Biggest Bears surprise for '12? Hard choices

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Biggest Bears surprise for '12? Hard choices

Mac and Spiegs on WSCR-AM 670 The Scores The McNeil and Spiegel Show posed their question of the day to me during my weekly Thursday visit at 10 a.m.: What would be your biggest surprise of the 2012 Bears season so far?

A few possibilities: The play of the defensive line, the work of safeties Chris Conte and Major Wright. I threw in the specific level of play from Charles Tillman (he was very good last year, but this?). I should have thought of Tim Jennings, whose pass defense work has been exceptional.

I did agree with Matt on the safeties. Conte and Wright have taken individual and collective steps up and Id have to guess that the Bears werent expecting quite this much or they wouldnt have invested another third-round draft choice on a safety (Brandon Hardin).

Obviously the Carolina Panthers are on the topics list and none of us could find a way to pick Ron Riveras troubled team to beat the Bears. If there is an NFL surprise, I suggested it would have to be the falloff of Cam Newtons play. What I saw of him last year was a bigger RGIII and its surprising to see that level of talent struggle the way it has.

Danny wondered when the wave of feel-good around the Bears might take a tumble and my pick for that is in Tennessee. I have the Bears at 6-2 after the first half, beating Carolina but losing in Nashville. The Titans are better than they showed through five games and Chris Johnson is looking like the back he used to be, Difficult game.

Well check in again next Thursday at 10 a.m.

White Sox manager Rick Renteria 'surprised' Melky Cabrera hasn't been traded

White Sox manager Rick Renteria 'surprised' Melky Cabrera hasn't been traded

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The White Sox have offloaded more pieces in the past eight months than that furniture store that always seems to be going out of business.

Everything. Must. Go.

Even so, the team hasn’t found any takers for veteran outfielder Melky Cabrera, who finished with four hits in Saturday night’s 7-2 White Sox loss to the Kansas City Royals. Cabrera finished a triple shy of the cycle and drove in two runs. That Cabrera still resides on the South Side is a surprise to White Sox manager Rick Renteria.

“Honestly yeah, to be honest,” Renteria said. “To me he’s a premier Major League baseball player who has been playing outstanding defense. And he has been for us one of the two or three guys who has been timing his hitting in terms of driving in runs when we need them, putting together really good at-bats when we need them. Just playing the game. Yeah, kind of surprised.”

Despite making their intentions known that everyone short of Tim Anderson and Carlos Rodon are available, Cabrera’s name has barely registered a blip on the radar when it comes to trade rumors.

Several factors have probably prevented Cabrera from being dealt, the biggest being his salary. Cabrera is still owed roughly $6.3 million of his $15 million salary, which makes him an expensive option.

Defensive metrics also don’t have much love for Cabrera despite his eight outfield assists. Cabrera’s lack of range has produced minus-6 Defensive Runs Saved and a minus-4.7 Ultimate Zone Rating.

Those figures likely would like have teams lean toward making Cabrera a designated hitter. While he’s been one of the team’s most consistent and prominent offensive performers, Cabrera’s .786 ranks only about 38th in the American League.

As FanRag’s Jon Heyman noted earlier Saturday, to trade Cabrera the White Sox would likely have to eat most of the outfielder’s remaining salary.

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