Chat with Bruce Levine
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ESPN Chicago (12:59 PM)
Welcome to today's chat. Bruce will be here in a minute to answer your questions.
Bruce Levine (1:03 PM)
Greetings to all. Neither the Cubs nor Sox plan on offering arbitration to anyof their players. That includes Kevin Gregg of the Cubs, Rich harden and Reed Johnson. On the South Side, the White Sox won't offer arbitration to Jermaine Dye, Scott Podsednik or Octavio Dotel.
Any news on the Milton Bradley trade front? What are the chances they just keep him? Bradley's CHONE projections for 2010 line him up as the 2nd best offensive producer in the Cubs lineup behind Ramirez with a wOBA of .373
Bruce Levine (1:06 PM)
As I said to the person who was weighing me in at the doctor's office, one at a time, please. there is zero chance that Bradley will be with the Cubs. Right now Jim Hendry is doing the best he can do get a workable deal for Bradley with either Tampa or the Mets or a combination of the two. It's not just the money they have to pay bradley, but more importantly the money they can save to put toward other players that is driving Hendry's ambition in this area.
Could the Cubs be looking at Figgins to play second base? I know he played third for the Angels but theres no other position that Ramirez will play.
Bruce Levine (1:06 PM)
It's not realistic to look at figgins for the Cubs right now. there is no money available for Hendry to offer Figgins, who will get three or four years at $10 or 11 million per season.
Chad Hintz (IL)
If all it took to get roy halladay was to trade carlos zambrano and starlin castro wouldn't you pull the trigger?
Bruce Levine (1:09 PM)
It's a lot more complicated than that. You have to ask Zambrano if he wants to be traded. He has a complete no-trade. After you have offended Zambrano, you have to make sure you have thwe trade in place or else you have a disgruntled superstar for the rest of his contract. Let's use your premsie and say Zambrano says yes: Halladay has a complete no-trade in his contract. Obviously he would say yes to the Cubs but if you're trading your top prospect and your higest-profile starting pitcher, you'd have to get a guarantee on an extension with Halladay which would be four or five years, at least $20 million per season. That type of deal would have to have Tom Ricketts' OK. If you catch my drift, you see how impossible or at the very best improbablt a deal like this would be to complete.
Is there any chance that Jordan Danks will be the opening day starting centerfielder for the white sox?
Bruce Levine (1:10 PM)
Anything is possible. Danks is probably a little bit away from being a starting player although he will have a solid opportunity to impress Ozzie Guillen and the coaches during spring training.
Matt (Iowa City, IA)
Hey Bruce, how likely is it that we can acquire Curtis Granderson from the Tigers without giving up Starlin Castro or Josh Vitters?
Bruce Levine (1:12 PM)
Not very likely. What would you want to give up? Mike Fontentot and Sean Marshall? With all due respect to you, you've got to give up quality to get quality. Granderson would cost you at least two solid young players.
Bob Silver (Waikiki, Hi.)
Bruce, What teams have shown interest in Jermaine Dye? What about Pods?
Bruce Levine (1:15 PM)
Podsednik will be looked at in that second tier of lead-off men available after Figgins. right now he doesn't look all that good to people, but the guy hit .300 and showed last season that he still has his act together. Dye will be looked at later in the free-agent process. Teams like Tampa, Kansas City, Texas all should be interested in a guy that they could pencil in at DH and occasionally play the outfield. Dye was adamant about not being looked at as a DH, but at age 35 with his range starting to dwindle, he's going to have to be open-minded before he signs his next contract.
Is there a good chance that Sergio Santos will make the White Sox's Opening Day roster?
Bruce Levine (1:16 PM)
I think he's got a great chance. He's got a big-time power arm, and the White Sox are not afraid to promote young players all the way up to the big-league level. Just look at the way that Daniel Hudson progressed from Class A to the major leagues in one baseball season.
Peter (New York, NY)
Bruce,With the Cubs getting older, do you see the farm system realistically contributing within the next two years. I know Castro and Vitters are hyped, but anything on the pitching front? Next year's free agent class isn't that great either, except for a few guys (Pujols, Halladay to name a few) so where will the improvement come from for this team?
Bruce Levine (1:19 PM)
Andrew Chasner, a right-handed pitcher and the first-roubnd pick in the 2008 draft is not far away. Left-handed pitcher James Russell, son of fomrer closer Jeff Russell is another guy you can project for the Cubs after 2010.
As of now, which team has the better shot to make a playoff run
Bruce Levine (1:20 PM)
It's too early to tell. The White Sox rotation looks good on paper. But you're going to have to tell me what their bullpen looks like come April. Pretty much the same thing with the Cubs.
What are the chances that we see Coco Crisp on the sox this season?
Bruce Levine (1:22 PM)
He's in that second-tier of lead-off men, the same area that Podsednik is in. Those guys would be benefited by the signing of Figgins during the winter meetings. If that happens, both of their markets will go up. I think the White Sox like him a little bit but he has not been the player he was four years ago.
Who is the front runner for the 5th starter spot on the White Sox pitching staff, is it Garcia or Dan Hudson or a possible Free Agent?
Bruce Levine (1:23 PM)
Garcia has a leg-up because of his veteran status and the way he worked to get himself back into top condition last year. Hudson has a great chance to make the team as a long man as well as a backup for the five starters.
Why aren't the Cubs offering arbitration to Rich Harden? Worst case he accepts and they are on the hook for one year...with the #5 pot in the rotation wide open, why not? What am I missing?
Bruce Levine (1:24 PM)
Harden made $7 million last year and would probably make a minimum of $10 million via arbitration this season. That's a lot of money for a guy who can only promise you 25 starts and who has had tremendous arm and shoulder issues.
Dennis (Hammond, IN)
Bruce,How do you see Gordon Bekam's move to second going. Will he and Rameriez make a good DP combo?
Bruce Levine (1:25 PM)
Both of them are outstanding baseball athletes. Beckham spent most of his life playing the middle infield so the transition to 2B should only be difficult for him as far as playing with his back to the runner coming down on a 6-4-3 or 5-4-3 double play. I don't think he will have much trouble. He's a special player with a tremendously high baseball IQ.
What are the chances that the Sox get Vladimir Guerrero to replace JD?
Bruce Levine (1:27 PM)
That probably would be a fallback situation for the White Sox. Their main need offensively is a left-handed power bat. Think Aubrey Huff, Carlos Delgado, Hideki Matsui, Hank Blalock or former Sox DH Jim Thome. Even though the White Sox say they want to have flexibility in DH, a signing of a guy like Matsui would be an important addition to next year's team.
Ibaad (Des Plaines, IL)
What are the chances that the Cubs go after Mark DeRosa? They still need a utility man and I know that DeRo's numbers were down this year and he was on the DL but he did have a career high in HR. With the addition of Rudy Jaramillo it would only help. I know Chone plays multiple positions but he would be a lot more expensive than DeRo.
Bruce Levine (1:29 PM)
I don't see how DeRosa helps the 2010 team. Although he is a terrfic guy and teammate, at age 35 his raneg at 2B or in the OF is a big question mark. DeRosa is more suited now to back up first and third base. I don't believe the Cubs or DeRosa look at him in that role right now.
joe m (tinley park ill)
Bruce, i know there is really no way to tell right now, but if you had to make one guess right now, who is leading off for the white sox next season?
Bruce Levine (1:31 PM)
I'd have to say Podsednik. It might not be the sexiest move the Sox can make, but there is something about the combination of Podsednik being a lead-off man for the White Sox. Right now his agent and Scott would not agree due to the fact that the money they would like is not what the Sox are prepared to offer at this point.
SteveFitz (Cicero, IL)
Bruce, any news on maybe some lesser, role type players, the Cubs might be targeting?
Bruce Levine (1:32 PM)
Your question is not a bad one because the Cubs need to address their bench. The bench certainly wasn't a strength for the Cubs in 2009. I don't think anybody is fascinated by what they have left for backups at this point of the offseason.
Ladisa (San Diego)
Any chance Cubbies trade Bradley to AZ for Eric Byrnes. He can play center and bring some fire and positive energy to this team.
Bruce Levine (1:34 PM)
I think Hendry would look at any deal that made dollars and sense for the Cubs. Byrnes has had his problems with injuries. As far as Bradley fitting in in Arizona, it's probably a small enough market for him to be functional in. At this point, it doesn't appear that it's a match although the money works out pretty well on both sides.
Kevin (Glenview, IL)
What do you think the cubs should do about their second base void. I know Jeff Baker filled in well at 2nd during the time he played, but I don't think him or fontenot would be a good choice to hand the job too. What do you think?
Bruce Levine (1:35 PM)
In an ideal world, the Cubs would sign a player like Orlando Hudson or Orlando Cabrera on a short-term contract. Right now Hendry could discuss the parameters of those types of signings but he doesn't really have the money to make that happen at this point.
nate (new lenox )
now that the sox got Vizquel and Jones what are the chances they will pursue Willie Mays?
Bruce Levine (1:37 PM)
I mentioned to one of their front office people this week that Sandy Alomar Jr. was still unsigned and received back a terse response reminding me that Andruw Jones is only 32. I don't think the signing of Vizquel and Jones is a bad idea as long as they stay bench guys rather than starters.
I know a lack of clubhouse leadership was an issue on the Northside last year. Since DLee and Aramis don't seem the type, do you think Ryan Dempster will step into the leader role especially since the issues with his daughter have steadied, from what I have read?
Bruce Levine (1:39 PM)
Dempster has always been a leader but he certainly was impacted by his daughter's challenges. It's difficult for a pitcher to be a stand-up, everyday leader, especially when they only pitch every five days. The ultimate leader on any team should be the manager. If you have a strong manager and good coaches the leadership issue in your clubhouse shouldn't be that big of a deal.
What grade would you give Hendry for his last three years? It seems to me that he is always "buying high" and "selling low." Is he gone after next season if the Cubs don't get back on track?
Bruce Levine (1:41 PM)
To answer your last question first, Jim, like many GMs, needs to have a good year this year. That said, his overall ranking for three years should be pretty high. You have a team that went to the playoffs twice in the last three years and that has competed for a World Series title every year except last year after August. Almost every team besides the Yankees would probably accept that type of record.
think the sox are more likely to add a leadoff hitter or dh?
Bruce Levine (1:44 PM)
Ideally they would like to have both. I don't see the prototypical lead-off man on their team right now although Beckham can hit anywhere from 1-5. It wouldn't be the worst thing in the world to have Beckham lead off although I doubt the White Sox would do that. I believe the Sox feel they will be able to add a lead-off type and a left-handed RBI bat through either trade or free agency but I can't answer your question directly.
Luke (Aurora, IL)
With the free agent pool of first basemen being very slim, is now the time to trade derek lee? I really like him on and off the field but if the cubs would get something for him I would not hesitate in trading him in the right deal.
Bruce Levine (1:45 PM)
Lee, like many of the Cubs, has a complete no-trade. When the team approached him in November of 2008 about his objectives for the future, Lee said he wanted to stay with the Cubs. I don't think his opinion has changed. A more likely scenario is offering him a one-year extension with an option some time before the end of spring training.
Phil (Chicago )
Does a David DeJesus for Sean Marshall deal make sense for both sides?
Bruce Levine (1:46 PM)
It certainly would make sense for Marshall, who envisions himself a starting pitcher. DeJesus would be a nice player to add but money once again might be an issue.
galen (tinley park)
any chance the cubs go for ben sheets or justin duescherer (im sure i spelled that wrong).....thanks bruce!
Bruce Levine (1:48 PM)
Again, Sheets probably would be somebody they would look at due to the fact that they have payroll constraints. Duescherer is somebody who will probably be looking for more money up front than Sheets. The Cubs have always liked the competitive nature of Sheets, but he has been injured almost every year of his career, certainly a giant red flag.
You've constantly mentioned the Cubs have no money to spend. Who is going to play RF when Bradley is traded? Don't tell me Sam Fuld.
Bruce Levine (1:48 PM)
I won't tell you Sam Fuld. I will tell you that it probably won't be Fukudome although he could be the CF in a platoon.
Ladisa (San Diego)
I know the Indians are going to be sellers. Any chance we can trade for Grady Sizemore and get Woody back?
Bruce Levine (1:50 PM)
What do the Cubs have to trade for Sizemore? If you're willing to give up Castro and Vitters as well as a pitcher, Cleveland might listen. Kerry Wood is stuck in Cleveland. There's 10 million reasons why.
Billy (Bourbonnais Illinois)
I read somewhere that the Cubs are "poised to sign Rick Ankiel any truth to that?
Bruce Levine (1:51 PM)
Ankiel would be a nice platoon-type player for the Cubs. He has some left-handed pop. Keep in mind he hit .230 last year in a limited role. It's difficult to project whether he can be a full-time player and be productive everyday.
Kevin (Oak Forest)
Is there a chance Alexei moves back to second and Beckham to shortstop?
Bruce Levine (1:52 PM)
Zero chance of that happening. Ozzie and bench coach Joey Cora feel that Remirez has a chance to be the best SS defensively in the league. With Ramirez it's only a case of concentration. Physically he has all the tools.
Hey Bruce hope all is well with that doctors visit. Who has the best chance to play from the minors and besides Figgins who are other FA's that the Sox are looking at?
Bruce Levine (1:54 PM)
Santos first and Danks second but don't forget about Daniel Hudson, who has a great chance to make the team out of spring training.
I'm confused why the Cubs have no money to spend, considering they are one of the most popular teams in league, almost always sell out, have a national fanbase, and the Ricketts family has arguably more money than the Steinbrenners?
Bruce Levine (1:56 PM)
That's a question for Tom Ricketts. Due to the fact that veteran player salaries continue to escalate, the payroll is already at $140 million. Mr. Ricketts has decided not to spend any more money than that at this point. Until Bradley is traded, there is no real reason to ask the owner for any more money. After that, I'm sure the Cubs GM will feel like he has more a organized look at what he would like to do for next season.
Bruce, what are the chances that either Denks or Konerko will be traded this off season? Any news on the Saito front?
Bruce Levine (1:58 PM)
Saito's name out there was just another Internet report that was thrown into the local newspapers. Keep in mind he is 39 years old, not exactly the first pitcher that everyone is looking for. Konerko has a no-trade clause. Any deal that does not inlcude the Dodgers or the Angels would be something he would turn down. As far as Denks, how do you trade a 25-year-old left-handed starter who hasn't even begun to reach his peak yet?
Ryan (Evergreen Park)
Explain what the Cubs are going to do with the plywood "billboards" in the outfield and is there any truth to the rumor that there might be some kind of jumbotron in Wrigley?
Bruce Levine (2:01 PM)
The jumbotron is something that past administrations have investigated. When I talked to Ricketts about a jumbotron, he said that although it hadn't been discussed, if it could seamlessly be put into the Wrigley Field culture without disturbing the look of the ballpark, he might be open to it, especially if it means bringing in a lot of newfound revenue that he could put toward the ballpark and payroll. The team is ion discussions with three high-profile companies to advertise in that area where billboards going up 60 feet.
Bruce Levine (2:02 PM)
It should be a busy time starting this weekend at the winter meetings in Indianapolis. Look for extended my daily chats on ESPNChicago.com starting Monday from the winter meetings.