Word on the Street: Cards offer low-ball deal to Pujols

Word on the Street: Cards offer low-ball deal to Pujols

Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011
CSNChicago.com

Cardinals offer 'shocking' low-ball offer

The deadline that Albert Pujols set for the cutoff of negotiations with the Cardinals has past. So where does Pujols go from here?

According to Craig Calcaterra of the NBC Sports blog Hard Ball Talk, "spring training has begun for Pujols and El Hombre will not negotiate during spring training." Calcaterra believes a trade is not a real possibility and that Pujols will definitely play out the season with St. Louis.

He calls the deadline that just passed a "soft" one, saying that there will be, at some point between now and next October, real discussions between the Cardinals and Pujols.

The final offer that the Cardinals made to Pujols was "pretty shocking." According to reports, St. Louis wouldn't go to 10 years and proposed an annual salary that would make Pujols around the 10th-highest salary in baseball bringing home between 19 million and 21 million a season. But last spring the Phillies and Yankees each made deals that paid Ryan Howard and Mark Teixeira 25 million and 22.5 million respectively. (NBC Sports)

Moreland to replace Santo

CSNChicago.com's Cubs Insider Patrick Mooney reports that the Cubs and WGN Radio announced that Keith Moreland will follow the legendary broadcaster Ron Santo in the press box high atop Wrigley Field.

Moreland played six seasons for the Cubs (1982-87) and has extensive experience as an analyst. He knows that it will be strange for fans to hear someone else calling the action for the Cubs this summer.

"Nobody's going to replace Ron Santo," Moreland said. "All I can do is keep the seat warm." (CSNChicago.com)

Podsednik signs minor deal with Blue Jays after turning down 2 mil from Dodgers

Scott Podsednik was offered a 2 million mutual option with the Dodgers back in November, but the former White Sox slugger declined his side of the option and chose free agency.

Four months later and still without a major-league deal, Podsednik signed a minor-league contract with the Blue Jays. That means he's not even guaranteed a spot on the Opening Day roster. (NBC Sports)

Weeks and Brewers agree to extension

It looks like Rickie Weeks will be playing in Milwaukee for many years to come. Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reported that Weeks and the Brewers agreed to a five-year deal worth 50 million.

The Brewers can void that fifth year if Weeks "is not an everyday player in 2013 and 2014."

Last year Weeks hit .269 with 29 homers, 112 runs, and an .830 OPS. (NBC Sports)

Quade mum on Pujols questions

Albert Pujols' deadline to re-sign with the Cardinals has passed, but Cubs manager Mike Quade didn't have much interest in commenting on the story. He said that saga is the Cardinals' deal, and that he's more interested in welcoming Carlos Pena to camp on Friday.

"I'm looking forward to seeing Carlos Pena knock the daylights out of the ball," he said. "That's all that really matters to me right now." (Chicago Breaking Sports)

10 Keys to get Bears to Super Bowl

The Chicago Bears have to do just ten things in order to lock a trip to the Super Bowl next year, according to the Bleacher Report.

On the top of the list? The Bears will have to improve the O-line. The Bears line gave up the most sacks in the NFL last season. This is an area that can be addressed in both the draft and free agency.

Jay Cutler's consistency, minimizing Hester as a wide receiver, and keeping the offensive coaching staff were also among the 10 keys that the Bears need to do to ensure success next season. (Bleacher Report)

Illini FB coach gets a raise

It seems a 7-6 record is good enough for a hefty raise. Illinois head football coach Ron Zook will get a 250,000-a-year raise.

Illini Athletic Director Ron Guenther made the announcement, saying that the change in salary has to be approved by university trustees.

Guenther also said that Zook's entire staff will get raises, too. (Chicago Tribune)

Doug McDermott's return boosts Bulls' bench

Doug McDermott's return boosts Bulls' bench

Doug McDermott wasn’t exactly hunting for his first shot, but the first time he touched the ball in an NBA game in nearly a month wasn’t the optimal situation for him to let one fly.

It wasn’t in transition where he runs to an opening behind the 3-point line, nor was it a drive-and-kick situation where the help defense collapsed and left him open. It was a regular, simple, pass to the perimeter and McDermott’s defender was in reasonable proximity with 3:23 left in the first quarter.

He launched and the crowd soon roared its approval as his sweet jumper was sorely missed by the Bulls bench brigade—and moments later when he ran the floor for a fearless layup that caused Spurs coach Gregg Popovich to call a timeout, McDermott showed he missed the United Center crowd too, calling for more noise on his way to the bench.

“Anytime you have a guy like Doug, he comes back and makes his first 3, that’s hard to do,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “He stepped up with confidence on that first shot. I’m sure he had a lot of nerves getting back out there.”

Missing 12 games and suffering two concussions, McDermott looked right at home in 25 minutes of run Thursday as the Bulls were able to rely on their reserves in some form in their 95-91 win over the previously perfect road warriors known as the Spurs.

“We defended and kept them off the foul line,” McDermott said. “Coach (Jim) Boylen was with them, so we feel we know them and I think all this time they were missing my defense.”

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The last statement was certainly tongue-in-cheek, but the Bulls’ bench production was certainly missing in action while he was out with the concussion protocol. So much so that his return prompted the Bulls’ coaching staff to call out the reserves in the morning shootaround, demanding more.

“It’s definitely Dwyane (Wade) and Jimmy (Butler) and (Rajon) Rondo (but) the coaching staff kinda called out our bench like, we gotta have you tonight, bench,” McDermott said. “We took that to heart, we were really locked in.”

Seemingly his presence aided the Bulls’ spirits and production, as the Bulls’ bench had the least effective scoring bench in the NBA since Nov. 13, the day after McDermott hit the unforgiving floor against the Wizards for his second concussion this season.

Their net rating ranks ahead of only the Wizards, Mavericks and Nets, who are a combined 17-45 this season. Their effective field goal percentage, which takes into account 3-pointers, is worst in the league in that span (42.3 percent).

When McDermott was healthy for that smaller sample size, the Bulls’ bench ranked fifth in offensive efficiency, seventh in net rating, and fifth in efficient field goal percentage. Whether McDermott – and his absence – was directly related to those numbers, it’s clear the Bulls are better when they have their best reserve – and only true floor spacers on the second unit – on the court.

“We’re all professionals and we want to help the guys who are busting their butts in the first unit to get us the leads,” McDermott said. “Tonight we did a great job of sustaining it. We take it personal when teams come back on us.”

[MORE: Pau Gasol relishes consistency with Spurs he couldn't find with Bulls]

Nikola Mirotic was four of eight from the field, and Cristiano Felicio seems to be back in Fred Hoiberg’s good graces as he’s carved out a rotation spot for himself with nine points and seven rebounds in 18 minutes.

It seems as if Hoiberg will stick with this rotation of players, at least for a little while until Michael Carter-Williams returns from his injuries. If McDermott is the mark of the Bulls’ bench going from bottom feeder to adequate, it should show this month.

“When he’s out there on the floor and we get him coming off screens, it forces the defense to shift as another person they need to be aware of,” Hoiberg said. “It opens up driving lanes for our guys. It was great to have Doug back with us.”

Morning Update: Bulls beat Spurs in Pau Gasol's return to Chicago

Morning Update: Bulls beat Spurs in Pau Gasol's return to Chicago

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