Monday, January 19, 2009

White Sox's Bobby Jenks Gets Paid

White Sox's Bobby Jenks gets big raise but is still a bargain --

Congrats to Bobby Jenks on his big payday. The Sox agreed to $5.4 million for one year in Jenks first year of arbitration. He has come a long way from that log cabin in Idaho.

Bobby has quickly become one of my all time favorite White Sox players, and not just because of the results. I appreciate the way he handles business on the mound. Whether he has nasty stuff, or pitches batting practice, Bobby goes right after hitters. Sometimes, but not often, he get hits hard. But Bobby always makes the batter beat him which is all I ask from anyone the Sox put on the mound.

While Jenks decreased strikeout rate over the last two seasons is worrisome (in four seasons it has dropped from 11.44/9IP to 5.55/9IP), it's nice to see him get paid for his prior achievements. But the Sox were smart not to lock him up for a longer term, as Jenks still needs to prove he can be effective with a lower strike out rate.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Illinois Rebounding from 07-8 Disaster

Maybe I shouldn't use the phrase "rebounding" as that is the one thing the Illini haven't done well this year. Everything else has gone better than expected as the Illini look like they will be headed back to the tournament after a one year absence.

Ironically, it is the 2007 recruiting class that is leading the resurgence. For a while it looked the 2007 class would be best known for the one that got away. But all Eric Gordon delivered to Indiana was a first round loss in the NCAA tournament, while a trio of Illini sophomores are setting the foundation for another run to the final four.

Sophomores Demetri McCamey, Mike Davis and Mike Tisdale have established themselves as three of the top performers in the Big Ten. And all three have an uncanny ability to get the ball in the hoop. When these guys are on, they hit nothing but the bottom of the net. It's a beautiful sight for Illini fans, especially after watching last year's team lead the Big Ten in bricks and airballs.

Illinois 2007 recruiting class was originally ranked 31st by I don't think there is anyway you could now argue for anything less than a top 5 ranking.

Illinois has had a couple of tough losses this year, but with three sophomores leading the way. they are a wrk in progress. They will keep getting better which should be a scary thought for the rest of the Big Ten. And if the 2009 and 2010 recruiting classes end up as good as expected, Illinois will enjoy a few deep tourneys runs in the next few years.