Chat with Bruce Levine
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! Want to know what's happening with your favorite Chicago baseball team?
ESPNChicago.com's baseball beat reporter will be here to take your questions about the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox.
Send your questions now and join the chat Tuesday at noon CT/1 p.m. ET!
Bruce Levine (1:05 PM)
Welcome in. It appears there is a slight chance both teams are going to show some signs of comepting over the next week of 10 days. Let's see if these teams can get to .500.
I hate to say this but let's face it, the only thing A.J. brings to the table now is calling of the game. When do we expect to see him moved?
Bruce Levine (1:07 PM)
Pierzynski will either stay or go depending on how the rest of the team plays over the next three weeks. Texas is a serious contender for Pierzynski. It appears there are at least two others, but if the Sox are going to contend he will stay for the rest of the year.
When Z comes back to the rotation, who is going to the bullpen?
Bruce Levine (1:08 PM)
It's Ask Lou Night tonight. He's going to have to determine that sometime this week. My best bet is Wells. Only Wells and Dempster appear to be candidates considering they need a right-handed set-up man. Silva, at 6-0, would be too hard to take out of the rotation. My guess is Wells, even though he deserves to be one of the top three.
who comes out of their slump first, beckham or aramis?
Bruce Levine (1:09 PM)
I've already seen some signs of Beckham coming out of it. He has hiot ther ball hard the past three-four games. The combination of Ramirez's thumb injury and year-long slump is too hard to project for me.
At his best Mark Teahen is an average defensive third baseman, and right now he's not at his best. I'm wondering what you think the chances are Kenny either trades for a new third baseman or moves Beckham back to 3B?
Bruce Levine (1:10 PM)
Beckham is not moving. He's staying at 2B and will probably be there for years. Nix is the only other alternative they have at 3B.
Great Bruce I read your blog, and What do you think we can get for Jenks or Putz if they are traded to the Phillies?
Bruce Levine (1:12 PM)
That depends on what they are looking for. Do they want to compete this year? Or do they want players almost ready to play in the big leagues. Kenny Williams has always thought you could compete and bring players along at the same time. That didn't really work last year.
Could we be talking about an All Star bid for Sergio Santos in the near future?
Bruce Levine (1:13 PM)
I don't know about all-star bid but you may be talking about the team's next closer. His overall stuff as well as his makeup appear to be perfect for that role. The Sox are still apprehensive using him late in the game due to his lack of experience.
Sean (Lake Forest)
Any thoughts on Kenny signing Andruw Jones to an extension before the season ends to save money? Or is he trade bait like the A's signing of Sheets?
Bruce Levine (1:16 PM)
I don't see any long-term deals for him. If you notice his average has dropped about 100 points over the last three weeks. I still think he can be an important offensive player. Let's just hope he doesn't lose interest. He would be a player who could bring you back a little talent in a trade but he's a free agent again next year.
Last week Jurko suggested that the Cubs trade Theriot to the Tigers. I thought about it and I agree. We can Trade Theriot, even though I know he's a leader in the Club House and Gorezalaney to the Tigers for Joel Zumaya, or Ryan Perry.
Bruce Levine (1:18 PM)
You're not trading your top second baseman and the guy who gets the most hits on your team for a middle reliever. Although it is a weakness on your team, why would you trade one strength to patch a weakness and then create a weakness at second base. It was a nice thought but it doesn't make sense.
Sam (Hoffman Estates)
Why is Ozzie so stubborn about changing coaches such as Walker, when the team has struggled for awhile now?
Bruce Levine (1:19 PM)
Look beyond Ozzie changing coaches. That area falls directly to Kenny Williams and in some cases owner Jerry Reinsdorf. Jerry likes the people who work for him because of their work ethic and loyalties. Walker is a very close friend of Reinsdorf's.
Why not put Lilly in the bullpen or trade him? He is no longer a Cub after this year anyways.
Bruce Levine (1:20 PM)
Another lefty in the pen doesn't solve your problem. If Lilly doesn't turn it around for you you still have options with the other five pitchers. I don't see that happening.
What should we expect out of Byrd in the long run?
Bruce Levine (1:21 PM)
He's a .280 to .290 hitter with about 20 homers and 80-90 RBIs. If you get that and his solid play in center you've certainly gotten your money's worth.
Wells has been the best starting pitcher on the team this year! If he is moved to the bullpen, Lou and Jim are dumber than I thought.
Bruce Levine (1:22 PM)
Dumb has little to do with the Cubs' dilemma right now. Zambrano is still the best person for that setup role. When he wants to, he can still get the ball up to 93 mph, and he can do it more often as a reliever. The problem is he doesn't want to accept the role.
Bruce-If we see the Sox drop off next month and Kenny starts to trade people , like Mark Buehrle, is there a chance we could see him comeback to the team after the season?
Bruce Levine (1:24 PM)
Buehrle if traded will not be back. You're not going to bring back a guy making $14 million if you've already made a decision to move a lifelong Sox player. He wouldn't come back. His choice would be St. Louis. He's always said he wanted to play for his hometown team at least for one year.
Mr. Cox (Greenville, NC)
Are there hopes of Bob Howry's velocity returning? It looked as if he was topping out at 88mph on Sunday...if he didn't have his velocity in the heat of AZ, how do we expect it to return later this summer?
Bruce Levine (1:26 PM)
Howry has always been a late starter, a guy who had his butt handed to him in April and May and usually gained a mile or two an hour as the summer went along. The guy is a physical specimen and a real competitor. If he can get back up to 92 or 92 he's probably going to be an asset. Hendry is counting on his competitive nature to help the veteran pitcher get back to being confident.
Do you expect Flowers, Danks or Viciedo to be called up anytime soon?
Bruce Levine (1:27 PM)
I wouldn't say soon but it depends on how the Sox dfo over the next month. If they start trading veterans away you could see all three at some point in the second half of the season.
Have the Cubs been looking at any of the White Sox surplus of relievers?
Bruce Levine (1:28 PM)
The Cubs look at every team, including the Sox. If Jenks and Putz become available they will approach the Sox like any team. The Cubs had interest in Putz before he signed with the Sox in December.
Ben (St. Louis)
Do you see any trades on the horizon for the Cubs? If so who could you see them going after?
Bruce Levine (1:30 PM)
They are looking at the same relievers that just about every team is. I've only been able to determine three significant relief pitchers traded in the last year. They are George Sherrill, John Grabow and Rafael Soriano. Outside of those three, I can't think of anyone significant who has been moved. My point being that very few teams trade even halfway decent relief pitchers. The Cubs will continue to look.
Zambrano to the Mets? perfect team for him and the $$ would not be an issue
Bruce Levine (1:32 PM)
That may be a place where he could go. However, the amount of money he is making makes a dela for his prohibitive. There is over $50 million left of commitment to Zambrano. I'm not so sure the Mets or any other team is willing to gamble that for a guy who has a .500 record and a 5.00 ERA over his last 41 starts.
Any word on the recovery of Jared Mitchell?
Bruce Levine (1:33 PM)
All we were told os that he will be ready for spring training in 2011. The Sox are hoping he hasn't lost his speed and quickness because of that significant foot injury.
With the contracts of Konerko, AJ and Jenks all up this year, could you see the White Sox being free agent players this offseason, maybe even for Crawford?
Bruce Levine (1:34 PM)
I don't believe Jenks is a free agent after this year. But it could be a moot point if the Sox are not in contention by July. Carl Crawford would be a nice piece to the puzzle on either side of town. Both teams have expressed interest in him in the past. My guess is he re-signs with Tampa.
What is Lou plannig to do with the lineup if Lee and Ramirez continue to struggle, will he drop them in the order?
Bruce Levine (1:36 PM)
He's tried that a few times. Lee has batted 4 and Ramirez as low as 6. But when you're not hitting you're going to hurt the team regardless of where you are in the order. They're stuck with both guys to get out of their slump. There are no outstanding players waiting to take their place.
If Hendry could blow this flawed roster up, would he? I assume he wants to but no other team wants the Cubs terrible contracts. Would Ricketts be on board with starting over?
Bruce Levine (1:39 PM)
Starting over is too complicated. You have four more years for Soriano. You have two years for Byrd. You have one year for Fukudome. You have two more years for Ramirez. Two more to Dempster after this year. Outside of trades, some of those guys are going to automatically be on your team, and that's not a bad thing if they are playing up to their potential. I think Ricketts wants to compete for a title every year.
Doug #2 (Northside)
Any chance we start seeing Tyler Colvin playing firstbase?
Bruce Levine (1:40 PM)
I don't see it. That would mean that you are benching Lee. That's going to be very tough to do. I'd love to see Colvin get 400 at-bats this year. Outside of injury, I don't see it happening.
Mr. Cox (Greenville, NC)
How do you see Jeff Stevens' role in the bullpen playing out over the course of the rest of the season?
Bruce Levine (1:41 PM)
It's hard top tell. I haven't seen a lot of him. Let's see if Lou is interested in getting him a more important bullpen assignment.
Bruce-Going back to Teahen at 3B...what about calling up Viciedo?
Bruce Levine (1:42 PM)
That could happen at some point. Keep in mind the Sox signed Teahen to a three-year extension after they traded for him. P.S. he was the big star last night.
starting over - Soriano/Zito - why is this not a perfect fit for both team? Contract and timelines nearly identical and moving soriano opens up LF for Colvin now. Zito replaces Lily for 2011 and beyond
Bruce Levine (1:43 PM)
So now the Cubs will have a seven-man rotation?
If you didn't have to cover all the games you attend, what would be your favorite non-Chicago park to just watch a game in as a fan?
Bruce Levine (1:45 PM)
I'm a huge fan of AT&T Park in San francisco. It's a beautfiul setting right off downtown on the water. It's also a good pitchers' park which I like.
Bruce, the Sox obviously missed on the building of the club this year. Do you think there is real value out there for guys like AJ, Konerko, Putz, and MB that we allow the Sox to add some good minor league talent?
Bruce Levine (1:47 PM)
There should be because there will be some desperate teams who will want to take a final step toward being a playoff contender. I still don't see Konerko being traded. It would have to be to a team on the West Coast that he would approve of. But you never know.
We know Dempster is a big hockey fan, but are any of the White Sox players getting caught up in Blackhawks fever?
Bruce Levine (1:47 PM)
A whole bunch of them. They were all watching on Sunday. Konerko is a huge hockey fan. Buehrle and A.J. are also into it.
Coach Petrenic (Glenview )
In your humble opinion, what do you think Carlos Quentins current trade value is, should he become available?
Bruce Levine (1:49 PM)
Not sure on that one. Not sure I really even know whether Quentin is the player we are seeing now or the one we saw in 2008. He's a guy who is wound really tight. Really a good guy who internalizes way too much. I advise a slump buster for him.
Ken Beitler (Chicago)
Do you the White Sox have many scouts or front office people who lean more towards the stats based, Sabermetric kind of player evaluation?
Bruce Levine (1:50 PM)
They do a nice combination of both. Assistant GM Rick Hahn is a statistical genius. He has a photgraphic memory. However he combines old school techniques and is a firm believer in scouting. Dan Fabian is also involved in technical data for the team.
Tom (Mount Prospect)
Bruce, any chance we see Cashner in the Cubs rotation any time soon?
Bruce Levine (1:52 PM)
Probably not soon. But depending on how the Cubs compete in the second half you could see him in August or September. He would fit nicely into the Cubs' eight-man rotation.
Bruce - When do you think Aramis Ramirez will break out of this horrible slump he's in? Or will he ever return to his usual form?
Bruce Levine (1:53 PM)
That's a question I can't answer. If he gets back to 100 percent health I would say yes based on his career. He's a strong-minded guy but even at this point I can see some self-doubt creeping in.
Lou Pinella (Chicago)
How do I convince Big Z to stay in the bullpen without him going completely loco?
Bruce Levine (1:54 PM)
Ask him nicely and tell him you really appreciate it. Honestly, Lou is a tough guy but the way he has babied Zambrano is a little surprising to me.
Bruce, Jay Jackson had another nice outing out of the pen yesterday. He has to be coming up soon doesn't he? Doesn't make sense that the cubs moved him to the Pen in the minors when he was an effective starter.
Bruce Levine (1:55 PM)
I think you're pretty spot-on. The only hesitation is bringing up yet another young pitcher for a bullpen role. But the Cubs shouldn't hesitate. Other organizations do it, even with managers who demand good control like Lou does.
Bruce, do you watch Lost, and if so what'd you think of the finale?
Bruce Levine (1:57 PM)
Sorry, I was one of those people who didn't see Lost with the Cubs and Sox playing. I guess that's why I'm a baseball geek forever. I don't watch any TV that's not a live sporting event or an HBO or Showtime series. Not that any of you really care.
Bruce Levine (1:58 PM)
Have a great week. Root your teams on to .500. Hopefully by the time the Hawks win the Stanley Cup both teams will be within 2-3 games of the lead. This will be a huge weeks for the Cubs. They need to play their best baseball against two of the NL's best teams.