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 (1:04 PM)
While the Cubs and Sox continue to be busy adding players and changing coaches, it should be a fun week beginning on Monday at the Winter Meetings. Welcome to the chat room!
Tim Robbins (Kentucky)
Will the Cubs make a significant move for Giancarlo Stanton...and if they do, would they have to include Starlin in the deal?
Bruce Levine (1:23 PM)
The idea of trading for Stanton doesn't make any sense to me. First of all, if Castro goes in the deal, Miami is taking on a $60 million commitment. That is totally alien to what they are doing with their payroll right now. Secondly, the amount of young players you'd have to trade for Stanton could back up your attempt at trying to compete by 2014. Stanton is a great-looking young power hitter. But he's not the answer to the Cubs major problem: need of quality starting pitching.
Jon Gruden (Fayetteville, Arkansas)
When will the Cubs announce who the new broadcaster will be and who do you think it will be?
Bruce Levine (1:24 PM)
I've been hearing a lot about Jim Deshaies, the former broadcaster and pitcher for the Astros. A source told me that the naming of a new announcer is not imminent. This is a collective decision made by WGN, Comcast Sports Net and team president of business operations, Crane Kenney.
Bruce, With alot of teams looking for ss help, could White Sox trade Alexi, and get something good back in return? I would rather see the young prospect get a shot this year.
Bruce Levine (1:25 PM)
Anything is possible as we approach the winter meetings. Many baseball people consider Ramirez the best defensive shortstop in baseball. The White Sox will have to think twice before moving what has been a stabilizing part of their defense.
Brian ( Michigan)
Rob Deer....thoughts? From reading what he's saying, it seems exactly like someone like Starlin Castro needs.
Bruce Levine (1:27 PM)
According to a few baseball people that know Deer, they feel he's an outstanding instructor. He will work in coordination with James Rowson, but many teams are going to two hitting coaches, including the White Sox, who added Harold Baines as their assistant hitting coach.
Illini Bill (Rockville,VA)
There are about 8 centerfielders that could be available to the White Sox, do you that they are seriously looking into this or just wishful thinking?
Bruce Levine (1:28 PM)
They have almost $100 million committed to their 2013 payroll so far. So adding a center fielder means they will likely have to move some payroll in order to stay within their budget. Don't expect them to sign Michael Bourn to $100 million deal.
Will Rob Deer be in uniform in the dugout?
Bruce Levine (1:29 PM)
Yes. He will be in uniform and will travel with the team.
Michael (Carol Stream)
Any word on A.J. or Youk? Any chance they can come back?
Bruce Levine (1:30 PM)
As time goes on, it would seem that both players may sign elsewhere. Youkilis is still a possibility, I believe. But I don't think the team can afford AJ at $8 or $10 million.
Feldman and Baker are two solid additions to the rotation. Any chance they try to add an arm with more upside like McCarthy or Haren?
Bruce Levine (1:31 PM)
GM Jed Hoyer said today that they will continue to add to the rotation. McCarthy would be a nice piece to the puzzle. The reason McCarthy would work is that he fits but the short and long term needs of the team. Haren is a bit older and might be looking at his last multi-year deal.
What are the chances the Cubs go for a guy like Mike Moustakas for their 3rd basemen of the future?
Bruce Levine (1:33 PM)
There's been more rumors about the White Sox going after Moustakas than the Cubs. The White Sox have pitching, and Gavin Floyd might be the bait. Unless Garza shows that he is healthy early in spring training, that type of deal probably won't happen. But Garza would be a perfect fit for the Royals. Also, the Royals' Will Myers might be of interest to the Cubs.
With the way Epstein & co. are operating now, when is the earliest we will see some big time free agent signings?
Bruce Levine (1:34 PM)
I would say possibly in 2014. The younger players need to progress to the point where Epstein and Hoyer are comfortable spending money and committing to long-term contracts.
Rusty Silber (Deerfield)
What's the status of Ryan Dempster returning to the Cubs next season?
Bruce Levine (1:35 PM)
Last I talked to his agent he said he was having conversations with multiple teams. I doubt that a one-year deal with the Cubs is viable. And it really doesn't make sense for either side.
Erik Burriss (Mokena, IL)
Do you think the botched deals, Dempster and Marmol, will hamper Epstein and Hoyer's ability to make future deals? Also, I'm not a big fan of Castro, what do you think the chances are that he is moved, although was just extended?Thanks.
Bruce Levine (1:39 PM)
Epstein always has flexibility in his long-term contracts. And the reason the Red Sox were able to make a mega-deal with the Dodgers last summer was because of Epstein's stance on long-term contracts. I don't believe any deals that didn't go through will impact teams wanting to trade with the Cubs. The trades weren't really botched, the information just got out ahead of the deals being made. There were no hard feelings that I know of from either the Braves or Angels toward Epstein and co. I don't think the Cubs are out there trying to move Castro, although I do believe they will listen to any deal that might make sense for the team. And I think they would move any player on the 25-man roster if they feel it would better themselves, that includes Castro or Rizzo. It's not likely they would trade either.
Paul (Denver, CO)
What is your take on the Scott Feldman signing? Also, are the Cubs still talking to Marcum?
Bruce Levine (1:40 PM)
Not sure about whether or not Marcum is still on their list. Feldman is a competent veteran pitcher who should benefit with a move to the NL from the AL. He's a perfect type of guy that can help them in the short term and can also bring back valuable prospects.
Hi Bruce , Does Dale Sveum have any imput into whom the Cubs pick up this Winter , or does he just plays the cards the front office gives him in Spring training ?
Bruce Levine (1:41 PM)
I believe that Sveum is always in the loop when it comes to player movement. Epstein and Hoyer like to run things past Sveum and his staff before they make a significant move.
Paul (Dundee, IL)
Do you realistically see Lake, Castro, and Baez all playing for the big club some day? If not, who do you think is the most likely to be traded down the road?
Bruce Levine (1:43 PM)
Well if it's anything like the 1970 Dodgers these players can find different positions on the same team. Bill Russell was converted from outfield to shortstop. Davey Lopes was converted from outfield to second base. Steve Garvey was moved from third base to first, to accommodate Ron Cey. The point is that if you have young, athletic players in your system, you can always find a spot for them.
Hi Bruce - what's your gut telling you about 3B? Do you think we'll see Stewart, Valbuena, Vitters or OTHER in the starting lineup on Opening Day?
Bruce Levine (1:45 PM)
The Cubs have to make a decision on non-tenders by this Friday -- in other words, offering contracts to their current players. My guess is that they will non-tender Stewart and still continue to talk to him about a possible return. This way they don't have to go through arbitration with him. The Cubs would love to add a third baseman through trade if possible.
Chris (Ames, Iowa)
Marmol has been a pretty shaky closer the last couple of years after having been somewhat dominant. He narrowly missed being traded to the Angels. Does he stay or does he go?
Bruce Levine (1:46 PM)
Marmol was back to being a reliable closer from June on last season. That was due to him using the sinking fastball that Chris Bosio helped him develop. I think a number of teams are interested in Marmol, and the Cubs would part with him for other pitching talent.
Bruce,Given that Jeff Keppinger just broke his fibula (falling down the stairs), does that make him less attractive to the Sox due to readiness uncertainty or more attractive in that he may now be attained at a more reasonable cost?
Bruce Levine (1:48 PM)
That's something that teams will have to look at cautiously. I imagine he won't be ready for at least two months. So that might be a late signing for someone. He's a valuable utility-type that can play high caliber defense at more than one position.
Jim (San Antonio)
Could Junior Lake beat out Josh Vitters for the 3rd base starting position? I liked Valbuena as a clutch hitter off the bench, but we already know what he can do as a starting player and we are not likely to re-sign Stewart, are we?
Bruce Levine (1:49 PM)
Junior Lake needs 500 at-bats at AAA before being major league ready. That's pretty much the edict from Epstein and Hoyer.
Seems like the White Sox have been silent since FA, not even in the rumor mills for ANYONE. I guess this isn't a surprise as this usual KW tactic..but have you heard anything worthy of excitement?
Bruce Levine (1:50 PM)
Rick Hahn is running the show now. And like you said, along with Williams and Jerry Reinsdorf, usually keep everything to themselves. The White Sox would like to add a veteran bullpen pitcher, a third baseman and maybe a more athletic outfielder to go with what they already have there.
Jason (Chicago) [via mobile]
It may take one of our top 10 prospects but doesnt chisenhall make sense for the cubs?
Bruce Levine (1:51 PM)
I was told last week that the Cubs are not trying to move their young players. But Chisenhall is a good-looking, young third baseman. If anyone was to trade for him, they would have to give good, young talent back in the deal.
After his strong year in 2012, would there be any market for Alex Rios to allow the Sox to free up some salary?
Bruce Levine (1:52 PM)
He's a pretty young player, who was the White Sox MVP last year. With a good veteran team and developing young pitchers, I don't see them moving Rios.
Frank (Oak Lawn)
Hello Bruce, have the White Sox had any thought of moving Gordan Beckham to 3B and letting Carlos Sanchez play 2B?
Bruce Levine (1:54 PM)
Not that I've heard of, but it would be a possibility. The hard part of that is that Beckham has turned into one of the best -- if not the best -- defensive second baseman in the American League. I would say he was every bit as good as Robinson Cano was last season.
Where do you Brett Myers ending up? Would he be a starting option for the Sox if Floyd is moved?
Bruce Levine (1:55 PM)
Myers is a free agent. So, I'm not sure he's on their list of players they want to bring back. Rich Hahn has said he has spoken with Myers' agent.
Matt (Edmond, Ok)
Being the Cubs are not spending big bucks on the sub par free agents on the market and instead trying build from within, is Chone Figgins being considered to fill the 3rd base void. He kinda fits the low risk high reward category that the Cubs are using to make the team competitive while the build up for the future?
Bruce Levine (1:55 PM)
I would hope not. He was a mediocre third baseman to begin with, and he's coming off two awful seasons.
Logan Moore (Indiana)
Is theo still making an attempt to sign mccarthy at all? Havent heard much in a few weeks.
Bruce Levine (1:56 PM)
I talked to McCarthy's agent three weeks ago, and he said he was talking to numerous teams, and had touched base with both the White Sox and the Cubs.
tim chi [via mobile]
Soriano still a cub by august? Who will open in center and right as well?
Bruce Levine (1:58 PM)
Right field will be David DeJesus. Obviously Soriano is the left fielder until we're informed differently. Jackson will start the season in AAA. So right now it could be Campana and Sappelt in a platoon.
Any players in the Sox minor leagues you see as diamonds in the rough who can possibly surprise and make an impact with the team in 2013?Thank you for all the great info!
Bruce Levine (2:00 PM)
Sanchez is the closest to the major leagues. Tracye Thompson is an outfielder to watch. Making consistent contact is going to determine how quickly Thompson arrives.
Jason (Chicago) [via mobile]
Who would be candidates to be traded possibly at the winter meetings for the cubs, I'm assuming marmol and soriano are available, anyone else though?
Bruce Levine (2:01 PM)
I think that the Cubs would listen on a young catcher if the deal was right. Again, they've said they are not looking to deal their young players, but they have some flexibility after signing Navarro.
Bruce Levine (2:02 PM)
Starting Sunday both Doug Padilla and I will begin our coverage of the winter meetings. Follow us on Twitter: @ESPNBruceLevine and @ESPNChiCubs. Also, listen to Talkin' Baseball at 10am on Saturday on ESPN 1000!