Word on the Street: Should Bears take flyer on Moss?

Word on the Street: Should Bears take flyer on Moss?

Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010
CSNChicago.com

Should the Bears take a flyer on Randy Moss?

Everybody seems to have mixed opinions on the matter. CSNChicago's own John "Moon" Mullin thinks it could be disastrous and the thought of having Moss and Cutler in the same huddle is "frightening."

Brian Urlacher says it wouldn't hurt his feelings at all when asked about adding Moss to the Bears on the Dan Patrick show on CSN this morning.

Chicago Tribune's Dan Pompei believes the Bears should at least be considering Moss, but also said the enigmatic WR would need to go to a "contending team with a void at wide receiver, a strong head coach, a secure quarterback whose leadership is unquestioned and an offensive scheme that will allow him to do his thing."

Kyle Koster of the Chicago Sun-Times feels Moss is the last thing the Bears need, citing the weak offensive line as the most prime need first and foremost. (CSNChicago.com, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times)

Still interested in Sosa's corked bat?

If you were interested in buying Sammy Sosa's corked bat from June 3, 2003 but wasn't able to attend the auction Sunday night, you're in luck. The infamous bat didn't sell.

The bat, which has been the property of former Cubs reliever Mike Remlinger since '03, was originally priced for 15,000, but the highest bid was for 14,407. The bat is now either going to be sold to the highest bidder or will be sold privately. (ABC News)

Is Adam Dunn a good fit in the Windy City?
The Cubbies Crib blog analyzes whether prized free agent Adam Dunn is worth it for the North Siders, as he will likely command a pretty penny for a team that is supposed to be cutting back on payroll. Writer Jordan Campbell offers three cheaper options, including Aubrey Huff, who just won a World Series ring with the Giants. (CubbiesCrib.com)

Five Chicago baseball prospects named to AFL Rising Stars game

Outfielder Jared Mitchell, infielder Eduardo Escobar and pitcher Anthony Carter of the White Sox' organization and pitcher Chris Carpenter and infielder Josh Vitters of the Cubs' organziation were all named to play in the Arizona Fall League Rising Stars game that will take place on Saturday. (Chicago Tribune)

Marlins set to sign Rodriguez as manager

The Florida Marlins are expected to announce Edwin Rodriguez as the organization's new manager as early as Wednesday. Reports came out late last week indicating the Marlins were very interested in White Sox skipper Ozzie Guillen and would even be willing to trade top outfield prospect Mike Stanton for the outspoken manager, but those reports were found to be untrue. (Palm Beach Post)

Warner has some words of advice for Cutler

Kurt Warner, a product of the "Greatest Show on Turf" in St. Louis with current Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz, has a few words of advice for current Chicago QB Jay Cutler.
Warner said Cutler is "a perfect fit from a confidence, from an ability standpoint."

"But where I think it has to adjust is he's got to be able to anticipate within that offense and see things ahead of time, throw the ball before a guy gets open, trust the guy to come open or move to his next read. That's where I see him struggling right now within that offense." (LA Times)
Texans waive Ogunleye

Defensive end Adawale Ogunleye, a former Bears player, was placed on waivers by the Houston Texans Tuesday. The Texans also picked up former Bear DE Mark Anderson when he was dropped from Chicago earlier this season. (Chicago Tribune)

Sky nab third pick in WNBA draft

The Chicago Sky, who finished 14-20 last season, wound up with the third pick in the 2011 WNBA draft. The Minnesota Lynx will pick first, followed by the Tulsa Shock. (Chicago Tribune)

Denzel Valentine a candidate for minutes at the point for Bulls

Denzel Valentine a candidate for minutes at the point for Bulls

The common refrain among coaches in the first days of training camp is “this guy had an incredible summer”, a phrase Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg has said so much that even he had to laugh when asked who didn’t have a banner summer period.

Of course, that’s before fans and media get to see anyone play, so we can only speculate who’ll win certain position battles, like the starting power forward spot or how deep Hoiberg’s rotation will go.

So in the spirit of speculation, Bulls rookie Denzel Valentine’s versatility makes him a candidate for the backup point guard position, a spot that is filled with different options for Hoiberg to choose from.

“He’s such an instinctive player. He does a great job,” Hoiberg said. “We talk about making simple plays. You’ve done your job when you beat your man, draw the second defender and make the easy, simple play. Denzel is great at that. That’s not a gift that everybody has. That’s not an instinct that all players have. But Denzel certainly has it.”

One wonders if Valentine could find himself on the outside looking in at the start of the season, like Bobby Portis did last year before all the injuries hit the Bulls and forced him into action.

It’s a different vision than when Valentine was drafted as a late lottery pick after a seasoned career at Michigan State. The Bulls hadn’t signed Dwyane Wade or Rajon Rondo in free agency, and had traded Derrick Rose 24 hours before the draft, so the thought was Valentine could be an instant contributor.

Even still, Valentine can likely play anything from point guard to small forward, but hasn’t gotten extensive reps at the point, yet.

“I’ve played on the wing so far. A little bit of point,” Valentine said. “I got a couple reps on the point, but like 70-30. Seventy on the wing, 30 on the point.”

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He got an early jump on the Hoiberg terminology at summer league, so the language isn’t a big adjustment, but having to learn multiple positions along with the tendencies of new teammates can mean a steeper learning curve.

“Yeah, I just got to continue learning sets and learning guys’ strengths so that I can use that to their best advantage,” Valentine said. “Play-make as best I can when I’m at the point guard spot. Just learning the system, learning guys’ strengths, and then I’ll be better at it.”

The presence of Wade and Jimmy Butler, one of whom will likely anchor the second unit as Hoiberg will probably stagger minutes so each can have the requisite time and space, means even if Valentine were on the floor, he wouldn’t have to be a natural point guard.

Hoiberg does, however, crave having multiple playmakers who can initiate offense or create shots off penetration or pick and roll action, meaning Valentine can work it to his advantage.

“I think he can. Jimmy played with the ball in his hands a lot last year,” Hoiberg said. “Jimmy rebounds the ball and if Dwyane rebounds the ball, they’re bringing it. Rajon if he’s out there knows to fill one of the lanes. Denzel is an excellent passer. He’s got such good basketball instincts. So if you can get guys out there who can make plays, that’s what it’s all about. I think you’re very difficult to guard in this league when you have multiple ballmakers.”

Other notes:

Dwyane Wade won’t be taking walk-up triples for the Bulls, despite his call that Hoiberg wants him being more comfortable from behind the long line. Hoiberg does want him being willing and able to take corner threes, likely off guard penetration from Rondo or Jimmy Butler.

When Wade played with LeBron James in Miami, cutting from the corners became a staple, so putting him there could be an old wrinkle Hoiberg is adding to his scheme.

Wade took seven of his 44 3-pointers from the corner last season, hitting two from the right side, according to vorped.com.

“When he’s open, especially in the corners, that’s a shot we want him taking. It’s a thing we worked on yesterday, making sure he stays on balance,” Hoiberg said. “He’s got a natural lean on his shot, which has been very effective, being on the elite mid range shooters in our game. That’s allowed him to get shots over bigger defenders. When you get out further from the basket, especially by the line, you need to get momentum going in, work on your body position and work on finishing that shot. He’s got good mechanics, it’s a matter of finishing the shot.”

What’s next for Cubs and Jason Hammel?

What’s next for Cubs and Jason Hammel?

PITTSBURGH – Making a risk-reward decision, the Cubs will shut down Jason Hammel and not start him Friday night against the Cincinnati Reds, leaving his playoff status and future in the organization uncertain.

Hammel said he’s been feeling tightness in his right elbow for weeks, which may have dulled the sharpness to his slider and explained some of his second-half struggles, which have put him on the postseason-roster bubble, if not on the outside looking in. 

After Friday’s TBD, Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks are still scheduled to start the season’s final two games at Great American Ball Park, putting them at the front of a playoff rotation that didn’t figure to include Hammel anyway.

“That decision lays in their hands,” said Hammel, who has been playing catch and throwing off flat ground during this week's spring-training-like series against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. “Health-wise, I’m not stressing about it. Collectively, we talked about it. And for being available through October, is it really worth something right now happening in a game that – more or less – doesn’t really matter?”

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The Hammel 2.0 reboot still has to be considered a success, with another All-Star-caliber first half, a career-high 15 wins, a 3.83 ERA and an overall resume that would look dramatically different if he didn’t have three starts allowing nine or 10 runs. 

The Cubs hold a $12 million option – with a $2 million buyout – for next season that could make Hammel an attractive trade chip given this winter’s shallow pool of free agents.   

“Obviously, not happy with the way things ended,” Hammel said. “But I would say for 9/10ths of the season, I was very good. I’ll take that into the offseason and add onto what I added (last) offseason.

“Some crazy freak incident like this can derail it, but overall my body feels good. I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish, which was to make 30-plus starts and be competitive, save for five, six starts. Out of 30, I’d say that’s pretty good.”