Chat with Bruce Levine
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Bruce Levine (12:59 PM)
Greetings from the general managers meetings at the O'Hare Hilton. At this moment, the GMs and Asst. GMs are leaving meetings that started at 8 a.m. The continued rumors won't begin again until mid-afternoon when the GMs have an open-media session from 3:30-4:15. Let's go.
Bobby (jasper tn)
Bruce here is a thought, The Cubs should work a four team deal, Atlanta, SanDiego, Mets and themselves. Cubs would get adrian gonzalez , heath bell, javier vasquez and carlos beltran, The Mets would get carlos zambrano, and derek lowe. The Padres get josh vitters, carlos marmol, jeff smardtja and a prospect from the braves and the mets, and then The Braves get derek lee, john maine.I know the trade sounds ridiculous, but it would solve all four teams needs. Also the Cubs would need to sign Figgins.lol.
Bruce Levine (1:01 PM)
It's an interesting trade. You're obviously a smart baseball guy. Can't happen because Zambrano and Lee have no-trade clauses and neither has expressed in interest in leaving the Cubs.
Jordan Campbell (Algonquin, IL)
Do you think that Jim hendry wants to Trade Milton Bradley by the end of these meetings?, I would cause like you said it would then allow the Cubs to focus solely on their other needs.
Bruce Levine (1:02 PM)
Hendry's been trying to trade Bradley since early Sept. Right now the teams most interested are Tampa, the Mets, Texas and possibly the Angels. Hendry spent a good portion of the late evening last night talking to Tampa.
Chris (Chicago, IL)
Bruce, knowing that the Cubs have close to zero leverage in the Bradley trade negotiations (particularly when the Cubs seem to balk at the notion of picking up a sizeable portion of Bradley's contract), why would any team accept a trade that is anything but a low-risk, low-expense proposition in return?
Bruce Levine (1:04 PM)
Basically because the other teams have flawed situations with players they want to get rid of. Hendry is not the only guy who has signed players to some bad contracts. Take a look around. Tampa is trying to get rid of Pat Burrell, New York is trying to move Luis Castillo, Toronto is trying to trade Lyle Overbay. Money is a key issue for a number of teams, mostly lack of money to spend.
Chris (Chicago, IL)
Bruce: Are Cubs' fans relegated to the fact that the only way the Cubs return to the playoffs next year is NOT by how much better the Cubs will be but how much worse other teams (read: the Cardinals) will have to play? If not, what evidence, if any, do the fans have that the Cubs will be better what with the same core of players back next year, but a year older?
Bruce Levine (1:05 PM)
Count on new hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo to get the very best out of some players who slumped in 2009. Soriano, Soto and even Fukudome will all benefit from the expertise of Jaramillo.
Teahen? Really? Teahen? Will Kenny ever sign someone who strikes out less than once a game?
Bruce Levine (1:06 PM)
Very good point. To me, Teahen really isn't the starting player type. Ideally the Sox sign another free agent. Figgins or Matsui and use Teahen in the role of super-sub, a guy who can be mixed and matched against right-handed pitching.
Hey Bruce,I'm a traditionalist and over the past decade we've seen a number of great traditions deteriorate... inside pitching not resulting in brawls, men of normal size and stature getting a contract, Red Sox breaking their curse. All I can say it.. thank god the CUBS still lose. I'd give up on baseball completely if that ever changed.Cardinals are Forever.RJ
Bruce Levine (1:08 PM)
Be careful about the Cards' recent tradition of not spending money. Holliday won't be back with your team and LaRussa might be in his last year with the Cards. You've got two major plusses going with Wainwright and Carpenter. Let's see if Carpenter can stay healthy for the second year in a row.
what are the chances the cubs bring back mark derosa or go after a player like chone figgins to fill the second base and utility void?
Bruce Levine (1:08 PM)
Cubs have no money to spend at this point. Any money Hendry finds will be via trading some of the players he already has.
matt m (tinley park il)
Bruce, do you see the whitesox adding another bat to the lineup this offseason and if so what are some possibilities.Maybe a leadoff hitter?
Bruce Levine (1:09 PM)
The Sox have two major needs: a left-handed power bat and a lead-off hitter. Everytime Kenny says he doesn't have money somehow he's able to find a solution. I would not count him out of any free agent, including Figgins or Matsui.
Dan (Roselle, IL)
Hey Bruce, what are your thoughts on the Getz/Teahan trade? Good move for the Sox? Where do the White Sox go from there?
Bruce Levine (1:11 PM)
I personally did not like the trade for the Sox. Although Teahen gives them flexibility, allowing Ozzie to maneauver him around at the end of games, I felt Getz was the perfect player for the Sox. He's a young, left-handed hitter with good speed and improving defensive skills. Also, his makeup and way he get along with teammates was a major plus. I think the Sox still have 2 or 3 moves to make, including bullpen, lead-off man and left-handed power bat.
Bruuuuuccce! What CF'ers are in the free agent market if I'm to believe that Kosuke is moving back to RF? Is Mike Cameron really in our future? (please say no, please say no, please say no)
Bruce Levine (1:12 PM)
I would say that would be Plan D out of A,B, C and D. Unless the Cubs can find another CF somewhere, that would be a late-Jan., early-Feb. move. Cameron's skills are eroding and his strikeout volume is not what the Cubs need.
Who has the better chance at landing leadoff man Chone figgins? sox or cubs?
Bruce Levine (1:13 PM)
Right now it appears neither. Four years, $45 million will probably be the asking price. Figgins' agent told me yesterday upwards of 14 teams are going to be interested. He would fit perfectly for either Chicago team, unfortunately money is a big issue for both.
How strong are the Bradley for Castillo trade talk?
Bruce Levine (1:14 PM)
I woudln't say strong. The Mets and Cubs do not have a good history of trying to make trades. Minaya has to be careful after two below-average seasons, his job is on the line. Getting Bradley to another big-market team could be chaotic for both the player and the Mets.
Jeremy (Crest Hill, IL)
IF the Cubs go out and get an outfielder, whether through the trade or free agency, are they only looking for a center fielder, will he have to be a leadoff hitter, and will he HAVE to be a left hander?
Bruce Levine (1:15 PM)
The answer to all is 'No.' They're just looking for better players, somebody to plug in at center. They'll be looking at the non-tender list of players in early Dec. before they make a big move toward another OF.
Bobby Laughlin (wheatfield indiana)
is the PK to the Dodgers still have legs to it?
Bruce Levine (1:16 PM)
It was something I heard about toward the end of last season. Dodgers are not in love with their first baseman James Loney, who doesn't hit for enough power, according to some Dodgers officials. Konerko's clubhouse presence as well as his career numbers would be a good match for L.A. The Sox have to be careful they don't trade away their RBI production.
Tyler (Boulder, Co)
Bruce why isn't sam fuld in any of the talks it seems like he could lead off and play center field?
Bruce Levine (1:18 PM)
I'm with you. The Cubs, if they've shown any weakness in the way they evaluate, it's by not being able to project their own playes. Fuld is a diabetic, and a slow healer because of his disease. That has made the Cubs hesitate to make him a full-time player.
Bruce are the cubs seriously considering any of the free agent shortstops out there it seems like theriot would be perfect for 2nd and we need a year for castro
Bruce Levine (1:19 PM)
Money again is an issue. Sorry to keep bringing it up. But the Cubs' moves have to be on a dollar-for-dollar basis. An Orlando Cabrera type signing would be difficult to fit in the budget right now.
What do you think of a Bobby Jenks for Carl Crawford trade? Is it possible?
Bruce Levine (1:19 PM)
The Rays already have upgraded their pen with a trade with Pittsburgh. But they would like to add another power arm. It's very doubtful after the Rays picked up Crawford's option the other day that they're going to trade him.
Bill (Atlanta, Georgia)
Bruce, are the Cubs looking into solidifying the bullpen, if so who are they looking at?
Bruce Levine (1:20 PM)
Right now, it's hard for them to identify a trade market for pen guys. They're trying to project their own people like Caridad for some of their set-up roles next season.
adam bregenzer (round lake, IL)
What are the chances of the cubs grabbing Rafael Soriano and/or Mike Gonzalez off free agency? These are the best RP on the market and these two would solidify our bullpen.
Bruce Levine (1:21 PM)
The Cubs do have some interest in Gonzalez.
Bruce Levine (1:22 PM)
The Cubs should be able to finish contract negotiations for their own lefty Jon Grabow in the next 10 days. If that doesn't work out, Gonzalez would be a consideration.
Bruce, any rumors of Soriano and Zambrano getting traded?
Bruce Levine (1:24 PM)
For GMs, it's a very difficult process to ask a veteran player if he's willing to be traded when he has a no-trade clause. Can you imagine Hendry going to Soriano and just saying we'd like to trade you, will you give us permission. This would create a tremendous amount of division between the player and the team. The only way you can approach a veteran is if you have a deal in place, pending his OK. Any GM has to do an awful lot of homework with his own player's agent to see if that player is willing to move somewhere else before they ask them directly.
Bob Rohrman (Wauconda, IL)
I think it would be a mistake to trade Jake Fox away this offseason...due to Aramis Ramirez and Soriano always having the injury bug hanging over them...he gives them a potent bat and an average fielder who can be replaced by a Sam Fuld or Tyler Colvin in the later innings. In hindsight, I think if the Cubs called upon Jake Fox sooner rather than using Fontenot at 3rd, it could have helped the bats better. Thoughts?
Bruce Levine (1:25 PM)
You have to be able to play defense to help a team win. Jake's best position might be first and DH. He also showed an awful lot of vulnerability to the breaking ball in the last month. Jake's a 24th or 25th player on a good team and a starting player on an up-and-coming team.
I know you've probably been asked this a thousand times, but where do you think Bradley will be come opening day?
Bruce Levine (1:27 PM)
I think he'll be in the same place he's always been in, living in the unrealistic, emotionally self-serving world. My guess is he'll be on an AL team where he can be used as DH on days when he doesn't feel like playing the outfield.
Bruce, Do you think Dan Uggla is a realistic option for the Cubs to trade for?
Bruce Levine (1:29 PM)
Uggla's lack of defensive skills would put him right where the Cubs are currently. They need to improve their defense up the middle. That would not help answer that question.
Hey Buster! What are the chances the Sox keep Pods and resign Dye as their DH?
Bruce Levine (1:29 PM)
Fifty percent on Pods and zero on Dye.
What are the chances Bradley is still with the Cubs on opening day?
Bruce Levine (1:30 PM)
Never say never, but most likely five percent.
Jared Maynard (Los Angeles)
What are the chances the Cubs grab another arm for the starting rotation? They can't really feel that this staff is what will take them to the promise land. The Cubs NEED Halladay.
Bruce Levine (1:31 PM)
Yes they do and Halladay will be a hot commodity during the next 1 1/2 months during baseball's hot stove talks. The only way Cubs can add a guy making that much money is to trade Zambrano. That at this point doesn't appear to be happening.
Brian (Dekalb, Il)
How serious are the talks about Luis Castillo and do you think he is a good fit, especially if we sign him to wait a year for castro
Bruce Levine (1:32 PM)
Castillo has two years remaining. Although he's aged a bit he still stole over 20 bases and had an on-base percentage of .387. In a pinch he could lead off or at the very best bat second in the lineup. That would not be an awful trade for them.
Tyler (Barrington, Il)
How much of Milton Bradley's salary do you think the Cubs will eat?
Bruce Levine (1:33 PM)
My guess is about $5 million. Anything more would be too difficult to work around with an escalating payroll and numerous players going to arbitration for the first time this offseason.
Bruce, Do you think the Cubs should take a shot and resign Rich Hill on a low-risk deal?
Bruce Levine (1:35 PM)
Rich Hill is not emotionally capable of keeping himself viable throughout a whole season. It's really too bad, he's a terrific kid with really good stuff, he just out thinks himself. This would not be a good alternative.
Thom (Arlington Hts,)
Will the Sox be moving Beckham to second base to make room for Tehan? If so, what do you think of the move?
Bruce Levine (1:36 PM)
I think Beckham can handle any position on the baseball field. He's that good of a baseball athlete. He might be the next Ryne Sandberg at second. The question is will Teahen really be the Sox third baseman or if they move up a youngster Dayan Viciedo from the minors. Although he is an unfinished product, the Sox might believe he's ready to play in a platoon next year with Teahen.
Any names out there that kenny is targeting for the outfield?
Bruce Levine (1:39 PM)
Hideki Matsui would be a player the Sox would love to pursue. Money wise, the Sox don't appear to have an awful lot to spend. However his agent Arn Tellem and owner Jerry Reinsdorf have a special relationship. Remember it was Tellem's player Albert Belle who set the free-agent signing record in 1997 with a big deal with the Sox.
What kind of bat would Danks or Floyd bring back in a trade?
Bruce Levine (1:40 PM)
Forget about it, neither is goign anywhere. Kenny Williams has identified his team next year as a pitching and defense team. That means he's not trading any of his starting pitchers. He'll continue to look for more speed and defense.
Evan (Michigan City. Indiana)
Hey Bruce I am a HUGE CUBS FAN!!!! But the one thing I can not stand is Soriano and Bradly they are good athletes when they chose to be. What do you think the Cubs organizations need to do with either both of them, or one of them??
Bruce Levine (1:42 PM)
Soriano has five years guaranteed left on his contract. Expect him to spend all five in the Cubs organization. Whether he's playing in the last couple of those years, your guess is as good as mine. The consensus is he's listed as 32, but he might be playing at 34 or 35 next year. Either way he's working hard in the Dominican right now, in hopes of salvaging a couple of more years. Bradley will be traded before Opening Day.
Would Jake Fox be an idea for the Sox? Having another catcher on the team would allow the Sox to have Flowers in the bigs and dhing some days.
Bruce Levine (1:43 PM)
Nobody projects Fox as a catcher. Although he'll play any position, putting him behind the plate would make you vulnerable for anything but an emergency situation.
SprungOnSports (Long Island)
Is Chone Figgins out of the Cubs' price range until Bradley gets traded, and I've heard that the three way trade that would bring Castillo to the Mets is a longshot? What have you heard?
Bruce Levine (1:44 PM)
It's a long shot that foxsportsnet's Kenny Rosenthal put together. Rosenthal is usually spot on in his projections, but there doens't appear to be a deal right now.
Tyler (Chicago, Il)
Do you think this millwood talk has anything behind it, and would he be a good fit for the Cubs?
Bruce Levine (1:45 PM)
The question is whether Millwood has anything left to give the Cubs or would they turn arounnd and try to move him again. Millwood's a gutsy pitcher who's had trouble getting through an entire season without a physical breakdown.
So...Alex Rios. (Do I even need to ask a question after that?) Sure can't wait to see him play again.
Bruce Levine (1:46 PM)
The Sox are comforted by the fact that Rios will be their best defensive CF in a long time. He does have to hit, as to whether he will, depends on his offseason preparation and his in-season motivation. Some guys are just satisfied with their contract.
Any update on the Podsednik talks?
Bruce Levine (1:47 PM)
I can see why you might be confused. I've reported that Podsednik has asked for more money and years than the Sox care to offer right now. Other media reports, like the one in the Sun-Times today, said the Sox have more interest.
Has anyone asked Hendry about bringing DeRosa back yet?
Bruce Levine (1:49 PM)
There's no money for that right now. Where would you project him to play. At 35, coming off wrist surgery, his days of playing second every day are most likely behind him. Although still a good player, first or third and 500 at-bats would be ideal for DeRosa whereever he plays next season.
Doug (Buffalo NY)
Bruce, why would the cubs want Pat Burrell?
Bruce Levine (1:50 PM)
The Cubs do not want Pat Burrell. But they want Milton Bradley a lot less. Committment to Burrell is only one year. The Cubs feel they have a better chance of moving him and his one-year deal in the offseaosn than continually trying to move Bradley and his two-year deal. It's an NBA trade at its very best, my hot junk for your hot junk.
Patrick (Chicago, IL)
At what point do you consider front office shakeup when you compare the payroll of the Cubs and their lack of success, and the payroll of small market teams like the Twins and the quality teams they field each year?
Bruce Levine (1:52 PM)
If you look at Hendry's record, he's been to the playoffs three times in seven years. Consider that the previous 57 years they were only in the playoffs three times, you might want to re-evaluate Hendry's record. Although he had a miserable season this year, Hendry has raised the bar of a big-market team spending money with winning being the only objective.
Is there any talk about the sox getting in the race for Ardolis Chapman?
Bruce Levine (1:53 PM)
The money is going to be four years and $35 millin for a talented pitcher who had a hard time making his own national team. Think Boston, New York and the Dodgers when it comes to Chapman.
SprungOnSports (Long Island)
The White Sox were able to trade from a strength to get Teahen and Kenny loves to make trades. What have you heard from the meetings that could tip off his next move?
Bruce Levine (1:54 PM)
Think bullpen. Kenny knows adding one more set-up man type would help solidify their chances of winning next year. The Sox will show patience in waiting for the market and the non-tender market to come back to them.
Is there a shot Dye comes back to the south side at a discount or is he gone?
Bruce Levine (1:55 PM)
Although Dye is respected by all in the Sox organization, he doesn't fit the profile they're trying to fill. Think left-handed power bat and a possible leadoff hitter as the areas the Sox are looking at.
Shaun (Aviano Air Base, Italy)
Would the Cubs be better served to start packagin their veterans for some top tier prospects, or do the core guys they have now have enough left in them to be competitive with a few added pieces?
Bruce Levine (1:58 PM)
First, a thank-you to you and your fellow servicemen for taking care of me and the rest of the country. It's a very intelligent question. It's one I continue to broach with Cubs officials. At some point, you have to be willing to take a step back to take a step foward. What the Mets and Cubs have learned is trying to get it done with free agents every year doesn't always work out. This would have to be a commitment from new owner Tom Ricketts in order to not compete for a year or two while rebuilding and trading vets for other team's young stars. Thanks again and God bless you.
Brian (Oakland, Cal)
Bruce, if the cubs get a pitcher for Milton then what do we do about center field (it seems its more important to get a center fielder so we can move fukudome to right)
Bruce Levine (1:59 PM)
I kind of like Marlon Byrd as a free agent. He had his best year ever last year with the Rangers under Rudy Jaramillo, the Cubs new hitting instructor.
Prediction time: Whose leading off for the White Sox on opening day?
Bruce Levine (2:00 PM)
At this point I wouldn't be surprised if it's Gordon Beckham, although he'd be better served at batting third. In the AL, you only naturally lead off once in a game because of the DH. Nobody told me that's the case but Beckham can hit anywhere from 1-6 and do the job.
are the cubs going to sign any big name relief pitchers
Bruce Levine (2:01 PM)
The kid from the Dodgers, Ramon Troncoso, has a great power arm. I think the Cubs would be interested in adding him depending on how much money he's asking for. Again, right now it appears Hendry's tapped out as far as free-agent cash goes.
Bruce Levine (2:02 PM)
Keep reading my blog over the next couple of days for reports on the Sox and Cubs from the GM meetings. You never know what Hendry and Kenny might do.