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SportsMonday: Hot Tank League

I was going to write about the Bulls again this week but now that Kris Dunn's concussion has kicked the tank back into gear, I'll take a pass on extended analysis of recent game action and potential roster adjustments. Feel better soon, Kris!

The ultimate football championship happens Sunday, of course, but any assessment of that just reminds me of how much the Bears suck, and we definitely don't need to explore that again until much closer to the draft.

And the Hawks - lots of positive stories in the past few days about how the team is bouncing back. They won one game! Against the lousy Red Wings! The only thing of note that happened this month with the Blackhawks is that they staked out an extended stay in last place (in the division) with one of the worst homestands in team history. Booooooo.

So we are left with the Cubs and the White Sox.

My guess is there won't be much going on with the South Siders before spring training (pitchers and catchers report Feb. 13, exactly two weeks from . . . tomorrow!). Their roster seems just about set, although I wouldn't bet against Rick Hahn getting into the middle of some sort of three-team deal that gets the White Sox a prospect or two in exchange for taking back a bad contract or two. He and Gar Forman should be comparing notes about how best to do that.

As far as the Cubs go, there are still many questions to be answered over the next two weeks.

One thing I want to know from Theo at some point, or I guess Tom Ricketts could also address it, is whether the Cubs (where the pitchers and catchers will also report on the 13th) and other teams that are trying to win are tired of playing the baseball revenue-sharing sucker. The Pirates and especially the Marlins desperately pursue profits rather than competition, and teams like the Cubs contribute to the payments that make that sort of behavior profitable.

There is news that the players union is trying to force Major League Baseball to crack down, but shockingly Commissioner Disappointment, otherwise known as Rob Manfred, has his tanking teams' backs. The word from the league is that the Pirates' and Marlins' contemptible behavior is fine with them.

More importantly, the Cubs still lack a stud closer and a top-of-the-rotation starter. Candidates are still out there, at least for the starting pitcher vacancy, and one would think at some point in the next week, negotiations with various free agents will come to a head.

Fans were hoping that Brewers owner Mark Attanasio's bold moves late last week would start to open the floodgates on the free-agent front. Attanasio's front office moved aggressively to both sign star centerfielder Lorenzo Cain and to trade for up-and-coming star corner outfielder Christian Yelich from the those delightful Marlins.

But all was quiet for virtually every other MLB team over the weekend. So we can spend a bit more time mocking the Marlins. Main man Derek Jeter apparently was able to pull in some decent prospects in return for Yelich. It apparently occurred to him that one of the big parts of Cubs and Astros rebuilds was actually getting returns on trades of existing assets.

The Cubs got Anthony Rizzo for Andrew Cashner and eventually capped things off with a trade that netted Addison Russell in which the primary outgoing asset was holdover Jeff Samardzija. All observers seem to agree that Jeter was absolutely fleeced in his first two deals, getting essentially nothing for superstar Giancarlo Stanton and the same for budding star Marcell Ozuna

The Cubs will need a starter and the smart money is on them getting one. But the bullpen is still a question mark. Don't they need at least one more proven late-inning arm?

Stay tuned.


Comments welcome.

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