White Sox

Word on the Street: Burleson guarantees Lions win

Word on the Street: Burleson guarantees Lions win

Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010
CSNChicago.com

Nate Burleson guarantees Lions' win

Sure, the Lions will be starting their third string quarterback against a Bears defense that has been dominant as of late, but that hasn't phased Nate Burleson. Burleson has guaranteed a Lions win over the surging 8-3 Bears.

"Yeah, I said we're going to win," Burleson said. "I am not saying the Chicago Bears aren't good, they are a very good football team. They can take this as bulletin board material if they want, but we play to win the game." (The Detroit News)

Jordan, UCF upset No. 18 Florida

Marcus Jordan, son of NBA-legend Michael Jordan, led the University of Central Florida to an impressive 57-54 upset of the No. 18 Flordia Gators on Wednesday. Jordan scored 18 points on 6 of 11 from the field and played tight defense, shutting down Florida's big scorers. (Orlando Sentinel)

Sox prospect Phegley recovering after surgery

White Sox catching prospect Josh Phegley is reportedly making a strong recovery after having his spleen removed on Nov. 5 in Chicago. Phegley suffers from Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), a condition that results in low blood platelets. The Sox's medical staff consulted with several experts who concluded that the surgery was Phegley's best chance to overcome the condition.

Since the surgery, Phegley has returned to working out and says his platelet counts are "real good." (ChicagoBreakingSports)

Lions' Stanton less than fond of Martz

Detroit Lions quarterback Drew Stanton, who will start this Sunday against the Bears, spent the early years of his career with Mike Martz as his offensive coordinator during Martz's time in Detroit. And while Martz may be known by many around the league as an offensive genius, Stanton was apparently less than impressed.

Stanton says Martz attempted to change his throwing motion, an endeavor that left both men frustrated.

"Obviously, with some of the stuff that he was doing with my mechanics and what-not just wasn't natural for me," said Stanton. Asked if he retained any fundamental changes from his time with Martz, Stanton said "Not a single one." (Mlive.com)

Forbes: Blackhawks seventh most valuable NHL team

After winning the Stanley Cup championship last year, the Blackhawks were forced to cut salaries to keep themselves within the boundaries of the NHL salary cap. However, the rest of their financial operation seems to be doing quite well. Forbes magazine listed the Blackhawks as the seventh most valuable team in the NHL, worth 300 million dollars - a 16 percent increase over last year's value.

The Hawks are still far behind the NHL's most valuable team, the Toronto Maple leafs, who are valued at 505 million. (ChicagoBreakingSports)
Favre to retire after this season... No, really

Apparently it's that time of year again. No, not the holiday season; it's time for Brett Favre's yearly retirement. This time, he says, it's for real. He told the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Wednesday that he feels like he's accomplished everything he could possibly accomplish in his career and this time he's done for good.

Asked if he had any second thoughts, Favre said, "I'm done, I'm done." (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

'85 Bears a "failed dynasty?"

After the Bears' nearly-perfect 1985 Super Bowl season it seemed as though the Bears were a blossoming dynasty. They had it all; a shut-down defense, a great coach, and one of the greatest running back's of all time. Unfortunately, that never happened. Just three years later they found themselves dominated 28-3 by the San Francisco 49ers in a frigid NFC title game at Soldier Field.

This disappointing fall from greatness earned the Bears the No. 5 spot on Sports Illustrated's Top 10 Failed Dynasties list. (ChicagoBreakingSports)

Rose named Bulls player of the month

Derrick Rose and the Bulls are fresh off their first successful west-coast circus trip since the final season His Airness was in Chicago, and Rose is being rewarded for his leadership on the trip. On Wednesday he was named the team's player of the month for November.

The NBA will announce the league's player of the month on Friday and Rose has a great shot at that award as well. He averaged 26.6 points, 8.2 assists, and 4.6 rebounds during the month of November. (ChicagoBreakingSports)

Will the White Sox make a big splash at the Winter Meetings?

1112_rick_hahn.jpg
AP

Will the White Sox make a big splash at the Winter Meetings?

SAN DIEGO — At the GM meetings last month in Arizona, White Sox vice president Kenny Williams teased that the team was going to do more business than usual.

We found out later that the White Sox met with Yasmani Grandal while out in the desert. And when the free-agent catcher got the richest deal in club history the following week, it was a sign the White Sox were serious about their intent to be aggressive and make some big splashes this winter ahead of a possible transition from rebuilding to contending in 2020.

The Grandal signing earned nothing short of rave reviews, but there’s still an awful lot on the to-do list for general manager Rick Hahn and his front office as the Winter Meetings get going here in Southern California. The White Sox have designs on adding a pair of starting pitchers to their rotation and landing an everyday right fielder. An everyday-type DH could also be in the cards, though Grandal’s arrival has at least provided a more realistic internal option in the form of a multi-player rotation. Bullpen help is never turned away.

Much of that could be addressed this week, with ample opportunities to cross those items off the list, even if in less headline-grabbing style. You’ll remember back to last year’s Winter Meetings, when the White Sox filled a hole in their rotation by trading for Ivan Nova.

But with no disrespect to Mr. Nova, most fans are waiting for a much bigger splash.

It’s what the White Sox tried to get done before they flew out to the West Coast. Just last week they reportedly made the highest bid in the Zack Wheeler sweepstakes, only for the 29-year-old free agent to take less money to play for the Philadelphia Phillies. Cries of “here we go again” from the fan base — still stinging from the way things played out with Manny Machado a winter ago — were quickly quelled by the financial details, and it sure seems there aren’t any more excuses for anyone to stick to the old talking point that the White Sox are unwilling or unable to spend. Wheeler’s deal, had he accepted it, would have broken Grandal’s weeks-old record for the most expensive contract in club history.

So will someone else actually take the White Sox money this week?

Certainly the possibilities are out there. Still searching for starting pitching, the White Sox could turn to Madison Bumgarner, who they’ve been connected to since Wheeler’s decision. The 30-year-old three-time World Series champ could play a Jon Lester type role in a different Chicago rebuild. Though plenty have expressed concerns over what effect his 1,948.1 combined regular-season and postseason innings will have moving forward. There are reasons to be skeptical, just as there are reasons to be optimistic.

If the White Sox don’t want to play at the tippy top of the starting-pitching market — they haven’t been heavily linked to either Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg — then Bumgarner is the biggest free-agent pitching splash out there. Hyun-Jin Ryu and Dallas Keuchel are in a similar strata of this free-agent market, but perhaps neither would generate quite as much buzz as arguably the greatest pitcher in World Series history.

The White Sox could also get splashy in their quest to fill the vacancy in right field. Nicholas Castellanos and Marcell Ozuna are the two biggest names on the free-agent outfield market, and either would slot into the middle of the White Sox order. Neither would make for an ideal defensive selection, considering Castellanos’ ugly defensive stats in right field (which might exaggerate that reputation) and the fact that Ozuna is a left fielder who didn’t play a lick of right during his two years with the St. Louis Cardinals. Both, however, could make a big offensive impact. Ozuna had a ludicrously good season playing for the Miami Marlins in 2017, while the White Sox are plenty familiar with what Castellanos can do after he bludgeoned them in recent seasons with the division-rival Detroit Tigers.

The White Sox could potentially go off the board and chase someone outside of their stated positional needs, Hahn leaving everything on the table when he discussed his offseason approach at length last month. But neither paying a huge sum for Anthony Rendon nor coughing up prospects for Mookie Betts seems too likely at the moment. The fun thing about the Winter Meetings, though, is what seems likely or unlikely can change in an instant.

Speaking of trades, while Hahn signaled the White Sox have little interest in dealing their prized prospects for short-term gain, that market could provide opportunities for heretofore unmentioned splashes. Who knows if the White Sox have any interest in the biggest names being speculated about — Betts, Francisco Lindor, Kris Bryant, etc. — but they’ve reportedly been chatting with the Los Angeles Dodgers about Joc Pederson. After supposedly trying and failing to get him in a trade last winter, his arrival on the South Side would probably be splashy enough, considering he had a career year at the dish in 2019 that included 36 home runs.

After last year’s Machado and Bryce Harper bonanzas, expectations have been raised. After the collective breakout of so many of the White Sox core players in 2019, expectations have been raised. The White Sox seem to have the ingredients to make their long-awaited transition from rebuilding to contending in 2020. Money allocated for free agents is one of those ingredients. While there’s more than one way to build a championship roster, including leaning heavily on the wealth of young talent already in the White Sox possession, those raised expectations have fans craving a splash.

So will the White Sox cannonball into the Pacific Ocean this week? Stay tuned.

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Bears' wild-card chances eroding after Week 14's results

Bears' wild-card chances eroding after Week 14's results

The Bears did their part to keep hope alive for a playoff berth in Week 14, defeating the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday night and moving to 7-6 on the season. Unfortunately, they didn't get the help they needed around the league to enter Week 15's game against the Green Bay Packers with legitimate post-season juice.

The Minnesota Vikings, who currently hold the final NFC wild card that the Bears are chasing, handled their business against the Detroit Lions with their 20-7 victory in a game that was never close. Now 9-4, the Vikings' have a two-game lead over the Bears with one head-to-head matchup remaining in Week 17. Chicago needs to defeat Minnesota in the season finale and hope the Vikings lose one of their other two remaining games against the Chargers and Packers. Otherwise, it's on to 2020.

The bigger blow to the Bears' playoff hopes came in Los Angeles, where the Rams moved to 8-5 with their 28-12 victory over the Seattle Seahawks. This was a game Chicago needed the Rams to lose, considering they hold the head-to-head tie-breaker and play only one more game on their schedule that seems like a likely loss (49ers in Week 16). Los Angeles' other two games are against the struggling Cowboys and lowly Cardinals, and if they win both and end the year with the same record as the Bears, they'll have the advantage because of Chicago's loss in Week 11.

So what does all this mean? Week 14's results have the Bears' chances to make the playoffs at just 2%, according to FiveThirtyEight.  Essentially, nothing's changed, even after a win. Football Insiders is a little more optimistic; they have Chicago's chances at 4.4%.

Sunday's game against the Packers has meaning. The Bears are still alive, and a victory in Green Bay coupled with some upset losses by the Vikings and Rams could change the playoff picture quite a bit. If both Minnesota and Los Angeles lose, Chicago's playoff chances jump to 14%, per the New York Times' playoff predictor.

One game at a time. It's a mantra that's worked for the Bears over the last month of the season, and one they'll continue to preach until there's nothing left to play for.

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