Chat with Bruce Levine
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Bruce Levine (1:03 PM)
Welcome to the Mike Quade era of managing and the home of the walking wounded White Sox. This is a huge week for the Sox by putting their home field back to the advantage it was last month. Welcome ...
Is Manny comming to the White Sox?
Bruce Levine (1:05 PM)
Probably unlikely. Scoring runs hasn't really been the problem for the White sox of late. Their major concern right now is hoping the bullpen can get somebody out.
Matt J. (Dubuque, IA)
Who is the Cubs manager next year? Sandberg, Quade, or someone else (possibly Bob Brenly)?
Bruce Levine (1:07 PM)
Hendry is on record as saying there is no favorite at this point. You have to take him at his word. I think there will be at least 6-7 viable candidates that will pare down over the next couple months. The interview process started earlier this week and informal calls have already been made. But there is no clear-cut leader other than the fact that they have already stated Sandberg will get an interview.
Robert (Madison, WI)
With the Sox recent bullpen struggles (injuries playing a significant part) is there anyone who has cleared waivers that might help and not cost a kings ransom to get?
Bruce Levine (1:09 PM)
Yes and no. Nobody trades viable bullpen guys. Over the past two years if you document it, there has probably been only four or five primary setup men or closers traded. The White Sox kicked the tires on Toronto's Scott Downs on numerous occasions and were rebuffed by demands that seemed unrealistic to them.
Bruce, the Cubs in 2007 made the right choice for Piniella over Girardi to manage the Cubs, now Girardi's contract is up, I still don't think that Girardi is the right man for the job at Wrigley. I believe that Sandberg is the best option to lead a young Cubs team with soon to be expiring large contracts for the next few seasons. He has proved himself at every level. Thoughts?
Bruce Levine (1:11 PM)
Both would be viable candidates. Sandberg has taken a different route to the majors, spending four years in the minors. Girardi began managing the Marlins without any managerial experience and won the NL manager of the year award in his first season. My only advice to Cubs fans is to take your Cubs hats off and hope that Hendry chooses the most viable candidate regardless of his background as a former Cub. Sandberg may well be the best candidate but you need to go through the process first.
Jeff (Los Angeles)
Are they going to re-sign Konerko? It's hard to imagine him in a different uniform. They're going to have an interesting off season.
Bruce Levine (1:13 PM)
During spring training Konerko told me he might want to play one or two more years depending on how he plays this season. Konerko is the type of guy that wouldn't mind signing a year contract with an option. As you can see, being a free agent hasn't bothered Konerko. He's had two of his very best years in 2005 and 2010 when he was a would-be free agent. You can't say the same thing for all the White Sox free agent candidates.
Hi Bruce, how do you think the future will hold up for Carlos Zambrano?
Bruce Levine (1:16 PM)
He's got to get by some command issues. In two of his last three starts he walked six and seven batters. With that said, he looks like he's becoming a pitcher understanding to use all four pitches effectively. I don't think he has to throw 95 mph to be a winner again. The most important thing he has to do is maintain a very good physical condition. The unreported story about his time away from the team is that he lost a lot of weight and conditioned himself everyday. He needs to keep up a good in-season maintenance program.
Hi Bruce:Will the Cubs sign Ted Lilly going into 2011?Thanks. Go Cubs.
Bruce Levine (1:18 PM)
Highly doubtful. Lilly, at age 36, will demand between $10-$12 million a year and also will want to go somewhere he knows he will have a good chance of winning. I'm not sure the Cubs are the answer. I can tell you he loved his Chicago experience and would come back if he was convinced the team would be competitive next year. But if the Yankees come calling that would be hard to resist. Andy Pettite's career may be just about over.
Hi Bruce:Do you like Adam Dunn for the Cubs in 2011? Thanks.
Bruce Levine (1:21 PM)
I started to speculate about Dunn a month ago because he brings a potent left-handed bat, something the Cubs have been missing for a long while. The key would be whether the Cubs could get him to sign a relatively short-term deal. Dunn is a lumbering 31-year-old position player with little athleticism. He's a defensive liability at first base. But the 40-home run, 100-RBI potential cannot be underscored. I know Hendry loves Dunn's makeup. I'm sure that he will be on the list of free-agent possibilities.
Scott (Downers Grove)
Bruce, do you believe the Cubs will hire a "baseball guy" ala Sandy Alderson to be the team president? Crane Kenny seems better suited to run the business side of things and should not have any input on the baseball side in my opinion.
Bruce Levine (1:23 PM)
That type of information is only known by the Ricketts family at this point. I think Tom Ricketts is being smart in taking his time to evaluate the people who work for him. When you own the Cubs, patience should be one of your virtues. I wouldn't be surprised if he hired a baseball consultant but there are only a few really great ones out there. If you can hire a John Schuerholz or Pat Gillick that would be a positive for the Cubs. Hendry himself probably would applaud a baseball president like that.
I'm not really up on my minor league prospects, did the Cubs get any studs in the D.Lee deal?
Bruce Levine (1:24 PM)
They got three minor-league pitchers. One of them they feel can be projected as a middle-of-the-rotation starter. The other two are marginal prospects.
It has been a long time since we heard anything about the renovations for Wrigley and the new spring training sites, how are those two things coming along?
Bruce Levine (1:26 PM)
I believe we will have some information soon. Ballpark renovations will most likely begin in the offseason. A spring training site near their home in Mesa is the front runner for the area to be developed for the Cubs new spring home.
If you had to guess, what is going to happen to Konerko, Pierzynski, and Jenks in the off season? Do they go young and have Morel, Flowers and Viciedo play at the corners and if so, where do we find some left handed production in the lineup?
Bruce Levine (1:28 PM)
They could. I think a lot still depends on how the White Sox finish. If those vets help them get deep into the playoffs there may be a greater affinity by management to keep that group together. Jenks will be entering his final year of salary arbitration before becoming a free agent. The White Sox might want to do their best to trade him in the offseason. But the bullpen looks vulnerable at this point and Jenks continues to be a solid performer over a five-year period.
Do you know what the Cubs front office feelings are regarding Josh Vitters?I know he is still young but he doesn't seem to be developing like one would hope a 1st rounder would. Some of that could be due to injuries, but doesn't he need to start showing some progress next season.
Bruce Levine (1:30 PM)
I haven't heard much about Vitters lately. I know he had a hip problem that limited his season. There are some questions in the organizations about his overall makeup. The scouts that I talk to still feel he is a major-league hitting prospect.
So all this Colvin going to play first base was a smoke screen by the Cubs? Was it just an excuse to sit him most of the past week?
Bruce Levine (1:31 PM)
I think you will see him a little bit over there. But they need to be cautious with his development. I believe the proper place for him to lear first base is the Arizona Instructional League in November.
Travis Selleck (Cincinnati, OH)
Why not go after Adrian Gonzalez? Adam Dunn would just fit the bill of another "home run or strikeout" player that this team doesn't need, who plays horrendous defense? They could either attempt a trade this winter with S.D. or sign a stop-gap 1st baseman for next year and go after Gonzalez the following winter.
Bruce Levine (1:34 PM)
Gonzalez has one year left on his contract before he becomes a free agent. With the Padres headed to the playoffs I doubt they would trade their top run producer. Trading for Gonzalez would put you in the position of having to sign him beyond 2011. He is an oustanding first baseman.
Phil (Chicago )
I may be in the minority, but I hope that the Cubs don't hire Sandberg as the next manager. However if they do, it would seem that the whole interview process was a farce since Sandberg would have less managerial experience that anyone they hire, including Mike Quade.
Bruce Levine (1:38 PM)
Just remember Bob Brenly took over Arizona in 2001 and managed without prior experience and won a World Series. And Joe Girardi has never had any minor-league managerial experience.
SteveFitz (Chicago, IL)
If the Cubs are going to attempt to get a somewhat young, face of the franchise type player in the offseason they're going to have to start with a package that includes Carlos Marmol. I'd be ok with that. This team, does not have one face that goes with this franchise at the moment.
Bruce Levine (1:39 PM)
I wouldn't agree with that. I think Castro and Dempster fit that mold. I wouldn't be opposed to trading Marmol. The Yankees are going to need a closer. Rivera's career is just about over. How about Marmol for Gardner and Joba?
Derek (Country Club Hills)
Bruce please tell me vicideo isn't going to replace paulie for the south siders next year... i know he started out good but vicideo struggled down the end of his run before being sent down and he hasnt prooven to come through with the clutch hits like konerko has!
Bruce Levine (1:40 PM)
Keep in mind this team is always going to need a DH. So there's no reason why Viciedo and Konerko can't flip flop in that position. If Viciedo looks like he's going to hit, third base is definitely not the future for him.
Why do the Cubs continue to bat Geovany Soto in the 7th or 8th hole?
Bruce Levine (1:41 PM)
He has no speed, so you can't bat him up high. He hasn't had a lot of RBIs this season, so somewhere around 6 is the proper spot.
Steve (Chicago )
I get the feeling that we may see Steve Stone in some sort of consultant capacity with the Cubs. I am off base in that thought?
Bruce Levine (1:42 PM)
If Steve wants to consult about broadcasting, there's absolutely no one more qualified. As far as what he can offer a team with his baseball knowledge adn running a franchise, I'm not quite sure. I have the highest admiration for Steve and his baseball accumen, but running a team is a different subject.
Other than first base, do you think there will be any other position change on the 2011 Cubs?
Bruce Levine (1:44 PM)
You're most likely going to have a new 2b, new RF, absolutely a new 1B, and probably at least one rotation spot and 2-3 relief spots that have to be upgraded for this team to be competitive.
Do you think Rothschild will be back next year? If not will Greg Madux be a candidate for the Cubs pitching coach position?
Bruce Levine (1:44 PM)
Don't know about Larry. A lot will depend on the manager. Maddux has no interest in being a pitching coach. At this point he's not interested in managing, either.
Hi Bruce, where do you project Chris Sale next year?
Bruce Levine (1:45 PM)
He's a fun pitcher to watch. He obviously has no fear of major-league hitters. I would he continues his progress as a starting pitcher, but with age and attrition being a factor in the bullpen, they might be tempted to leave him there.
Where are Dewitt and Colvin going?
Bruce Levine (1:47 PM)
DeWitt hasn't proved to anybody he's the starting 2b as of yet. Colvin can either be your 1b or RF, or your 4th outfielder. Nobody's quite sure yet.
Hey Bruce, i cant imagine the Cubs going into next season with a similar lineup. Are there any off season acquisitions, i as a Cub fan, can look forward too. Also, any young players that have a chance of coming up and making an impact next season.
Bruce Levine (1:49 PM)
CF Brett Jackson seems to be a year away. He's the only real impact player who is close. The Cubs are going to have to trade young people to get young people back. Right now they're going to watch to see how their young players are going to develop the last 35 games before deciding on who they would make available on trades and who has progressed enough to be projected on next year's roster.
Matt J. (Dubuque, IA)
What are the chances of the Cubs going out and getting either Adam Dunn, Lance Berkman, or Carlos Pena in the off-season to fill the team's hole at first base following the departure of D-Lee?
Bruce Levine (1:50 PM)
Berkman's not a free agent. He's under contract option to the Yankees, but there is a buyout. Among the names you mention, Dunn is your most likely guy they're intrested in.
Joe (Evergreen Park)
Bruuuuuce,I just wanted to know your opinion on the Cubs retiring Sosa's number from all the years you spent with him and the Cubs organization. He was one of the greatest Cubs of all time and the face of the Cubs and even all of baseball for years helping ressurect baseball post strike with the home run record chase of '98. As always keep up the great work.
Bruce Levine (1:52 PM)
Personally, whether Sosa did steroids or not, he should have his number retired. He brought more people into that ballpark than anybody over a 10-year period. He played every day and he played hard. So to me, you should honor a guy who meant that much to your team. That's just me. I don't think anyone is going to agree with that.
The Cubs, over the course of four years, took a likely HOF manager, broke him over their knee and cast him aside. How can any manager hope to be successful here?
Bruce Levine (1:53 PM)
Both Piniella and Dusty Baker won division titles in their first years with the Cubs. The players, not the manager, choked away a great opportunity to go to the World Series. Betters players it he ultimate answer to your question.
hey bruce, whcih positions will the white sox have to adress in the off-season? Which players will they most likely go after?
Bruce Levine (1:55 PM)
The White Sox have a good-looking, young third baseman named Brett Morel, who should be ready to compete for the third base job next year. Knowing Kenny, he'll be looking for some speed and to get a litlte younger. I'll give you a full list of free agent and trade possibilities over the next couple of weeks. They need a catcher, starting pitcher and a better bullpen.
Why should I Have any confidence in Hendry hiring the next manager?
Bruce Levine (1:57 PM)
Because the last two were the right hires at that time. Piniella certainly helped raise the bar by having 3 teams over .500 and two playoff teams. Baker was coming off a World Series appearance as manager of the Giants when he had the Cubs five outs away from their first World Series appearance since 1945. I think the four-year, $3 million is something the Cubs might stay away from. The so-called celebrity manager might be a think fo the past for the Cubs.
Hi Mr. Levine, would Dunn considered the Southside next year?
Bruce Levine (1:58 PM)
Dunn abhors the DH. The AL is his last choice. He wants to be a first baseman in the NL. Therefore the Cubs may be his best choice.
I think it is a no brainer to get Dunn, u dont need a good defensive first baseman, the way he can hit he would easily have the same nymbers or better hitting at wrigley, look at stats in wrigley, we also need a #1 or #2 starter since we dont have one on the team, I say pursue cliff lee and eat half of z's money and trade him away in the winter meetings
Bruce Levine (2:00 PM)
It would be easy to eat the money if it's you or I. But you haven't told me what you're going to get back for Zambrano. First base is the most undeerrated defensive position in baseball. You'll see a lot of balls getting trhough that didn't get by in the past as other players play the position instead of Derrek Lee, although Lee's range deteroriated this season.
Bruce Levine (2:02 PM)
This is a huge week for the White Sox. They have to defend their home field and cut that lead back down against the Twins, who are playing a tough series with the Rangers this week. The bullpen is something you need to watch. Thornton's forearm issue may be the key to the season. Cubs wise, look for Hendry to begin his pursuit of his next manager with extensive interviews over the next month. Keep reading my blog and my teammate's Doug Padilla's on ESPNChicago.com.