Cubs

Word on the Street: Putz headed to Arizona

Word on the Street: Putz headed to Arizona

Monday, Dec. 6, 2010
CSNChicago.com

Putz headed to Arizona

J.J. Putz provided a veteran presence to the White Sox' bullpen last season, but this year, he is reportedly taking his talents to Arizona to pitch for the Diamondbacks. Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com tweeted out Monday evening that Putz signed a two-year deal with the Diamondbacks with a club option, pending a physical. (Twitter.comKen Rosenthal)
Cubs inquire about Loney

The Cubs have reportedly inquired about Los Angeles Dodgers left-handed first baseman James Loney. Loney, who will be 27 next season, is coming off the worst year of his young career. He hit .267 with 10 home runs and 88 RBIs in 2010. His career batting average is .288 with a .348 OBP and .436 SLG. (LA Times)

Reinsdorf planning informal talk with Konerko

White Sox board chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said he would talk with the agent for Paul Konerko on Monday morning, but only informally and that assistant general manager Rick Hahn would take over negotiations.

Konerko made 12 million last season and finished fifth in American League MVP voting, which would likely get him a raise. Rumors have him ultimately settling for about 13 million for each of two or three years.

Hahn is the chief negotiator when it comes to contracts for the Sox. In fact, a last-minute phone call kept A. J. Pierzynski from signing last week with another team, presumably the Dodgers. A creative deal quickly was worked out to bring back Pierzynski, one paying him 2 million next season and 6 million in 2012.

That could help free up the money to sign Konerko, something that could happen this week at the winter meetings," (ChicagoBreakingSports).

Kane injury 'not real serious.'

Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane will probably "be out for a little bit," according to coach Joel Quenneville, after sustaining what appeared to be a left-leg injury early in Sunday night's game against the Calgary Flames.

Quenneville wouldn't put a definitive amount of time on how long Kane would be out, other than to say he'd be out for "a bit" and that the injury was "not real serious," (CSNChicago.com).

Notre Dame will meet Miami in Sun Bowl

Notre Dame and Miami have accepted invitations to meet in the Sun Bowl on Dec. 31, giving the game a marquee matchup between two teams with plenty of history.

Both teams will take 7-5 records into the 77th annual game.

The game will mark the 24th meeting between the schools, but the first since 1990. It was announced in July that the schools were renewing their spirited and often fierce regular-season series with three games beginning in 2012 at Soldier Field in Chicago.

Notre Dame leads the all-time series 15-7-1, though the two schools have never met in a bowl, (Associated Press).

Gillick elected to Hall of Fame

Pat Gillick, whose teams won three World Series, was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Expansion Era committee Monday at baseball's winter meetings.

Gillick was general manager of the Blue Jays, Orioles, Mariners and Phillies, besides being in the front offices with the Astros and Yankees, (ChicagoBreakingSports).

Chili Davis after being ousted by Cubs: 'There were multiple players in there I didn't connect with'

Chili Davis after being ousted by Cubs: 'There were multiple players in there I didn't connect with'

Chili Davis didn't go all scorched earth on the Cubs in a recent interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, but he had quite a lot to say after being ousted by the organization after just one year as the hitting coach.

The Cubs made Davis the scapegoat for an offense that faded down the stretch, struggling for the entire second half and scoring just 1 run in three of the final four games of the year.

When he was hired a year ago, Theo Epstein and Joe Maddon talked up Davis' impressive resume that includes a 19-year MLB career, two separate stints as a successful hitting coach with the Oakland A's and Boston Red Sox and a philosophy that they hoped would withstand the test of time in the game today, preaching more contact and using the opposite field.

Throughout the 2018 season, Maddon often commended Davis for his ability to communicate with players, particularly in the area of mental approach to each at-bat.

Now that the dust has settled a bit on his firing, Davis felt he had some issues getting through to some Cubs players.

I learned a lot this year," Davis told the Sun-Times' Gordon Wittenmyer. "I learned that the next situation I get in, before I say yes to a job, I need to make sure I know the personnel I'll be dealing with in the clubhouse. I hope the next guy connects better with the players, because I felt that there were multiple players there I didn't connect with. It wasn't that I didn't try; it just wasn't there.

The Cubs hired Anthony Iapoce as their new hitting coach Monday afternoon. Iapoce comes over from the Rangers and has a direct link to John Mallee, who was the Cubs' hitting coach for three seasons before being let go when Davis became available last winter. 

Iapoce also spent three seasons with the Cubs as a special assistant to the GM, overseeing the organization's minor-league hitting from 2013-15. Presumably, he found a way over those years to connect with the Cubs' top young hitting prospects — guys like Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber and Willson Contreras that are now leading the big-league lineup.

Hopefully he has better success at this than I did," Davis said of Iapoce in the Sun-Times article. "But regardless of who's there, certain players there are going to have to make some adjustments because the game's changed and pitchers are pitching them differently. They're not pitching to launch angles and fly balls and all that anymore. They're pitching away from that. They're going to have to make that adjustment whether I'm there or not.

Davis had a whole lot more to say on the matter and I encourage you to read the full interview with Wittenmyer over at ChicagoSunTimes.com.

A healthy Bryant very likely could've changed everything for Davis and the Cubs' 2018 lineup. Contreras hitting like he's capable of in the second half would've made a huge difference, as well.

But the end result is a finish to the 2018 campaign that was viewed universally as a disappointment — particularly in the offensive department — and the Cubs are left with their third different hitting coach in three seasons.

Anton Forsberg on uncertain future with Blackhawks as Corey Crawford nears return

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USA TODAY

Anton Forsberg on uncertain future with Blackhawks as Corey Crawford nears return

The Blackhawks are preparing for Corey Crawford to make his season debut this week after recovering from a concussion since Dec. 23, 2017, when he last made his appearance between the pipes.

That means a decision has to be made on Anton Forsberg, who's serving as the backup to Cam Ward but ranks third on the organizational depth chart in goal with a healthy Crawford. The challenging part of the situation is that Forsberg requires waivers if the Blackhawks want to try sending him down to the American Hockey League and keep him within the organization. But it's beyond his control.

"I have no idea and I don't want to think that way either,” Forsberg told NBC Sports Chicago. “I just want to be focused on getting better every day and try to work hard and put in the work, so hopefully when [my chance] comes, I've done everything I can.”

There are several layers to this, mostly questions: Can the Blackhawks find a trade partner for Forsberg? Would he clear waivers if he's put on there? And if he does, what happens to Collin Delia and Kevin Lankinen, both of whom the Blackhawks are looking to take next steps in their development?

One thing is for certain: The Blackhawks do not plan on carrying three goaltenders. But maybe that’s an option for the short term until they see how Crawford handles the load since they have a six games in nine days stretch starting on Thursday.

“Organizationally, he’s one of our group of goaltenders,” coach Joel Quenneville said of Forsberg. “That’s where it’s at. We know the importance of depth in that area is always going to get challenged over the course of a season and we know the importance of the position. We’ll see how that plays out.”

In any profession, it's hard not to think about your future when there's uncertainty regarding your position. But Forsberg is trying to block all that out, no matter how difficult it may be.

"Sometimes it is, but at the same time it's the life of hockey,” he said. “Everybody has been, at some point, in their career probably in that situation. At the end of the day, it's always about yourself and how you can get better and all that. So that's what I'm trying to do.

"I try to come in here every day with a smile on my face. Hockey is the best thing in the world, so I just try to come in here and have fun and do my job. That's it."

If Crawford is ready to return on Thursday, that probably means Forsberg will be placed on waivers Wednesday. If he does get claimed, Forsberg must be on the NHL roster for at least 10 games and/or 30 days before being eligible to go through the waiver process again. So he cannot be stashed in the minors if claimed by another team.

That means his fate really depends on whether an NHL team is in need of an everyday backup goaltender.

"I really have no idea,” Forsberg said of whether or not he believes he would get through waivers. “It all depends on the situations and other teams, where other teams like me, I don't know. I don't want to focus on it. I just want to do my best right now to be prepared for whatever happens."