Print and Go Back ESPN.com: BlogsColumns [Print without images]

Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Updated: April 27, 10:32 AM ET
Catching up on Chicago Sports


Jose Contreras
Did you miss me? I've been blog free the last couple weeks. Consider it my gift to all of you as you have been spared my disjointed commentaries on all the happenings in the world of sports. And trust me, there's a whole lot going on right now. February is not only famously known as the birth month of yours truly, it also signals the start of the baseball season, the NASCAR season, the push towards the NCAA tournament, and the beginning of my interest in the NBA, among other things.

And let's start there. Please tell me that all of you that have called and pooh-poohed (I know, that's not really a word and if it was, it wouldn't be spelled like that) the notion of the Bulls Amare Stoudemire are just pulling my leg. You're joking, right? You're not interested in a 6'10 force in the middle that's gonna run the floor, make your game changing rookie point guard even better and give you 21 and 9 each and every night? You didn't like how Nash and Stoudemire did their thing for years? I know, you're afraid his defensive deficiencies are gonna undermine their stifling 22nd ranked scoring "D". Or his desire to have the ball in his hands is gonna upset the apple cart and cause trouble in a harmonious locker room. Stop it! All of you! I'm no basketball expert, but if the prospect of giving up Tyrus Thomas or Joakim Noah is too much for you to stomach, turn in your man card. It would be a great deal for the Bulls. A deal John Paxson MUST make if Stoudemire is, indeed, available.

And speaking of Pax, there is no one in the world of Chicago sports I respect more. Of course he's made mistakes and is ultimately responsible for the product on the floor. I'd love to know just how much Jerry Reinsdorf has handcuffed him. I'd love to know what he thinks about the character of his players. I'd love for him to make a statement and put all of the speculation to rest. The loyal fans of this organization deserve to know what's going on with their favorite team.

Hey, did you hear what Lou said in Mesa early this week? He actually talked about moving Soriano down in the lineup and giving someone else a chance in the lead off role. Theriot, Fontenot, Miles, Fukudome, anyone but Alfonso. Maybe Lou has finally grown tired of answering the same question for the last two years and just gave up. Or maybe he had one too many cocktails the night before. Or maybe he's just goofing with the media. He completed the conversation by adding that if the season started today, Soriano would bat leadoff. WHAT?

The big story coming out of Sox camp early on is the physical transformation of 38 year old Jose Contreras. Contreras reported 30 pounds lighter and well ahead of schedule with his Achilles rehab. What a boost it would be if he can actually return to the rotation before June. And make no mistake about it, the rotation is the biggest question mark facing this White Sox team. You know what you have in Mark Buerhle, but after that, there are plenty of legitimate questions. Danks and Floyd were fantastic in '08, but can they repeat their collective 29-17 record? There is no history to rely on as last year was the first season either pitcher made 30 plus starts in the big leagues. Bartolo Colon is coming back from minor elbow surgery and the remaining group is filled with youngsters. Contreras may be the surprise of the '09 season.

And on the football front, If I could give Jerry Angelo one piece of advice, it would be to remind him he has a number of needs and not all of them can be met thru the draft. He must use all 3 vehicles to help fill the holes in the secondary, on the edge, on the OLine, and at wide receiver. Jerry must investigate all possible trade scenarios, participate in free agency in some fashion, and then choose wisely in April.

I'm out of original thoughts. For now. Somebody please get the ball to Aaron Gray!