White Sox

Word on the Street: Sideshow Bobrovsky?

Word on the Street: Sideshow Bobrovsky?

Monday, April 11, 2011
CSNChicago.com

Sideshow Bobrovsky unveils new Simpsons-inspired mask

Flyers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky has found a new way to show off for the playoffs. The rookie netminder unveiled his new mask just in time for playoffs.

And his inspiration was Sideshow Bob from The Simpsons.

On the other side of the helmet, Philadelphia icon Rocky Balboa in front of the US flag raises his arms like the champion he is. (Pro Hockey Talk)

Crains Chicago Business interviews Bulls exec Steve Schanwald

Ed Sherman from Crains Chicago Business recently conducted a three-part Business of Sports video interview with Chicago Bulls Executive Vice President-Business Operations Steve Schanwald. Among the topics Sherman discusses with Schanwald include Bulls superstarNBA MVP candidate Derrick Rose, the teams on-going domination in overall league attendance, the Jordan effect and more. Plus Sherman also posted a pair articles focusing on Comcast SportsNets extremely busy spring season, along with the hyper-serving goal of SportsNet Central. (Crain's Chicago Business)
Bulls finish No. 1 in NBA Power Rankings

The Bulls clinched their 60th win of the season yesterday, and in doing so secured the top position in NBC Sports NBA Power Rankings.

They have repeatedly won with a strong defense, and have improved on the offensive end. Pro Basketball Talk believes Derrick Rose's decision-making has improved across the board. The blog also insists that the team is "legit." (Pro Basketball Talk)

Wild fire head coach

Just hours after he lead his team to a victory over the Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild head coach Todd Richards was fired. Richards was with the team for two years.

"Without question you look back, and there's always hindsight," Richards said. "Would you do some things differently? Absolutely there are some things I'd do differently, but for the most part there's not too many things I would change."

The Wild defeated the Stars 4-3 in their last regular season NHL game, boosting the Chicago Blackhawks into the playoffs. (Chicago Breaking Sports)

Father of Bulls' Noah receives death threats

The father of Bulls' center Joakim Noah, Yannick, said he was the target of death threats and racial slurs from neo-Nazis before playing a concert in France.

According to a French newspaper, the former tennis star turned singer received the threats in a theater in Roanne, and immediately contacted the police.

A local extremist group called Phinehas sent the threatening messages. (Chicago Sun-Times)

Chicago Sky select Gonzaga point guard

In the 2011 WNBA Draft, the Chicago Sky selected Courtney Vandersloot from Gonzaga University. The point guard was the first ever Division I player (man or woman) to notch more than 2000 points and 1000 assists in a career.

Some of her career highlights include being named All-West Coast Conference three times, West Coast Conference Player of the Year twice, and West Coast Conference Tournament Most Valuable Player twice.

In her senior season, Vandersloot averaged 18.6 points, 10.2 assists, and 3.4 rebounds per game. (WNBA.comSky)

Is the White Sox third baseman of the future already on the major league roster?

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USA TODAY

Is the White Sox third baseman of the future already on the major league roster?

The White Sox future at third base is a pretty big unknown.

Jake Burger is only a year and a half removed from being a first-round draft pick, but the double Achilles tear earlier this year has not just derailed his 2018 but thrown his entire future, and with it the White Sox future at the hot corner, into question. How will the injuries affect Burger's timeline to the majors? How will it affect his ability to play third base?

Those questions and the seeming lack of any other high-end third-base prospect in the White Sox system have made it seem rather obvious that the rebuilding White Sox third baseman of the future currently isn't a part of the organization.

The free-agent lists White Sox fans are salivating over have some pretty intriguing names on them. Josh Donaldson and Manny Machado, who wants to play shortstop but is a two-time Gold Glove winner at third, are free agents this winter. So are less-heralded guys like Mike Moustakas and Marwin Gonzalez, who counts third baseman as one of his many job titles for the Houston Astros. Nolan Arenado and Anthony Rendon are free agents the following offseason. Those are big names, any one of which could be a cherry on top for the White Sox as they plan to shift from rebuilding to contending.

But what if the White Sox already have their third baseman of the future? What if he's already on the major league roster?

No, sorry, this isn't about Yolmer Sanchez. It's about Yoan Moncada, to which you might react thusly: "Wait a minute. Yoan Moncada is a second baseman! Learn to count your bases, Duber!"

My rarely utilized math skills aside, Moncada switching positions has been a bit of a talking point for a little while now, and it has far more to do with what's going on in the farm system than it has to do with Moncada's 2018 season in the major leagues.

The White Sox spent their first-round draft pick on a middle infielder in June despite having two supposed long-term pieces in Moncada and Tim Anderson already playing in the big leagues. Nick Madrigal's versatility on the infield was part of the praise the White Sox heaped on him after making him the No. 4 pick in the draft, but for a guy who's been discussed as a Gold Glove type of defender at either second base or shortstop, it kind of seems like that would be the best place to put him. Now, Madrigal's not exactly knocking on the doors of the major leagues, yet to play his first full season of pro ball, but the White Sox dubbed him the "best all-around player in college baseball" this summer, leading one to believe that his development could move along quickly enough to get him to the majors by the time that much-anticipated shift from rebuilding to contending happens.

If that's the case, either Moncada or Anderson would have to move, right? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe the White Sox end up liking Madrigal at third or elsewhere, but he's playing middle infield in the minor leagues.

Anderson moving to the outfield was a favorite suggestion of White Sox Twitter after he led baseball with 28 fielding errors in 2017. He made 20 more in 2018 (fourth most in baseball), but his defensive improvement by the end of the season was one of the biggest positives to take from the 100-loss campaign.

"That’s the thing that really jumps out the most in terms of significant progress he’s made," Rick Hahn said of Anderson's defense during his end-of-season press conference last month. "He’s managed to capitalize on the athleticism we’ve always seen from him and convert that into being a potentially, frankly Gold Glove-caliber defensive shortstop based on what we’ve seen over the last few months.

"This is really a testament in the end to Tim Anderson’s work ethic. He knew it was an area that he wanted to improve, whether it was because he wanted to show people wrong or because he knew he wanted to make himself a stalwart at that position and eliminate the rumors about position change. He worked extraordinarily hard both with Joe McEwing and the things he did on his own, and the kid deserves a world of credit and I think it bodes very well for him continuing on the trajectory of becoming an impact shortstop."

It doesn't sound like Hahn is describing a guy who will be moving away from his position any time soon.

Moncada racked up a good deal of errors at second base in his first full season in the majors — 21 of them, to be exact, the third most in baseball — but Hahn and Rick Renteria both said they noticed improvement from Moncada in the field. But Moncada did tell the Sun-Times' Daryl Van Schouwen during the season that he would be willing to make a position switch if the team wanted him to do it.

Hahn got a similar question during his year-end press conference. Though the general manager wasn't directly asked if Moncada would make a position switch, Hahn said Moncada could defend well at other positions on the diamond and that if such a change were desired, the team would probably make it sooner rather than later.

"It’s conceivable if we made a decision as an organization to try him elsewhere that we would do it as soon as this offseason or next spring training, you’d see it in action," Hahn said. "I do think he has made a great deal of process at second base. I also think he has the athleticism also to be an above-average defender at other positions, too. It’s a subject for further conversation, but as he sits here today, I am pleased with the progress and the pitch-to-pitch focus and the athleticism, the arm strength and foot movement and his hands at second base."

White Sox fans aren't super high on Moncada being the savior of anything, not just third base, right now after his disappointing 2018 season: a .235/.315/.400 slash line and 217 strikeouts, the fourth-highest single-season total in major league history. But that's not souring the White Sox on his potential, and it's not changing what they think he can be.

By 2020 or 2021, perhaps Moncada's evolution as a big league ballplayer puts him on a similar level as some of the free-agent names mentioned above. Perhaps he's already playing third base by then with Madrigal on the major league infield, too.

The White Sox seem to have a hole at third base, with popular opinion being that it can only be filled by a marquee free agent. Maybe it does get filled this offseason — by a guy standing about 100 feet away.

Cubs Talk Podcast: Manny Machado’s value and other Cubs offseason wish list items

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Manny Machado’s value and other Cubs offseason wish list items

Did Manny Machado’s value take a hit at all after he openly admitted hustling isn’t his “cup of tea”? Our Cubs team (David Kaplan, Kelly Crull, Tony Andracki, Jeff Nelson) debate that, plus the potential fit of Machado or Bryce Harper for the 2019 Cubs and beyond.

[MORE: The most underrated storyline of the Cubs offseason]

The crew also runs down the top items on the Cubs’ offseason wish list – ranging from bullpen help to infield depth to a set leadoff hitter – in what may be the most impactful winter in Theo Epstein’s tenure in Chicago.

Listen to the podcast here or via the embedded player below: