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Let’s Make a Deal!

Well, it’s summer! It’s time for beer, picnics, beaches, saying good-bye to the recently-traded athletes, and saying hello to the newcomers to the world of Chicago sports. Yes, it’s that magical time of year when professional athletes are being traded like Pogs.

Pictured: Your age

Pictured: Your age

Yes, change is coming to the world of Windy City sports! This square dance of players and teams is a lot to keep up with, so let’s start with the best news of all, shall we?

Chicago Baseball

Thus far, the best news to come out of the wheeling and dealing of the trade game is that Carlos Marmol is almost the new problem of the Dodgers. The terrible relief pitcher and constant annoyance to Cubs’ fans is likely to be traded to Los Angeles unless he plays all of his six team rejections; if he does this he can become a free agent at the end of the season. However, it looks like the era of Marmol blowing it in the ninth inning is coming to an end. The darkness is over. The sun will come out tomorrow.

The truest thing ever put on Wikipedia ever.

The truest thing ever put on Wikipedia ever.

The Cubs also traded Scott Feldman and pitcher Steve Clevenger to the Baltimore Orioles for pitchers Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop. The White Sox, desperate to shake up their roster and get back to winning, signed outfielder Micker Adolfo Zapata, a sixteen-year-old from the Dominican Republic.

Chicago Bulls

 

Oh my God, you guys! I'm staying with the Bulls!

Oh my God, you guys! I’m staying with the Bulls!

Nazr Mohammed tweeted today that, essentially, he has gotten a verbal agreement with the Chicago Bulls and that he will be re-signed to Chicago. The fates of Luol Deng and Nate Robinson are still uncertain. However, it looks as though Deng will stay in Chicago while Robinson will be forced to find a home elsewhere in the NBA.

"Come 'ere, buddy. We're all gonna miss you."

“Come ‘ere, buddy. We’re all gonna miss you.”

The trade doesn’t quiet the rumors of friction in the power structure of the Bulls, however. The Bulls did not re-sign Ron Adams, Tom Thibodeau’s top assistant, when his contract expired. The rumor buzzing through the Internet is that there was friction between superstar coach Thibodeau and his assistant; meanwhile, General Manager Gar Forman assures there is no friction between Thibodeau and himself. Though friction between the higher-ups can create great success, just as the tension between Phil Jackson and General Manager Jerry Krause birthed the success of the Bulls in the nineties. Time will tell how this wheeling-and-dealing within the Bulls power structure will affect the Bulls.

Also, Derrick Rose is scheduled to play this season. So. we’ll see how that plays out.

Chicago Blackhawks

This fun is over, Bolly.

This fun is over, Bolly.

Well, with Bolland and Frolik hitting the happy trail to Canada, it’s clear that General Manager Stan Bowman is jumping quickly to preserve the Blackhawks’ impeccable roster of knock-down, drag-out talent. With a spectacular 2013 season, we are all hoping that Bryan Bickell will live up to the high expectations of fans and to the hard-earned contract extension. The NHL draft allowed for Bowman to give up Bolland and Frolik and fourth and fifth round picks for a pick in the second through fifth rounds. This also allowed the Blackhawks a fourth and fifth round pick in 2014 and four more years of Bickell. The fresh faces on the Blackhawks roster are looking spectacular and show that the Blackhawks are determined to tighten up their defensive line, a problem that brought them serious losses in the regular season and the playoffs. None of this guarantees a 2014 Stanley Cup victory, but Bowman is building one hell of a team to debut in October.

Let's hear it for the boy!

Let’s hear it for the boy!

With two of Chicago’s favorites leaving the team, let’s celebrate the superstar who was a big reason as to why the Stanley Cup is out and about partying with Patrick Kane: Bryan Bickell. Snag this Bryan Bickell player tee from our website (http://tinyurl.com/qjeq32m) and show your joy for the rough and tough left wing returning to the Blackhawks for another four years. It’s tough to see our favorites leave, but it’s better when the best stay because sports is good!

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MLB: MLB Players Who Could be Traded During the 2012 Offseason:

With Free Agents Jake Peavy (Chicago White Sox) and David Ortiz (Boston Red Sox) resigning with their respected teams, the MLB Free Agency pool seems quite limited but there’s still a few significant players to watch this offseason as the Free Agency period gets underway. Below are a list of the top free-agents and which team I feel they will sign with during the offseason:

1. Zach Greinke: (Los Angeles Angles): With Zack Greinke being the only elite level pitcher on the Free Agent Market, there’s no question that he will be the most sought after free agent this winter. The 2009 Cy-Young Award winner will have numerous teams interested in signing him during the offseason and that list will start with Greinke’s 2012 Team: the Los Angeles Angeles. With Bobby Abreu, Dan Haren, Torii Hunter, and Ervin Santana off their payroll, I feel the Angels will have the necessary money they need to resign Zack Greinke to the biggest Pitcher contract this offseason. The other teams that would be interested in signing Zack Greinke this offseason are the Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals.

2. Josh Hamilton: (Washington Nationals): The Nationals already feature a sold core of hitters (Ian Desmond, Bryce Harper, Michael Morse, Jayson Werth, and Ryan Zimmerman) but have been looking for an additional left-handed impact bat to add to their lineup so they can be that much more deeper from both sides of the plate. If the Nationals were able to sign Hamilton, then they could move Morse from the outfield to First Base and feature one of the best offensive and defensive outfields in Hamilton, Harper, and Werth. In addition to the Nationals, I feel the Baltimore Orioles and Hamilton’s current team, the Texas Rangers, would still be interested in bringing him back to Texas.

3. Michael Bourn: (Philadelphia Phillies): The Braves would love to bring back the 2-Time All-Star and Gold-Glove winner however it seems unlikely they would be able to afford his reported asking price. With the Phillies dropping almost 40 million dollars from

last years and in addition to trading 2 of the teams 3 starting outfielder from last years team, I feel Philly will be one of the most active teams during

the offseason. Other teams that will look to sign Michael Bourn are his former team, Atlanta Braves along with the Washington Nationals if there unable to sign Josh Hamilton.

4.  AJ Pierzynski: (Texas Rangers): At 35 (and soon to be 36 years old) the 2-Time All-Star Catcher had his best statistical season of his career winning his first silver slugger award and still looked to be at the top of his game. With that said, as much as Pierzynski has ment to the White Sox organization, it seems like the White Sox have decided to go younger and start last year backup catcher Tyler Flowers. Flowers proved last season that he can do a solid job at calling a game in addition to having a great deal of power from the catcher position. I feel the Rangers will sign Pierzynski who has proven to be a much more durable catcher behind the plate than 2011 Ranger Mike Napoli (Napoli has never caught 760 innings in a season while Pierzynski has caught 1,000 Plus innings 11 times in his career). The other teams that also might look to sign Pierzynski this offseason are the Chicago White Sox, Tampa Bay Rays, and Los Angeles Dodgers.

In addition to the Free Agency Process, there’s 5 other significant players that I feel will be mentioned in a number of trade rumors this offseason.

Alex Rodriguez: (New York Yankees): The Yankees expensive 3rd Baseman had another injury plagued season and showed that he’s still having some durability issues as A-Rod hasn’t played in 140 games in season since the 2007 season and in three of those season he played in under 125 games. Even with all his injuries and problems throughout the MLB Playoffs, I still feel A-Rod will be a Yankee when the 2013 season starts. On the other hand, will the Yankees at-least test the Trade Market… absolutely. So which teams will the Yankees talk with A-Rod about: before the Blockbuster Trade on Tuesday I would have said the Miami Marlins, but now I feel there’s only two teams that would consider trading for the former 3-Time AL MVP Winner: Chicago White Sox (however, with Rick Hahn now the GM, the White Sox might have a new perspective on A-Rod) and drs. In the end, I feel Rodriguez will once again be in Yankee Pinstripes when the 2013 Baseball season begins.

Chase Headley: (San Diego Padres): The Padres have a ton of solid prospects in their organization and with the Giants, Dodgers, and Diamondbacks in their division, I’m not sure there ready to win now so I feel they should look to trade their best asset; Chase Headley. Headley had by far his best season, Hitting .286, to go along with 31 Home Runs and an NL High 115 RBI’s while playing in arguably the toughest hitting ballpark in all of baseball and because of this he’s a finalist for the 2012 NL MVP Award. In addition to having such a great season, Headley is just hitting his prime (28 years old) and has 3 more Arbitration Eligible Seasons left on his contract. Because of his age, contract status, the chances of him replicating this season and the state of this franchise, I feel the Padres should look to trade Chase Headley this offseason. Some of the places that have enough assets to acquire Headley and look to trade for him are the Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers, and the Oakland Athletics. In the end, I feel the Padres will ask for too much and not trade the 28 year old 3rd Baseman whose also proven he can play First Base and Left Field.

Gavin Floyd: (Milwaukee BrewersWith White Sox 2012 Third Baseman Kevin Youkilis most likely departing from the South Side of Chicago this offseason, its very clear that the Chicago White Sox have a significant void to fill at the hot corner that they’ll look fill via a Trade (the Free-Agent Market is quite thin). With that said, a number of teams are looking for veteran pitchers that haven’t had any significant injuries in the past. Fortunately, Floyd fits the criteria as he’s thrown over 180 innings for of the past 5 seasons showing that he can take the ball at any time. Because of this, I feel the White Sox will either trade Floyd straight up for a 3rd Baseman or trade Floyd for a number of prospects that they can then flip the prospects for a third baseman. I feel the White Sox number one option would be moving Floyd and a few other prospects for either top prospects Anthony Rendon (Washington Nationals) or Mike Olt (Texas Rangers). So why would Texas or Washington be in such a hurry to trade one of their top prospects? Because both teams have a log jam at third base in Ryan Zimmerman (Nationals) and Adrian Beltre (Ranges). Zimmerman, (who agreed to a new contract last offseason), and Beltre, (who hit .321 to along with 36 Homers and 102 RBI and has 4 more years left on his contract) might feel they don’t need one of these elite level prospects and instead might look to acquire a quality veteran pitcher. Both teams have the two different options for these two players: either move one of the top prospects in baseball so they can fill other holes on their roster or have them change positions because nethor will be playing 3rd Base in the near future. In the end, do I foresee the White Sox acquiring one of these two young 3rd Base prospects…no and because of this I feel they will trade Floyd to the Milwaukee Brewers for a number of prospects to help improve their farm system. With that in mind, I also feel the Colorado Rockies, Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, and Texas Rangers will also make a run at Floyd.

Matt Garza: (Chicago Cubs): The Cubs 28 year old right hander had an up and 2012 season that unfortunately ended with him on the DL from July 21st until the completion of the Season. With Garza being in the prime of his career, a proven winner, and having no significant injuries in the past, its a forgone conclusion that a number of teams will look to trade for Garza this offseason. So what teams will look to trade for Garza? I feel the list for Garza will include the Baltimore Orioles, AL Champion Detroit TigersKansas City Royals (who feature a great Bullpen and Offense but need to upgrade their starting rotation), New York Yankees, and Texas Rangers. In the end, I think Garza will start the season with the Cubs so they can show he’s recovered from his triceps injury and then decide wither or not to trade him depending on where the Cubs are in the standings around the July 31st Trade Deadline.

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3 teams to watch at the MLB Trade Deadline:

There’s a number of teams to watch at the trade deadline that could be making a few moves within the next 11 days. Below are 3 teams that should look to make a move along with who the player they should trade for:

1. Detroit Tigers: The Tigers have a great offense, the best pitcher in baseball, to go along with a number of solid Number 3-5 starters. So with that said, I feel the Tigers need 3 things at the trade deadline: 1. A number 2 starting pitcher; 2. a second baseman; and 3. Bullpen help. In the last 14 games, the Tigers are 15-2 and look like the team we thought they were going to be. With that said, I feel there’s a number of teams that make sense for the Tigers to trade with which include: Cubs, Brewers, or shock the baseball world and trade with the Mariners for one of the best pitchers in baseball.

Before I discuss the possible Mariners trade, lets start with the Cubs, who have a number of parts that can help the Tigers out which include Darrin Barney and Matt Garza . Garza and Barney would solidify two of the biggest holes on their roster and at the same time the Chicago would be able to receive a few young pitchers. The Tigers have a number of quality arms on both their major league roster and in the minors. On their major league roster, the Tigers feature former first round draft picks in Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello while also having a number of quality arms in the minors in righties Jacob Turner and lefty Andy Oliver. It seems like the Tigers and Cubs could be a good match to make a trade before the Trade Deadline.

So what about the Milwaukee Brewers? Like the Cubs, Milwaukee features a very good starting pitcher that would give Detroit one of the best top of the rotations in baseball in soon to be free agent Zack Greinke. Like the Cubs, the Brewers would be looking to get a package that includes a lot of young pitching talent. In addition to that, the Brewers could also look to trade second baseman Rickie Weeks in a trade and give the Tigers the second baseman they’ve been looking for while also allowing the Brewers to shed payroll at the same-time.

So what about a huge blockbuster trade that would give the Tigers two of the top 5 pitchers in all of baseball (and the reigning Cy Young Award winners) in Felix Hernandez (2010) and Verlander (2011). If this trade were to happen, 4 things would have to occur: 1. The Mariners would want to acquire a lot of young pitching talent; 2. Seattle would also be looking for young hitting talent as they need to add hitting depth to their lineup; 3. The M’s would want the Tigers to take back a bad long term contract that there currently holding onto; and 4. The Tigers would need to sign Felix to a Long-Term deal. As mentioned above, the Tigers have a number of quality arms in their system along with a few hitting prospects in Nick Castellanos and Quintin Berry. So here’s a trade proposal that would work for both teams: Tigers trade Jacob Turner, Nick Castellanos, Andy Oliver and Quintin Berry for Felix Hernandez and Chone Figgins. If this trade were to occur, then the Tigers would feature both the best 1-2 hitting and pitching combinations in baseball.


2. Los Angeles Dodgers:
 The Dodgers have two of the best outfielders in baseball in Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier to go along with a pitching staff that includes 2011 NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton KershawChad Billinglsey, and Chris Capuano, With that said, I feel the Dodgers need to look to add a few more bats along with a good number 2 starting pitcher if the want to hold off the Giants and win the NL West. The starting pitcher that I feel they need to look into acquiring is Ryan Dempster as Kershaw and Dempster would make for one of the best righty-lefties 1-2 combinations in the league. In this trade, the Cubs could look to acquire a number of different prospects which include Zach LeeAllen Webster, and Chris Reed. In addition to trading for an additional pitcher, I feel Los Angeles need to look into acquiring more power to their lineup. An intriguing names for the Dodgers to look into acquiring would be Minnesota Twins First Baseman Justin Morneau as he would provide them a legitimate left-handed power-bat in the middle of their lineup while not having to trade a lot to get him. The Dodgers thought they had their future 1st Baseman in James Loney but unfortunately he hasn’t developed the power they thought they would from him. If both James Loney and Justin Morneau were to trade places, then each player would be able to receive a fresh start so they could start over in their new respective situations.

3. Pittsburgh Pirates: The Pittsburgh Pirates are .5 Game out of first place and have a ton of great minor league pitching depth on the way within the next few years in Gerrit ColeJameson Taillon, and others. The Pirates currently have the 6th best team ERA’s in baseball, however, as good as their pitching has been, (outside of MVP Candidate Andrew McCutchen), the rest of the Pirates offense has been less than impressive as their team’s batting average is .247 on the season. Because of this, I feel the Pirates should look into trading for soon to be 25 year old outfielder Justin Upton who last year finished in the top 5 (4th in fact) for the NL MVP and would give Pittsburgh one of the youngest and most talented outfields in all of baseball. The Diamondbacks would most likely ask for either Cole or Taillon in return, however, if the Pirates were able to keep both Cole and Taillon while still being able to acquire Upton, then Pittsburgh would feature one of the best young cores in all of baseball. Upton has had a tough 2012 season, yet I still think with him being so young that he can still find the old Justin Upton.

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