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 chat room. We're all still trying to figure out the DeJesus move yesterday. Sox fans, your team is playing better. Too little too late. Welcome ...
will edwin jackson finish his contract with the cubs or will he be dealt before it is over? cj edwards, jake arrieta and pierce johnson are all making strong bids for the 2014 season
Bruce Levine (1:03 PM)
With all due respect, no one is trading for him at this moment. He hasn't pitched horribly but he hasn't pitched above the level of a fifth starter. I think the Cubs are going to have him on the team for the duration of the deal.
Has Garcia shown enough to make him the starting right fielder opening day for the sox?
Bruce Levine (1:04 PM)
Not only will he be their RF, but they are counting him on being one of the main cogs of the offense going forward. He's a good-looking player and reminds me a lot of Magglio Ordonez.
Bruce, I know we havent seen much of Lake, but in your opinion is he a super sub or a legitimate starting OF?
Bruce Levine (1:06 PM)
Still to be determined. When you compare him to some of the players on the team now, I believe it's tough to gauge his competency level. He has some physical tools for sure. As it appears he is either the starter in LF or CF next year.
Can you explain why the Nationals would claim Dejesus and put him on waivers the following day? It just sounds like a waste of money for them.
Bruce Levine (1:07 PM)
Some people are alluding to a waiver claim mistake. He doesn't really appear to fit on the Nationals. What we do know is the Cubs saved $2.5 million on this transaction.
What are the chances that the White Sox move Alexei Ramirez to another position next year? Maybe 3rd or outfield.
Bruce Levine (1:08 PM)
I think there's zero chance of him changing positions. He's a major league SS. Error-wise he's had a tough year but he still makes some difficult plays look easy. If the Sox want to move him I know of 3-4 teams that would be very interested.
alex (decatur, il)
please tell me that theo and jed aren't going to deal nate s. unless its a dynamite prospect this guy is a ball player and worth hanging on to imo
Bruce Levine (1:09 PM)
I agree. He's the only guy who has really played up and in some ways beyond expectations. The Cubs have him under contract control next year. He's been one pleasant story in a tough season for the rebuilding Cubs.
So with Dunn hitting well over the past couple of months, is there any team that might be interested in a trade this August despite his salary for next year?
Bruce Levine (1:11 PM)
The Sox have to be careful with Dunn. They do not have a legitimate power or RBI man who bats left-handed in the organization other than Dunn. He's one player who has met or exceeded expectations in this disappointing season. I don't think you just trade him unless you get left-handed pop in return.
What is wrong with Olt in Triple-A right now? He has been a flop right now. Is there something that the scouts are telling you on why he is struggling so much?
Bruce Levine (1:12 PM)
He has suffered from concussion syndrome since getting hit in the head during winter ball. The Cubs took a gamble that he can regain the form that made him a top prospect. He should have a shot at being the Cubs regular 3B next season.
Ace (PA) [via mobile]
Will Baez replace Castro or switch positions?
Bruce Levine (1:14 PM)
Baez has some of his own defensive problems at this point. That's not to say that he won't get better. Everybody points to Derek Jets at one time having 50 errors in the minors. One thing we know for sure is that his bat is almost already major league caliber. I would expect him to make his MLB debut in late June of 2014 if he keeps improving at this pace.
Mike (Portland, OR)
What's your opinion on the Dempster/A-Rod scenario?
Bruce Levine (1:16 PM)
I don't think there are any winners in this one. Dempster was standing up for the clean players in the game. A-Rod was just trying to do his job. I think Dempster is thinking like many major league players. The way he went about it looked bad though.
Gary Dellabate (Andorra )
What are the chances the Cubs trade for a big arm this offseason like Price? Or maybe sign a big name guy to a one year deal like Lincecum or Johnson? Do you see them signing a guy like Choo or Ellsbury?
Bruce Levine (1:17 PM)
I think the likelihood of them signing more guys to short-term contracts is feasible. They are not close to win mode yet so I think they will sign more guys that they can trade at the deadline next year. Let's be honest, 2015 or 2016 are the earliest this team will be competitive.
Matt T (Mexico NY)
I am happy to see young players play,but With Sori & DeJesus now both gone,do you see any players on this roster that would qualify as leaders ? I think this is where having a good coaching staff makes a difference.
Bruce Levine (1:19 PM)
I think you have a good point. Having veterans to keep the clubhouse cohesive is very important but young vets like Barney, Samardzija and Rizzo are going to have to be the leaders of this team in the future. You can throw Castillo in that mix as well.
Tim (Ravenswood Manor)
What do you think Arrieta's ceiling is as a starter? Can he be an ace or is he more of a 2 or 3 type starter?
Bruce Levine (1:21 PM)
The Orioles thought he was an ace a couple of years ago. He has a monster arm. Like so many young players, it's commanding his secondary pitches that becomes a key for consistency. He's got a chance to be very good and the trade with the Orioles could be a decisive one for the Cubs when they look back at it.
Ryan (SLC, UT)
Navarro with the team next year?
Bruce Levine (1:23 PM)
No, I do not. I think he's been a solid veteran for them . Pitchers like Garza and Samardzija love throwing to him. But Castillo is the future behind the plate and he has made some nice strides as far as calling games and gaining the confidence of the pitchers. The coaching staff has worked hard with him so my guess is Navarro plays elsewhere. I know the Cardinals put a couple claims in for him, according to major league sources but no deal has been worked out.
Cody Reese (Island Lake, IL)
If the cubs FO were to try and do one thing during this offseason, what would it be?
Bruce Levine (1:24 PM)
One thing would be to add at least one middle of the order bat to the lineup. If you've noticed almost every player on the team has hit cleanup at one point since Soriano left. They just need more offensive credibility there.
With their newfound salary space, do you see the Sox going on a spending spree this offseason? If yes, what big name FA's could we have a legitimate shot with?
Bruce Levine (1:25 PM)
I don't know if spending spree is the right term but I do think they will spend money toward adding to their lineup. That could come in the form of trading for players or free agents. They need at least 3-4 different players on offense.
kris bryant at some point in 2014? yes or no
Bruce Levine (1:27 PM)
He's done exceedingly well in the minors. There's an expression in baseball that the good ones come fast. I would not be shocked if he is with the Cubs by the end of next season. He will have to be dominant at a couple different levels before that happens.
Will the Sox be in the running for Jose Abreu or is he out of their price range?
Bruce Levine (1:29 PM)
I think there will be 25 teams answered in Abreu and the Sox may be one of them. It makes sense for the Sox because they will have some money available and they are looking for middle of the order power hitters. Another reason is that they already have two former Cuban national players on their team. That type of credibility will help them in negotiations as Abreu looks for comfortability. Abreu signing with a major league team could be as much as a year away. He has to establish himself as a resident of another country and the go through approval from Major League Baseball before anyone can sign him.
Dice-K was released today. 32 years old and was effective in recent starts. Any chance the Cubs take a flyer to bridge the gap and possibly trade next year to a contender? It seems like an offseason acquisition they might do, just a few months early.
Bruce Levine (1:31 PM)
Never say never when it comes to veteran players with the Cubs front office. Obviously Epstein has history with Daisuke, but not all of it was pleasant due to his inconsistent record.
Rob (Lime Rock, CT)
Do you think the Sox would have any interest in Choo in the off-season? Seems like he could be a good signing
Bruce Levine (1:32 PM)
I would think so and I think the Cubs would be interested as well. He's a very good on-base percentage guy and anyone who watches knows the Cubs and White Sox both need that.
John [via mobile]
Gavin Floyd -- his salary & performance don't seem to be a match for Rick Hans (apparent) direction-- what are the sox options there, if any? Also, curious about de aza-- seems like he'll be our starting CF for at least another year while these prospects struggle to develop
Bruce Levine (1:35 PM)
Believe it or not the Sox have missed Floyd's innings. One other consideration is they are going to need a right-handed starting pitcher. The rest is up to Floyd and the Sox as to whether they have interest. He will likely be out until early April after surgery.
You've covered the Cubs for nearly three decades. Do you ever remember them having such a solid core of prospects -- especially in terms of offense? I mean Bryant and Baez look like consist 30 HR guys; Almora looks like a .300 hitter; and Soler is a guy you can dream big on (even if he's the one most likely to flame out). Not to mention, Alcantara, Vogelbach, Olt, Christian Villanueva, Shawon Dunston, Jr. and Jeimer Candelario. Plus, even if Junior Lake becomes a Mark DeRosa type, that's not a bad thing. And Rizzo's peripherals indicate he's not as lousy as he's been this year. Long story short: That's a pretty intimidating lineup in a couple of years, right?
Bruce Levine (1:37 PM)
Yeah, certainly the late 80's. Palmeiro, Grace, Berryhill and then Jerome Walton and Dwight Smith came along. But since that time this group appears to be their most dynamic group of young offensive players.
Ryan (SLC, UT)
What kind of prospect can we expect from the DeJesus trade?
Bruce Levine (1:39 PM)
I don't think the Cubs are that concerned with the prospect they get. They saved $2.5 million with only five or six weeks left on the season. And if Washington doesn't pick up his option the Cubs could re-sign him. A major league baseball source said that is not out of the realm of possibility. I'm not quite sure what the Nationals were doing there but no, the Cubs are not concerned with the type of prospect they will get back.
Tom Chicago [via mobile]
Do you see the Cubs shopping Samardijza next trade deadline?
Bruce Levine (1:41 PM)
You can make a case that they would listen to offers for any of their players. Let's be honest, do you really see any untouchables on the 25-man roster? I would hesitate to trade Samardzija and Wood. And I still like the upside of Rizzo and Castro. But I would listen to trade offers for each player.
davidg (chicago) [via mobile]
will the sox move alexie before waivers end or are we going to wait ltill the end of the year. if so Wat can we get back for him
Bruce Levine (1:43 PM)
There's no real sense in trading him at this point. Ramirez is a top-flight major league SS. I don't really care about his errors this year. A lot of people know that he has had some personal issues to deal with. I think they can get the optimum amount of talent back for him during the offseason. There is also no real urgency to trade him despite his defensive woes and lack of power.
Bruce, we saw Starlin Castro make another mental error in a game a few days ago when he forgot there was a runner on third after he caught a pop-up and gave up on the play, the runner tagged up and scored. Dale was quick to act and sat him immediately after the inning was over. It's clear that Dale is losing his patience with Castro, do you think this will hurt the young SS confidence?
Bruce Levine (1:46 PM)
I think he is a pretty confident young player. I also know that from a pride perspective, Castro is probably very upset with the results. I think in some ways he is taking his offense out to the field with him at times. From a physical point of view, Castro's play at SS has improved dramatically under the tutelage of David Bell. His positioning on ground balls and the ability to charge a high chopper have improved dramatically. He also went through a recent period where he hadn't made an error in 25 games. The Cubs have had a problem with his decision-making. Both Rizzo and Castro continue to make some poor decisions on defense. But that is part of the process for a young player.
Travis (Nevada) [via mobile]
Hey Bruce, do you think Donnie Murphy is playing his way into an everyday role with the 2014 club?
Bruce Levine (1:49 PM)
He's looked pretty good. But he's a veteran player. The Cubs will need backup players due to the fact that they will probably be going through this process of trading players next July. This rebuilding process is painful but necessary and players like Murphy will be needed just to keep the roster solidified.
Lincecum and Johnson would be excellent signings by the Cubs (if their medical records look ok).
Bruce Levine (1:55 PM)
First and foremost, Lincecum will probably want to sign with a team that has a better chance of winning next year. Id he doesn't then it would be right up the Cubs' alley. His pitching has been really inconsistent so there is a chance he falls through the cracks. I have no idea what he will be asking for money-wise but it won't be $15 million or $16 million a year.
Bruce Levine (1:56 PM)
Follow me at my new Twitter handle MLBBruceLevine and thanks for joining the chat room this week.