Chat with Bruce Levine
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox reporter Bruce Levine stops by Tuesday to chat.
Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.
Send your questions now and join the chat Tuesday at noon CT/1 p.m. ET!
Bruce Levine (1:01 PM)
Welcome to the chat.
davidg (chicago) [via mobile]
is alexei going to be traded fersure? if so what will we be looking to get for him?
Bruce Levine (1:02 PM)
Ramirez is still one of the top SS in the AL. I'm not sure that they have a replacement in their organization. If you take some of the errors away, he's still one of the best in baseball. I would hesitate to trade him.
China town bob [via mobile]
Do you expect a samardzija extension?
Bruce Levine (1:03 PM)
There is no extension at this point. He is arbitration eligible for two more years. His pay will likely double or triple going into next season. I expect them to continue to talk to his agent about a long-term deal.
Will the Sox give Jordan Danks a real shot at a starting OF position next year? Since being given consistant playing time he has produced.
Bruce Levine (1:04 PM)
If I was Jordan I would go to winter ball this year to make up for some of the playing time he's missed on the bench. His swing has shortened up a bit and he now looks like a possible starter or at worst the fourth OF.
Jim (San antonio)
Any chance the Cubs try to re-sign Matt Garza over the winter since they want more pitching in free agency?Also, who would be your pick for the fourth OF next year assuming Lake is a starter, Bogusevic or Sweeney?
Bruce Levine (1:06 PM)
I would sign both. Having the left-handed bat is san important aspect of every team's offense. I think Bogusevic may have turned the corner and end up being the player that the Astros thought he was when they drafted him. I think the Garza ship has sailed for the Cubs. Despite the fact he has had a poor go of it with Texas, he is still going to look for a 3-4 year deal at $15 million or $16 million a year.
Bob (Highland Park)
Bruce, Why is there no mention of Matt Sczur for the Cubs? he had a good season at AA, leads off, a good OBP, and speed. Do you think he is in the future plands?Thanks
Bruce Levine (1:08 PM)
I think he should be looked at as a future leadoff type. The problem is that the Almoras and Solers are a little sexier names than Szczur at this point. He does look like a big-league prospect. And remember he was a football guy who was still honing his baseball skills.
Big mike park ridge [via mobile]
Is Vitters completely irrelevant at this point?
Bruce Levine (1:09 PM)
I don't know about that but he's probably close to being moved to another organization after this year. He's been in the Cubs organization six years and there does not appear to be a future for him there.
Joe (Wicker Park) [via mobile]
The White Sox have to be bold this offseason. How about trading for Headley to play 3rd, sign McCann or Navarro at Catcher and go after Choo to play CF. They all hit lefty and if the BoSox and Indians could contend after being brutal last year why can't the Sox.
Bruce Levine (1:11 PM)
The Sox will have the money but it takes two to tango. These players are going to want to have to come to the team with the third-worst record in baseball. The Sox will have to overpay. Of the names you mentioned I believe Choo and McCann make the most sense. But be prepared to write an enormous check for both.
John Chicago [via mobile]
I still have faith in starlin castro Anthony Rizzo and darwin barney. How bout you?
Bruce Levine (1:12 PM)
I believe they all still have the potential to be All-Stars. Maybe not Barney offensively, but I am a big Barney fan. I don't believe he will hit less than .250 the rest of his career. As Dale Sveum said, Barney is an acquired taste, meaning that if you see him everyday you know he is a better player than his numbers.
Ed (Queens Village)
Have the White Sox quit on Robin Ventura?
Bruce Levine (1:14 PM)
I don't think you can say that. They've been playing all younger players. A number of them are not major league ready. This is a team that underachieved in every area of the game except pitching. Some of that will have to be the responsibility of Ventura and the coaches. Something has to be done about their OF defense and poor baserunning.
Joe (Hammond, IN)
Why doesn't Nate Schierholtz play everyday? He's been their best player all year. Rizzo doesn't hit lefties and he plays everyday.
Bruce Levine (1:15 PM)
Schierholtz doesn't hit lefties either. That average that was .280 or .290 is now at .255. He is a very good player but he is a platoon player.
Do the Cubs go all out for Tanaka? He will be entering his prime around the time the Cubs are ready to compete. He seems like a perfect fit for what this Front Office likes.
Bruce Levine (1:15 PM)
From all indications from my baseball contacts, Tanaka is the Cubs' No. 1 offseason priority.
humbolt park chachi [via mobile]
Since Starlin Castro has struggled this year trying to be a more patient hitter. Do you think next year they will let him do it his way? I think Sveum was trying to fix one of the few things that wasn't broke.
Bruce Levine (1:17 PM)
Ultimately he has to do it his way. This is an accomplished young player who has led the NL in hits and been to two All-Star Games. He needs to be the aggressive hitter that he has been in the past.
Joe (Hammond, IN)
Do you think Edwin Jackson is among the worst free agent signings of this year?
Bruce Levine (1:19 PM)
From what the Cubs were expecting from him, yes. The lack of innings pitched is I think the most disappointing aspect of his season. This was a guy who was expected to show the way for the other young starters by throwing 200 innings. In reality he has averaged the fewest innings of any of their starters. He's a very nice guy but there is a reason why he has moved so often.
Craig (Des Plaines)
Bruce: A fellow writer wrote in a piece about Joe Girardi that if Joe wants to manage the Cubs next year the team would clear the way for his arrival. Sounds like nothing more than speculation and a reach for readers. Your take?
Bruce Levine (1:20 PM)
I don't usually speculate on what other people write. I believe Girardi has done his best managing job in 2013 keeping a team void of superstars competitive in the toughest division in baseball. I believe any number of teams would love to have him as their manager.
Nicole Andersonville [via mobile]
Would Dunn retiring actually benifit the white sox?
Bruce Levine (1:23 PM)
Dunn is not going anywhere. I wrote a story about him yesterday on ESPNChicago and the only thing he alluded to was once the competitive fire goes out he will stop playing. He's going to end up with 35 homers and 95 RBIs. He's one of the handful of legitimate power threats in baseball. That said, he is also what you would call an acquired taste. Some people cannot take the low batting average and strikeouts.
Tim (Elkhart, Indiana)
We all have heard abouth the Cubs top prospects at positions like OF, 3b, and SS. Are Cubs feeling good about any catching prospects to back up Welington Castillo?
Bruce Levine (1:24 PM)
I don't think they feel they have a lot in that area. Castillo though will continue to be impressive to me. His game-calling skills have improved dramatically over the season. Some of the starting pitchers are happier to throw to him now than they were at the start of the year.
Joe (Hammond, IN)
There's no way they sign Kevin Gregg in the offseason, so do you see Strop or Parker closing or someone else?
Bruce Levine (1:25 PM)
I think it would be a good idea to try to develop Strop. He certainly has the arm and appears to have very good makeup. The one thing he has to work on is control. I would not be afraid to try to develop my own closer at this point.
While the pitching in the system has improved, Cubs still lack an 'ace' prospect. Will they address this in the draft next year or just continue to throw volume at pitching and hope for someone to emerge as a true ace?
Bruce Levine (1:28 PM)
I think they have some viable young pitchers at the major league level right now. Arrieta might be a key for them if they can straighten out his occasional wildness. I also like what Rusin has done. He proves that you don't have to throw 95 mph to get hitters out. He's kind of like a Buehrle type. I don't see anything wrong with their young rotation pitchers. What they need is more bullpen arms and lineup support.
Tom Chicago [via mobile]
Bruce signing Edwin Jackson looks like a Huge mistake# Can the Cubs move him?
Bruce Levine (1:29 PM)
I would say it's almost impossible unless you are going to eat a lot of the contract which would be contrary to what you're doing right now. Even at a lower rate, many teams don't see Jackson as anything other than a fifth starter.
Mike (Portland, OR)
Do you think next year's rotation will be Samardzija, Arrieta, Wood, Jackson and Rusin?
Bruce Levine (1:30 PM)
It could be. There could be some surprises along the way. Pierce Johnson is starting to push his way through the organization. But it wouldn't shock me if your combo was the rotation next season. And if they continue to improve it might be a good one.
Robert (South Carolina)
Do you think it will be a busy off-season getting the pieces we need or waiting for prospects next year. Plus signing less talented people in off-season?
Bruce Levine (1:33 PM)
I think the Cubs are still in the staging mode of getting ready to compete for a division. Arguably the Cards, Reds and Pirates are going to be good for awhile so you might as well take the time to get it right. The only area fans are getting ripped off at is ticket prices. Epstein and Hoyer have been true to their word about building this thing the right way. At least their way. Unlike Tom Ricketts who says he expects to win every year. The baseball management team speaks rationally about where the team is at.
OMAR (Lincoln Park) [via mobile]
What happens to Baker?
Bruce Levine (1:34 PM)
Because the Cubs are still in the rebuild mode, Baker ideally becomes the next Scott Feldman. You sign him to a one-year deal, hope his pitches well for three months and then you flip him for a very good prospect before the deadline. If you can get yourself another CJ Edwards or Arrieta or Strop, you are moving the needle forward.
Dan (Mt. Prospect)
The Cubs' stated plan for hitters in 500 ABs at Triple A, is there a plan for pitchers? Could we see someone like Kyle Hendricks get a look in the rotation next year?
Bruce Levine (1:36 PM)
Pitchers can ascend much quicker so you could see Hendricks and Edwards move up quickly. What Hoyer and Epstein have said before is ideally they want to have 500 at-bats at Triple-A for most of their hitters but there are exceptions. I think Baez is going to be the first one.
Do you think Baez will have to change positions, or will Castro be the one to change?
Bruce Levine (1:37 PM)
If you talk to some in baseball they will tell you neither will be a top quality SS. I believe Castro has made some great strides as far as the physical aspects of the game. He still has trouble identifying whether to charge a ball off the bat. I'm not sure he is ever going to get that part. Baez will be a much better SS when he stops trying to make the spectacular play only to throw the ball away. Many within the Cubs feel he can be a very good SS.
Bruce,Please assess Alcantara's chances of being the Cubs everyday 2B in 2014. I love Barney's attitude and defense, but he seems like a utility/late inning player at best. He simply can't hit major league pitching.
Bruce Levine (1:39 PM)
Alcantara has made some great strides in the minors and has some good ability as far as his offensive game goes. He still may need a couple more months in the minor leagues before he ascends to Wrigley. They certainly like his future.
As it stands now, the Sox will have a relatively young staff next year (not that there's anything wrong with that). But do you anticipate them signing a a veteran pitcher?
Bruce Levine (1:40 PM)
At this point I think the ace of the staff is Sale. I don't think you need a veteran to lead the staff. That said, I wouldn't be shocked if they trade one of their starting lefties for a solid right-handed pitcher. Some think Gavin Floyd will be brought back. It's going to be probably May until he is ready to go.
Olt, Bryant, Baez...which one is the third baseman of the fuutre and where do the others fit in?
Bruce Levine (1:42 PM)
I think it's Bryant. He should make it by next summer. When you have the No. 2 pick in the draft and it's a college player, you expect him to be in the majors in a year or year and a half. I don't see any reason why he can't make it, right along the same time Baez does next June.
Who are the cubs going to get for dejesus???? when will we find out?
Bruce Levine (1:44 PM)
The Cubs will be getting a small amount of money for DeJesus. That is the only compensation for him. The real compensation for the Cubs was saving almost $2 million with his 2013 contract and buyout for 2014.
OMAR (Lincoln Park) [via mobile]
Do you see a vote for the DH in the NL anytime in the next 5 years or does history doom it?
Bruce Levine (1:45 PM)
I think NL owners are more open to accepting the DH now than they've ever been. Run scoring in both leagues has been a problem the past couple of years. There is some sentiment swinging that way. I hate the idea myself.
OMAR (Lincoln Park) [via mobile]
If Soscia is out of Anaheim, could you see him in Chicago? Any team?
Bruce Levine (1:46 PM)
He will definitely get a job somewhere. He might want to take some time for the right job to open up. It does appear that it's time for him to leave even with the great career he's had there.
TK (Peoria, IL)
Who are the cubs most likely to trade this off season?
Bruce Levine (1:48 PM)
I would say some teams are interested in Barney and I would not be shocked if the Cubs listen to offers for Castro and Samardzija. I know many fans might be startled by that but there is nothing wrong to listening to offers in the position that the Cubs are in.
Bruce Levine (1:49 PM)
That's it for me this week. Follow me on MLBBruce Levine. Keep the faith, Chicago fans.