Word on the Street: Derrek Lee agrees to deal with Orioles

Word on the Street: Derrek Lee agrees to deal with Orioles

Friday, Dec. 31, 2010
CSNChicago.com

D-Lee agrees to deal with Baltimore Orioles

Former Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee has reached a verbal agreement on a one-year contract with the Baltimore Orioles, pending a physical.

The 35-year-old split time in 2010 between the Cubs and Atlanta Braves, totaling 19 home runs and 80 RBIs in 148 games. (sportsillustrated.com)
Homefield Disadvantage for the Bears?
Pro Bowl middle linebacker Brian Urlacher thinks that may just be the case, as the Monsters of the Midway have ensure homefield advantage for their first playoff game.

Normally, homefield advantage is a great thing, but Urlacher is worried about the footing at Soldier Field, indicating the Bears' defense needs to be quick to execute their schemes perfectly.

"I don't know about the beat-up part, but the footing at Soldier Field has been horrible," Urlacher said Thursday at Halas Hall. "We've all seen that. You watch us on film. Our D-line slipped. It's hard. We're a fast team. I think when you get us on a (Soldier Field) surface like that, it kind of takes a little bit of our speed." (Chicago Tribune)

Boozer misses practice

Carlos Boozer, who missed the start of the 2010-11 season for the Bulls with a broken hand, did not practice Thursday. However, it was just personal reasons and head coach tom Thibodeau called the absence "excused" and indicated Boozer should be back and good to go Friday for the Bulls' game vs. the Nets. (Chicago Tribune)

Should the Cubs sign Freddy Garcia?

According to BleacherReport.com, the Cubs should get some depth in their starting rotation and as such, Freddy Garcia might just fit that bill. Garcia, who spent last season with the White Sox (his second stint with the SouthSiders), went 12-6 last year. (BleacherReport.com)

Rose trailing Wade, Rondo in All Star voting

Derrick Rose, the star point guard for the Chicago Bulls, is narrowly losing to Celtics' guard Rajon Rondo in votes for the All Star Game (777,310-721,122). The Miami Heat's Dwayne Wade is the leading vote-getter with 938,402 votes.

Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah are on the ballot, but both are further down on the votes and neither figure to wind up in the exhibition contest. (Chicago Tribune)
Nets' Farmar doubtful against Bulls
Jordan Farmar, the New Jersey Nets point guard, is doubtful for the game against the Chicago Bulls on New Year's Eve. Farmar had an MRI Thursday on his injured knee, but the Nets have not gotten the results of the test yet. (NJ.com)

How Ozzie Guillen's harsh honesty resonated with Avisail Garcia

How Ozzie Guillen's harsh honesty resonated with Avisail Garcia

Ozzie Guillen delivered Avisail Garcia some tough love last winter that he figured the White Sox outfielder needed to hear.

They encountered each other during the Venezuelan Winter League season when Garcia played for the Tigres de Aragua and Guillen managed for the Tiburones de La Guaria. Guillen was so taken aback to find Garcia hitting low in the Tigres’ lineup that he offered an assessment on the spot.

For any number of reasons, Garcia has responded with a career season that has him on the verge of his first All-Star assignment. The right fielder is fifth in the American League fan vote as of Monday with 1,292,694 votes.

“About time,” Guillen said. “We've been waiting for this moment. A lot of people bet he would have failed. I know because at work, every week I talk about him. People keep waiting on him to be what he was. I think right now he has more experience. He doesn't live in the past, like 'oh it's the next Miguel Cabrera' or 'he's this guy, he's the best we've ever had.' That's why he got better. It's about time this kid. What he's doing right now I think it's fun. He's showing his potential. I see a lot of players with potential who never make it. I think it started getting too late for him, now he's back on the map.”

Garcia entered Monday hitting .331/.372/.532 with 11 home runs and 51 RBIs in 296 plate appearances. While he didn’t remember the specifics of their conversation, Garcia knows Guillen’s main intent was to help him forward. He’s encouraged that his fellow countryman has confidence in his abilities.

“He’s a great human and everything he said to me is going to work for me,” Garcia said. “I just listened. Always listen. I appreciated what he said. He gave me a lot of advice.

“He’s a great person. People that really know, know he is and we appreciate everything he does and that’s it.”

Guillen appreciates what Garcia has done this season after several years of middling play amongst high expectations. Through 72 games, Garcia has produced 2.3 f-Wins Above Replacement, giving him a career mark of 0.9.

Acquired in July 2013 from Detroit in a three-team deal that sent Jake Peavy to Boston, Garcia arrived with high expectations that he hadn’t been able to live up to thus far. Garcia has had those expectations since he first reached the majors when scouts nicknamed him ‘Mini Miggy’ after Cabrera. Guillen is glad to see Garcia has started to play up to his potential, especially after he was aghast to find him hitting in the bottom third of Aragua’s lineup.

“I saw him batting seventh and I was all over him,” Guillen said. “I said 'You should be embarrassed you're batting seventh in winter league, you have to be third, or fourth. This is winter league.' When you go to there and you play in the big leagues, it makes it easier. Now he's picked it up. Hopefully he will keep it up. Hopefully he'll keep it up and make some money. That's what we want. Some cash. Take it home.”

Cubs manager Joe Maddon working on another potential White House visit

Cubs manager Joe Maddon working on another potential White House visit

WASHINGTON – Less than six months after the Cubs toured the White House as one of the final stops on their World Series victory tour, manager Joe Maddon is angling for another visit to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Maddon’s childhood friend from Hazleton, Congressman Lou Barletta, is working to arrange a private tour this week while the Cubs are in Washington for a four-game showdown against the first-place Nationals.

“I’m staying in touch with my boy Louie,” Maddon said Monday. “Who knows? We might end up going over there again.”

This wouldn’t be the East Room spectacle the Cubs enjoyed in January, when President Barack Obama’s final official White House event became a kind of farewell gift to his staffers with Chicago connections.

Barletta, a Pennsylvania Republican who made immigration a central part of his platform as Hazleton mayor, declined a position in President Donald Trump’s Cabinet. Barletta asked Maddon, who stays involved with his hometown through his Hazleton Integration Project, to attend a luncheon on Wednesday for young Republicans.

“And then maybe something else will be in the making after that,” Maddon said. “But for right now, the one thing I got in my back pocket is Louie.”