Sox Drawer: Matsui Rumors Heating Up

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Sox Drawer: Matsui Rumors Heating Up

Tuesday, December 8th6:32 p.m.

Matsui Anyone??

After a slow first day, Kenny Williams was in deep bunker mode today, holed up in his hotel room for hours, talking to teams about trades, and yes, talking to agents, specifically to the man who represents free agent outfielder Hideki Matsui.

The New York Daily News is reporting that the Sox have emerged as a 'serious contenders to sign Matsui, who hit .274 last season for the Yankees, with 28 homers and 90 RBI in 142 games.

The hold up might be the price tag. Matsui made 13 million last season. He'd have to play for much less with the White Sox. Probably in the 4-6 million range.

Asked about Matsui, Williams said, "He's a good player. But I don't know if we're there just yet."

Williams is one who will pounce when he sees an opportunity. Clearly, there has been a shift in dialogue here at the meetings, and it has changed Williams expectations. After sensing that he'd be busier after the meetings, he now sounds like something could actually happen this week (other than the 3-year deal for Mark Teahen).

Said Williams, "You always like to get better. While we're here, we might as well do something. Jerry spent a lot of money for the rooms."3:18 p.m.

Mark Teahen just spoke with the media via conference call about his new three-year deal. Said Teahen, "I'm pumped!"He sounds a little like Nick Swisher. Insert joke here ________.
But it definitely seems like he'll be around much longer than Swish.Mark had some interesting things to say about his time with the Royals. "Every year with Kansas City, I tried to convince myself that we made enough rules to be competitive. But we knew that we would have to have everything work out perfectly for us to have a chance. The nice thing with Chicago, it's the first time where I'm in a place where guys don't have to overachieve for the team to be successful. They just need to do what they are capable of doing."Kenny Williams is talking next...

2:58 p.m.

Kenny Williams is telling us that he's taking a more low-key approach to the winter meetings this year.I don't believe him.Here's what Ozzie Guillen said when I asked him to describe his general manager when it comes to the winter meetings:"He's too big for these meetings. If everybody had the guts and would be as aggressive as Kenny, these winter meetings would be more fun. He's not afraid to make any move, and not afraid to be criticized by people who think they know more about the game. I asked Kenny a couple of years ago why we don't break this thing down and start over. He said, 'No, as long as I'm GM my job is to win.'"I also asked Ozzie if he was concerned about Andruw Jones arriving in camp out of shape.
Guillen's response,"He BETTER be in shape."We'll run the interview tonight on SportsNite.Gotta listen to the Mark Teahen conference call. It's about to start. I'll be back later with more...

1:03 p.m.

The White Sox have hooked their first fish here at the Winter Meetings. Sorry, it's not Hideki Matsui.

In fact, the player is already on their roster.The Sox agreed to terms with Mark Teahen on a 3-year, 14-million deal, avoiding arbitration. Teahen will receive 3.75 million in 2010, 4.75 million in 2011 and 5.5 million in 2012. He was eligible for free agency following the 2011 season.Teahen's dog gave a hint this morning that something was brewing when he tweeted, "Happy day n the Teahen house. All of a sudden everyone's Christmas wish list got longer. Mark & all the family r thankful & excited for Chi."The deal buys out two arbitration years and one free agent season. The Sox save some money on what Teahen would have earned in arbitration.The big news in Indy today is the blockbuster 3-team trade between the Yankees, Tigers, and Diamondbacks. The Tigers trading both Curtis Granderson (to NYY) and Edwin Jackson (to AZ). The Tigers gets Max Scherzer, Austin Jackson, and Phil Coke. Ian Kennedy also goes to the Arizona. More specifics are being hammered out. Medical records need to be looked over.Interested in getting Kenny Williams reaction to what this means for the Tigers. He speaks later this afternoon.

James Franklin and staff celebrate Penn State wrestling win in singlets

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USA TODAY

James Franklin and staff celebrate Penn State wrestling win in singlets

Oklahoma State head football coach Mike Gundy — the man with America's finest mullet — made headlines last week when he posted a video promoting an upcoming Oklahoma State wrestling match while wearing a singlet.

Hilarious, right?

Well, as you can tell from that video, the match was against Penn State. And Penn State won.

So, to celebrate the Nittany Lions' big wrestling win, James Franklin and his staff upped the ante, donning singlets for a meeting and tweeting out this "Last Supper" style picture of it Monday morning.

You've got to love seeing football coaches and teams supporting the sports that don't get as much attention.

I'll let you be the judge if this is, as Franklin tweeted, #NotAGoodLookOnUs.

Scottie Lindsey didn't light it up vs. Rutgers, but his return is huge for Northwestern

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AP

Scottie Lindsey didn't light it up vs. Rutgers, but his return is huge for Northwestern

Scottie Lindsey didn't light up the scoreboard in his return to action, and Northwestern still struggled offensively.

But getting their leading scorer back from a four-game absence was huge for the Wildcats.

It was to be expected that Lindsey wouldn't be back at 100 percent in his first game since Jan. 29. Lindsey chipped in just six points, his second lowest scoring output of the season, and played only 24 minutes, his lowest total of the year. Head coach Chris Collins told reporters after Saturday's nail-biter of a win over Rutgers that Lindsey hadn't done anything for three weeks.

"I was proud of Scottie. It's not easy. Really, he didn't work out, he didn't do any exercise for three weeks," Collins said. "A lot of you have your workout regimens that you do, and you know how you feel when you don't do anything for three weeks. You lose conditioning, you lose shape. And so for him on a couple days' notice to find a way to get out there and give us 24 minutes — I was actually mad at myself at halftime. I looked at the box score, and I felt like I played him too long in the first half. I think he played 13 minutes. He didn't really have much left in the second half."

No, the numbers were not pretty in Saturday's game. Northwestern is cruising toward its first-ever NCAA tournament appearance, while Rutgers is spending another season at the bottom of the Big Ten standings. Yet the visiting Scarlet Knights led for much of the second half, a period during which the Cats shot just 35 percent from the field and made only seven baskets. Seven of Northwestern's nine turnovers came in the second half, and it took some heroic 3-point shooting by Gavin Skelly and Bryant McIntosh in the final minutes to prevent a third straight home loss and what would have definitely been the team's worst loss of the season.

But even with all that, the Cats have to be thrilled to have Lindsey back on the floor.

In the six games prior to Lindsey's absence — a six-game winning streak with victories over Nebraska, Rutgers, Iowa, Ohio State, Nebraska again and Indiana — the Cats averaged 74.5 points per game and shot a combined 44.5 percent from the field. But in the last five games, the four without Lindsey and Saturday's win over Rutgers, Northwestern has averaged 63.8 points per game and shot a collective 39.6 percent from the field.

Obviously the quality of opponent has a lot to do with that. Three of the four games during Lindsey's absence came against the Big Ten's three best teams. But Lindsey sitting down for those three games plus the unexpected loss to Illinois made a tough stretch a whole lot tougher.

Even after Saturday's rough game against Rutgers, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic that the Cats can start putting up some points during the regular season's final two weeks.

There are only four games left on the regular-season schedule: at Illinois, at Indiana, home against Michigan and home against Purdue. Those first three opponents are among the Big Ten's worst, defensively, though Michigan has stepped things up of late. That right there ought to provide perfect opportunities for Northwestern to start scoring points again.

And there's the way McIntosh has played of late. He's finally found some consistency, which proved challenging earlier in the year. He was again great Saturday, scoring 18 points and hitting the biggest shot of the night, a go-ahead 3-pointer with under a minute to play. In his last nine games, McIntosh has scored at least 17 points in seven of those and 20 or more in five of them.

Plus, Lindsey will obviously get better. He'll get healthier and more accustomed to being back on the court. And he'll get back to the guy, Northwestern hopes, who averaged better than 15 points a game before his four-game absence.

"He's only going to get better," Collins said. "His whole thing is every day he's got to keep working, he's got to get through that soreness, he's got to get through that fatigue and get his conditioning back.

"Hopefully we can get him back to being the Scottie that we've had most of the year."