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Sports Is Good, Y’All!

Hello, sports fans! Welcome to your daily dose of sports news and commentary from Clarks Street Sports!

Baseball

Air Soriano

Air Soriano

Despite the alarming lack of enthusiasm coming from the world of baseball, there sure is a lot of news coming out of the North Side. First, and most pressing, is that the City Council will decide on the final approval for the renovations scheduled for Wrigley Field. If this passes, and it looks like it will, a planned five year reconstruction of Wrigley will begin this fall. Only the two outfield signs, the jumbotron scoreboard in left field and the see-through sign in right field, are approved so as not to obstruct the view from the rooftops as there is another decade left on the rooftop contract. Rahm Emanuel’s proposed pedestrian footbridge over Clark Street has been “deferred indefinitely” and any other renovations will be discussed within the Wrigleyville community between residents, the Cubs owners, and the rooftop businesses, Emanuel hopes. This is indeed a sad day for those pushing to keep the historic landmark preserved.

On the heels of Matt Garza’s trade comes word that Alfonso Soriano will also be traded. Soriano is currently in discussion with Theo Epstein about his trade destinations and waiving his no-trade rights. Soriano has name-dropped the New York Yankees as his desired destination, but Epstein says there is nothing solid coming from New York as of yet. Soriano said, “[The Yankees] always make the playoffs no matter what team they have, no matter what pitching they got. They find a way.” Clearly Soriano wants to be on a team that will showcase him and Epstein is itching to restructure the entire team, disregarding fan favoritism of players and the class of players that were brought on in the 2006-2007 spending spree.

Junior Lake is killing it, y'all

Junior Lake is killing it, y’all

Junior Lake represents the new class of Cubs being molded to focus on becoming a team worthy of playing in an expensive renovated ballpark that is irritating half of the city of Chicago. He went 3-for-5 with a homerun against the Diamondbacks. Tuesday night’s game against the Diamondbacks found the Cubs reacting with flared tempers and childish outbursts that resulted in a 4-10 loss. Sveum was ejected in the third inning after being vocal about believing that the umpire was baiting a conflict with Cody Ransom after he flung his bat after being struckout. This was Sveum’s fourth ejection this season. Ransom also threw his helmet after lining out with bases loaded. Anthony Rizzo tossed his bat after a painful strikeout as well. As the Cubs rebuild the stadium, it is clear that they are incredibly busy rebuilding the team and the team dynamic.

Basketball

Goodbye, Malcolm

The Bulls are hoping that waiving Malcolm Thomas will give their roster the flexibility necessary to acquire Marcus Camby. Though the Rockets are the likely frontrunner in the Camby acquisition, the Bulls are hoping that this 6’11” center will add another rebounding presence on the court with skills comparable to Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson.

Hockey

We are the champions, my friend!

We are the champions, my friend!

This weekend is the great Chicago Blackhawks convention where Blackhawks fans can meet and mingle with Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Patrick Sharp, Patrick Kane, Corey Crawford, and Bryan Bickell. Niklas Hjmarsson is getting married this weekend and Brent Seabrook is at home in Canada awaiting the arrival of his child, so though they will be missed, we wish them both heart-felt congratulations!

Football

Roar

Roar

Bears training camp begins tomorrow and we are so excited for football season we will be announcing a Bears contest next week on our Facebook page. Head over to http://www.facebook.com/clarkstreetsports, like our page, and keep your eyes peeled for our big contest to kick off football season!

Get styling

Get styling

In the meantime, check out our Blackhawks championship shirts (http://tinyurl.com/ltf7n5c) and get yourself prepared for the Blackhawks convention. Sports is good, Chicago, so let’s party with the Blackhawks!

 

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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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New York Yankees: So Where Does A-Rod go From Here?

Alex Rodriguez has gone from being considered one of the best players of all time to being benched for a few of the 2012 Playoff Games (Game 4 ALDS and Games 3 and 4 of the ALCS) along with being pinched hit for during the 9th inning of Game 3 of the ALDS when Raul Ibanez hit a Game Tying Pinch Hit Solo Home Run. So with that said, where does this leave us with one of the best hitters of the past 15 years?

The Yankees now have 4 choices to chose from: Keep him, Put Him on Irrevocable Waivers, Trade him, or Outright Cut Him.

This is something the Yankees are going to have to contemplate and look at during the 2012 offseason. Before providing my prediction of what I feel will happen, I want to breakdown and analyze all of the possible situations.
Keep Alex Rodriguez?

From a financial standpoint, this is bar-none the best financial investment the Yankees could do in bring Alex Rodriguez back and leting him play out the longevity of his contract in Yankee Pinstripes. Rodriguez is signed through the 2017 Season for over 21 million per year so it has to reach a breaking point (EX: 2008 Many Ramirez in Boston) for the Yankees to decide on doing one of the other situations. In my mind, I feel the Yankees are almost at that point (if not already there) so I think the’ll examine every situation before making a final decision.

Put Alex Rodriguez on Irrevocable Waivers?

So what are Irrevocable Wavers? Irrevocable Wavers occurs when a team places a players on wavers for a set period of time. If the player is claimed by a team during that time, then the team that claimed the player is forced to pay the entirety of his contract. One significant player that was places in Irrevocable Wavers was Manny Ramirez during the 2003 when the Red Sox gave teams 48 Hours to acquire the former All-Star Left Fielder without having to give up anything in compensation. As it turned out it was the best thing for both Boston and Manny Ramirez that no one claimed Ramirez as the next season the Red Sox went on to win the World Series.
As for Rodriguez, do I feel the Yankees will attempt this?
No question in my mind the Yankees will put Alex Rodriguez on Irrevocable Wavers and see what’s out there? This sound like a great plan but in fact there’s 2 significant problems with this senario.

  1. A-Rod has a no Trade Clause in His Contract: Alex Rodriguez might be upset that he’s been both pinched hit for and benched for during a number of games this postseason, but even with all that said ,I’m still not sure he would accept a trade to another team. In fact, A-Rod has been asked in the past if he’d agree to wave his no-trade clause and each time he’s responded with the same answer…no. With that said, that was before he was being benched by Manager Joe Girardi and booed during each at-bat at of the Playoffs at Yankee Stadium.
  2. Rodriguez Has 119 Million Left on His Contract: No that’s not a misprint, Alex Rodriguez has 5 years and 119 Million Dollars left on his current contract. So with that said, I’m pretty sure no team in baseball (yes not even the crazy spending Dodgers) wouldn’t take on a contract like that and because of that I think its safe to say this senario won’t work.

Trade A-Rod?

If they Yankees are unable to to have anyone look at signing A-Rod outright, what about trading for the 3-time MVP Winner? This is an option, and I feel’s there’s three teams that would be interested in trading for A-Rod (pending of course the Yankees eat a good chunk of his contract).

Los Angeles Dodgers: A-Rod goes to Hollywood…Could it be. Well yes. The Dodgers new Ownership Group has shown their willing to take risks, spend a significant amount of money, and bring in a lot of star power to their franchise. During the season, Los Angeles added a number of big name stars to their roster (Hanley Ramirez, Shane Victorino, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Brandon League, and Joe Blanton) so they’ve proven they could be apart of the mix for Alex Rodriguez. In addition to that, the Dodgers still need a third baseman as last year Hanley Ramirez proved that he’s not interested in playing Third Base so LA could slide Ramirez back to Shortstop where he wants to be and trade Dee Gordon to get a few more assets. If the Dodgers trade Dee Gordon and get a few nice prospects in return, then they could have the Yankees eat more of A-Rod’s contract and New York could at the same time add good depth to their farm system.

Miami Marlins: So let the A-Rod to Miami rumors begin. As we’ve seen in the past, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria loves having his newly named franchise in the news for better or worse. This franchise has made a number of bold moves since they became the Miami marlins which include: signing the most polarizing manager in baseball (who might be fired in a few weeks), signed their first 100 million dollar player (Jose Reyes), signed a 3-Time MLB All-Star Pitcher (Mark Buehrle), Signed a 2-Time winner of the Rolaids Relief Man of the Year winner (Heath Bell…lets just say this year didn’t workout so well for Heath or the Marlins), were apart of a Reality TV Show (which was canceled before the end of the season because of their performance on the field), and finally traded the face of their franchise for the past 6+ years for a minor league pitcher that wasn’t considered a top prospect and all of that occurred in less than a year. What a team…what a franchise, it seems like the perfect spot for Alex Rodriguez. If that wasn’t enough, Rodriguez grew up in the Miami Area and is still very involved downin the Greater Miami Area. If A-Rod was to leave New York for another Location, I feel this might be the best fit for him both on and off the field.

Chicago White Sox: My last team that I feel will also take a look at Alex Rodriguez are the Chicago White Sox. Why…for a number of reasons. For one, White Sox General Manager Ken Williams has always been a big fan of Rodriguez in the past and has shown that he’s not afraid of make a bold move even if other don’t agree with it. The White Sox front office has also brought in a number of older Super Stars in the past and have given them another chance including: Jim ThomeKen Griffey Jr., Manny Ramirez, and Kevin Youkilis to name a few.

Cut A-Rod?

Could it be…could the New York Yankees outright release Alex Rodriguez following the 2012 season? Well…yes. However, with that said, I’m not sure the current situation is bad enough between A-Rod and the Yankees for them to outright release the former 3-Time MVP Winner but its still an option for New York to chose from.

What will happen?

In my opinion, I believe Alex Rodriguez will either stay with the Yankees next year or get traded to the Miami Marlins. Last offseason was all about where Albert and Prince would sign…this offseason will be all about where A-Rod will play next year.

Please share your responses and follow us on Twitter (https://twitter.com/ClarkStSports), Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/clarkstreetsports), Pinterest(http://pinterest.com/clarkstsports/), Google Plus (Clark Street Sports), and now Flickr(http://www.flickr.com/photos/clarkstreetsports). Remember to also check out our merchandise at http://www.clarkstreetsports.com/

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2012 in Baseball, Clark Street Sports, MLB, Sports

 

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October 3rd, 2012 will be Alfonso Soriano’s Last Game as a member of the Chicago Cubs.

The 2012 Trade Deadline has passed and Alfonso Soriano is still a member of the Chicago Cubs. With that said, this past Trade Deadline was the first time Soriano’s name was mentioned in legitimate trade rumors since the 2006 MLB Trade Deadline when he was a member of the Washington Nationals.

So why will the Cubs trade Soriano before the start of the 2013 season?

3 Reasons:

1) Soriano has shown  that he still has something left in the tank: Quietly, Alfonso Soriano has put together a strong 2012 season on the North Side hitting .270 with 19 HR and 64 RBI on the year. For any other player, those stats would equate to a productive season however, because his first 2012 Home Run came on May 15th, it shows that had Soriano hit a few Home Runs in the month and a half of the season, he could have been in the top 10 for Home Runs on the season. To put this into perspective, Soriano has hit 19 Home Runs in his last 70 games while Home Run Leader (Adam Dunn) has 31 HR’s since Opening Day. Because of this, I feel Soriano has a few quality  year left in him as he can be a productive player to a number of lineups. With that said Soriano’s has a one problem: he struggles to playing in the field which I feel limits him to only American League team. This leads me to my second reason why I feel Alfonso Soriano will be traded…

2) A number of American League teams need to upgrade from their current DHThere’s a handful of teams that feature quality DH’s…and a number of teams that need to trade for a player of Soriano’s skill set .

Here’s a list of Teams that don’t need to upgrade from their current DH: Chicago White Sox (Adam Dunn), Detroit Tigers (Victor Martinez), Kansas City Royals (Billy Butler), Boston Red Sox (David Ortiz), and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (Kendrys Morales if they decide to not trade him to a team that needs a first baseman).

So that takes 5 teams off the list, what about the other 10 AL Teams (remember Houston will be moving to the American League starting in 2013). In the past, Soriano has said he doesn’t want to play for a West Coast team which eliminates three AL Teams: Oakland, Los Angeles Angels (even though he said he would play for the Dodgers so I feel he’d add them to his list), and Seattle. In addition to that, I’m not sure the Texas Rangers or New York Yankees need him on their roster as both teams already feature strong lineups while already having a significant amount of older players on their respective rosters: Derek Jeter (38), Alex Rodriguez (37), Mark Teixeira (32) for the Yankees and Michael Young (35), Adrian Beltre (33), Nelson Cruz (32), and possibly Josh Hamilton (31) if they resign him. Lastly, a few other teams won’t be interested in acquiring Soriano as these teams would look to either rebuild (Astros) or play the younger players in their Farm System (Blue Jays). After taking 11 American League teams, there’s 4 realistic options left for Alfonso Soriano to be traded to during the offseason.

Below are the four realistic trade options for Alfonso Soriano:

Minnesota Twins: I believe there’s a realistic landing spot for Soriano because I think the Twins will look to trade Justin Morneau (if he passes his physical) during the offseason to a team that needs a quality First Baseman. In addition to that, I also feel Minnesota will look to play Joe Mauer at First which will force them to acquire an additional quality bat in their lineup… enter Soriano. Alfonso would give them the DH they’ve been looking for since deciding to let David Ortiz leave over a decade ago.

Cleveland Indians: Cleveland has a number of quality bats in their lineup: (Carlos SantanaAsdrubal Cabrera, Jason Kipnis, and Michael Brantley) but might have a hole at DH as Travis Hafner’s scheduled to be a Free Agent following the 2012 season. The Indians are a possible landing spot for Soriano as a trade here would allow for him to stay in the Midwest and would give this team an additional bat they’ve been missing.

Baltimore Orioles: Outside of the Angles (if they decided to trade Kendrys Morales), I feel the Orioles are the most likely team to trade for Soriano. Baltimore has a few key impact hitter’s on their roster in Adam Jones, Matt Wietersand top prospect Manny Machado. That’s a nice start, but I still feel the O’s are missing at least one more additional power bat in their lineup, and that’s where Soriano would fit in. With his power bat added to their lineup, I feel the Orioles would be provided an additional dimension to their lineup.

Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays have a number of quality hitters on their roster in Evan LongoriaDesmond Jennings, and Matt Joyce. Like division rival Baltimore, Tampa Bay’s lineup’s includes three quality bats but they still need to add additional depth to fill out the rest of their lineup. Soriano sounds like a good option for the Rays but there’s one key problem with this situation… Manager Joe Maddon likes having a rotating DH so Soriano would have to play he field a few time a week. If Soriano and the Rays both feel he’s able to play the field a few times a week, then this would become a realistic option for the Rays and would provide them the bat there currently looking for.

And finally, the third reason and final reason I feel October 3rd, 2012 will be Alfonso Soriano’s last game as a Chicago Cub:

3) The Cubs will look to take on the majority of his contract: During the past week, the Cubs made it clear they want to see what’s in their Farm System by playing Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro, Brett Jacksonand Josh Vitters everyday. 

Below are the 5 most likely teams to trade for Alfonso Soriano:

1) Baltimore Orioles

2) Minnesota Twins

3) Cleveland Indians 

4) Tampa Bay Rays

5) Los Angeles Angeles 

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