Chat with Bruce Levine
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Bruce Levine (1:05 PM)
Well, we almost have a first-place team and a team going in the other direction in the Cubs. As the All-Star break approaches, Jim Hendry and Kenny Williams will be busy. Let's hear some of your best trade talk.
Do you think the Sox have the possibility of trading for Fielder without giving up any of the 5 guys in thier starting rotation, and if they did trade for him, would they be willing to sign him as thier future first baseman and sign konerko for 2 years as the DH?
Bruce Levine (1:07 PM)
As the carnival director said to the fat lady that got on the scale, "One at a time please." The Brewers will have a meeting today to discuss what to do with Fielder. The Sox certainly would have interest regardless of what you read. Fielder still has a year left on hisd contract before he becomes a free agent. Scott Boras or not, the Sox would love to acquire a player that can help them win a World Series.
What is Cashner's role on the Cubs next year?
Bruce Levine (1:08 PM)
The Cubs feel Cashner is a bullpen pitcher in the future. They feel he can eventually be the closer. Look for him to be the primary setup man although he is already working his way toward that.
Mark Bechtold (Chicago)
Bruce, do you think we will re-sign Paul Konerko? He is having another spectacular year. I think we have to sign him for another couple years. What do you think will happen?
Bruce Levine (1:09 PM)
When I talked to Paul in spring training, he said he didn't know how much longer he wanted to play. In his mind it depended on how he did this year. He might want to take it on a year to year basis. I wouldn't be shocked if he signed a two-year contract or a year with an option after 2010.
Doug (North of Wrigley)
How much of Fukudome's contract are the Cubs going to have to pick up to make him attractive to other teams?
Bruce Levine (1:11 PM)
Attractive is a hard word to describe when attached to Fukudome. He's really an extra man or a platoon player. He doesn't have much power. He doesn't have much speed. He's a good right fielder. All that adds up to fourth outfielder. Of course I still haven't answered your question. I imagine at least half the contract.
What will the Cubs rotation look like next year?
Bruce Levine (1:13 PM)
You know Dempster will be there. After that, all bests are off. Lilly is a free agent. Zambrano would be best served pitching elsewhere. Wells is an unproven commodity. Then you have gorzelanny and some unporven pitchers in the organization. It's possible they will offer Lilly an extension but it's more likely they will trade him and then bring him back as a free agent.
Hey Bruce, why dont the Sox stick with Dayan at dh instead of giving so many at bats to kotsay, I like what I see from the young kid!
Bruce Levine (1:14 PM)
Remember who the manager is. This is a guy who wants felxibility and against right-handed pitching you need left-handed hitting. They are brining Viciedo around slowly. So far he hasn't appeared to be overmatched.
Why is Jdye still a FA???
Bruce Levine (1:15 PM)
There are teams that are still interested in Dye. I believe Dye and his agent are still asking for a lot of money in the event he returns this season.
Do you think A-Ram will pick up his player option...either way how does that affect the cubs moving forward?
Bruce Levine (1:17 PM)
You can bet your mortgage, your children's college fund that Ramirez picks up his option. He has $15 million guaranteed by the Cubs and he's not going to find that anywhere else after a subpar season. Ramirez has a window in his contract that allows him to declare free agency and void his Cubs contract but that's not going to happen.
What should the Sox do with Gordon?
Bruce Levine (1:19 PM)
The best thing for him is to be able to go to the minor leagues and play for a few weeks. I've been saying it all along. there is no reason for him to sit on the bench. He needs to play, but I don't blame Ozzie. Lillibridge has earned the playing time.
What do you think a Cliff Lee trade to the Twins would do to the AL Central?
Bruce Levine (1:20 PM)
It would certainly give them a dominant starter every five days and make them feel a lot better about themselves in the race. But their bullpen remains the biggest question. I don't see closer Jon Rauch gettign them through the big games in August and September. Lots of teams are looking at Octavio Dotel, including the Tigers.
Does Lily get traded and to who?
Bruce Levine (1:22 PM)
Let's look at the first tier of free agents. First is Cliff Lee, Dan Haren and Roy Oswalt. Those are the top guys. Lilly is a very good choice after those three. He's a tested pitcher, a hard worker who would give one of the contenders a really good pitcher to add to their mix. Looks for teams like the Dodgers and Rockies to have extreme interest in him.
Who is managing the Cubs on opening day 2011?
Bruce Levine (1:25 PM)
My guess is Joe Girardi. His contract is up, he still owns property here, his wife is from Chicago, his agent is from here. Girardi would manager the Cubs if the Yankees don't handle the situation properly. But Sandberg is ready to manage in the majors, too.
Assuming the Mets don't get Oswalt or Lee, do you think they would consider trading for Zambrano? He could be a good fit in that ballpark, and the Mets need pitching..
Bruce Levine (1:26 PM)
I don't see it. It's kind of a big gamble to take on a $40 million contract. You're not sure what you're going to get because Zambrano has been an inconsistent pitcher for two years.
Any chance Joe Torre could be managing the Cubs next year? Seems to be on the way out in Dodgertown.
Bruce Levine (1:27 PM)
Anything is possible. Torre is a free-agent manager as is Piniella, Tony LaRussa, Dusty Baker and Bobby Cox.
Will the cubs have any money to spend this off-season? Or will it be a lot like last year?
Bruce Levine (1:29 PM)
That's up to the Ricketts family. We know they have about $25 million coming off their books with the contracts of Lilly and Lee up. If they decide to add payroll will be a part of their next 3-5-year plan.
Would the Cubs consider trading Soto? It seems like he has fallen out of favor with the Cubs, and could still bring a good return?
Bruce Levine (1:31 PM)
I think they would consider trading anyone if it makes sense. Tyler Colvin, Starlin Castro and Cashenr are being projected for the future but tghe direction of the club at this point remains hazy. They've really had the same payroll since December 2008 over the last few years. The only reason it has gone up was due to escalating contracts that were pre-existing.
I keep hearing about Dunn or Fielder as left handed help for the Sox. What about Lance Berkman? We probably could give up less for him. Do you think he has any production left to help the sox make a run at the divison?
Bruce Levine (1:32 PM)
He's a little bit older and a little bit more beat up. He also is making a ton of money still. Astros owner Drayton McClane has not committed to trading his veterans yet which is mind-boggling considering how bad his team is.
Greg Walker (South Side)
When can we expect to see the end of the Andruw Jones experiment? His .190 average is killing me.
Bruce Levine (1:34 PM)
It's not pretty. Ozzie was walking around yesterday in a T-shirt that commemorated Jones' 400th home run, which he is approaching. Ozzie wrote in "please" on the shirt. Jones has just not been the same player for the last six weeks, a pattern that existed for him in Texas last year as well.
Does Samardzija have any future with the Cubs?
Bruce Levine (1:35 PM)
I think he does. The Cubs have made a commitment to letting him pitch in the minors for the rest of the season just to let him get a feel for the bullpen. Depending on what the Cubs do in the trade market the next month, you may see him up here in August and September.
Bruce, honestly why does Koyie Hill get so many starts? What a joke, this is why Lou needs to be canned. Decisions like these.
Bruce Levine (1:37 PM)
Soto hasn't exactly knocked the cover off the ball this year. Lou and the staff feel Hill is a better catcher. As you point out, he's not going to hit much.
Your odds on the Sox being in first place by the all star break?
Bruce Levine (1:38 PM)
They have to be pretty good. They are one game out with Detroit leading the division. The Twins are starting to show a lot of weaknesses. The Sox have the best pitching in the division which is reason to believe that by the All-Star Game, and more importantly, by Labor Day, the Sox can be in first place.
Dave (G. Heights)
Hey Bruce...when Mark Teahen comes off of injury what will his role be on the team? I think a big reason for the recent turnaround has been defense and his defense at 3rd has been suspect this year. Do you see the Sox putting him back as the everyday 3rd baseman or use him more as a "super-sub"?
Bruce Levine (1:40 PM)
I think the latter is more realistic. The team played better with Vizquel at third base. Teahen can still be a valuable contributor but maybe not as the everyday third baseman. He can play four positions and that's where his value may lie.
Do the Cubs still feel Josh Vitters is a future starter?
Bruce Levine (1:41 PM)
They like his bat and so do the other scouts. No one is sure if he will play third or first. I'm not quite sure if he is on the fast track to Wrigley yet.
The slump that Rios has been in over the last week has me worried. Is he just tired right now or is there something else?
Bruce Levine (1:42 PM)
Ozzie tried to address that by giving him the DH spot last night. He has lost a good 15 points on his average. I'm sure he's going to snap out of it soon.
Doug (North of Wrigley)
Is Carlos Silva generating any interest around the league?
Bruce Levine (1:43 PM)
I'm sure the Cubs have had calls on him as well as they have for Ted Lilly. Hendry is going to be a very busy guy over the next three weeks figuring out how to improve his ballclub. There will be many groups of scouts hanging around the Cubs the next three weeks.
Doug (North of Wrigley)
Is Aramis Ramirez' thumb injury something that will go away with rest? Or is this going to be a problem for him next year and beyond?
Bruce Levine (1:44 PM)
There doesn't seem to be any ligament damage. there's no break so I'm sure rest will be one thing that will allow it to come bac. With Ramirez it's hard to determine whether it's the thumb or the season-long batting slump that has been the determining factor in a lousy season.
Danny (The Cell)
Bruce: Hudson, Viciedo, and 2 minor league pitchers for Fielder. Too much? Not enough? Your thoughts.
Bruce Levine (1:46 PM)
Not enough. Fielder has another year left on his contract. If he was a free agent after this year then that offer woule be too much. You better put in Jordan Danks in that mix if you want Fielder.
Is Hendry in "sell mode" yet?
Bruce Levine (1:47 PM)
No, he's in cell mode right now, meaning he's taking calls. Sell mode might be right around the corner.
How much influence has Vizquel had on Alexi? It seems like he has settled down defensively and doesn't make stupid mistakes anymore.
Bruce Levine (1:48 PM)
I don't think he has had a lot of input there. Ramirez plays poorly in cold weather. Remember this is a player who had no experience in the U.S. or in Midwest weather before the Sox signed him. Every year around the end of May he starts to heat up. I think it's as simple as that.
Any chance Ryan Theriot gets traded? And if not please don't tell me he's still starting again next year....
Bruce Levine (1:49 PM)
It's been a bad year for Theriot. He would like to stay with the Cubs but if they get a decent offer for him he will be gone.
Doug (North of Wrigley)
Does Derrick Lee finish this season with the Cubs?
Bruce Levine (1:52 PM)
Right now every scout I talk to feels Lee is an injured player. It's apparent he has had some bad back problems this season. At times his bat speed is non-existant. It's tough to watch a great competitor like Lee try to play with a significant injury. That is the athleres' dilemma: play hurt or sit out.
if the white sox fail to make the playoffs this season do you think it will be the end of Ozzie Guillen in chicago
Bruce Levine (1:53 PM)
No, Ozzie is here for the long haul. Reinsdorf is a big supporter as is Kenny Williams in his own particular way.
Any thoughts on the Sox adding Marcum from the Blue Jays to the bullpen?
Bruce Levine (1:54 PM)
Haven't heard the name. The Sox would love to add a left-handed pitcher. How much money they have to spend or how many players they have to trade from the farm system is the question right now.
I have been hearing a lot of noise about Carlos for Adam Dunn, is this really what they want to do?
Bruce Levine (1:56 PM)
That's not going to happen. Adam Dunn is a free agent after this season. He is mot likely a part-time buy for any team that trades for him. The Sox have to weigh chemistry over more left-handed power when it comes to Dunn. Not that he's a bad guy, it's just that he doesn't fit into an Ozzie Guillen lineup.
Bruce Levine (1:58 PM)
It should be a fun week before the all-star break. You'll hear many rumors about the sox and Cubs. I believe the White Sox will do everything they can to get a good left-handed hitter. The Cubs have many decisions to make and will need ownership direction on some of them. Talk to you next week.