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  • Miles: Bilko book a big hit for baseball fans Nov 30, 2014 7:30 AM
    According to Daily Herald Cubs writer Bruce Miles, one of the better baseball books of 2014 centers on the Cubs of the 1950s and what might have been. "The Billko Athletic Club," by Gaylon H. White, tells the story of burly slugger Steve Bilko of the old Los Angeles Angels, who were affiliated with the Cubs.

     
  • Sox might be after Samardzija Nov 29, 2014 11:55 PM
    The rumor mill was cranking on Saturday, and trade talk had starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija joining the White Sox from the Oakland A's. While Samardzija would give the Sox a needed boost, beat writer Scot Gregor said there are some potential snags in the trade.

     
  • Spellman’s Scorecard: Always room for more morsels Nov 28, 2014 5:30 AM
    Some more sports morsels to digest between leftovers and shop stops including bits on teh Bears, Cubs, Sox, Hawks and Bulls.

     
  • It’s official: LaRoche joins White Sox Nov 25, 2014 9:01 PM
    The Chicago White Sox and Adam LaRoche made it official Tuesday, announcing they have agreed to terms on a two-year, $25-million contract for the 35-year-old first baseman. Rick Hahn, White Sox senior vice president/general manager, said LaRoche provides a proven left-handed bat in the middle of White Sox lineup, and brings veteran leadership to the club.

     
  • Sandoval reaches multiyear deal with Red Sox Nov 24, 2014 5:43 PM
    Kung Fu Panda is moving to Boston. Free agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval and the Boston Red Sox have agreed to a multiyear contract, and the switch-hitting slugger informed the San Francisco Giants he’s leaving. Sandoval, the 2012 World Series MVP, had pondered an offer from the Giants worth close to $100 million over five years, a person with knowledge of that proposal said.

     
  • White Sox sign LaRoche to two-year, $25 million deal Nov 21, 2014 8:48 PM
    The White Sox need a left-handed power bat, and they are hoping Adam LaRoche fills the bill. According to a source, the Sox and LaRoche agreed on a two-year, $25 million contract Friday.

     
  • Cubs’ Rizzo excited to play for Maddon Nov 21, 2014 3:08 PM
    Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo is in town this weekend to promote a charity event scheduled for January. He spent a few minutes talking with the media and said he's excited to play for new manager Joe Maddon and that his own stats take a backseat to team success.

     
  • Spellman Scorecard: Bears don’t know how good they have it Nov 20, 2014 8:32 PM
    You’d think Bears players would want to play as hard as they possibly can for Marc Trestman because I’m pretty sure they don’t know how good they have it right now.

     
  • White Sox’ moves hint at future plans Nov 20, 2014 8:04 PM
    The White Sox made a flurry of roster moves Thursday, most notably designating Ronald Belisario for assignment and purchasing the contracts of pitcher Francellis Montas, infielders Rangel Ravelo and Tyler Saladino and catcher Kevan Smith.

     
  • NIU baseball coach returns to North Central Nov 20, 2014 2:00 PM
    Northern Illinois University head baseball coach Ed Mathey has resigned and will take over as head coach at North Central College, a position he held before joining NIU in 2003.

     
  • Stanton signs record $325M deal at news conference Nov 19, 2014 5:58 PM
    Giancarlo Stanton stood on the Miami Marlins’ field Wednesday and scanned a sea of empty seats, mindful the stands look much the same at games. He had just signed a record $325 million, 13-year contract and conceded he wasn’t certain he should have agreed to the deal. “There was no 100 percent sure answer,” Stanton said. “But the decision is made. Once you make your decision, you go all-in with it.”

     
  • Is free agent Lester in town for talks with Cubs? Nov 18, 2014 9:35 PM
    The Cubs Tuesday were neither confirming nor denying reports that they had met with free-agent pitcher Jon Lester. The off-season has begun to heat up, and the Cubs already have lost out on free-agent catcher Russell Martin, who signed with the Blue Jays.

     
  • White Sox, Duke agree to three-year, $15 million deal Nov 18, 2014 8:03 PM
    The White Sox upgraded their bullpen on Tuesday, signing 31-year-old lefty Zach Duke to a three-year, $15 million contract. Duke was 5-1 with a 2.45 ERA in 4 relief appearances with the Brewers last season.

     
  • Stanton agrees to record $325M deal with Marlins Nov 17, 2014 8:36 PM
    The Marlins are no longer pinching pennies, and Giancarlo Stanton won’t be, either. Stanton agreed to terms with the team Monday on a $325 million, 13-year contract, Miami owner Jeffrey Loria said. It’s the most lucrative deal for an American athlete and averages $25 million per season, or $154,321 per game. The deal includes a no-trade clause, and Stanton can opt out after six years.

     
  • Cubs lose bid as catcher Martin goes to Toronto Nov 17, 2014 2:17 PM
    One of the Cubs' primary targets, catcher Russell Martin, is signing with the Toronto Blue Jays, according to multiple reports. The deal is said to pay Martin $82 million over five years. He'll be 36 when the contract runs out.

     
  • Heyward to Cards, Miller to Braves in 4-man deal Nov 17, 2014 4:45 PM
    Concerned that Jason Heyward would leave as a free agent after next season and rebuilding with an eye toward their new stadium, the Braves dealt their right fielder and reliever Jordan Walden to the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday for promising pitcher Shelby Miller and a minor-leaguer.

     
  • Cubs acquire infielder La Stella from Braves Nov 16, 2014 4:41 PM
    The Cubs on Sunday acquired left-handed hitting infielder Tommy La Stella from the Atlanta Braves for relief pitcher Arodys Vizcaino. International signing-bonus slots also were exchanged. The Cubs obtained Vizcaino from the Braves in July 2012.

     
  • Gregor: Veteran talent may be on the way for Sox Nov 15, 2014 9:50 PM
    Executive vice president Kenny Williams had some interesting comments last week, namely that he is tired of "taking it on the chin." That appears to be code for the White Sox beefing up the payroll with some needed veteran talent this off-season.

     
  • Cubs to play first night opener in history Nov 14, 2014 5:06 PM
    The Cubs will host the St. Louis Cardinals in the Sunday night major league opener on April 5. Originally scheduled for April 6, the game was moved up to become ESPN’s opening national telecast of the season.

     
  • Kershaw, Trout win baseball’s MVP awards Nov 13, 2014 7:40 PM
    Clayton Kershaw became the first pitcher to win the National League MVP award in nearly a half-century, coasting an easy victory Thursday. Mike Trout was a unanimous pick for the AL honor after finishing second the previous two years. The 23-year-old became the fifth-youngest MVP in major league history and the youngest unanimous selection. Kershaw, the Los Angeles Dodgers ace, breezed past Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton and Pittsburgh outfielder Andrew McCutchen for the NL award. Bob Gibson in 1968 was the previous pitcher to be the NL MVP. Detroit pitcher Justin Verlander won the AL MVP in 2011. “To have people think you mean that much to your team, it really is a huge honor,” Kershaw said on the MLB Network telecast. There was plenty of everyday player-vs.-pitcher MVP debate leading up to this announcement. Soon after Kershaw unanimously won the NL Cy Young Award on Wednesday, he acknowledged “there are so many people out there who don’t think a pitcher should win.” This time, the 26-year-old lefty’s numbers again dominated hitters — Kershaw led the majors in wins and ERA while going 21-3 with a 1.77 ERA and throwing a no-hitter for the NL West champions. Kershaw got 18 of 30 first-place votes and 355 points in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Stanton got eight first-place ballots and 298 points. He led the NL with 37 homers and was second with 105 RBIs, and missed the last 17 games for the fourth-place Marlins after being hit in the face by a fastball. McCutchen got four firsts and 271 points in his bid to win the award for the second straight year. He hit .314 with 25 home runs and 83 RBIs for the wild-card Pirates. Six AL pitchers have won the MVP since Gibson took it for the St. Louis Cardinals. Before Gibson, seven pitchers had won the NL MVP, a list that includes Hall of Famers Sandy Koufax, Carl Hubbell and Dizzy Dean. The AL MVP has been won 12 times by pitchers, starting when it was first presented in 1931 to Lefty Grove. Kershaw won the major league season opener in Australia on March 22, then missed more than a month when a strained upper back put him on the disabled list for the first time in his career. Kershaw came back to win his second straight NL Cy Young and third in four years. Featuring sharp breaking balls, Kershaw was the first pitcher to top the majors in ERA for four straight years. Kershaw led the big leagues in complete games and was best among starters in strikeouts per nine innings and WHIP (walks plus hits per inning). The four-time All-Star struck out 239 in 198 1-3 innings. On June 18, he threw the first no-hitter of his career, at Dodger Stadium against Colorado. Dodgers players have won 11 MVPs, led by Roy Campanella in 1951, ‘53 and ‘56. Also winning were Dolph Camilli (1941), Jackie Robinson (1949), Don Newcombe (1956), Maury Wills (1962), Koufax (1963), Steve Garvey (1974) and Kirk Gibson (1988). Trout received all 30 first-place votes and 420 points. Detroit designated hitter Victor Martinez was second with 229 points and Cleveland outfielder Michael Brantley third with 185. Trout hit .287 and set career highs in home runs (36) and RBIs (111) while leading the major leagues in runs with 115 and extra-base hits with 84. In his third full season, the Los Angeles Angels center fielder matched his bests in doubles (39) and triple (nine). He also was MVP of the All-Star game in July. “It’s something special, for sure,” Trout said. “If you would have told me this before the season started, I would have just laughed at you. It’s just an unbelievable feeling.” Trout was a unanimous pick as the 2012 AL Rookie of the Year and was second in MVP voting to Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in both of his first two full seasons, 81 points back in 2012 and 103 points behind last year. He joined Mickey Mantle as the only players to win after finishing second twice in a row. At 23 years, 52 days on the final day of the regular season, Trout is younger than all MVPs except Vida Blue (1971), Johnny Bench (1970), Stan Musial (1943) and Cal Ripken Jr. (1983), according to STATS. Musial, Bench and Blue were 22, and Ripken was 23 years, 39 days. He is the third Angels player to win after Don Baylor (1979) and Vladimir Guerrero (2004). Kershaw and Trout won the last of baseball’s major postseason awards. Just in time, too. Pitchers and catchers are due at spring training in only 98 days.

     
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