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 (1:02 PM)
Welcome to the post-trade deadline reality for your teams. Waiver wire claims are still viable. Welcome.
What has happened to Starlin Castro's bat?
Bruce Levine (1:03 PM)
Certainly hitting outside of his zone a lot. People are taking advantage of his aggressiveness more than ever. Hopefully should grow in his role of an emerging young lineup.
As a fan of both Chicago teams I'm puzzled why the Sox couldn't offer as much as the Rangers did for Dempster.
Bruce Levine (1:04 PM)
The White Sox really didn't feel that he was going to be as viable in the American League. With 2 more hitters to face, that is always a question for general managers when they look at career NL pitchers. We'll see how he fares tonight.
Lamont Columbia mo [via mobile]
I was reading not to long ago about Justin upton being available...does he not fit what the cubs are trying to do? He's young 24 with power and plays defense..add him to Castro, rizzo, and Jackson that's a good start right?
Bruce Levine (1:05 PM)
He's not available. If he was he would have been traded at the deadline. The D-Backs made the decision not to trade him about a month ago. That may change over the winter.
With no position to play, is Lahair a legitimate candidate to get traded in August? Is there a chance he's demoted for the last month of the minor league season?
Bruce Levine (1:07 PM)
No real chance of any demotion. There are some trade possibilities. He may still revisit his options in the offseason. Last year he was offered a two-year, $2 million deal in Japan.
Anthony (Chicago) [via mobile]
Do you see the White Sox making a trade in August? If so, for whom?
Bruce Levine (1:08 PM)
They can always use another bullpen arm. And a better backup infielder than Orlando Hudson. They can use someone that has some power from the left side.
Nick (Bartlett, IL)
What do you think the White Sox do with AJ in the off season?
Bruce Levine (1:09 PM)
That seems to be the multi-million dollar question. There's always a chance at age 36 that his game will deteriorate. However at this point, Tyler Flowers is an unproven commodity offensively. A year extension with an option would make sense.
Will Youk be back next year? And Liriano?
Bruce Levine (1:11 PM)
Youkilis has a $14 million option. Working out a new, longer term deal would make more sense. He will more than likely declare free agency. Liriano will be a decision based on how he performs this year, as long as John Danks' rehab.
robin ventura for manager of the year?? will the sox win 90 games??
Bruce Levine (1:12 PM)
Can't see any reason why both of those will not be a reality. The White Sox are the surprise team in the AL, unless you want to include the Oakland A's. You can also add Kenny Williams for Executive of the Year.
If Sale is healthy come playoff time, do you see the white sox taking out texas or new yrok?
Bruce Levine (1:13 PM)
White Sox pitching staff has to stay intact in order for them to go deep in the playoffs.
Dan Douglass (Sullivan, Wisconsin)
Have the Sox put any of their players on the waiver wire this August? If so, who?
Bruce Levine (1:14 PM)
Almost every player goes on waivers every year. It's a simple process. You have 48 hours to pull them back from waivers if they are not claimed. The reason everyone does it is to disguise the players they are really trying to trade.
Bruce, is there any left-handed relief that the sox could get on waivers? Thornton is a liability in my opinion. Fastballs at 95mph every single pitch won't get it done anymore.
Bruce Levine (1:15 PM)
That's a very difficulty commodity to find anywhere. Nobody quality lefties this time of year.
Do the Cubs have an innings cap for Shark?
Bruce Levine (1:16 PM)
They don't have a cap per se, but they so have an idea of when they want to probably back him off. Samardzija is understanding of what they want to do with him. And if at some point they start skipping his starts, it wouldn't shock me.
Bruce, Do you think Alphonso Soriano will finish the year with the Cubs ? I
Bruce Levine (1:17 PM)
I don't think anyone will be claiming $40 million. It's just too big of a commitment to get involved with at this point. There is no doubt that he could really help some team that needs a DH or loses a player to injury.
Greg (San Rafael, CA)
Why do the Cubs get all of the media attention and they are near last place, while the Sox get no media attention and they are in first? It doesn't make sense to me.
Bruce Levine (1:18 PM)
It's predominantly been that way for the last 25 years. It pretty much started with Harry Caray leaving the Sox and going to the Cubs. Initially a lot of White Sox fans were not able to watch games on TV when the team left WGN for UHF.
Are the Cubs satisfied with a future of Clevenger and Castillo being the two MLB Catchers or will they look elsewhere to find their future at that position?
Bruce Levine (1:19 PM)
Both have some work to do. Clevenger doesn't have much power and Castillo needs work on calling games. Of the two, Castillo has the better tools, and Clevenger is the better catcher.
Greg M (Chicago, IL)
Bruce, to me the Brett Jackson call up is intended to give him experience against MLB pitching to drive home the point that he needs to work on cutting down his K's (big time). Assuming he doesn't catch fire these last couple months, is the plan basically to pull a Rizzo with him and have him start 2013 in AAA?
Bruce Levine (1:20 PM)
Unknown at this point. I don't think the Cubs execs are predicting failure for him. However your hypothesis is still a possibility.
Daniel Rauh (DePue, IL)
Bruce.. always good to hear from ya buddy. I know everyone asks the whole get rid of Sori and how long before a championship. As a Cubs fan I know we need to wait and those answers will come at a later time. However, when can we expect Jedstein to make some trades with our current minor league teams to obtain an MLB calibur or triple A calibur starter.. preferably a lefty? What are your thoughts?
Bruce Levine (1:23 PM)
Part of Epstein and Hoyer's philosophy is to develop their own young players and trade them for needs within the Cubs organization. An example of that, of course, is trading former #1 pick Andrew Cashner for San Diego's Anthony Rizzo. From the perspective, they are not afraid to trade their good young players to get something back. Tyler Colvin was another example of moving a former
Do u think Jordan Danks has the potential to be a major league starter?
Bruce Levine (1:24 PM)
He's showing better potential as far as hitting the ball on a more consistent basis. He needs more reps to make a proper analysis. He has a long swing and is prone to striking out.
Dong Dong (Gilberts, IL)
Bruce,Can you clarify Viciedo's contract after the season ends? Does he become a free agent or is he still under rights for the the White Sox?
Bruce Levine (1:26 PM)
Viciedo will not be a free agent as he has not met the service time requirement, but he will still be under White Sox control for at least four more years.
Why didn't Colletti up his offer if he wanted Dempster so badly that he makes himself look like a sore loser?
Bruce Levine (1:27 PM)
How do you know who he offered? I haven't seen what was offered and what was declined by the Cubs. I think the Cubs wanted Wallace as part of the deal and I know that the Dodgers weren't going to trade him.
Are there any utility infielders available who would be an upgrade for the White Sox? Olmedo and Hudson are wasted roster spaces.
Bruce Levine (1:28 PM)
Don't know if I would say 'wasted', but they would like to get an upgrade if they can off waivers. The problem is that there are still too many teams that think they are in the playoff hunt. So there are less sellers in the market.
Dylan (St. Louis)
Now it's anyones guess, but do you think the Cubs could get more for Garza if they held onto him until next July or traded him this winter, baring he can pitch again this season.
Bruce Levine (1:29 PM)
The optimum amount they would receive would be over the winter. Someone will want to have control of his contract for the full season. Next July you're running the risk of injury and/or ineffectiveness, which would bring down his value.
Josh (Ft Wayne)
Where do you see Almora and Soler ending this season/starting next season?
Bruce Levine (1:31 PM)
There's a chance they'll play at Peoria for the last few weeks of the minor league season. That would give them a little professional experience going into the offseason. The Cubs may be tempted to put one or both of them in the Arizona Fall League as well.
Bruce!! I'm all for the long-needed ground-up rebuild. However, Chicago is NOT Kansas City, and a Rays-like $60M payroll is absurd. Any idea if the Cubs will sign any competitive major league pitchers or players for next season, or is this going to be an all in-development roster?? (I'm not even talking big ticket stars, just any solid guys even in the $5-$8M range who have shown some success at the MLB level.)
Bruce Levine (1:34 PM)
I think what you're saying is going to happen. They will sign credible players like DeJesus and Maholm next season. The reason they'll do that is two-fold: one is to have more of a competitive product on the field and 2, is to be able to have flexibility to trade them toward the middle of the year for more young prospects. If you look at that the way that Oakland has done business over the years you will see a Billy Beane-type imprint that Epstein and Hoyer will apply to their developmental players. That is the function of signing vets to flexible contracts.
Since a team didn't claim Alfonso on the waiver wire do the Cubs have to wait until a team claims him before they can talk about a trade or can the contact teams and say if you claim him here is what we want?
Bruce Levine (1:36 PM)
If Soriano clears waivers, then the Cubs can trade him to any team that puts in a claim. However, if the deal is not consummated,the Cubs can tell the team to take the rest of Soriano's contract and not even get anything in return. That scenario would be similar to how the White Sox picked up Alex Rios in 2009. Also, if a player is claimed and a deal can't be worked out that player is no longer eligible to be put on waivers for thirty days.
Gill (Minneapolis, MN)
Beckham hit his 10th last night. Does that mean he keeps swinging for the fence rather then going back to a short compact swing. Wouldn't hitting .270 to .280 and 7homers be much better then .235 and 14? Yeah, I know it's not that easy but still..
Bruce Levine (1:38 PM)
I don't think Beckham tries to hit home runs. His problem is that he has a difficult time making solid contact. If you watch the plane of his swing you'll see that it appears he takes an unorthodox hitch where he is coming under the ball a lot of the time.
Since they tried Brett Jackson at leadoff, why not sit DeJesus, who is a decent player, and give more time to LaHair in right field, to see what he can do the last two months of the season?
Bruce Levine (1:39 PM)
I think the Cubs have their minds made up about who LaHair is. And to them he is an extra man. He's also a good backup to have for first base and the outfield. I don't know if that will be satisfactory for LaHair going forward, but his only option is for the Cubs to sell his contract to Japan.
Jake (Elmira, NY)
Bruce what's wrong with Thornton this year? The quality of his pitches seems to have declined this year and doesn't have the velocity he used to on his fastball. It seems like every time he comes into a game he's giving up hits.
Bruce Levine (1:41 PM)
I think the wear and tear of pitching in the bigs for 11 or 12 years has had an impact on Thornton. He is one of the most durable relief pitchers in the game. But at some point after six or seven years of 80 appearances, there is going to be an attrition factor.
Would the cubs likely resign garza to a long term deal in the off season to then get a better trade package in return at next years trade deadline?
Bruce Levine (1:42 PM)
Garza will not sign a long-term deal without having some form of no-trade clause in it. I believe also if you sign someone to a long-term deal that you cannot deal them within the first year. Signing him to a long-term deal and then trading him is a negative way of getting the most out of a player. It's also risky considering injury possibilities.
Will the White Sox try and re-sign Jake Peavy to a different deal this offseason? No chance they exercise that 22 Million option.
Bruce Levine (1:44 PM)
Zero chance of that. Signing him to a 2-year deal, which has a fair price for both the team and the player would make sense to me, but Peavy might want to explore the free agent market at age 31 one more time.
If he cleared waivers, any chance LaHair could be that left-handed bat to help out the Sox?
Bruce Levine (1:45 PM)
I don't think they are looking for just a bat, they have no room for LaHair as a DH. At that point they'd have to platoon the slumping Viciedo. There preference would be a left-handed hitting infielder that can give Beckham and Youkilis a day off here and there.
Jack (Kansas City)
How many wins are the White Sox going to end up with? Will they hold on to the division?
Bruce Levine (1:47 PM)
I'll say 89-73 for the Sox would get them close to winning the division, between 89-91 should do it. You're guess though is as good as mine because Detroit is basically equal to the Sox at this pint. It might come down to those head-to-head games in September, and they have six of those left.
Bruce Levine (1:48 PM)
If you're a Chicago baseball fan, you still have plenty to look at. Cubs fans should enjoy watching Vitters, Rizzo and Jackson try and compete over these last two months. Follow me on Twitter @ESPNBruceLevine and my buddy Doug Padilla @ESPNChiCubs for all the latest news. Thanks for joining the chat!