What CF will look like in aftermath of Byrd trade


What CF will look like in aftermath of Byrd trade

With Marlon Byrd shipped to Boston, the Cubs now have a bit of a void left in center field.

Most fans are clamoring for the organization to bring up top prospect Brett Jackson and let him start everyday. Just judging by the Cubs' 4-11 record, that would seem to make sense.

But it doesn't for a lot of other reasons, including financially and Jackson's development, as David Kaplan points out.

Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer won't rush Jackson up, so don't count on him patrolling center field at Wrigley Field until sometime this summer. The Byrd trade does ensure there will be room for Jackson in June and July, if they choose to go that route, however. With Byrd on the roster, there wasn't an opportunity for Jackson to play everyday in the majors.

While the Cubs wait for Jackson to be ready, they will go with a platoon of Tony Campana, Reed Johnson and Joe Mather in center field. All three are capable defenders out there, and Campana's speed should make the Cubs even better defensively in the outfield. Byrd was playing some great defense so far, but Campana can cover more ground.

Offensively, the Cubs will seemingly be better, given Byrd's 3-for-43 start at the plate. The crazy thing is he had an RBI single in the first game of the season, and then had just two hits the rest of the way in a Cubs uniform.

Campana won't slug the ball or draw many walks, but his speed is a huge asset both in the batter's box and on the basepaths, as his two infield singles Sunday showed.

Mather is very fundamentally sound and while he's not particularly great in any one area, he is decent across the board. He can hit for some power, show some speed in the outfield and on the bases and can work the count with some good at-bats.

Johnson's role probably won't change a whole lot. He will still likely be the fourth outfielder and spend a lot of time as a defensive replacement in left field for Alfonso Soriano late in games. He will still probably start in place of David DeJesus in right against lefties more often than not. With Byrd gone, Johnson just has more opportunity to get some at-bats.

All three guys can play all three positions in the outfield, something that will be very valuable to manager Dale Sveum.

Matt Forte makes musical debut with "In My Nikes"


Matt Forte makes musical debut with "In My Nikes"

The latest (former) athlete turned artist is none other than our very own Matt Forte!

In a video released on Thursday, Forte raps over the beat from "Dem Frachize Boyz" song "White Tee". The Forte version is aptly named "In My Nikes". And according to Forte, it is his first music video: 

The video is filled with shots of Forte looking cool in his Nike gear, spliced up with occasional highlights of him from his Bears' career.

But make no mistake, the song is not simply about Forte being more stylish than everyone else. He also takes time in the song to talk about a few of the ways that he uses Nike to help others. Forte raps "High school in need or a youth league team, just holla at ya boy and you might get 'em free/underpriveledged kid may be homeless in the street, I'ma make sure you got some shoes on your feet."

This song and video were produced without the knowledge or endorsement of Nike. 

It is not yet known if Forte has more music in the works, but he certainly seemed comfortable in "In My Nikes".

Khalil Mack was mic'd up on Monday night and you'll probably the footage

Khalil Mack was mic'd up on Monday night and you'll probably the footage

Khalil Mack was mic'd up during Monday night's win over Seattle, and lord there are so many generic motivational quotes we need to sift through here. 

If you want to watch the whole four-minute video, you can find it here.  You can also find a slightly shorter version here.  There's also this tweet: 

Mack has lots of energy, which is great. That he channels it into short bursts of generic sportstalk is hilarious. Here's a running list of the *exclusive* audio that NFL films is proud to present to us: 

00:24-00:33: Ahhh. Let's get it baby. Ahhh. Let's get it. 

01:24: It's coming. It's coming. It's coming. 

01:39: Let's go baby. Time to take the field. Let's go baby. 

01:43: I love it. Let's go baby. I love it. 


02:27: [inaudible] let's go.

02:42: Hey man, you've got to love it, brother. 

03:53: AAAHHHHHHH. let's go. 

There are some genuinely funny moments sprinkled throughout the video, though. Mack singing "I want your love, I need your love" after crushing Jeremy Lane is terrific. The way he goes back and forth with Germain Ifedi before calling his shot with a forced fumble is both great television and a mind-boggling feat of altheticism. He's clearly already a leader on defense, but also it seems like maybe doesn't know his teammates names yet? He refers to almost everyone by their numbers which is probably just a football thing but YOU NEVER KNOW. 

Khalil Mack: generational linebacker and very average mic'd up participant.