his average year and you will realize like the Cubs do, you have to add one more solid run producing bat. Where have I heard that before? Oh, thats right, I heard that last year and so they added Milton Bradley and Aaron Miles for a combined total of 35 million dollars. That 35 million dollar obligation netted them for one full season; 45 runs batted in. So I suggest this year when they go out on the market to find a run producer, they actually find one who has averaged more than 50.7 runs batted in his entire career. I know this will surprise you, but Milton Bradley coming into last year averaged 50.7 runs batted in per season. He drove in 40 this year. What in the world made Jim Hendry believe that he was going to be a run producer seeing as the previous nine years he had never been one before. The irony is that when they signed Milton Bradley, less than one year ago, and I said that exact same thing, everybody said I was anti-Cub. I was a bitter former employee; that I was evaluating them for all the wrong reasons. I think it has born out over the course of the year that that particular assessment turned out to be fairly accurate. I hope Milton has a lot of luck with whatever team has the courage to take him on along with his 21 million dollars remaining in the two years he has left on his contract.
Question from Allen, Chicago, IL: Who do you think will win the ALNL Cy Young Award? Im going with Zack Greinke.

Steve Stone: Allen in Chicago I am thinking Chris Carpenter and Zach Greinke. The question is who do you have for MVP? I am thinking a tight race between Joe Mauer, Mark Teixiera and Derek Jeter. My vote would go to Derek Jeter however Joe Mauer will probably win it. In the National League, its Albert Puljos and nobodys in second place. Manager of the year, National League, Jim Tracy, Colorado Rockies. American League, Joe Girardi, New York Yankees although Ron Gardiner will probably win it. I also believe that Mike Scioscia should be in line for kudos and might sneak in there because what he had to deal with, all the injuries, the death of Adenheart and all the challenges. But in a four team division, when the other teams arent that good, it's not that difficult to win. I just think that Mike is one of the best around. Executive of the year, National League Mozeliak. St. Louis Cardinals, looking eye to eye with the Chicago Cubs, Mozeliak added Matt Halladay, Mark DeRosa, and Julio Lugo. Jim Hendry added John Grebo, Jeff Baker and Tom Gorzelanny. Enough said. American league Executive of the year its easy when you have an open checkbook and you can spend 429 million dollars but you still have to respect Bryan Cashman for the addition of CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett and Mark Teixiera. It is one thing to talk about it, as so many other teams did, its another thing to get them. Couple that with the trade for Nick Swisher, turning out to be a very good one and Brian Cashman becomes the American League executive of the year. Rookie of the year in the National League I would say Tommy Hanson of the Atlanta Braves although I am probably leaving out many good candidates but I am partial to pitchers and though I would love to say Gordon Beckham, I would say Rick Porcello of the Tigers will probably win rookie of the year. At 20 years old, what he did was absolutely remarkable.

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Puppy Pick 'Em Week 15: Chicago Bears vs Green Bay Packers in Week 15

Puppy Pick 'Em Week 15: Chicago Bears vs Green Bay Packers in Week 15

When the Bears announced their 2019 schedule, we decided to have some puppies reveal the opponents. Now, we have taken it a step further. We have a puppy that will make weekly picks for the Bears games.

It is Week 15 and it's all dairy in the studios at NBC Sports Chicago. Greek Town is famous in Chicago and if you have not had flaming cheese you have not lived. Saganaki (saga-KNOCK-ee) vs Cheddar cheese….(yawn) it is shredded...which is what the Bears are hoping to do to The Pack in Week 15.

We love going on Walter’s journey and enjoy seeing him grow up. He was hand-selected by the scouts at NBC Sports Chicago and hails from One Tail at a Time rescue. He came from a shelter in Alabama and was transported to Chicago.  At just 7 weeks old and without his mom, he beat a deadly virus and spent some time in the doggie ER, where he healed and became strong again. Now, Walter has found a home of his own and is the king of the castle.

Walter will pick the games throughout the NFL season, including the playoffs and we hope that his nose follows the scent to the Bears every week, all the way to that magical game in Miami in February. Narrated by Jason Benetti, play-by-play announcer for the White Sox.  

It is time for Puppy Pick ‘Em presented by Nissan.

To learn more: www.onetail.org

Two top-25 matchups headline High School Lites

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

Two top-25 matchups headline High School Lites

High School Lites has plenty of high school basketball action from all over the Chicagoland area this week. We have top-25 matchups in both the Public League and non-conference play in the North suburbs. Some strong South suburban teams and a classic North Shore rivalry also play out on this week's episode. 

Check out the latest edition of High School Lites at 11 p.m. on Friday night for scores and highlights from all over the area. Be sure to follow us on Twitter @NBCSPreps to get the latest scores and updates from the area's IHSA teams.

GIRLS: New Trier at Evanston, 6:00 p.m. -- A huge rivalry takes center stage on the girls side on Friday night. Evanston is one of the area's best teams as senior Jayla Turchin is player to watch. New Trier is led by Ava Zaslavsky as they won by a point when these two played for High School Lites cameras last season. The Trevians held off Maine South for a conference win to start the week.

New Trier at No. 8 Evanston 7:30 p.m. -- One of the classic area rivalries also gets played on the boys side on Friday night. New Trier (4-3, 0-1) knocked off Maine East earlier this week after falling to Lane in the Chicago Elite Classic. The Trevians own some close losses to ranked teams like Loyola and Glenbrook South as they are a dangerous team. Evanston (6-0, 1-0) earned an impressive win over Notre Dame in the Chicago Elite Classic as the junior class is full of standouts. Blake Peters and Jaylin Gibson are a strong offensive duo. Isaiah Holden is a defensive presence on the perimeter as well.

Rich Central at No. 14 Thornton, 6:00 p.m. -- Can Thornton continue its monster week following the win over No. 1 Bloom earlier in the week? The Wildcats (6-0, 3-0) have been a major story to start the season as they've gone from unranked to likely top ten in a matter of weeks. Rich Central (0-5, 0-1) will try to shake things up in the Southland by picking up its first win of the season.

No. 4 Whitney Young at No. 11 Lincoln Park, 6:30 p.m. -- Two Public League powers battle in the Red North/West here. The Dolphins (3-2, 3-0) have established a strong start in conference play as seniors D.J. Steward (Duke) and Tyler Beard are a strong backcourt. Lincoln Park (7-1, 3-0) counter with the junior perimeter of Julio Montes and Ismail Habib as they played well as sophomores. Big man Romelle Howard is a factor to watch inside for the Lions and how Whitney Young defends him.

Niles West at No. 19 Glenbrook South, 7:00 p.m. -- We catch a glimpse of unbeaten Glenbrook South (6-0, 1-0) and Player of the Year sleeper Dom Martinelli. Niles West (3-5, 1-0) lost to St. Viator earlier this week as they've lost a few close games to strong competition. The Titans will be challenged as it all begins with Martinelli. One of the area's most potent scorers will look to establish the Glenbrook South offense early as he's had more help in recent weeks.

No. 13 Notre Dame at No. 10 Loyola, 7:00 p.m. -- A huge clash of top-15 teams in non-conference play. Notre Dame (7-1, 1-0) won a huge game against Marian Catholic in ESCC play this week as Troy D'Amico and Louis Lesmond are two of the best juniors in the state. Loyola (7-0, 3-0) is off to an unbeaten start. Bennett and Jordan Kwiecinski are a pair of Division I signees at forward for the Ramblers as they should have a great matchup with Lesmond and D'Amico here.

Lincoln-Way Central at No. 16 Homewood-Flossmoor, 7:00 p.m. -- A SouthWest Suburban crossover between two teams off to solid starts. Lincoln-Way Central (5-1) lost its opener to Joliet West before running off five straight wins. The Vikings (5-1) have played a difficult schedule so far with a loss to Marian Catholic and a win over Hillcrest. Senior R.J. Ogom (College of Charleston) is one of the area's most productive forwards.

Latin vs. Parker, 7:30 p.m. at DePaul -- The Independent School League has a big rivalry matchup in Lincoln Park. Latin (3-1, 1-1) lost to Northridge in conference play earlier this week. Parker (4-4, 1-1) has two double-digit wins on the week as they try to keep the momentum rolling.

Viewers’ Choice Game of the Week

Mather at Foreman, 5 p.m. -- Our Viewers' Choice Game of the Week takes us to the North side for a Public League White-North matchup. Mather (4-5, 2-1) earned a conference win over Taft and fell to Lane in the Red division earlier this week in non-conference play. Foreman (2-3, 0-3) is trying to earn its first conference win after losing a close one to Northside earlier this week.