Sox Drawer: Matsui Rumors Heating Up

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Sox Drawer: Matsui Rumors Heating Up

Tuesday, December 8th6:32 p.m.

Matsui Anyone??

After a slow first day, Kenny Williams was in deep bunker mode today, holed up in his hotel room for hours, talking to teams about trades, and yes, talking to agents, specifically to the man who represents free agent outfielder Hideki Matsui.

The New York Daily News is reporting that the Sox have emerged as a 'serious contenders to sign Matsui, who hit .274 last season for the Yankees, with 28 homers and 90 RBI in 142 games.

The hold up might be the price tag. Matsui made 13 million last season. He'd have to play for much less with the White Sox. Probably in the 4-6 million range.

Asked about Matsui, Williams said, "He's a good player. But I don't know if we're there just yet."

Williams is one who will pounce when he sees an opportunity. Clearly, there has been a shift in dialogue here at the meetings, and it has changed Williams expectations. After sensing that he'd be busier after the meetings, he now sounds like something could actually happen this week (other than the 3-year deal for Mark Teahen).

Said Williams, "You always like to get better. While we're here, we might as well do something. Jerry spent a lot of money for the rooms."3:18 p.m.

Mark Teahen just spoke with the media via conference call about his new three-year deal. Said Teahen, "I'm pumped!"He sounds a little like Nick Swisher. Insert joke here ________.
But it definitely seems like he'll be around much longer than Swish.Mark had some interesting things to say about his time with the Royals. "Every year with Kansas City, I tried to convince myself that we made enough rules to be competitive. But we knew that we would have to have everything work out perfectly for us to have a chance. The nice thing with Chicago, it's the first time where I'm in a place where guys don't have to overachieve for the team to be successful. They just need to do what they are capable of doing."Kenny Williams is talking next...

2:58 p.m.

Kenny Williams is telling us that he's taking a more low-key approach to the winter meetings this year.I don't believe him.Here's what Ozzie Guillen said when I asked him to describe his general manager when it comes to the winter meetings:"He's too big for these meetings. If everybody had the guts and would be as aggressive as Kenny, these winter meetings would be more fun. He's not afraid to make any move, and not afraid to be criticized by people who think they know more about the game. I asked Kenny a couple of years ago why we don't break this thing down and start over. He said, 'No, as long as I'm GM my job is to win.'"I also asked Ozzie if he was concerned about Andruw Jones arriving in camp out of shape.
Guillen's response,"He BETTER be in shape."We'll run the interview tonight on SportsNite.Gotta listen to the Mark Teahen conference call. It's about to start. I'll be back later with more...

1:03 p.m.

The White Sox have hooked their first fish here at the Winter Meetings. Sorry, it's not Hideki Matsui.

In fact, the player is already on their roster.The Sox agreed to terms with Mark Teahen on a 3-year, 14-million deal, avoiding arbitration. Teahen will receive 3.75 million in 2010, 4.75 million in 2011 and 5.5 million in 2012. He was eligible for free agency following the 2011 season.Teahen's dog gave a hint this morning that something was brewing when he tweeted, "Happy day n the Teahen house. All of a sudden everyone's Christmas wish list got longer. Mark & all the family r thankful & excited for Chi."The deal buys out two arbitration years and one free agent season. The Sox save some money on what Teahen would have earned in arbitration.The big news in Indy today is the blockbuster 3-team trade between the Yankees, Tigers, and Diamondbacks. The Tigers trading both Curtis Granderson (to NYY) and Edwin Jackson (to AZ). The Tigers gets Max Scherzer, Austin Jackson, and Phil Coke. Ian Kennedy also goes to the Arizona. More specifics are being hammered out. Medical records need to be looked over.Interested in getting Kenny Williams reaction to what this means for the Tigers. He speaks later this afternoon.

Notre Dame sorting through safety options after Max Redfield's dismissal

Notre Dame sorting through safety options after Max Redfield's dismissal

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Brian Kelly had to chuckle a bit when asked what he could tell a larger-than-normal media contingent about Devin Studstill, the true freshman and presumptive favorite to replace Max Redfield at free safety Sept. 4 against Texas. 

“We’ll have a true freshman on the road playing against a talented team,” Kelly said with a bit of a laugh that, given the circumstances, sounded a bit nervous.

No matter how confident Notre Dame players and coaches are in Studstill, there’s still that unknown part of leaning on a safety who will play his first college football game in front of an exected sellout crowd of about 100,000 people in primetime at Darrell K. Royal Stadium in Austin. 

Kelly described Studstill as a “natural” as the Florida native took first-team reps away from Redfield during spring practice. Linebacker and captain James Onwualu said Studstill’s transition back into the first-team defense has “gone smoothly” with only a handful of practices left until Notre Dame heads to Austin. 

“He was here in the spring, which helped a lot,” Onwualu. “He came in ready to work from Day 1 and you gotta respect that. He’s been working his craft, working his game and there’s not much of a drop-off. He’s got a lot to learn. He’s still young, obviously, so (we) try to push some knowledge on him and continue to talk the game and show him as many looks (as possible).”

Kelly used “talented” and “confident” to describe Studstill this time around. But it won’t be just him at free safety, Kelly cautioned. 

“I think we’ll have to play a few guys at that position,” Kelly said. “I don’t think he’s going to go out there and take every snap.”

At the top of that list: sixth-year graduate student Avery Sebastian, who broke a bone in his foot in Week 1 against Texas last year and missed the rest of the season. The 5-foot-10, 200 pound Cal transfer, who also missed nearly all of the 2013 season with an injury, started six games for the Golden Bears from 2011-2014. 

In exchange for the experience Sebastian brings to the position, Notre Dame would slide a guy who’s more of an in-the-box strong safety over to free safety. The other options at free safety are freshman Jalen Elliott, a former four-star recruit, and sophomore Nicco Fertitta, who saw action on special teams last year. 

Kelly said there haven’t been any conversations about moving an offensive player to free safety to manufacture more depth.

“We feel like we’ve got enough back there that we’ll be solid,” Kelly said. 

Notre Dame’s defense is peppered with first-time starters, which creates plenty of unknowns heading into the 2016 season. In losing Redfield, a player who Kelly said was starting to put everything together after a few inconsistent seasons, another question mark was added to VanGorder’s defense. 

That doesn’t mean that Studstill and whoever else is back at free safety are destined to fail. Maybe Studstill and/or Elliott clears their first-year hurdles and is a solid player and Sebastian winds up being a reliable option there, too. 

But Notre Dame’s defense very likely was going to be better off with Redfield as a starting safety. 

“Max was an outstanding player, and he was having a great, great camp,” Kelly said. “He had a great spring. He’s athletic, he’s fast. So you’re taking a really good player off your defense. But we’ll be able to plug in a guy there that I think will get the job done for us.” 

CSN Preps Power Rankings: No. 1 Loyola Academy

CSN Preps Power Rankings: No. 1 Loyola Academy

CSNChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Aug. 1, we’ll unveil the @CSNPreps Top 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 26. View Edgy Tim's other football previews here.

School: Loyola Academy

Head coach: John Holecek

How they fared in 2015: 14-0 (4-0) Chicago Catholic League Blue Conference. Loyola Academy made the Class 8A state playoff field. The Ramblers defeated West Aurora, Stevenson, Homewood-Flossmoor, Palatine and Marist to capture the 8A IHSA state football title. 

Biggest storyline in 2016: Can the Ramblers repeat in Class 8A?

Names to watch this season: TE Jake Marwede, DB Ian Swenson

​​​​​[PREPS: Edgy Tim's Countdown to Kickoff series]

Biggest holes to fill: Loyola will need to find answers at a handful of key spots including quarterback and running back.

EDGY's early take: Despite having to replace 14 starters from last year's title team, look for Loyola to reload once again. Holecek has some headliner names in place, along with a very talented and deep roster this season. If Loyola can find some answers early on offense, the defense usually plays at a very high level and can help the offense. 

Ramblers schedule:

Aug. 26 at Milwaukee Marquette (7:30 p.m.)

Sept. 3 vs. Maine South (1:30 p.m.)

Sept. 9 vs. Mount Carmel *at Gately* (7:30 p.m.)

Sept. 17 vs. St. Francis (1:30 p.m.)

Sept. 23 vs. Fenwick *at Triton College* (7:30 p.m.)

Oct. 1 vs. St. Rita (1:30 p.m.)

Oct. 7 vs. Leo (7:30 p.m.)

Oct. 15 vs. Providence Catholic (1:30 p.m.)

Oct. 21 at Brother Rice (7:30 p.m.)

Fire fail to hold another lead at home, but reason why was different

Fire fail to hold another lead at home, but reason why was different

Holding onto leads at home has not been a strong suit for the Fire this season.

Wednesday’s 2-2 draw against the LA Galaxy was the fifth time this season the Fire have been unable to get a win at home in a match they led. In four of those, including Wednesday, the Fire had leads in the second half.

In the previous cases, the Fire dropped deep defensively and tried to simply hold onto the lead or hope David Accam could score on a one-man counter.

“I think once we’re up in the result I think we have to make sure that we kill the game off because there’s been too many times where it’s that 1-0 or that 2-1 and we’re kind of holding there and the next thing you know they’re tying the game at the end of the game,” midfielder Arturo Alvarez said. “We got to keep pushing for that third goal to make sure that we kill things off.”

The game against LA was different. The Fire had multiple quality chances to score a third goal and take a two-goal lead. One opportunity featuring Accam, Luis Solignac and an open net seemed like a sure goal as it was developing.

However, the Fire didn’t find that two-goal lead and LA managed to come back.

“I think we created a lot of chances,” Alvarez said. “We went up 2-1 and unfortunately that third goal didn’t want to go in at the right time and then LA got that bounce.”

[SHOP: Get your own Fire jersey here]

Even though the result didn’t show it, the Fire may have actually turned a corner in terms of how to play with a lead. In the win at Montreal on Saturday, the Fire scored that extra goal to take a two-goal lead, something the team hadn’t done all season in an MLS game.

Against the Galaxy, the Fire actually had more possession in the second half (56 percent) than the first half (46 percent). LA’s only shot on goal in the second half was the tying goal while the Fire put three shots on target in the second 45 minutes.

The Fire did fail to close out another match at home that they had a lead in, but the way it happened was different and maybe that’s a positive sign going forward.

“I think it’s starts from the offense,” Accam said. “If we could have scored then we could have killed the game. The defense did really well. We just need to keep finishing chances and then opponents won’t have the chance to attack us.

“I think we played one of the best games we played this season, but we need to take our chances and today I would say we are disappointed that we dropped two points at home. For me also we created so many chances that on another day we could have taken it. It’s kind of a mixed feeling for me.”