Chat with Bruce Levine
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Bruce Levine (1:02 PM)
Greetings and salutations. The free-agent market is open to all 30 teams. It appears the Cubs and Sox may be looking at trades before free agency. Happy holidays to all of you wonderful baseball fans. Let's go.
Marty Gallagher (Chicago)
What else could you see the Cubs do to "think outside the box" to grow bottom line revenue? What are they considering besides additional signage? Anything globally to build their brand?
Bruce Levine (1:04 PM)
Good question. PSLs are still being talked about, although the assumption is the Ricketts family may not want to hammer the Cubs fan base and their most loyal supporters with a $75 million tariff. More signage in the outfield is a possibility. Although the Ricketts are very sensitive to the air space at Wrigley Field and preserving the quaintness of their very special ballpark.
Tom (Arlington Heights)
Bruce, Do you really see the Sox going after A-Gonzalez from the Padres? I know it would be an upgrade to Paul Konerko and a lefty bat to boot, but does Kenny have the resources to make such a move?
Bruce Levine (1:05 PM)
I don't believe so. Unless Beckham is included in the deal. Beckham isn't going anywhere. Therefore, I don't really think Gonzalez is a match for the White Sox. Look for him to end up in Boston.
any news on the white sox leadoff man situation?
Bruce Levine (1:07 PM)
Yesterday when I talked to Ozzie during a teleconference, he was not completely put off to Podsednik returning in 2010. Finding money for Shone Figgins would be very difficult for the White Sox at this point. Jerry Reinsdorf is always open-minded when it comes to Kenny Williams to Rick Hahn making suggestions. Right no they're maxed out at about $94 million in payroll.
Joe (Baton Rouge)
What are the odds of getting a Brad Hawpe or Adam Dunn? I want either of them a lot, but don't think its going to happen.
Bruce Levine (1:08 PM)
Hawpe would be a nice addition for the White Sox. The Cubs need a CF. Fukudome is a below-average CF, an above-average RF. Hawpe's a line-drive hitter who might prosper more at U.S. Cellular Field.
Who is going to round out the Cubs pitching staff next year with Harden gone? I like the Grabow re-signing but can Marmol handle closing all year?
Bruce Levine (1:10 PM)
Leading the league in walks by relievers is always a concern for a guy who's going to be your closer. But the league hit about .150 off Marmol. If he find a way to repeat his delivery more consistently he would be the best closer in the game. His mechanics are among the worst. His stuff is off the chart. And Wells will be the fourth starter. Look for Samardzija and Marshall to compete for No. 5. Cashner is not ready yet for the bigs.
Blake (Park Ridge)
Other than changing their hitting coach, what moves do you think the Cubs are gonna do to get the bat back to the northside?
Bruce Levine (1:11 PM)
Jim Hendry first has to trade Milton Bradley. And then possibly move the guy he gets back for Bradley. Once all that is accomplished, he can start making some lateral moves. No matter what you hear, Hendry's payroll is maxed out because he must deal with 7-8 arbitration cases.
That way I see it, Bear 4-6 with 6 games to go.....two against Minnesota, one versus Packers and Baltimore. Best case scenario, they can split these games.....that adds up to Season Over......right?
Bruce Levine (1:12 PM)
8-8 means they're done, so the Bears can lose only one more game.
How likely is it the Cubs will go after Chine Figgins?
Bruce Levine (1:13 PM)
Not likely, unless Tom Ricketts tells Jim Hendry he found an extra $10M for him to spend. Figgins will be somewhere in the 3-year, $35M area.
Any truth to the Sox-BJ Upton rumors?
Bruce Levine (1:14 PM)
The Sox would like a talented, four-tool player like Upton, but at what cost? I'm not sure the Rays are interested in Bobby Jenks, who appears to be their most tradeable commodity. The Sox are more likely to go after two bullpen pitchers. Although Upton may or may not be their answer to leadoff man/CF. He had a rough year in 2009.
Mike (Hometown, IL)
Bruce, now that it looks like Miguel Cabrera is now available do the Sox have interest, and if so since there is so much money left on his contract can the Sox afford him and wht would they have to give up? Also would Ozzie sign off on it?
Bruce Levine (1:15 PM)
Ozzie loves Cabrera. They're very close friends. Ozzie Jr. and Cabrera are extremely tight. But that kind of commitment the Sox wouldn't be able to afford at this point. Talk to me in 2011 when Konerko's contract is up.
What type of impact will Vizquel have on Alexei and Gordon?
Bruce Levine (1:16 PM)
Remains to be seen. Yesterday Vizquel said he feels part of his job is to be a mentor to the younger players. At 43, Vizquel's ability still is there. As to how often he can play, and give you a good effort, remains to be seen.
Scott (Lake Villa)
Hey Bruce - What are the top two most likely trades you are hearing about for the Cubs? Any chances they land a clutch bat?
Bruce Levine (1:18 PM)
Most likely trade is still Milton Bradley for Pat Burrell. I know eveyrone is sick of hearing about it, as I am, becuase it's been dragging on for over 6 weeks. Nonetheless, once Hendry obtains Burrell, he'll have to turn around and trade him again. A likely scenario would have Burrell going to S.F., who are in desperate need for home run and RBI pop.
Johnny Blaze (Southside)
Do you think that KW is adding all these back-up players in anticipation of making a major move?
Bruce Levine (1:19 PM)
That's not unlike Kenny. But keep in mind payroll wise he has to move some. If he doesn't move Konerko or Jenks, he'll have no payroll flexibility. Trading Jenks is an iffy premise considering closers are hard to find. Konerko has a total no-trade and would only probalby accept a deal to one of the L.A. teams.
Do you think the Cubs will end up acquiring Curtis Granderson?
Bruce Levine (1:20 PM)
I know most people who work at Clark and Addison would love Granderson to be the leadoff man/CF on Opening Day. The Tigers are not going to take a bag of balls in return. They're also not looking for guys making much money in return. It's hard to imagine a real good matchup between the teams, because the Cubs are not going to trade Starlin Castro.
Bobby Laughlin (wheatfield indiana)
Who are some of the relief ptchers soxs might be looking at? is Will Ohman an option?
Bruce Levine (1:23 PM)
I would certainly hope not. Ohman has been a bust in more than one place. Throwing the ball 95MPH is overrated in the case of some relievers. I would say the best opportunity for the White Sox is to get a rehab guy J.J. Putz. Some teams are going to take a flyer on him even though he had elbow surgery last year. Before he signed with the Mets he was a quality closer with Seattle.
Terry Socol (Skokie)
Hi Bruce, Any plans for the Cubs to upgrade at 2nd? Fontenot is not an every day player. Also, are we stuck with Miles as their utlity guy? Thanks!
Bruce Levine (1:24 PM)
The Cubs would love Orlando Hudson, who is a free agent and brings a lot of energy to the game. If you and your friends have any extra cash, please gather it together and send it to Jim Hendry.
Kevin (Evanston, IL)
The Cubs have been rumored for Curtis Granderson for a week or so, do you really believe he would be worth giving up at least one of our top prospects (Castro, Vitters, Cashner, etc.) I feel like the Cubs never develop many of their prospects and always dump them for veterans. Thoughts?
Bruce Levine (1:26 PM)
I'm with you. The Cubs sooner or later will have to establish their own group of high-profile, low-pay stars. If you look at the prototype Boston and New York have, they both add to their team through free agency. But the heart and soul of the team comes from the minor leagues.
Mike L. (My cube)
Bruce, What do you think the Tigers end up doing. I hear the Granderson deals hit a snag and now I see Cabrera is on the block?
Bruce Levine (1:27 PM)
I don't think the Granderson deal has hit a snag. Dave Dombrowski will be shopping his players extensively between now and the Winter Meetings. He has flexiblity with Granderson and Edwin Jackson because of favorable contracts. It appears he might have to dump $30M which will not be an easy task considering his veterans are making big bucks and appear unmovable.
joe m (tinley park il)
Bruce, the one final thing that concerns me about the white sox is what they are going to do with that third outfield spot, have you heard anything?
Bruce Levine (1:28 PM)
Jordan Danks in the eyes of some is ready to compete for an OF job in spring training. Some of the scouts I talked to like Danks but don't necessarily think he's ready to be an everyday OF in the bigs. Defensively the Sox believe he's as good an OF as they have in the organization.
which free agent seems a most likely fit for the whitesox?
Bruce Levine (1:30 PM)
Hideki Matsui is my choice for the Sox. Altough Ozzie said he wants to keep the DH position open to flexibility, Matsui has told people who I know that he hopes to play at least 3 days a week in the OF next season. He also told my source that he's more than willing to take a one-year deal in order to re-establish himself and his marketability. It's refreshing hear an athlete say money isn't the issue. It's more about proving he's an OF and a DH. Also keep in mind that Arn Tellem and Jerry Reinsdorf have a very close professional and personal relationship which could help get the deal done.
What prospects do you expect to make impacts at the big league level for the Sox next year?
Bruce Levine (1:34 PM)
Brent Morel, Danks and Sergio Santos, who has a big arm, a converted catcher could go right into the Sox bullpen this season.
Bruce, Miguel Cabrera might be available, he's 26 yrs old and has played 3B and 1B. Considering his age and assuming he can still play decent defense at 3B, would it be worth it for the cubs to explore trading Ramirez for prospects and then flipping those prospects to detroit for Cabrera. And then if you obtain Cabrera, allowing him to play 3B next year and then letting Dlee walk after this year since he wont waive his no trade and switching Cabrera to 1st to allow vitters to play 3b.
Bruce Levine (1:36 PM)
I have a real headache trying to answer your question although it's well-thought out. There are too many ifs. Ramirez isn't being traded. The most likely scenario is for Lee to get an extra year added on before spring training. The rumor is Lee is a favorite of the Ricketts family.
Matt (Lincoln Park)
Bruce, I know the Tigers are looking to shed some salary. Do you see the White Sox going after Miguel Cabrera? He could play 3b, and then the Sox could put Teahen in RF. I know Cabrera is owed 120 million over the next 6 year, but Kenny always seems to get creative.
Bruce Levine (1:37 PM)
He has been creative, and he's already spent that $120M on Peavy and Rios. The Sox drew 200K less in 2009. Those projections do not help them try to find money for another $100M player.
The new boss says that money is tight and payroll will not increase so the first thing Hendry does is overpay for a fungible reliever. Hendry will be gone after this year, right?
Bruce Levine (1:40 PM)
First of all, love the word "fungible," I don't believe there are that many solid, lefthanded set-up men like Grabow. However, if you're looking to fire Hendry, you'll probably be right if the Cubs have another down season. At least give him credit for having raise the bar for a team that's had an over .500 record five of the seven years he's been a GM.
alfredo (huntington beach, ca)
any truth to the roy holladay or curtis granderson rumors?
Bruce Levine (1:41 PM)
Both have been talked about by the Cubs, who would love to get either player. Getting Halladay would mean getting Zambrano. Trading Zambrano would mean he waives his no-trade clause. These are tough scenarios to envision.
What are the tigers looking for in return for Granderson, and would the tigers trade granderson to a division rival like the sox?
Bruce Levine (1:43 PM)
Highly doubtful they would trade him to the Sox. It's highly doubtful the Sox have the right young players to trade for him. They'd have to give up probably 3 of their top young players. Dombrowski is looking for quality young players who can step in and play soon but aren't making much money at this point.
Bruce, How likely is it that Bobby Jenks is still with the White Sox when spring training comes around?
Bruce Levine (1:44 PM)
It depends how creative other teams will get with the Sox and whether there's a big market for Jenks. A lot of teams are converting their own power arms into closers. The Braves have two potential closers who are on the free-agent market in Gonzalez and Soriano. Teams might go that direction before looking to trade for Jenks.
Kevin (Austin, TX)
I heard Brad Hawpe was out of favor in Colorado during the playoffs last year. Any chance the cubs could pry him away from them?
Bruce Levine (1:45 PM)
Everybody likes Brad Hawpe, except Mark Prior. As to what his market is, we'll find out during the Winter Meetings.
You forgot to mention Gorzellany for the fifth spot in the rotation. He's had more success than any of the other candidates.
Bruce Levine (1:46 PM)
I'm not a big Gorzellany guy. He's probably better as a swing man. He's been terribly inconsistent during his career, a career that found him pitching in the minors last season before the Cubs traded for him. He's serviceable, but to me, not the answer.
I've heard rumors of Jenks being possible trade bait. What could we get in return, and would it even be possible for Thornton to step up in the role?
Bruce Levine (1:48 PM)
You would be taking a chance with Thornton stepping into the role. Not that he isn't capable, but that you're taking one of the top set-up men in the game and rendering him vulnerable to not pitching if the new set-up people don't get the job done.
alfredo (huntington beach, ca)
why dont the cubs give Harden a short ( 2year) incentive deal where he has start a certain amount of games or innings pitched to get paid really well.
Bruce Levine (1:49 PM)
It won't help the Cubs if Harden ends up on the DL and they're out there looking for another starting pitcher. Harden is a great competitor, but he doesn't even know from game to game what he'll have in his arm that day.
Michael (Carol Stream)
Are the White Sox content with having Freddy as a 5th starter? I know he looked pretty good last year, but is a trade or a signing an option?
Bruce Levine (1:50 PM)
I don't think so. If Freddy doesn't work out, look for Daniel Hudson to get his opportunity. Hudson may end up in the pen, breaking in the way that Garland and Buehrle did for the Sox.
jeremy Posner (chicago)
What are the chances the cubs go after uggla by possibly throwing fontenot, caridad, and maybe someone else, package prospects for granderson, and then consider signing byrd to platoon with granderson.( assuming off course we find somebody to take bradley off our hands)
Bruce Levine (1:51 PM)
Repeat after me Jeremy: The Cubs have no money. They have no money for Uggla, no money for Byrd. Until Hendry is able to move Bradley, he will not be able to make any moves unless they're dollar for dollar.
how about we trade Rios for Cabrera? Detriot saves $9 million per yr.
Bruce Levine (1:52 PM)
Why would Dombrowski want a $60M question mark? Cabrera is the real deal, and the Tigers have to sell tickets somehow, so I don't think they'll be moving Cabrera.
Robert (Alsip, IL)
I still think the cubs need help in the Bullpen instead of relying on young arms again any names being thrown around like the right-handed set-up type?
Bruce Levine (1:53 PM)
I think the Cubs will stay with their young pitchers for now. Maybe Hendry can pull some magic out from the non-tendered list after Dec. 12. A lot of teams are holding back to see what other players will be on the secondary market.
Are there rumors of the Sox going after any relievers? Can't imagine they would come back with the same bullpen
Bruce Levine (1:54 PM)
They definitely want two arms in the bullpen. If I gave you any names I'd be making them up, but again, rehabbing a guy like Putz might be right up their alley.
How realistic is it that we will see an outfield of Soriano, Fukudome, and Granderson opening 2010?
Bruce Levine (1:55 PM)
I don't know how realistic it is. We'll know more as soon as Mr. Hendry can put his Bradley plan in motion. He's been working hard at it for 8 weeks.
Chuck (Montgomery, IL)
The Cubs need a leadoff man. Any help in the minors or do they have to trade to get one?
Bruce Levine (1:56 PM)
Trade, free agent, Figgins would look mighty good there if they had the money. It's kind of strange to talk about a big-market team like the Cubs, who already spent $140M not being able to spend a few more dollars to try to win in 2010. To me it's counterproductive not to spend the money considering Mr. Ricketts already has said he expects the team to win this year.
Do you really think swapping Byrd for Bradley and a Baker-Fontenot platoon at 2B is going to get the Cubs back to contending for a title? Isn't a better investment to spend the extra 5-10 mil to have a legit squad?
Bruce Levine (1:57 PM)
Yes. I'm not an advocate of throwing good money after bad. But the Cubs don't need all that much to go right back up there and win their division again. Giving Hendry a little help wouldn't be a bad idea.
Mike S (CT)
Bruce, what do you see from Geovany Soto going forward? From afar, this season seemed to be a total disaster, with Soto's attitude and work ethic sounding like they played a big part in his poor play.
Bruce Levine (1:58 PM)
Soto has a good attitude, but I'd have to agree with you on the work ethic part. He seemed to work a lot harder in 2008 and was driven every day by veteran backup Henry Blanco. It appears that during the WBC Soto lost his way as far as preparation for 2009. He's a prideful kid and I expect a good comeback from him this year.
Out of the deals talked about so far...the one that most say fits the best is the Bradley for Burrell deal. I understand the need to get rid of Bradley but is that really a smart move? Burrell doesn't play defense very well so would he be moved to get another piece?
Bruce Levine (1:59 PM)
As I stated earlier, Burrell would be moved and Hendry would be working on that deal even before he obtained Burrell.
I know Omar Vizquel is advertised right now as a backup but what do you think is the likelihood of him taking on a starting role, either at second or maybe moving Beckham and Ramirez to their original positions and playing him at 3rd?
Bruce Levine (2:00 PM)
Unless MLB changes its rules about allowing oxygen on the field during games, it's unliekly Vizquel will ever be a starter again. He's still a terrific backup, having played over 60 games last year at 3 positions without making an error.
Can the Cubs make a trade for Jason Kubel? He would fit in the lineup well and the Twins may need to clear payroll space.
Bruce Levine (2:01 PM)
Both the Sox and Cubs would love a left-handed power bat like Kubel. I don't believe the Twins are interested in moving one of their three young power guys.
Mike L (My Cube)
Bruce, My buddy big C wants to know who you like better Carmen or Silvy?
Bruce Levine (2:04 PM)
If I'm going to a Sox game, it's Carmen. If I'm going to a Cubs game, it's Silvy. Both are good at getting comps at each ballpark.
Bruce Levine (2:04 PM)
Have a wonderful holiday, hoping both the Cubs and Sox can get rid of as many turkeys as they can over the weekend. See you next Friday.