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

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)

Griffins hope to avoid 'sick feeling' going forward after blowout loss to Bradley

Griffins hope to avoid 'sick feeling' going forward after blowout loss to Bradley

Not all losses are created equal.

When Lincoln-Way East suffered a 35-30 defeat in Week 3 to Homewood-Flossmoor, the Griffins took positives away from the loss. They had held a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, battled back from adversity in the second half and had a chance to win the game in the final minute. Even that loss in retrospect appeared acceptable – if there ever was an acceptable loss – as the Vikings are currently 8-0 and in their other seven wins have outscored their opponents by an average of 38 points.

By Week 3 the Griffins were still acclimating to the unique situation of playing at game speed with a host of Lincoln-Way North students who had transferred in the offseason. They had a defense made up almost entirely of first-year starters, and the offense was still rotating quarterbacks Jake Arthur and Max Shafer to figure out how to maximize their talent. By many standards the Griffins went toe-to-toe for 48 minutes with a team also considered to be a favorite for a state title.

The same couldn’t be said for the Griffins’ effort last Friday night in Bradley.

An esteemed program with a 2005 state title and 16 consecutive playoff appearances to their resume, it isn’t often the Griffins are embarrassed on Friday night. But those were the words head coach Rob Zvonar used in his postgame speech to the team following their 38-21 loss to the undefeated Boilermakers.

“We chose to play the game,” Zvonar began. “Which means you play it to the greatest of your ability and you honor each other, God, everybody by your play. And we didn’t do that tonight.”

There were plenty of reasons the Griffins suffered their second loss of the season. That is came in such blowout fashion was the bigger surprise. The Boilermakers found the end zone on their first two possessions, rallying behind a raucous home crowd hoping to see their team go 8-0 for the first time in school history.

The Griffins defense, which had allowed 27 points the previous three weeks combined, were on their heels as the Boilermakers used misdirection and a few trick plays to set up the short touchdown runs.

The Griffins offense moved down the field on their fourth possession, moving inside the Boilermakers red zone looking to get on the board. But Iowa commit Camron Harrell stepped in front of a Griffins screen pass on 4th down and returned it 89 yards for a score. On the final play of the first quarter, with the Griffins moving again, Damien Williams read a route and picked off Jake Arthur, returning it 53 yards for a score to give the Boilermakers a shocking 28-0 lead after 12 minutes.

After a spirited halftime speech from Zvonar, the Griffins came out firing in the second half, scoring on a touchdown run from Nigel Muhammad and a Jeremy Nelson 27-yard reception from Arthur. But the Boilermakers weathered the storm each time Lincoln-Way East attempted a comeback. The Griffins only got as close as 14 points late in the fourth quarter.

“I think we came into this game not ready,” said Muhammad, who finished with 164 yards on 24 carries. “But we’re all a team and we all accept this loss together.”

Added senior Jack Carroll, who finished with a team-high nine tackles: “We have this sick feeling in our stomach right now but the best thing is (next) Friday we can come back and get it out of our stomach. If we lose again in the playoffs then we’ll have that sick feeling in our stomach for the rest of our lives.”

That’s now the reality for the Griffins, and a silver lining if there ever could be one for such a blowout loss. With the playoffs a mere week away – the Griffins defeated Lockport on Friday to finish the regular season 7-2 – the feeling each of them felt getting on the bus back to Frankfort will linger with them and act as a reminder of how quickly things can slip away.

“We’re trying to put this behind us,” said Max Shafer. “We’re going to try to get hot and make a run in the playoffs.”

In a loaded 8A class, the Griffins’ two regular-season losses have already knocked them down in the seeding process. While any loss before Week 9 means little in the long run – the Griffins locked up a playoff berth weeks ago – it also means a more difficult road to Champaign. But that’s the reality for Zvonar’s group, and whether it’s a defense playing faster or an offense avoiding costly mistakes, the Griffins are running out of time to right the ship.

But Zvonar believes such a loss as the team suffered last Friday night can act as the catalyst to doing just that. The Griffins have established themselves as one of the state’s premier programs, and that means not riding the highs too high, and not breaking apart when the lows come. Last Friday night was as low as Zvonar had seen any of his 16 teams, but the silver lining occurred in that his squad now knows what it has to do to avoid it when it’s win or go home.

“What we also think is that the program is built on a solid foundation, so when you take a little hit like that you battle back and you go back to what you believe in and what you know can be successful. And that’s fundamentals and keeping things simple, and the kids have bounced back and they’re not acceptable to them what occurred to them, so very proud of their effort and the way they’re working.

Morning Update: Blackhawks fall to Jackets; Cubs look to close out Dodgers in NLCS

Morning Update: Blackhawks fall to Jackets; Cubs look to close out Dodgers in NLCS

Complete Cubs-Dodgers NLCS Game 6 coverage on CSN

IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Show Saturday on CSN

Penalty kill struggles again in Blackhawks’ loss to Blue Jackets

Clayton Kershaw stands between Cubs and World Series: ‘To be the best, you got to beat the best’

For Bears QB Jay Cutler, an unwanted second chance – audition? – presents itself

White Sox: Chris Getz's new player development role is to carry out 'vision of the scouts'

How game-changing Kyle Hendricks deal came together for Cubs team on brink of World Series

Five Things from Blackhawks-Blue Jackets: Same mistakes resurface

Week 8 Big Ten previews: After last week's clash, Badgers, Buckeyes hit the road

High School Lites Football Roundup: Week 9