Bears

Williams still looking to add before trade deadline expires

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Williams still looking to add before trade deadline expires

MINNEAPOLIS -- White Sox general manager Kenny Williams was succinct when asked Sunday afternoon if he might possibly make any more trades.

Yes, Williams said without offering anything else.

Even after a wild five-week period where Williams completed trades, which brought Kevin Youkilis, Brett Myers and Francisco Liriano to the White Sox, the veteran GM will continue to try and find ways to further improve his first-place team.

While there are only precious hours remaining before Tuesdays 3 p.m. nonwaiver trade deadline, Williams has plenty of time to make deals. Clubs can also acquire players who have passed through waivers before Aug. 31 and still use them in the postseason.

So with upgrades already made at third base and in the setup role, and Liriano in to bolster a young rotation, where else might the White Sox try to improve the roster? Heres a look at several possible positions:

Middle infield: With Eduardo Escobar gone in the deal for Liriano, the White Sox promoted veteran Ray Olmedo, 31, to the roster. Olmedo has 899 minor-league appearances at shortstop, where he has a .952 fielding percentage in 14 seasons. Olmedo also hasnt been in the majors since 2007, which could make him a temporary fix as Williams looks for a better solution.

Left-handed reliever: Currently the role of left-handed specialist belongs to rookie Leyson Septimo, who has all of 8 13 innings pitched in the majors. Left-handed hitters are just 2-for-16 this season against Septimo, who also only allowed four hits in 42 at-bats to lefties in the minors. But he is susceptible to walks -- he has issued four -- and had a difficult outing against all left-handers in Boston, where Adrian Gonzalez hit a three-run homer off him after he walked Carl Crawford and David Ortiz.

Veteran Matt Thornton has limited lefties to a .230 average over his career, but theyre hitting .256 against him this season, which may prompt Williams to add an arm.

Fourth outfielder: Jordan Danks has proven to be a capable defender who can play all three spots in the outfield. Danks 1.2 Ultimate Zone Rating -- a metric which measures how many runs he saves over the average defender at a position -- shows he has contributed in limited playing time. He also has 11 hits in 35 at-bats and can run, as evidenced by 18 steals at Triple-A Charlotte in 2011. But Williams may again prefer a veteran who could fill in if any of his starters are lost to injury.

The White Sox players are happy with the way their roster is currently constructed. The team feeds off a strong core of veteran players. Chemistry is strong this season and players have found a way to brush off bad times and never get too high when things have gone well. But even if Williams adds to the mix and alters the roster, the White Sox are confident they can handle another change or two.

Well welcome anybody at any time and Kenny knows that, pitcher Jake Peavy said. We feel very good about our chemistry we have in this clubhouse and are not in any way concerned about any move Kenny would make affecting that. Weve got a core group of guys who will keep each other going in the right direction.

Are expectations too high for Bears WR Allen Robinson?

Are expectations too high for Bears WR Allen Robinson?

Allen Robinson was signed in free agency to become the alpha dog of the Chicago Bears' wide receiver corps. The three-year, $42 million contract that general manager Ryan Pace signed him to is proof of how high expectations are for the fifth-year pro.

Robinson isn't coming to Chicago with a flawless resume, however. His massive breakout year in 2015 (1,400 yards, 14 touchdowns) was followed by a pedestrian 883 yards in 2016 and a torn ACL in Week 1 last year. That begs the question: Is the forecast for Robinson's impact in 2018 too high right now?

According to Bleacher Report's Doug Farrar, the answer is yes. Robinson was named as the Bear most likely to disappoint this season.

Robinson practiced for the first time since the injury during the Bears' May minicamp, but it's safe to say Chicago isn't sure what it has in Robinson. If he gets back to his 2015 numbers, that would be huge for the Bears' passing offense, but given his 2016 regression and the specter of the 2017 injury, that's a tough bet.

Robinson will have an impact that goes beyond the traditional box score, and it will happen this season. Is he a lock to reach 1,000 yards and double-digit touchdowns? No, but his presence on the field will be enough to see a return on investment. The Bears haven't had the kind of threat he poses to defenses in several seasons, and his ability to pull a defensive coordinator's attention away from the running game will do wonders for Chicago's offensive output.

Determining whether Robinson is a disappointment in 2018 will depend on who's evaluating his season. Sure, he may disappoint in fantasy football circles if he doesn't re-emerge as a game-changing stat monster. But if he makes the Bears offense a more well-rounded and productive group, he'll live up to the expectations set by Pace and coach Matt Nagy.

As long as Robinson is pleasing Pace and Nagy, nothing else really matters.

Carlos Rodon's first win in 10 months showed he could still be the ace of the future for White Sox

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USA TODAY

Carlos Rodon's first win in 10 months showed he could still be the ace of the future for White Sox

As encouraging as the reports are on many of the White Sox’s minor-league pitching prospects, Carlos Rodon’s effort against the Athletics on Sunday at Guaranteed Rate Field could prove just as significant to the rebuild on the South Side.

Looking much like the ace the Sox envisioned prior to Rodon’s rough 2017 season that ended with shoulder surgery, the left-hander put together his most successful effort of ’18 during a 10-3 drubbing of the Athletics before a sun-drenched crowd of 21,908.

Making his fourth start of the season, Rodon matched a career-high by going eight innings. He yielded two runs on seven hits with no walks and three strikeouts. Rodon earned his first win of the season to help the Sox salvage a split of the four-game series.

“I felt good today—a lot of strikes,” Rodon said. “It was good to go eight and just be ahead of guys.”

Helping matters for Rodon was an offensive explosion by the Sox, led by Yoan Moncada’s career-high six RBIs. After falling behind 2-0, the Sox plated five runs in each of the fifth and sixth innings as Moncada cleared the bases with a double off the base of the wall in the fifth and launched his 10th home run of the season to drive in three more an inning later.

“Today was a great day,” Moncada said via a team interpreter. “I just went out to play the game the way that I play. Just to have fun. It was a very good game for me.”

Daniel Palka and Yolmer Sanchez also homered as the Sox won for just the second time in their last 11 games.

Rodon was the happy recipient of the run support to win his first game since Aug. 21, 2017, against the Twins. On Sunday, he threw 99 pitches, 69 for strikes and was consistently in the mid-90s with his fastball.

“I’m looking to do that every time out,” Rodon said. “Just show up and establish the strike zone with the fastball and be aggressive.”

The 25-year-old’s second-inning strikeout of Khris Davis was the 400th of Rodon’s career. It is a career that is continuing after a surgery that was a setback, but one that did not derail Rodon’s confidence that he would again pitch effectively.

“There are up-and-down days when you go through shoulder surgery or any surgery for any player,” Rodon said. “You've just got to work through it and try to make your way back. I'm here now and it’s looking up and I’m trying to get better.”

So is it reasonable to view Rodon as the future ace after all?

“You certainly can’t discount that,” manager Rick Renteria said. “He has to go out there and continue to get his feet underneath him and get through the rest of the season healthy and climbing.”

In other Sox pitching news, Renteria said starter Dylan Covey, who was removed in the fifth inning of Saturday’s game due to a hip flexor injury, “felt better” Sunday and the team will continue to monitor the right-hander’s progress.

Meanwhile, veteran Miguel Gonzalez made a rehab start for Triple-A Charlotte as he continues to recover from inflammation in his right rotator cuff. Gonzalez went three innings and allowed one hit with a walk and a strikeout. Outfielder Eloy Jimenez belted his first homer for the Knights in the game.