Bears

Word on the Street: Quentin on the trade block?

Word on the Street: Quentin on the trade block?

Friday, Dec. 10, 2010
CSNChicago.com

Quentin on the trade block?

Amidst a flurry of moves, the White Sox are looking to continue their busy offseason by actively searching for takers for the services of veteran outfielder Carlos Quentin.

After signing Adam Dunn and re-signing team leaders Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski, the Sox are now searching for at least one reliever and dangling Quentin as trade bait. Philadelphia is said to be interested, but right now, the Sox are asking for too much according to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. (MLBTradeRumors.com)

Pujols to the Cubs?

Maybe it's not as crazy as it seems. Kevin Baumer of Business Insider's Sports Page believes Albert Pujols signing with the Chicago Cubs is not out of the realm of possibility. If Pujols doesn't sign an extension, his contract will expire after the '11 season and in free agency, Baumer feels the Cubs have the best chance of throwing the most money at him. As he says, a lot of the big market teams (Boston, Yankees, White Sox, Phillies) each have extremely expensive options at first base locked in for a couple of years at least, which leaves the Cubs as one of the best suitors to give the superstar "Alex Rodriguez money". (BusinessInsider.com)
Buehrle a hero

Veteran White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle has agreed to pay all the veterinary costs for a dog found with an arrow through its abdomen Thursday in Alton, Ill. The dog's owners were tracked down, but they had no way of paying off the estimated 2,400 in veterinary bills. Buehrle, being the big dog lover that he is, caught wind of it and agreed to pay all expenses. (Riverfront Times)

Patriots without big tackler Sunday

The New England Patriots are already going to be playing the Chicago Bears in frigid and snowy conditions Sunday, conditions conducive for running the football. But, now they are going to have to try to defend one of the NFL's hottest teams without one of their leading tacklers.

Linebacker Brandon Spikes has been suspended for the remainder of the regular season for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances. Spikes, a rookie, is the Patriots' second-leading tackler. (Chicago Tribune)

Crawford closing in on record

Blackhawks fans know goaltender Corey Crawford has been on a hot streak lately, but just how hot is almost shocking. The 25-year-old rookie has won seven consecutive decisions and one more would tie him with Denis DeJordy for the Blackhawks' longest win streak for a rookie goalie.

Crawford gets the start Saturday night against the San Jose Sharks. CSN's coverage begins at 9:30. (CSNChicago.com)

Lions end fined for hit on Cutler

Detroit Lions defensive end Cliff Avril was fined 15,000 for his roughing the passer penalty on Jay Cutler in the Bears' win over the Lions on Sunday. (Chicago Tribune)

Bears to hold joint training camp practices with Broncos

Bears to hold joint training camp practices with Broncos

The Chicago Bears will reunite with former defensive coordinator Vic Fangio in Denver this summer, as word broke Monday that the Broncos will host the Bears for joint training camp practices in advance of their preseason game in August.

The Chicago Tribune's Brad Biggs confirmed the news on Twitter.

This is the second time Denver will welcome the Bears for training camp sessions. The two teams held joint practices back in 2018.

Training camp won't be the first time the Bears will see Fangio since his departure last offseason. Chicago pulled off a last-second victory over the Broncos in Week 2 of the 2019 season when kicker Eddy Pineiro booted a 53-yard game-winner with time expiring in the fourth quarter. His kick was set up by the clutch version of Mitch Trubisky, who connected on a 25-yard pass to Allen Robinson on the play before Pineiro's conversion.

Fangio left a lasting impact during his time as the Bears defensive coordinator that reached its peak in 2018 when Chicago was widely regarded as the most ferocious defense in the league. The Bears finished third in yards allowed per game and ended the season with the top run defense. Their 27 interceptions were tops in the NFL, too.

Behind a refined approach, Albert Almora Jr. is off to a hot start this spring

Behind a refined approach, Albert Almora Jr. is off to a hot start this spring

The Cubs have only played three spring training games, and it’s dangerous to use spring results to predict regular season successes/failures. Still, it’s okay to acknowledge Albert Almora Jr.’s hot start in camp.

In two games, Almora is 4-for-4 with a walk, double, home run, four RBIs, and four runs scored. That line is essentially equivalent to a single game in the regular season and could be turned upside down by the end of the week. But it’s a start for the 25-year-old who’s struggled immensely at the plate for the last season-and-a-half at the plate.

In his last 177 games (dating back to the second half of 2018), Almora holds a .235/.270/.347 slash line. The advanced stats paint an uglier picture: 58 wRC+, .261 wOBA and 52.2 percent groundball rate.

Last season was the most challenging of Almora’s young career. He hit .236/.271/.381 in 130 games with a 64 wRC+, .271 wOBA, -0.7 fWAR (all career worsts). On top of that, he was involved in a heartbreaking moment early in the season; an Almora foul ball struck a young girl at Minute Maid Park during a Cubs-Astros game in May.

Almora recently refused to blame his 2019 offensive woes on that incident, though it obviously played a part. He did admit he was in a bad place mentally and used this winter to decompress. Almora also used it to make some adjustments to his swing and the changes are clear as day:

Pre-2020:

2020:

As MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian notes, Almora is now more upright in the box and his stance is more closed. His leg kick is less defined, and he’s rotating his front leg far less than previous seasons. In short, he’s more direct to his swing and has more time to react in the box because he cut out a lot of his pre-swing movements.

Almora said Monday he’s far from where he wants to be, pointing out the MLB season is a 200-day marathon. It’s too early to tell whether his simplified approach leads to sustainable success.

Small sample size be damned, Almora’s made noticeable adjustments. That’s the first step in his mission to get back on track offensively.

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