Here are some things that I didn’t get to discuss on the to-be-released episode 53 of Open Forum Radio: Nebraska’s disappointment, the Bears surprise, and a Baseball hot stove update.
Regarding the two football topics, Nebraska was forced in the last 2 games to become one dimensional and both resulted in losses. Nebraska’s bread and butter are a running game and a strong defense, fitting the mold of a typical Big10 team. From what I saw throughout the season was that they need a quarterback that can be a capable threat. I’m not saying that the Huskers should actively recruit the next Cam Newton but they need a quarterback that can accurately get the ball to his receivers. The Huskers were so desperate in the Big12 championship game that they went to the wildcat under center with a double running back threat. I was spoiled in my first year with the Huskers fan-base but it played out as how I said in a preview of the season, Nebraska would be good for 3 to 4 losses. I’m disappointed that they won’t play in a prestigious bowl game though even knowing that the BCS is a money hoarder and get’s more money than the school probably does, the exposure and attention is invaluable if the University of Nebraska wants to be considered in the hearts and minds as an elite program.
Being immersed in Chicago sports talk, the Bears often dominate the conversation this time of year. They’re in command of the NFC North at 9-3 and play host to New England on Sunday. Some are saying that the Patriots might fall prey to a trap game coming off a blowout win yesterday against the Jets. The Patriots’ defense is at the bottom of the barrel though this and them being able to shut down a one dimensional Colts team doesn’t impress me. I can’t make my pick yet but so far this season, the Bears have been a lucky team, if not on the field, than certainly in regards to a limited listing on the injury report.
I love when Baseball steals headlines from the NBA and NFL, it happened in Chicago last week, and then it happened over the weekend all along the east coast, from Boston down to Washington DC. Boston was able to trade for the slugging first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and then sign a deal that will keep him there for the remainder of his career. The Yankees were able to retain Jeter and Mariano Rivera, and the Nationals (stupidly) signed Jason Werth and are considered to be contenders in the Cliff Lee bidding. However many of you are Nationals’ fans, I’m sorry but your organization is stupid. You paid Jason Werth $126MM dollars and you didn’t keep Adam Dunn, you’re star pitcher has arm problems and now you want to make a bid for the best free agent pitcher? Loading your team with over paid talent is not a good way to run your business. The Nationals aren’t as good as the Phillies or Braves or a better managed Mets team. Florida consistently puts together quality seasons while operating on a shoe-string budget. What is Mike Rizzo thinking? Washington is dominated by the Redskins and as long as the Red Army Capitals still reside in the DC area, you’re going to be behind them too. IF Cliff Lee signs with the Nats, how many years will he be into his contract before he wants to be traded to another team? How many managers will they have to go through? Jason Werth is a quality outfielder, but $126MM good? No.
The White Sox are continuing to negotiate with Paul Konerko, though at some point that may become detrimental to the team. While getting a quality first baseman still remains an issue with the team, the bullpen has quickly become a glaring issue. Thin would be an understatement. Currently the White Sox bullpen only features Tony Pena and Matt Thornton. JJ Putz left for the Diamondbacks and the team non-tendered a contract to Bobby Jenks. For as much as Jenks frustrates me, the best Sox fans can hope for, is that he comes back on the cheap. Other teams across baseball aren’t running out and banging down the door for Jenks because they see all the warning signs the White Sox saw; health, decreasing velocity and volatility. He has had back issues the past few years, his velocity has dipped each year, and he gives up too many 9th inning hits and walks.
With the indecision of Paul Konerko holding the attention of the White Sox and their fans, I’m starting to think that the team would be better served with other options including Carlos Pena or Adam LaRoche. That would give the team the flexibility to go out and reinforce the bullpen because since 2005, the biggest issue for the team has been the bullpen. The White Sox have a reliable starting staff that can pitch good enough for the team to win a division, the team needs a bullpen and closer that can seal the deal and lock in enough wins for the AL Central title. Being said, I respect Paul Konerko. He resigned after the 2005 season for less money to stay here. He’s been a loyal player to the team and a leader in the club house. I don’t know what he wants from the team in order to stay but his banter from the end of the season gave the impression he was ready to move on and be closer with his family. I will never hold that against him simply because he has been a class act on and off the field for the White Sox.