Word on the Street: Garcia agrees with Yankees

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Word on the Street: Garcia agrees with Yankees

Monday, Jan. 31, 2011
CSNChicago.com

Freddy Garcia reaches agreement with Yankees

Despite recent reports that the White Sox are still considering him, Freddy Garcia had indicated he wanted to move on, going as far to say that, "I would love to stay in Chicago because I like the city and I have friends there, but I don't think I'm going to come back. In any case, I appreciate them for trusting me last year," Garcia said in the interview. "However, a team like New York would be ideal, and would match up with this stage of my career."

Garcia backed that up by officially agreeing to a minor-league deal with the Yankees according to multiple sources with knowledge of the contract. (mlbtraderumors.com)

Tiger's Dubai golf course on hold

Another major project launched during Dubai's economic boom years has been compromised by the country's financial downturn. The Chicago Tribune reports that plans for a Tiger Woods signature golf estate have been shelved.

"It's been put on hold for right now. It's still there," Tiger said after he finished his season debut at Torrey Pines. "We've got six completed holes and a few that were about to be grassed before construction was halted. Everything is on hold."

The estate was planned to include a boutique hotel and sheik-style palaces. (Chicago Tribune)
Eagles interview Bears' assistant Hoke

The Philadelphia Eagles interviewed Bears secondary coach Jon Hoke for their defensive coordinator vacancy. Since Hoke is under contract with the Bears, the Eagles had to request permission to speak with him.

Hoke came to the Bears in 2009 after spending seven seasons with the Houston Texans. (csnphilly.com)

U.S. soccer cancels exhibition game against Egypt

Because of the political turmoil in Cairo, The U.S. national soccer team canceled its Feb. 9 exhibition game against Egypt. The international friendly was planned Dec. 13, but in the last week, street protests aiming for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak have caused disruption in Cairo and Alexandria.

The U.S. State Department has recommended American citizens to avoid travel to Egypt. U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati said "due to the current situation all parties agreed it was best to cancel the match. We appreciate the efforts of the Egyptian Football Association and the U.S. State Department as we worked through this situation." (Tribune News Services)

Krause named baseball "Scout of the Year"

The former general manager of the Chicago Bulls, Jerry Krause, oversaw the franchise's six NBA titles. But Sunday night, he earned the Nick Kamzic Award as "Scout of the Year" in baseball at the 65th annual Pitch & Hit Banquet in Rosemont.

Now the Director of International Scouting for the White Sox, Krause began his baseball scouting career with the Cleveland Indians. After stints with the A's and Mariners, Krause joined the White Sox from 1978 through 1984. In the early 90's, Jerry Reinsdorf wanted Krause to run the Bulls. Eighteen years and six Championships later, Krause returned to baseball in 2004, scouting for the Yankees and Mets before coming back to the White Sox in 2010. (Chicago Breaking Sports)

DePaul women's basketball No. 9 in new AP poll

Coming off a huge win over No. 8 West Virginia, the DePaul women's basketball team reached a new milestone when the Associated Press Poll ranked the Blue Demons ranked No. 9.

"Reaching our highest ranking in school history is a definite testament to this team and the character of our young women," DePaul head coach Doug Bruno said after learning of his team's ranking.

Last week DePaul became the first Division I team to reach the 20-win mark. (depaulbluedemons.com)

Barkley, Strahan join Wild rookie dinner in Chicago

Last Sunday, the Minnesota Wild hosted their annual rookie dinner at the Chicago Cut Steakhouse while in town to play the Chicago Blackhawks. Former NBA star Charles Barkley and former NFL star Michael Strahan were dining at the steakhouse and made a guest appearance at the rookie dinner.

Former Blackhawks center John Madden knew Strahan from his time playing in New York, and invited the two to their dining room, where they stayed for two hours.

According to Wild rookie defenseman Jared Spurgeon, "Charles started getting all these crazy ideas in his head" about the rookie hazing that ensued. (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

Pro Bowl earns best TV ratings in a decade

Sunday night, the NFC's sloppy 55-41 victory over the AFC drew a 7.7 rating and 12 share on Fox, earning the Pro Bowl's highest television rating since 2000. The ratings were up 8 percent from last year.

Bears defensive end Julius Peppers recorded the only sack for the NFC in the game. (Chicago Tribune)

Lucas Giolito striving to contribute to White Sox 'as soon as possible'

Lucas Giolito striving to contribute to White Sox 'as soon as possible'

At one point, it was looking like Lucas Giolito could be headed to the White Sox in exchange for Chris Sale.

But when Sale was dealt to the Boston Red Sox, Giolito's name was in the clear of rumors — until 29 hours later, when the Nationals' top prospect would be headed to Chicago in a different trade, which sent outfielder Adam Eaton to Washington.

“It’s kind of like the world we live in now. Social media is always out there and everything is on Twitter,” Giolito said in a conference call Friday. “I saw my name being mentioned on Twitter for Chris Sale. I know with the winter meetings all sorts of stuff being thrown around. I was just trying to focus on what I’m doing in this offseason which is lifting and all my workouts. Kind of just whatever happens, happens. 

“It’s funny that Sale ended up going to the Red Sox and something else happens that I’m going to the White Sox now with a couple teammates. It’s really interesting stuff but I’m super excited.”

The move for Rick Hahn & Co. to acquire Giolito was the second major trade to begin the White Sox rebuilding process. But Giolito didn't come alone.

In addition, the White Sox received Reynaldo Lopez — who Giolito has played with since 2014 — and the Nationals' 2016 first-round pick Dane Dunning.

"I definitely think it’s amazing to be coming over to the White Sox with a bunch of young talent," Giolito said. "I think it’s a great opportunity for us to all develop and get better and hopefully put a really good team together in Chicago. Definitely excited to be coming over with a couple guys from my previous organization."

[MORE: Rick Hahn, White Sox prepared to make more 'painful decisions' if the price is right]

Giolito went 6-5 with a 2.97 ERA and 1.28 WHIP across three minor-league levels this past season. He admitted his mechanics weren't quite in sync and is looking to improve on that.

"Sometimes things get out of whack. I believe I let too much get out of whack last year," Giolito said. "So this year with my training program I have in this offseason — lifting and Pilates and everything — I’m just trying to make sure that I can stay as athletic as possible so I’m able to repeat the right delivery more often. Once I start playing catch and doing bullpens and everything these next few weeks, right before spring training, I’m going to make sure I put that all together so I can repeat my delivery as best as possible."

His struggles continued when he got to The Show.

In his major-league debut on June 28, Giolito held the New York Mets to just one hit over four scoreless innings before a rain delay cut his night short. That turned out to be his most effective outing of the season as he finished the year with an 0-1 record, 6.75 ERA and 1.78 WHIP in six games with the Nationals, four of them being starts.

"(My MLB debut) didn’t go as well as I would’ve liked it to go, obviously, as you look at the numbers and everything," he said, "but I feel that with the White Sox now (and) getting traded and everything, it’s kind of like a fresh opportunity and a new start to get up to the big leagues again and contribute and do everything I can to stay there as well."

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Despite his low numbers, the 22-year-old Giolito believes he's ready to play on the White Sox main roster as soon as next season.

"I’ve had some experience in the big leagues last year," Giolito said. "Especially last year, I took a lot positives away because I did experience such a good amount of failure in a lot of I’d say like hardship when I made it up and didn’t perform up to what I believe is my best capabilities.

"I’ve pitched a good amount of innings in the minor leagues and I’ve had a little experience in the big leagues so I’m just really looking forward to making it up in the big leagues with the White Sox and contributing as soon as possible."

Rick Hahn, White Sox prepared to make more 'painful decisions' if the price is right

Rick Hahn, White Sox prepared to make more 'painful decisions' if the price is right

That Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada have reunited is a nice story, but it won't dramatically change the mindset of the rebuilding White Sox, who earlier this week demonstrated they aren't messing around.

Abreu said in a statement issued by the White Sox on Friday that he's "very happy" about the prospect of again playing alongside Moncada, who played 12 games with the star slugger in 2012 for Cienfuegos in the Cuban National Series. Moncada, 21, is the centerpiece of a four-player package acquired from the Boston Red Sox for Chris Sale on Tuesday, a toolsy infielder who MLB.com has rated as the No. 1 prospect in baseball.

While the concept of Abreu mentoring Moncada has plenty of merit — the first baseman's work ethic is outstanding, and he's beloved by coaches and teammates — don't think the White Sox would hesitate to trade him if someone paid the right price. White Sox general manager Rick Hahn just spent four days at the Winter Meetings discussing how a team that just traded away its best pitcher and position player remains open to listening to all offers and is prepared to do what is must to get the franchise healthy again. 

"We're extremely open-minded on ways to continue the process that we started," Hahn said earlier this week, adding that the White Sox "have to make some painful decisions."

The White Sox have grown tired of never having all the pieces — or even more than a few — to fill the holes created by injury, poor performance, etc. They want to be flush with young talent and essentially have said anything that isn't nailed down at Guaranteed Rate Field is available with the exceptions of Tim Anderson and Carlos Rodon.

The team wants to cash in on the chips it possesses.

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While they don't have a ton, the few the White Sox have could help expedite a rebuild process as the Sale and Eaton trades have shown. Those deals brought back seven players, including three who played at the big league level last season (Moncada, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez). Some of those players potentially would start 2017 in the big leagues, and that possibility increases the internal value of Abreu and starting pitcher Jose Quintana, who is equally revered among teammates and coaches for his dedication and team-first mentality. 

Having those young players see firsthand what it takes to excel in the majors from veteran teammates is invaluable. Abreu, who arrived in the United States from Cuba in late 2013, addressed that point in his statement about Moncada, who signed with Boston in 2015.

"Moncada is a five-tool player," Abreu said. "He really has everything needed to succeed, and I know that with the proper guidance of veteran players and coaches with experience he can become an All-Star caliber player."

"He is going to make a huge impact in the White Sox organization, and both the fans and the team will be thankful.

"I already spoke with him to welcome him to the team. I told him that I'm going to be there for him for everything that he needs on and off the field."

In a conference call Wednesday, Moncada said he's "thrilled" to once again play with Abreu. Whether they will hasn't yet been determined.

When asked about Moncada's 2017 starting point earlier in the week, Hahn said the 21-year still needs to develop. Moncada appeared in eight big league games last season for Boston and struggled with contact, striking out 12 times in 20 plate appearances. But that promotion came after a meteoric rise through Boston's farm system, an aggressive path that included only 45 games played above High-A. Nothing has been announced, but it appears Moncada will receive an invite to big league camp next spring and be seated near Abreu in the clubhouse. 

Still, Hahn sounds like he intends for Moncada to spend much of 2017 refining his approach in the minors. He also has demonstrated he is willing to dig deep and make more painful moves if it betters the team in the long run, all of which means the White Sox wouldn't hesitate to trade Abreu or Quintana if they get what they want.