A Break From Bears Coverage ...
By Benjy Lipsman in News on Jan 26, 2007 4:00PM
With all the hype surrounding the Bears and their upcoming trip to the Super Bowl, we've been neglecting the other teams in town. Just because they're not headed to Miami doesn't mean they're not making news, so we thought we'd give a quick Friday update on the Cubs, Sox and Bulls.
The Cubs signed Cliff Floyd, former All-Star and Chicago native, to a one-year contract this week. Now the question is: what to do with him? If he's fully healthy, he could end up as the regular left fielder and bat fifth in the lineup. But the outfield is pretty crowded with Alfonso Soriano, Jacque Jones, Matt Murton and top prospect Felix Pie. Look for somebody to be traded during spring training.
The White Sox also signed a former All-Star outfielder coming off an injury-plagued season with their signing of Darin Erstad. The Sox, too, have a crowded outfield that could take some time to hammer out. Erstad will likely see time in left field, as Scott Podsednik reinjured his groin and is expected to miss at least some of spring training. He could also see time in center field, as the Sox aren't sold on Brian Anderson. Youngsters Ryan Sweeney, Josh Fields and Jerry Owens will also be fighting for playing time. Right field, with Jermaine Dye, seems to be the only decided spot in the outfield.
No, the Bulls have not made any trades for outfielders. However, there has been rampant speculation that they might be trading for an injured All-Star of their own. Pau Gasol has expressed his desire to be traded from the Memphis Grizzlies, and Bulls GM John Paxson admitted to opening discussions with the Grizzlies about a trade. The 26-year-old power forward has averaged 18.6 points and 8.4 rebounds during his career.
The Bulls could certainly use his scoring near the basket and seem to have all the necessary components to work a blockbuster trade — young talent, expiring contracts and draft picks. However, their draft pick from the Knicks isn't as valuable as it was before the season, and which young players are expendable? The Tribune's Sam Smith questions whether the Bulls need Gasol. While he made his comments at least partly in jest after the Bulls beat the NBA's best team last night, we do seriously question whether adding Gasol by trading some of their young core would truly improve the team. How many times have we seen them ship off young guys who then blossomed? Elton Brand? Ron Artest? Brad Miller? Even Eddy Curry to some extent? Let's just hope that if Paxon does add Gasol to the Bulls, he gets a good deal because Memphis has little leverage with a disgruntled star on their hands.
Image via Wikipedia.