Word on the Street: What if Bulls didn't get No. 1 Pick?

Word on the Street: What if Bulls didn't get No. 1 Pick?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011
CSNChicago.com
What if the Bulls didn't get the No. 1 pick in 2008?

That is precisely what Darrell Horwitz discusses in his Bleacher Report article, "Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls: What If They Didn't Get the No. 1 Pick?" The odds of getting the No. 1 pick in the lottery was a mere 1.9 percent chance. Luck was smiling on the Bulls.

So what would have happened if the Bulls weren't lucky that night? Would the Bulls even be in the playoff hunt? Would Carlos Boozer have come to Chicago without Rose? Would Tom Thibodeau have chosen the Bulls? Would Kirk Hinrich still be the point guard?

For a team that has the promise of future championships awaiting them, it is certainly interesting to reflect on what might have been. (Bleacher Report)

Ochocinco coming to a soccer field near you?

Chad Ochocinco is getting a backup plan together to prepare for a potention NFL-less fall. According to USA Today, Ochocinco is set for a four-day tryout with Sporting Kansas City of Major League Soccer starting Tuesday. The Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver began playing soccer at age 4 and is friends with soccer stars Thierry Henry, Cristiano Ronaldo and Ronaldinho.

"Due to the NFL lockout, I'm excited to be able to follow my childhood dream of playing for a Major League Soccer team," Ochocinco said.

Sportinng Kansas City said that it would determine whether to extend the trial period after the tryout. (USA Today)

Campbell, Bolland still out with injuries

Brian Campbell and Dave Bolland will not return to the lineup for the Blackhawks' game against Dallas on Thursday. Campbell suffered an injury to his left leg against the Florida Panthers last week and did not practice Wednesday. He could meet the team in Glendale for their game against the Coyotes on Sunday.

Bolland will sit out for the next two games and won't make the trip to DallasPhoenix because of his concussion. His status has not improved since Tampa Bay defenseman Pavel Kubina elbowed him in the head last week. (CSNChicago.com)
Bulls approaching 50 wins

The 2010-2011 Chicago Bulls are on track to reach 50 wins this season. Surmounting that number would mark the first time the team has reached 50 wins since Michael Jordan roamed the court during the 1997-98 season.

Ryan Christopher DeVault believes that this could be the Bulls' chance to finally break that 50-win plateau. He also says confidently that the most successful seasons of the Bulls have all ended in NBA titles. (Yahoo Sports)

Bears scout at Illinois' pro day

Representatives from 30 of the league's 32 teams were on hand at the Illini pro day, including New York Jets coach Rex Ryan and six representatives from the Bears. Bears running backs coach Tim Spencer helped put Mikel Leshoure through drills after a long chat while the linemen were working out.

Bears defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli put Corey Liuget and defensive end Clay Nurse through drills. (Chicago Breaking Sports)

Ex-Fire Bocanegra makes U.S. exhibition roster

Carlos Bocanegra (Saint-Etienne, France) is one of twenty players that play abroad selected to a 24-man roster as the United States host exhibition games against Argentina and Paraguay. Landon Donovan (Los Angeles) and Clint Dempsey (Fulham, England) head the roster selected by U.S. coach Bob Bradley. Bradley did not select any players from the Chicago Fire.

Players will train in Cary, N.C. and play Argentina on March 26 in New Jersey. Three days later the team will take on Paraguay in Nashville, Tenn. (Tribune News Services)

Preview: White Sox start series at Twins tonight on CSN

Preview: White Sox start series at Twins tonight on CSN

 

The White Sox take on the Twins on Friday, and you can catch all the action on Comcast SportsNet. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.

Today’s starting pitching matchup: Jose Quintana (8-8, 2.97 ERA) vs. Ricky Nolasco (4-8, 5.40 ERA)

Click here for a game preview to make sure you’re ready for the action.

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Preview: Cubs host Mariners today on CSN

Preview: Cubs host Mariners today on CSN

The Cubs take on the Seattle Mariners on Friday, and you can catch all the action on Comcast SportsNet. Coverage begins with Cubs Pregame Live at 12:30 p.m.. Then catch first pitch with Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on Cubs Postgame Live.

Today’s starting pitching matchup: Jon Lester (10-4, 3.09 ERA) vs. Hisashi Iwakuma (11-6, 3.96 ERA)

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Are Cubs done dealing? ‘Wouldn’t put anything past’ Theo

Are Cubs done dealing? ‘Wouldn’t put anything past’ Theo

Are the Cubs done dealing? Theo Epstein might be the baseball executive you’d least want to play poker against, and his team didn’t stop after winning 97 wins last season – committing almost $290 million to free agents – or hold onto the organization’s top prospect when the New York Yankees wanted Gleyber Torres in the blockbuster Aroldis Chapman trade.

“I wouldn’t put anything past him,” pitching coach Chris Bosio said.

That win-now impulse led the Cubs to Chapman, who instantly raised the energy level at Wrigley Field on Thursday night just by walking in from the bullpen, wowing more than 40,000 fans with his 100-mph heat and getting a four-out save to close out a 3-1 win over the White Sox.

“As fans of the game, you always see what Aroldis does,” first baseman Anthony Rizzo said. “If he’s pitching, and you’re flipping through the channels, you stay on him just to see what he does, because he’s that type of player. What he does for our bullpen now is just incredible.”

This is the blueprint for October with enough timely hitting, a quality start from John Lackey, Pedro Strop working the seventh inning and manager Joe Maddon calling for Chapman to replace Hector Rondon with a runner on third and two outs in the eighth. Chapman threw Melky Cabrera six straight fastballs that registered between 98.6 and 102.3 mph on MLB.com’s Gameday, striking him out swinging.

“I was ready,” Chapman said through temporary translator/catcher Miguel Montero said. “I’m pretty pumped to be part of it.”

While the Cubs unveiled grand plans to construct a future World Series winner, Bosio became the no-nonsense foreman supervising a crew of veterans, short-timers and sign-and-flip guys.

Ex-manager Dale Sveum and coaches like Bosio, Mike Borzello and Lester Strode installed the game-planning system and did the grunt work to build up Ryan Dempster, Scott Feldman, Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, putting in all that effort only to see them shipped off to playoff contenders in trade-deadline deals.

That roster churn yielded Kyle Hendricks, Jake Arrieta, Strop, Justin Grimm, Carl Edwards Jr., Addison Russell, Hammel returning as a free agent and a trade chip (minor-league outfielder Billy McKinney) used in the Chapman deal.

“To be able to get a guy like him is a big step for the organization,” Bosio said. “It definitely sent ripple effects to everybody who’s a Cubs fan. I got so many phone calls and text messages.

“This one got a lot of people’s attention. Not just in baseball, but all over the world. He’s a headline guy coming to a headline city.”

Like virtually everyone else, the Cubs are looking for younger starting pitchers who come with years of club control, because right now only Hendricks and Jon Lester can be penciled into the 2018 rotation (when the $155 million lefty will be 34 years old).

The Cubs also can’t ignore the offense, even after pouring so much capital into their lineup, because Jason Heyward’s .632 OPS ranks 151st out of the 157 qualified major-league hitters, Montero is hitting .198, Willson Contreras will be making rookie adjustments and Kyle Schwarber’s left-handed presence will be missed even more against elite pitching in October.

If the Yankees decide to sell another rental player – and the Cubs are willing to mortgage their farm system – Carlos Beltran would be a good fit as a switch-hitter with an excellent track record as a playoff performer (16 homers, 40 RBI and a 1.155 OPS in 52 postseason games).

“There’s still a good amount of time before the trade deadline,” Epstein said this week. “So we’re going to engage with every other team and see if there’s an opportunity to get better. Either tweaks to the roster now, but I’d say it’s more focused on getting additional depth for this season and possibly making a move that makes sense for our longer-term picture, next season and beyond.”

The Cubs have until Monday afternoon’s non-waiver deadline to try to complete the World Series puzzle. Why stop with Chapman during an all-in season?

“Now we’re the ones looking to add pieces, whether it be a bat or a pitcher,” Bosio said. “I wouldn’t put anything past ownership or the front office, because they know how much we’ve invested into this year, and how hard it is just to win a major-league game.”