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Chicago Tue Feb 01 2011

Short Hops: Stocking Up Before the Storm

ramirez tribune.jpgPhoto: Nuccio DiNuzzo, Chicago Tribune

Sports fans always love keeping the guys we know and love, and the White Sox sure have been doing a lot of that lately. They brought back free agents Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski, picked up Ozzie Guillen's 2012 option and Monday they gave shortstop Alexei Ramirez a four-year, $34.5 million contract extension.

The new deal, which includes a $10 million team option for Year Five, wasn't strictly necessary. The 29-year-old Ramirez was entering the final season of the cheap four-year deal he signed as a Cuban free agent three years ago, but the Sox could have kept him around for a few more years through arbitration. Instead, they decided to give him a little more money on the front end in exchange for a few years of cost-effective security on the back end. And it won't cost anything this season.

Jim Margalus of South Side Sox likes the move: "I'd call this contract fair, with an overtone of fun. Ramirez is often a blast to watch, and he's not going anywhere. That's good."

***

Good news for the Bulls too, as Joakim Noah had the cast on his right hand removed Monday after practice. The fourth-year center, one of the league's premier rebounders and post defenders, will participate in non-contact drills with the team on their current road trip and could be ready for game action after the all-star break in three weeks.


***

Tailgate's favorite scouting analyst, Keith Law of ESPN.com, ranks White Sox left-hander Chris Sale seventh on his list of rookie-eligible players who could impact the 2011 season. ESPN subscribers only:

Where he belongs on this list depends on his role. If he's in the 'pen, he and [Atlanta's] Craig Kimbrel will battle it out for top rookie reliever, and you can't underestimate the effect Don Cooper and Ozzie Guillen seem to have on relievers. If he's starting, he'll probably go back to the minors, and I share the general industry consensus that he won't hold up for 180 innings. Let's hope the Sox stick him in the 'pen and let him go until he breaks; they'll be better off in 2011 for it.

Cubs outfield prospect Brett Jackson just missed the top-20 list because Law doesn't think he'll play enough in the majors this season.

***

Finally, we bring you a bit of delightful invective against the "douchebags" known as triathletes, courtesy of South Carolina writer Charlie Broadway:

The average salary of a tri-geek is $150,000. So, you guessed who wants to do this sport--elitist pricks with bullshit jobs and money to burn. And since they often go to the same places as runners, swimmers, and cyclists, they run into these other people who don't make $150K a year with their MBA or JD and leave a very bad impression. The bottom line is that triathlon is a contrived piece of shit sport peopled with colossal assholes who want to claim another accomplishment for their resumes. Since they buy so much expensive shit, equipment makers line up to market to these twits.

If you come away with the impression that triathlon is the McMansion of sports, you would be correct. Triathlon makes golf look cheap and egalitarian by comparison.

And he's just getting warmed up.

 
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