Jul 26, 2021 5 min read

Stan Bowman's big gamble

Stan Bowman's big gamble

With cap space burning a hole in his pocket, the Hawks GM spent big in more ways than one on Seth Jones.


Good morning, frents!

And welcome to MLB trade deadline week.

A reminder to double-check those Jeff Passan and Ken Rosenthal accounts for authenticity and maybe even say the names of unfamiliar reporters out loud before RT'ing.

Contrary to what many believed on Sunday night, a dude named "Mike Hawk" won't be telling us where Craig Kimbrel is headed next.

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For better or worse, a new era finally begins

The Bears open camp tomorrow, the baseball trading deadline is Friday and Zach LaVine is out there losing games with Team USA.

And yet the Blackhawks somehow still land the biggest Chicago sports story over the weekend?

That's what happens when you make — for better or worse — a trade that will impact the course of the franchise for years to come.

In case you missed it:

  • The Hawks finally got top d-man they've been looking for, getting Seth Jones from Columbus in a pre-draft trade on Friday night.
  • The Hawks paid dearly for that d-man, opening their wallet so wide that a haul of picks, Adam Boqvist and an eight-year, $76 million extension for Jones fell out.

The immediate reaction to the trade was ... how do you say? ... not good.

And it was more than just Twitter cranks who hate everything showing their disapproval.

Mark Lazerus' breakdown of the swap in The Athletic, in particular, was so piercing I'm guessing it had some Hawks fans wondering if they should kick the tires on a new favorite team.

Because if this trade goes wrong?

It's going to go really wrong.

If you want to be optimistic, there's some reason to be.

The son of former NBA player Popeye Jones, Seth was the fourth overall pick in the 2013 NHL draft. He has the right combination of size, speed and skill that you want in a modern-day defenseman and he can score a bit while also eating minutes. Jones already has nine seasons in the NHL, but won't turn 27 until the first week of October. If you were to draw a picture of a cornerstone blueliner, it'd probably look a lot like Jones.

But did Bowman pay for that picture and not reality?

Jones' analytical performance has sunk in recent years and he's not getting any younger. Less than six months after getting out from under the horrendous Brent Seabrook contract, Bowman turned around and gave even bigger money to one of the most polarizing players in the league.

If the Hawks were one d-man away from being a Cup contender, I could see mortgaging a bit of the future to add someone like Jones.

But I don't have to tell you that they aren't one player away. They're a team that needed to keep piling up draft wins while smartly spending the cap space they've only recently started to recoup.

Instead, Bowman just made Jones the third-richest defenseman in the NHL with an annual cap hit of $9.5 million and those valuable draft picks are headed to the Blue Jackets.

We'll see if Jones can repay any of the outsized faith the Hawks' front office has shown him, but there's no doubt the franchise just hit a big turning point this past weekend.

Faced with the decision of who will lead the pivot from Championship Era to whatever lies beyond, Bowman's personnel and financial overpay left no doubts.

It's going to be Seth Jones.

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News and results

Sox 3, Brewers 1:  Sunday salvation

It took a few days, but the Sox finally rewarded road-tripping fans with a W to go with the Mars Cheese Castle. Not only did Lance Lynn outduel Brandon Woodruff last night, he also drove in what turned out to be the winning runs with a two-run single in the second.

Two fun facts on Lynn's RBI:

  1. It was the first time a Sox pitcher had more RBI than the opponent since Jake Peavy had a RBI in a 6-0 win over the Cubs in 2012.  (Chris Kamka)
  2. Lynn and Jon Garland (6/18/06) are the only Sox pitchers to have multiple RBI in a Sox win since the start of the DH era.

Standings check: The 59-40 Sox are up nine on Cleveland.

Next: Eloy's back! The Sox start their four-game set in KC with the return of the big man. Dallas Keuchel (7-3, 4.22) gets Mike Minor (7-8, 5.45).

Cubs 5, D-Backs 1: Just like the old days

I went to Saturday's game with old friend Nick Friedell thinking I might get to see one last good moment from a player who might be traded this week. I got a triple from Kris Bryant in the loss, but it turns out I was a day early. Sunday's first inning brought back-to-back jacks from Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo — a walk down memory lane if there ever was one.

In other news, how cool was this?

Trivia

Rizzo's homer was his 240th as a Cub, moving him past Aramis Ramirez for sixth on the team's all-time list.

Who are the five men in front of him?

The Anthony Miller era comes to an end

Three maddening years finally come to a close as the Bears swap late-round picks and Miller gets a chance for a fresh start in .... Houston? Best of luck with that, Anthony.

Miller caught 11 touchdowns over his three seasons in Chicago, but the last memory he leaves Bears fans is getting ejected from the playoff game after punching a Saints player.

  • The Bears also announced that Tarik Cohen and rookie WR Dazz Newsome will start camp on the PUP list. Cohen is still recovering from an ACL tear while Newsome separated his shoulder in rookie camp.

LaVine scores eight in Team USA loss

No one in stars and stripes should be holding their head high after an 89-79 loss to France that snapped a 25-game winning streak, but Zach LaVine wasn't as bad as others. The Bulls guard had an eight-point and three-assist game and was only one of two American players to shoot better than 50 percent from the field.

  1. Is the Bears arrow pointing up or down? Sun-Times
  2. Former White Sox farmhand Eddy Alvarez on his big night at the Olympics. Today Show
  3. Woj stirred the pot a bit by mentioning a D-Rose/Bulls reunion on a podcast appearance. Bleacher Nation
  4. 10 schools to consider for a Big Ten expansion. Wolverine Wire
  5. How Geneva's Kevin McDowell beat cancer and recorded the highest finish ever at the Olympics by a male American triathlete. Tribune

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