Morning Links:Derrick Rose Propels The Bulls, Blue Jays Lock Up Bautista

Steve O Speak

Rose Sends The Bulls To The Break With A Big Win:

Derrick Rose was unstoppable last night as he led the Bulls to a 109-99 win over the San Antonio Spurs. It was Chicago’s 4th straight win last night, and ensured them the 3rd best record in the Eastern conference. While the Bulls have played good basketball this season, they haven’t had many signature wins, which has led a number of people to think that they can’t contend for a title. Last night’s win should hopefully prove some of their doubters wrong, especially since it came with Joakim Noah still out. The fact that the Bulls have 38 wins despite missing Noah or Carlos Boozer for a combined 48 games (and counting) is pretty impressive. If the Bulls make a minor deal or two at the deadline, I really believe they can make a run.

Blue Jays Lock Up Bautista:

Last season Jose Bautista rewarded the Blue Jay’s patience with him, with a .995 OPS and 54 home runs, now the Blue Jays are rewarding Bautista with a 5 year $64 million dollar deal. Bautista was entering his third and final arbitration year, meaning the Blue Jays didn’t have to extend him long term. Toronto though took a calculated risk, and figured if he has a season anywhere close to what he did in 2010, we won’t be able to afford him long term. While I understand there is significant risk involved, considering prior to last season, his career best OPS was .757, and his home run high was 16, I like the faith the Jays are showing. Toronto knows they can’t be handing out $17 million per season (hence why they traded Vernon Wells), and they are banking on Bautista to be a 35+ HR guy. It could be money well spent as Bautista remade his swing during the 2009 season, and showed a good bit of power post All-Star break. This year he not only had an amazing season, but he was very consistent throughout the year. He had a moderate April and a down June, but the other 4 months of the season he hit 10+ home runs and had an OPS over .990. This wasn’t some one or two month surge. While I would be a little shocked to see Bautista hit 50+ again, he should be good for the 30-40 range. This was worth the risk for the Blue Jays and I expect they will be rewarded.

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