Coming off a 101-loss season, the Chicago Cubs could use any ray of hope available for 2013. One of the most obvious prospects is the arrival in the farm system of Cuban signee Jorge Soler, but fans shouldn’t necessarily expect to see him at the major league level this year.
As reported by the Chicago Tribune, manager Dale Sveum suggested that the franchise is in no hurry to promote Soler. “Fast track? There’s no reason to do that,” Sveum commented, citing the almost-21-year-old’s lack of experience with top-level pitching.
Fans, like Sveum, are well aware of how badly the Cub lineup needs the kind of power threat that Soler has obvious potential to provide. Painful though it will be, though, both fans and team will be better served by waiting for the youngster to develop at his own pace.
It's entirely probable that Double-A is the highest Soler will rise this season, and that's just the way it should be.
As strong as the Chicago Bulls are on defense, the offense has been another story entirely. Thus, it’s little surprise that the Bulls are considering an upgrade prior to the February 21 trade deadline.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the Bulls initiated talks with the Toronto Raptors about acquiring former No. 1 draft pick Andrea Bargnani in exchange for power forward Carlos Boozer. The Raptors have already shown a willingness to pull the trigger on big-ticket deals, having acquired Rudy Gay from Memphis in a three-team trade last week.
Whether or not Toronto turns out to show some interest in the pricey Boozer—or in a possible sidebar deal swapping backup point guards Nate Robinson and John Lucas III—is hardly relevant. There are few players in the NBA who would be worse fits in Chicago than Bargnani, and it’s mind-boggling that Bulls management isn’t acutely aware of that fact.
The Chicago Bears face a host of decisions about re-signing potential free agents this offseason, none bigger than the question of what to do about Brian Urlacher. The career Bear and eight-time Pro Bowler will turn 35 in May, and a series of injuries have raised serious questions about how much he has left in the tank.
Unlike many aging stars, though, Urlacher appears to recognize that he’s no longer the player who recorded 93 tackles and three interceptions in his last All-Pro season in 2006. As reported by the Chicago Tribune, Urlacher acknowledged in a radio interview “when you look at my age and everything, it’s going to be hard not to give [the Bears] a discount. I’m not going to make what I was making in the past.”
Urlacher also commented “Chicago is my home…So I want to be there and hopefully we can work something out.”
As the NBA season reaches its halfway point, there’s no shortage of candidates for the league’s Most Valuable Player award. Defending MVP LeBron James is having another sensational season, but he’s far from a sure thing to take home the trophy this year.
These five players are making the best cases for MVP honors in 2012-13:
5. Tim Duncan, Spurs
At the ripe old age of 36, Tim Duncan just keeps rolling along as one of the top big men in the league. He’s 12th in the NBA with 9.8 rebounds per game, not to mention third with 2.8 blocks a night.
Add in Duncan’s 17.5 points per game, and there’s little question about how much he’s doing for the Spurs. Considering that San Antonio holds the league’s best record at 36-11, even Duncan’s lack of flair shouldn’t keep him from earning serious MVP consideration.
4. Carmelo Anthony, Knicks
Although they’ve cooled off considerably since an improbably fast start, the Knicks are still one of the leading contenders in the Eastern Conference. Without Carmelo Anthony, though, New York (10th of 30 teams in the NBA in scoring) would barely have any offense at all.
The NBA announced the All-Star reserves in both conferences on Thursday, and the news was surprisingly good for Chicago Bulls fans. Although the Bulls had no starters on the Eastern Conference team, both Luol Deng (making his second straight appearance) and Joakim Noah (a first-time All-Star) made the list of bench players for the East.
Both players obviously deserve enormous credit for keeping the Bulls in the playoff picture while superstar Derrick Rose rehabs his injured knee. That said, the All-Star Game is meant to recognize individual excellence above all, and it’s hard to justify sending both Chicago standouts in a year when some very strong candidates are staying home.
Deng seems the more plausible choice, as he’s shown immense versatility while carrying the Bulls’ offense. He’s averaging a team-high 17.4 points per game, pulling down 6.4 boards a night in a terrific frontcourt, and playing his usual impeccable defense.