Chat with Bruce Levine
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! Baseball beat reporter - both Cubs and White Sox - 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!
ESPNChicago (12:59 PM)
Hey all. With the breaking Quade news coming from Clark & Addison, it's the perfect time for a Cubs chat.
ESPNChicago (12:59 PM)
Bruce will be here momentarily... stay tuned.
ESPNChicago (1:08 PM)
Folks, Bruce is just wrapping up. He'll be here in five. Thanks for your patience.
Bruce Levine (1:13 PM)
As we pointed out towards the end of last week, the hiring process has been completed. Mike Quade is your next Cubs' manager. Because he's not Lou Piniella, Dusty Baker or Ryne Sandberg shouldn't throw you off. This is a solid baseball man with a great reputation. Sox fans, your assistant GM and bench coach are in an interview process. Welcome.
Since you have waiting this long? What is the downside of waiting until after the playoffs to gage Girardi's Interest? Was there some feeling that the answer was already "no" and it wasn't worth the wait? Its not like Quade would have been hired as manager of another team before the playoffs ended.
Bruce Levine (1:14 PM)
That's where you're wrong. The Cubs were approached by three different teams who wanted to talk with Quade. At some point they were going to have to do that. So waiting might have meant that you ended up with none of your candidates.
Ed (Atlanta, GA)
Do you know if Ryno got a bench coach job, as was rumored before Quade was named?
Bruce Levine (1:15 PM)
From Sandberg's conversation with Waddle & Silvy moments ago, there's nothing to indicate that he has been asked to be a part of Quade's coaching staff.
Mike Quade says that Jim Hendry has given him "free rein to take the shot and go do it". What do you think this means as far as bringing in new players is concerned?
Bruce Levine (1:16 PM)
I don't think Mike is going to have enough input to bring in players if Hendry doesn't have the money for it. Hendry's budget will dictate what players he can sign or trade for.
Bruce - I agree with the decision to hire Quade. The timing baffles me. Again. Why not announce this a week or so ago? I've been left scratching my head a lot since Ricketts bought the team.
Bruce Levine (1:17 PM)
Tom Ricketts didn't complete the process of talking to all the candidates until last Monday, and Ricketts' time was taken with going to Arizona in search of the new spring training facilities. He wasn't able to talk to Hendry until the end of last week.
How in the WORLD do the Cubs pass on Ryno as manager? I can't think of a time where I have been so disappointed with the Cubs. It just seemed like a no-brainer! Can't the Cubs success after Lou left be attributed to Lou being gone and not Quade?
Bruce Levine (1:19 PM)
I think that's a fair point, and I think that if Sandberg had the opportunity to manage the team at the end of the year, he might have had a leg up on the job. However, don't forget what a miserable team that was and even how on the last day of Piniella's career, they were humiliated by the Braves. Do you really want to hand that over to your Triple-A manager?
Ed (Atlanta, GA)
Who else is in the running to get Dunn this offseason? How good do our chances look?
Bruce Levine (1:20 PM)
A lot of teams will be intersted, so money is going to be the difference. Dunn is making $10M/year and will be looking for a lot more. Will the Cubs have that in their budget or not? There are probably seven free agent first basemen out there, including a guy by the name of Derrek Lee.
Please tell me that Cashner wil get a shot in the rotation. His talent will be underutilized if he is kept in the pen.
Bruce Levine (1:21 PM)
That's the struggle the Cubs have had internally, trying to decide Cashner is a top of the rotation pitcher or the closer of the future. He still has some work to do in commanding his second or third pitches. When I talked to him at the end of the season, he said he'd be fine with either one.
Lance Berkman (Chicago)
How would I fit on the Cubs if I were willing to sign a 1yr deal for say 7-9 mil?
Bruce Levine (1:22 PM)
You might fit in okay. The Cubs might be at the point of needing to look at something like that, in your case, if they don't sign Dunn.
Ed (Atlanta, GA)
Who is next year's Colvin and Castro? Who are the hottest farm prospects that we'll be seeing with the Cubs for the first time?
Bruce Levine (1:23 PM)
CF Brett Jackson, who is playing in the Arizona Fall League, and Jay Jackson, a pitcher who can pitch either in the bullpen or start.
bruce, any chance kenny williams goes after crawford or pena from tampa bay?
Bruce Levine (1:24 PM)
Both are good names. Crawford is going to get a ton of money and is probably way out of the White Sox's reach. Also, they have a leadoff man for next year (Pierre), although Crawford bats 1-4 in the lineup.
Any chance that Ricketts lets Hendry go and finds another GM?
Bruce Levine (1:25 PM)
Well, he just let Hendry name his new manager. If he was going to let Hendry go, he would have hired a new GM before hiring a manager.
Matt (Indianapolis, IN)
Do you see any way the Cubs get rid of some of their high priced players?
Bruce Levine (1:26 PM)
I think they would entertain offers for Zambrano and Ramirez in the offseason, but remember that both have full no-trade clauses so no deal can be made without the cooperation of the players. Zambrano told ESPNChicago.com in late September that he's not going to let the Cubs trade him and that his goal is to win a world championship with the CUbs. Ramirez still has his own option for 2011 that he has to pick up.
Matt (Indianapolis, IN)
Do you see the Cubs going after Cliff Lee? Do they have a chance?
Bruce Levine (1:27 PM)
All you need is money, pal. Don't be surprised if the team he's beating right now is the top team looking to sign him this offseason. I don't think the Cubs will have the $15-20M/year it will take to sign him.
Do you think Ryno gets a shot at a big league manager next year? Other than Milwaukee, I'm not sure what else is open...
Bruce Levine (1:28 PM)
Toronto is still open, as is Pittsburgh. There's an opening in Florida as well. Will he get a shot at those jobs? We'll find out rather quickly. If he doesn't, he's going to have to decide whether he wants to be a coach at the major league level or hang it up. He certainly doesn't need to coach any more at the minor league level.
I know Larry Rothschild just re-upped his deal, but is there a chance Quade gets his own guy and the never ending pitching coach is finally shown the door.
Bruce Levine (1:30 PM)
I think the success that they had together in the last 37 games of the season bode well for Larry staying. There's an understanding with the Cubs and Rothschild that if he wants to leave, he can. And if they want to pay him off, they can do that as well.
Will Sox fans see Jared Mitchell next year, and if so what role will he play?
Bruce Levine (1:30 PM)
I'll have to take a look at that for you. One guy they think is going to be a stud, but I'll get to that for you in a later blog. Stay tuned.
ken (green bay,wi)
Is Bob Brently the Brewer's next manager? Why hasn't he been offered a job by someone else sooner?? Thanks
Bruce Levine (1:31 PM)
To the best of my knowledge, Bob is not even being interviewed for the Brewers job. Bob is an outstanding baseball man, who is probably the best analyst in the NL.
Is 3 years in the minors really enough to land you a major league managing job? Ryno could go back to AAA if he wanted, no?
Bruce Levine (1:33 PM)
It's actually been four years, and yes -- he was the manager of the year this year in the Pacific Coast League. Sandberg has done nothing wrong and I think his baseball future is bright if he wants to continue as a coach for a short time. He might not look at it the same way.
Do you think the hiring of Quade means the Cubs brass thinks they need a couple of years of rebuilding before they actually contend?
Bruce Levine (1:34 PM)
I think that's one way to look at it. The other is that Quade has great knowledge of the players in the system and those at the major league level -- although you could have said the same thing about Sandberg. I just think they feel that Quade has a firm handle on what it's going to take to keep these players playing at their highest level. The results ultimately depend on how the players themselves perform.
Any chance that Ted Phillips is in charge of this hiring and it will all fall through before the press conference?
Bruce Levine (1:35 PM)
You'll be able to tell during the press conference if you see one of the twelve McCaskeys standing in the background.
Quade refused to play Tyler Colvin at first. With the Cubs in search of a first baseman do you think Quade changes his mind and gives Tyler a shot?
Bruce Levine (1:37 PM)
It was Colvin, not Quade, who didn't want to play first base at the end of the year. Everytime they approached him he said he wasn't quite comfortable yet. Colvin told me that he wanted to make sure that he wasn't going to lose games for the team by trying a new position. So if they need to do that, Spring Training would be the right time.
Put the Cubs in the playoffs, would they have had a single favorable starting pitching matchup? I can't see one.
Bruce Levine (1:38 PM)
Probably today.. Ryan Dempster against Tommy unter, or Burnett. But your point is well taken. Their starting pitchers are good, but not the caliber of Cliff Lee, Sabathia, Lincecom, Halladay, etc.
Starlin Castro (Chicago)
Can I hit .300 for the next 10 years at SS?
Bruce Levine (1:38 PM)
You can if you continue to work as hard as you did before you got to the major league level. Don't forget about Jerome Walton.
Are the Sox in the market for any big name FA acquisitions like Dunn or Crawford?
Bruce Levine (1:40 PM)
If they had any money, both players would be on their radar. They wanted Dunn desparately, but ended up with Manny instead. Never underestimate Reinsdorf or Williams -- just when you think they have no money, they trade for a Jake Peavy or pick up a Manny Ramirez.
Is there any way Greg Maddux can play a bigger role in the organization? I always felt he was the "pitching coach of the future".
Bruce Levine (1:41 PM)
I think Maddux envisions himself as fdoing something on a grander scale than that. He could have been the Cubs' next manager -- that would be one guy with no experience that no one would complain about. I think that's what he wants to do in the future, but not right now.
How much of a factor was money in the retention of Hendry and the hiring of Quade. Are the Ricketts' over their heads financially?
Bruce Levine (1:42 PM)
Not to the point that a couple million dollars would make a difference. Teams let go of failed free agents and lose that much all the time. It's more a philosophy that they have at this point that they wanted someone with an understanding of the Cubs organization and fanbase.
Colvin at first, Byrd in right and Jackson in center next year? and use the free agent money on pitching?
Bruce Levine (1:43 PM)
Sounds like a pretty good plan. Offensive production would be hard to project, however. Remember, this was a bad offensive team. But defense and pitching is the way to go. Unfortunately the team's defense was worse than its offense.
Who plays 3b for the Sox next year?
Bruce Levine (1:44 PM)
I've been told that the job is Brent Morel's to lose.
If Fukudome is moved, does that guarantee Nady is re-signed? Colvin can't play RF and 1B at the same time and I just don't think the Cubs will sign Dunn.
Bruce Levine (1:44 PM)
I don't see Nady coming back. One thing he wasn't able to prove is that he can still hit the ball with power. The two Tommy John surgeries may have taken his power stroke away.
Was Torre or Melvin or maybe a Mike Scoscia coach ever entertained for the Cubs position?
Bruce Levine (1:46 PM)
Yes. Bob Melvin interviewed for the job. As great a manager that Torre and Cox have been, the Cubs were looking for a manager to grow with, not just win right away. All the talk about winning a World Series begins with being a good organization. You want to be a Twins-type organization with Philadelphia-like results.
Morales' Basket (Chicago)
Any chance that Ted Lilly or Kerry Wood return to the Cubs?
Bruce Levine (1:47 PM)
Ted Lilly just signed a three-year deal with the Dodgers, so no go on that. As far as Wood goes, the Cubs might consider that, depending on what he wants to do and what the team sees in his medical report.
Kelleher's Porn Stache (Chicago)
Any chance that Soriano could be traded to the American League, is there anybody that stupid? Could he be converted to a 1st baseman?
Bruce Levine (1:48 PM)
He could be converted to a first base coach... but he's yours until he retires. There's about $72M that guaranteed that. Soriano is a great guy who is loved by the players and coaching staff alike. If he's not what you expected, at least he's not a team disturber.
mc (oak lawn)
What will the white SOX rotation look like next year?
Bruce Levine (1:49 PM)
Even without Peavy it should be solid. Danks, Buehrle, Floyd and Jackson are all solid veterans at this point.
galen (orland park)
fair to say with guys like soriano, zambrano, fukudome, and silva being main contributors next year barring hendry getting lucky and dumping any of them, that the 2011 team will be as bad as the 2010 team?
Bruce Levine (1:51 PM)
It really depends on what Hendry can do in the offseason. You need a leadoff man, left-handed hitting, another starting pitcher, and at least one veteran bullpen guy -- and we still haven't addressed the defense yet. Let's just say that the team is going to need some career years from guys.
Kingman's Dynamic Personality (Chicago)
What happens to Alan Trammel, does he go into the Chicago sports abyss like Mike Pyle?
Bruce Levine (1:52 PM)
There's a good chance that Alan Trammel will be back as a bench coach. He's been dragging his feet on an offer from the Diamondbacks to be on their coaching staff. Quade will most likely get one or two coaches along the way.
Josh (Knoxville, TN)
If the Cubs think Quade is their guy, then why only 2 guaranteed years? Just seems so wishy-washy. If you can't commit to more than 2 guaranteed years, then maybe you shouldn't hire the guy.
Bruce Levine (1:53 PM)
Two years plus option is normal procedure for somebody managing for the first time. That's what Quade got. Keep in mind that Arizona's GM Kevin Towers just signed a two-year deal with two option years after running the Padres for 15 years.
Mitch (Des Plaines)
What are the chances, if Ryno leaves, this is a situation like in 2006 when the Cubs thought Giradi wasn't ready so instead went with Lou, only to watch the Cubs fall flat and Girardi flourish elsewhere?
Bruce Levine (1:54 PM)
I'm hping that Sandberg does have success elsewhere, but one thing shouldn't have anything to do with the other. Again, tell me the players Jim Hendry is going to give Mike Quade and I'll have a better idea of how successful he's going to be.
galen (orland park)
who do you think will start at 2b next year for the cubs?
Bruce Levine (1:55 PM)
If the season started tomorrow, it's DeWitt. But, the Cubs could try free agency and Orlando Hudson is out there.
Tony (Decatur, IL)
Do you think that LaRussa was trying to stall St. Louis to see if Alderson got the GM job with the Mets until he couldn't wait any longer?
Bruce Levine (1:56 PM)
No. Alderson and LaRussa have been parted for over 15 years and LaRussa is not dumb enough to go to a big market that has marginal talent and wants to cut the budget.
Lyle Overbay would be a cheaper option for a team that will not be in a position to contend next year. Thoughts?
Bruce Levine (1:57 PM)
That's a boring name. Overbay is a nice veteran player who will guarantee you nothing but average numbers. If that what you're looking for, he's your man.
With Silva only having 1 yr left on his atrocious deal, if he starts 2011 like he did 2010, the Cubs unload him right?
Bruce Levine (1:58 PM)
Other teams will look at what he did in the second half of 2010 as well. There's not much of a market for Carlos Silva.
Let me hear ya (The Cubbies are coming tra la tra la)
Can Quade get Ramirez serious about baseball again?
Bruce Levine (1:59 PM)
Well he did for 37 games, but neither Dusty Baker or Lou Piniella could do it for 162. The problem with Ramirez is that he's such a talented player that it's hard to tell if you're getting 100% out of him all the time unless he's hitting .150 for the first three months of the season.
Do you think the MLB 'hot stove' will be as slow for the players to sign as the last two years?
Bruce Levine (2:00 PM)
To the contrary, due to the change of some major league rules, all offseason things like free agency, arbitration, tendering of contracts, etc. will all be in motion and completed before the winter meetings, which could mean that teams will be more ready to make deals.
Bruce Levine (2:03 PM)
For all you Mike Quade haters, give the man a chance. Let's see what type of players he has to start the season. Sandberg deserves a chance -- unfortunately it's going to have to happen somewhere else. Sox fans, you may or may not lose your bench coach as Joey Cora interviews for the Milwaukee job today, and Rick Hahn is still talking with the Mets about their GM vacancy. Check the blog for the latest updates. Talk to you next week!