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Archive for July, 2009

Is Chicago Cubs Jake Fox The New Mark DeRosa?

Posted by sportsmaven on July 17, 2009

Is Chicago Cubs IF/OF/C Jake Fox becoming the next Mark DeRosa for the Cubs?  Fox’s hitting has been widely praised up and down the Cubs leadership hierarchy, posting downright gaudy numbers this season for the AAA Iowa Cubs.  His .409 BA, 17HR, 53RBI and OBP of .495 in just 45 games are completely off the charts.  In 29 games with the Cubs, Fox’s stats are .312 BA, 4HR, 15 RBI with an OBP of .356, very impressive for a part-time role player.

Jerry Lai/US Presswire

Jerry Lai/US Presswire

Fox has forged his reputation as a very solid, strong hitter with no natural fielding position.  He was drafted as a catcher in the 3rd round of the 2003 amateur entry draft, out of University of Michigan, but has bounced around the diamond since, with some saying his best position will ultimately be as a designated hitter.

Since his second recall from Iowa this season, Fox has played third base, left field, and this past week before the All-Star game, he played his natural position, catcher in the second game of a day night double-header.  In past stints with the Cubs, Fox has also played first base and right field.  Fox has quietly developed into a 5 position player with a very strong bat.  He hits for power, average, and can get on base.  He has delivered in the clutch when the Cubs lacked any clutch hitting in the months of June and July.

As the second half of the season begins, the best use of Jake Fox may be in the role that Mark DeRosa played for the Cubs in the last 2 seasons.  Fox has the ability to play multiple positions, maybe not quite as well as DeRosa, but he has shown competence in every position he’s played, and he may develop into a much better hitter than DeRosa as well.  Fox is also seven years younger than DeRosa too.  Fox can play up to 3-4 games a week to rest players such as 3B Aramis Ramirez, 1B Derrek Lee, OF Alfonso Soriano, and OF Milton Bradley.  He can also spot-catch when needed.  He may even be a better hitting backup catcher option to C Geovanny Soto than C Koyie Hill, or at least provide Cubs manager Lou Piniella more roster flexibility in late game situations.

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Did Chicago Blackhawks Give Dale Tallon A Raw Deal?

Posted by sportsmaven on July 15, 2009

The actual move was shockingly abrupt.  Not a hint was stirring for a mid-summer change.  But then it happened, swiftly and decisively.  The move left no doubt about who is in control of this Original Six franchise.  But as alarmingly quickly the Dale Tallon “re-assignment” has happened, this move was in the works the day the Chicago Blackhawks hired Scotty Bowman as Senior Advisor of Hockey Operations.  Bowman’s son, Stan has been an assistant to the GM for the Blackhawks for the past 3 years and seemed heir apparent to the Blackhawks GM job.  With Scotty in the fold, it marked a changing of the guard on the hockey operations side of the business and it started the clock ticking on GM Dale Tallon’s tenure in the organizational hierarchy.  Some believe the firing was undeserved.  It may be a sign of how the Blackhawks will now conduct business in their focused quest for a Stanley Cup Championship.

(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Whatever is thought of the Tallon replacement, it definitely came across as Blackhawks President John McDonough further stamping his imprint on the organization.  McDonough certainly has earned the right to make the changes he felt necessary to continue the impressive ascent of an Original Six franchise that was in complete disarray prior to his arrival.  McDonough skillfully danced around tough questions regarding the change in management, citing differing approaches and the botched contract paperwork for the 8 Blackhawk free-agents as impetus for the change.  Like any other GM, Tallon did some good things and not so good things.  Both the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune point out Tallon’s good and bad moves as a means to evaluating his effectiveness as Blackhawks GM.

Did the Chicago Blackhawks give Dale Tallon a raw deal with his re-assignment? I don’t think the move was surprising, as the writing was on the wall for the past season when the senior Bowman entered the fold.  Was the timing suspect?  Potentially, it was, given the move was made in advance of the Chicago Blackhawks Fan Convention, which begins this Friday.  That should give fans fuel to continue questioning the move for the remainder of the summer.  The paperwork snafu was the final straw, providing the perfect opportunity to make that change now heading off  a more potentially messy divorce closer to the beginning of the upcoming hockey season.

Along with the manner in which former Blackhawk great and coach Denis Savard was summarily dismissed at the beginning of last season, it seems that the Blackhawks may be perceived as insensitive.  The fact that both Savard and Tallon were offered and accepted other positions within the organization softens the blows tremendously and proves that the organization has made inroads with keeping former key players in their fold in their quest to win a Stanley Cup.

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