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MLB Rumors: Five Potential Suitors for Cardinals 1B Albert Pujols

There are some athletes in today’s world of sports that will seemingly never play for a team other than their current club.

Certain players are synonymous with their teams, and wrapping one’s head around the notion that they may play for a different team is just not plausible.

The likes of Tom Brady, Kobe Bryant, Derek Jeter, Peyton Manning, and Albert Pujols could each be placed in this category.  

However, there was once a time when seeing Brett Favre, Michael Jordan, or Joe Montana in a different uniform was thought to be ludicrous.

Pujols is St. Louis. He has spent his entire career a Cardinal, brought them a title, is the face of the franchise, and his charitable work around the community has done wonders to endear himself to St. Louis residents.

Pujols is a free agent after the coming MLB season, and negotiations with the team have not been progressing, and a potential doomsday scenario is fast approaching for Cardinals fans.

Many members of Cardinal faithful would struggle to find the meaning of life in a Pujols-less world.

While it is quite likely Pujols re-signs with St. Louis to finish his career a Cardinal, there is the distinct possibility the best player in the game today takes a more lucrative offer to play elsewhere, ala LeBron James.

Here are the five most likely destinations if Pujols were to hit the open market.

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Chicago White Sox: Why the South Siders Are on the Brink


Where have you gone, white-hot White Sox? The team that just three weeks ago looked like it could run away with the Central Division is suddenly tied and could spiral downward faster than you can say “Mercy.”

Losing three of four to the Orioles in the middle of a pennant race is inexcusable, no matter who their manager is.

The Sox mustered just 10 runs in four games against Baltimore’s league-worst pitching staff. The 4-5-6 hitters were a combined 5-for-33 in the series, and the Sox hit 2-for-17 with runners in scoring position in the last two defeats. Carlos Quentin has just one hit in his last 12 at-bats, and A.J. Pierzynski is hitting a measly .188 since the All-Star break.


The White Sox return home banged up and scuffed up. The offense has returned to its early-season mediocrity, the bullpen looks vulnerable, and the injury bug has begun to rear its ugly head.

Take Gordon Beckham’s groin injury, then add Andruw Jones’ inability to hit a baseball and Bobby Jenks’ stiff back—not to mention his diminished skills—and it looks like the White Sox have all the ingredients for an August implosion.

Over the next 10 days, the South Siders play six games against the “Piranhas” of Minnesota and a three-game set against the Tigers, who have faded faster than President Obama’s approval rating.

The Twins enter the midweek series at U.S. Cellular Field on a roll, winning seven of their last 10, and lead the majors with a .303 batting average since June 29. All of that has come without MVP-caliber Justin Morneau, who is expected to begin a rehab assignment within the next two weeks. His return to the lineup will be a boon for the Twinkies.


On paper, it looks like Ozzie and Co. may have seen their time atop the Central expire.

Not so fast my friend.

This is baseball, not tic-tac-toe.

These games aren’t played on paper.

Chicago enters the dog days of August down, but by no means out. The 2010 White Sox have shown an uncanny ability to persevere and fight through adversity. For evidence of this, look no further than June 8.

The night before the Blackhawks hoisted the Cup, the South Siders were just 24-33, 9.5 games back of Minnesota in the Central. The roster was on the verge of being gutted.

Luckily, GM Kenny Williams was more patient than many Sox faithful.

Ozzie’s crew is 39-16 since that June night, thanks to their never-say-die attitude, coupled with a stacked rotation and a lineup that had been in a groove.

Last weekend’s series in Baltimore could prove to be a hiccup along the way to a division title or a small hole that led to a BP-sized leak.

The next 10 days are the most crucial of the season; whoever is nestled in first come August 20 will be the odds-on favorites to win the division.

It’s Black and White.


Check out this article along with other examples of Ryan’s work at, where he is the source for Blackhawks and White Sox coverage.


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MLB Trade Rumors: Carlos Zambrano to the White Sox?

The season-ending injury to Jake Peavy left the White Sox with a solid-but-not-spectacular starting rotation from top to bottom. Questions linger.

Freddy Garcia has been solid thus far this year, but can he be relied on as the team’s fourth starter? I’m not ready to write off Daniel Hudson this year just yet, but he failed to make it through five innings against the Royals in his only start of the year.

The Sox have been rumored to be interested in acquiring a starting pitcher with the trade deadline approaching. Which to pursue? The man White Sox fans love to hate the most— Carlos Zambrano.

I know what you’re thinking: No way should this ticking time bomb lunatic of a pitcher come to the South Side with his short temper and fat contract. Before shutting the door on this idea, let’s have an open mind.

In addition to a history of tirades and pouting, the volatile Venezuelan pitcher has a track record as a dominant starter who eats innings and racks up strikeouts.  Big Z has never had an ERA over 4.00 for a season as a starter in his career, posting a career ERA of 3.58. He has also surpassed 200 strikeouts in a season twice.

Zambrano has had an embarrassing 2010 season with the Cubs, but the guy wants to win. His competitiveness may get the better of him sometimes, but when you consider all of the frustrating times he’s had with the Cubs, his displays of displeasure with the organization as a whole become more understandable.

Remember, on the night of his infamous dugout tirade against the Sox earlier this year, Zambrano and Ozzie Guillen went out to dinner. It remains to be seen whether any Major League manager could tame the big 6’5″ righty. If I had to choose one, my money is on Ozzie.

Having fellow strong-willed catcher A.J. Pierzynski in the fold would also help keep the top from blowing off Mt. Zambrano yet again.  

Ozzie and Kenny have been running a “BS Free” ship for years now, Zambrano’s antics definitely wouldn’t fly here. That said; the Sox should give the Zambrano experiment a chance.

The Sox would likely only have to swallow roughly $10-15 million of the $45 million left on his contract, and his value will never be lower than right now so the Sox wouldn’t be giving up a whole heck of a lot in return.

As long as he could regain any semblance to his old-self, Zambrano would be nestled into the Sox rotation in the fourth starter slot. He would be a huge boost to the playoff push, and a four-man rotation of Mark Buehrle, Gavin Floyd, John Danks, and Zambrano would be extremely formidable in the post-season.

Say the experiment does work this year; that would leave the Sox with a projected 2011 starting staff of Buehrle, Peavy, Danks, Floyd, and Zambrano

Now we’re getting ahead of ourselves, but the reality is that trading for Zambrano now is a low-risk high-reward option. Think about it.    

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Time For Something To Be Done About Gordon Beckham

Gordon Beckham’s rookie season ended with him coming up just short of taking home the AL rookie of the year award. If his second season in the bigs continues how it’s been so far, he will be the shoe-in for sophomore slumped of the year.

Beckham has struggled mightily this year, a year where he was expected to be a doubles machine in the two-hole for Ozzie Guillen. His .205 average and lack of production has been a burden to the team all year.

Ozzie has shown confidence in the youngster this year by keeping him at the Major League level and a regular in the starting lineup. He just hasn’t snapped out of his funk. While guys like Pierzynski and Carlos Quentin have flipped the switch, Beckham continues to falter.

The Sox have been hot lately and are only one more bat away from having a very potent lineup.  Beckham has had his opportunities to get it together at the plate and has not.

This weekend’s series against Kansas City should be pivotal for the second baseman. It’s now or never for him to heat up. He can’t continue to clog up the order when guys like Brent Lillibridge and Dayan Viciedo are hitting the ball better.

Mark Teahen’s impending return from the DL further complicates matters. Beckham is still a very talented player, it just hasn’t been showing this year. You can’t wait forever when you’re in the race like the South Siders are.

If Gordon doesn’t get hot this weekend, a change needs to be made. At this point, a possible demotion wouldn’t ruin his progression. 

Time to re-focus and clear his head in Charlotte could be just what the doctor ordered for both No. 15 and the Sox.

If he solves his issues at the plate in Triple A and comes back to the big leagues in last season’s form, the Sox would be the odds-on favorites to win the Central.

Until that happens, Viciedo and Lillibridge should see more and more at-bats.

No one knows what caused the sudden lack of production. Maybe it is indeed just a sophomore slump, maybe it was the switch from third base to second, or maybe it was just dropping “Your Love” by the Outfield as his at-bat song.

Whatever the culprit may be, the time has come for something to change.

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2010 MLB All Star Rosters: South Siders Snubbed Again

    Once again, the White Sox will not be sending a large delegation to the Mid-summer classic. A few were worthy, but Matt Thornton is the only South Sider headed to Anaheim for the festivities.

    Yes, Paul Konerko is up for the “Final Vote” but disregard that- the Chi Sox have gotten the shaft once again when it comes to the All-Star game.


    This year’s Sox snubs: Alex Rios and Konerko. Let’s look at just what the AL will be missing.


    We’ll start with Rios. He struggled after coming over from Toronto last season but has really found his groove on the South Side this season. He has been the total package for the Sox, posting a stat line of .303 13 HR 45 RBI’s, and 22 stolen bases. He is top three on the team in all of those categories. He has also played strong in the outfield for Ozzie. There is no excuse for him to be left off the roster, especially when you consider some of the players that got the nod over him.


    Jose Bautista may have 21 HR and 52 RBI’s, but he is hitting a measly .236. He is by no means a demon on the base-paths either, stealing only three bags so far. It should take more than hitting a few longballs to make the All-Star team.


    Vernon Wells is the second Blue Jay outfielder to make it over Rios. His totals of .274 19 HR 48 RBI’s and four steals is better than Bautista, but still is not more All-Star worthy than his ex-mate in Toronto.


    Sure every player on the roster can state their case for why they were selected, but the bottom line is simple-no way should both Bautista and Wells been selected over Rios.


    Now for Paulie, the face of the franchise and quiet leader of the clubhouse that has held this team together for years. Konerko is having a career type season in this his contract year. He is hitting .296 with 20 HR and 57 RBI’s so far this year.


    Anyone with stats like that ought to be an All-Star, especially when they’re the face of a franchise like #14 is.


    So who got in instead of the Sox leader? Someone whose star started burning out a few years ago; Red Sox DH David Ortiz. Sure “Big Papi” may be a much bigger celebrity than Konerko ever will, but he was not voted in, but rather selected by AL Manager Joe Girardi, making Paulie’s snub even more ridiculous.


    Ortiz is hitting just .259 with 17 HR and 54 RBI. Paulie’s numbers trump those in each category.    


    Paulie could very well still make it to Anaheim if he wins the “Final Vote” but it shouldn’t have come to this in the first place. Konerko and Rios both deserve to be going.


     Fix the system, Bud.

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