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The Hot Stove League is scorching. Including: White Sox Ditch Drake LaRoche Fan Club; Cubs Always Closing; Dusty Maddon; John Fox Is Officially A Clown; Hoiberg vs. Thibodeau vs. Popovich; and Marian Hossa, MVP.
* Anagram: "A word, phrase, or name formed by rearranging the letters of another, such as cinema, formed from iceman."
* Palindrome: "A word, number, sentence, or verse that reads the same backward or forward." Like "Otto."
* Acronym: "A word or name formed as an abbreviation from the initial components in a phrase or a word, usually individual letters (as in NATO or laser) and sometimes syllables (as in Benelux)."
:41: White Sox Ditch Drake LaRoche Fan Club.
Wow...— Bryce Harper (@Bharper3407) December 7, 2016
On other hand, one #Nationals player sent me this text: "WTF?!?!" Team still needs closer. Likely out on big two. Melancon, Davis off board.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 7, 2016
18:21: Cubs Always Closing.
"We're going to try and build up a ton of depth," team president Theo Epstein told reporters Wednesday afternoon. "We're going to try and build a really talented and deep bullpen with a lot of different options we can use in close games. Instead of three late-game options, you have five or six, then you can always like who you're turning to in the bullpen and not feel the need to use a Hector Rondon four out of five times."
Rondon will return to his setup role, but not before getting an apology from Joe Maddon. The Cubs manager called him after the team acquired Wade Davis to let the right-hander know where he stands. Maddon then admitted some culpability in Rondon's late-season triceps injury.
"When a guy gets hurt like that out of the bullpen, I feel like I'm responsible," Maddon said. "Maybe using him too much in different situations."
Rondon pitched in five games over the course of seven days in late July before going down with the injury.
* Theo also said the team will use an 8-man bullpen this season. I remember when six was typical; seven at most.
* Dusty Maddon.
* Enjoy St. Louis, Dex.
I look pretty good in red pic.twitter.com/rKklmXZsNH— Dexter Fowler (@DexterFowler) December 9, 2016
* Terry Armour.
* To be clear, the Sale trade was the right thing to do, but only because the White Sox utterly failed to compete for years despite real talent on their roster.
* Coffman on the Cubs' 19% ticket hike: "It's a billionaire family, they don't need the money! It's just greed - it's flat-out, stone-cold greed. It's just avarice, plain and simple."
* Biggs: "John Fox shot down a story Wednesday that the Bears could be headed for a split with defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. But the coach has been more adamant denying other media reports that ultimately proved accurate.
"Just last month, Fox questioned the authenticity of reports that quarterback Jay Cutler's shoulder injury was potentially season-ending. The following week Cutler underwent surgery before heading to injured reserve.
"Last December, the Tribune reported receiver Kevin White would not be activated from the physically unable to perform list and Fox said 'there are always a lot of reports. Then there's facts.' White remained on the PUP list . . .
"When it comes to staff moves, the truth comes out when the calendar turns to January. Sources remained resolute saying there's smoke inside Halas Hall when it comes to friction between Fox and Fangio and it's a matter of whether or not the fire can be extinguished."
"Bears coach John Fox isn't going to win a credibility war with the media, but defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is a different story . . .
50:17: Hoiberg vs. Thibodeau vs. Popovich.
"[N]ot long after his five-season run as coach of the Chicago Bulls came to an unceremonious end when he was fired in May 2015, Thibodeau set about deciding how he wanted to spend his time away from coaching.
"He knew he needed to recharge and reflect, he said. He figured the best way to do that would actually be to cram as much basketball into his life as humanly possible."
* Fluke stat of the week:
Bulls beat the Spurs, 95-91, running their "TNT Thursday at home" winning streak to 16 games and season record to 12-10.— Cody Westerlund (@CodyWesterlund) December 9, 2016
58:17: Marian Hossa, MVP.
"Hossa is an incredible hockey player with three Stanley Cups, has played in 201 playoff games and has been one of the best players of this generation . . . He's as close to a perfect hockey player as I've seen in my 25-plus years watching hockey."
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