Chicago Bears

Kaplan: No need to rush Rizzo

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Kaplan: No need to rush Rizzo

With reports circulating regarding a possible call up of the top Cubs prospect Anthony Rizzo from Class AAA Iowa, I decided to look at his service time and how that will factor into the team's decision regarding when to promote him to the big leagues.

Rizzo is having his second consecutive banner year in the minor leagues but last season when he received a promotion to the San Diego Padres he struggled mightily hitting just .141 with 46 strikeouts in 128 at-bats and eventually ended up back in the minor leagues and being traded to the Cubs in the Andrew Cashner deal.

While I understand the interest in seeing the Cubs move incumbent starting first baseman Bryan LaHair to left field and starting Rizzo at first base while rebuilding a struggling team it is important to look at the service time rules as it affects free agency and how it will affect Rizzo. A player receives free agency after six full seasons in the major leagues. There are 183 days of service time possible in a big league season and a player is required to have 172 days to count as a full season. Rizzo accumulated 68 days of service time in 2011 which means he needs 104 days this season to achieve a full year in the big leagues. However, if the Cubs keep him in the minor leagues long enough this season he will fall short of a full year by a few days which prevents him from reaching free agency until after the 2018 season. The date that the Cubs should have circled on their calendars is June 23rd because if Rizzo is not on the big league roster before then he will not have enough days left in the season to reach 172 days.

Now could the Cubs promote him in early June to use him in some interleague games when the team will need another bat in the lineup because of the DH? Sure, but if they do they will need to send him back down to make sure he does not have the necessary 104 days. To some that may not seem like a big deal but when you have a player with the potential impact of Rizzo it is imperative that the Cubs do all they can to hang onto an asset as long as possible. Why rush to call him up now when the team is as bad as it is and you gain nothing and you move him towards free agency and a potentially huge payday one year earlier than is necessary?

Some pundits have wondered about Rizzo and his Super Two arbitration status but for him to miss out on a year of arbitration would require the Cubs to keep him in the minor leagues until late July at the earliest and that is not something that I see happening. Free agency is one thing to keep an eye on but in this case the Cubs are not concerned with his arbitration status and if he plays as well as they hope, they will not have a problem paying him.

The coolest Bear arrival in Bourbonnais was.... the punter?

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USA TODAY

The coolest Bear arrival in Bourbonnais was.... the punter?

Today is basically a national holiday for football fans around the globe. It’s a fresh start, a new beginning, the start of training camp and effectively the start of the 2017 football season.

Now the Bears pre-season doesn’t start until August 10th, and the regular season begins exactly a month after that as the Monsters of the Midway take on the Atlanta Falcons at Soldier Field .

But for fans who are in desperate need of some football injected into their lives, today will suffice.

The beginning of training camp means a many things for the players. It can be the difference in getting a job or not, impressing a coach or even feeding their family. Yet on a lighter note, day 1 provides a perfect opportunity for a first impression as players show up to camp in style and in… well you can decide.

In an homage to arguably the greatest Bear ever, just a day after his birthday, WR Josh Bellamy showed up in a #34 Bears Walter Payton jersey. You have to love that. Coincidentally he is pictured with a man who hopes to be the Bears next Sweetness, 2016 Bears Offensive MVP, Jordan Howard.

Next, with possibly the most style of any arrival in Bourbonnais today, we have 6’5” 220lb machine of a punter Pat O’Donnell and Bears K Connor Barth rolling up in a McLaren with the butterfly doors. I feel like it's safe to say the Bears have started the 2017 NFL campaign with the coolest  special teams showing across the league. That’s some major  #SpecialTeamsSwag

Rounding out the notable arrivals we have our most unique one to say the least. OL Eric Kush, who the medical community unanimously declared as allergic to sleeves, showed up on a tandem bike. With whom did he show up on this tandem bike you ask? Take a look below.

Bold move by Kush, but you’ve got to respect it, he's proabably the size of 2 average people anyways so it all works out.

If you’re itching for more Bears training camp storylines take a look here, and now that the season is underway start tuning in to our BearsTalk Podcast here to stay up to date on on everything blue and orange.  

Bear down Bears fans…. We’re almost there.

30 Days to Kickoff: Maine West

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30 Days to Kickoff: Maine West

School: Maine West

Head coach: Jason Kradman

Assistant Coaches: Steve Piha, Mike Smith, Russ Swenson, Dan Wilson, Mike O'Brill, Matt Boswell, Tony Manicke, Ryan Willett, Trent Greco, Rashad Daviston, Joe Duszynski

How they fared in 2016: 4-5 (2-3 Central Suburban North Conference), missed the 2016 IHSA state playoff field

2017 Regular Season Schedule:

August 25th vs Streamwood

September 1st @ Larkin

September 8th vs Buffalo Grove

September 15th @ Wheeling

September 22nd @ Glenbrook North

September 29th vs Maine East

October 6th @ Vernon Hills

October 13th @ Highland Park

October 20th vs Deerfield

Biggest storyline: Can Maine West become playoff eligible in 2017?

Names to watch this season:  Senior TE Matt Kentgen Senior DL Walter Hutt

Biggest holes to fill: The Warriors will need to reload on both sides of the football with just 7 starters back (3 offense 4 defense) this fall. .

EDGY's Early Take: Maine West is looking to continue to take positive steps forward after just missing out on a five win season in 2016. Look for the Warriors to get the football into the hands of senior TE Matt Kentgen as much as possible and if the underclassmen can develop West could again challenge for a state playoff slot in 2017.