Chat with Bruce Levine
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Bruce Levine (1:02 PM)
Welcome to the last 6 weeks of baseball. The interest runs from the Sox 7-game win streak to which statue is going up on the North Side on a weekly basis. Welcome.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What did you think of the old Comiskey Park that Opened in 1910?
Bruce Levine (1:03 PM)
It had a nice press box, but very few monitors.
Is the perception of Colvin's ability to be an everyday player changing with his recent struggles?
Bruce Levine (1:06 PM)
As you can tell from first-year players like Pablo Sandoval of the Giants in 2009 until now, knowing what a rookie and a 2nd year player is going to do is unchartered waters. Colvin has some nice power and a nice swing, he's an average outfielder with average speed. IS that a starting player or a Larry Biitner type player of the past, which isn't all that bad but not a star.
Is Konerko back next year? How about Vizquel?
Bruce Levine (1:08 PM)
The Sox have a ton of free agents beside those two. Konerko no doubt will be offered at least a one-year deal plus an option, but will that be enough for him. And is a two-year deal too much to offer a 35-year-old guy no matter how great this season is? Keep in mind he's making $15M this season, so he won't be asking for less. Vizquel said he wants to return, and I see no reason why he won't come back if they make him a fair offer.
Bruce, is there anyone in the organization who thinks Tyler Flowers is ready to be a full-time catcher in 2011? Has his defense improved to the point he can catch 135-140 games a year?
Bruce Levine (1:09 PM)
The swing-and-miss factor and the .220 batting average are two major red flags. So to think the Sox might not consider bringing A.J. back for a year may be naive.
What is the deal with Caridad? I know he has been rehabbing but he was one of the few young relief pitchers we have with swing-miss stuff. We are going to have fill some pen spots , internally.
Bruce Levine (1:10 PM)
I don't think they're as high on him as they were coming into the season, regardless of his physical status. He walked a lot of guys at the beginning of the year. Why is it that White Sox pitchers come up and throw strikes and Cubs pitchers come up and walk the ballpark?
Why can the Sox develop pitchers right away like Sale but the Cubs struggle like with Cashner and Samardizja?
Bruce Levine (1:12 PM)
It's scouting and player development. In the case of Sale and Beckham, the Sox scouted pretty finished products who they can project would be ready for the majors rather quickly. The Cubs have had a different approach over the years, drafting high school kids and developing Latin American players. Two very diverse approaches to development. One has been slower than the other.
Hawk (the booth)
Does this mean Manny goes into the HOF with a White Sox cap on? Where will his statue go?
Bruce Levine (1:14 PM)
Is Manny really going into the HOF after being suspended for PEDs for 50 games? Or is he in that group now that writers will never put into the HOF? Is he different than McGwire or Sosa?
Christian Howard (Washington DC)
Do you think the White Sox have the option to overtake the Twins and win the AL Central with Manny added to the line up?
Bruce Levine (1:15 PM)
I think the Sox will win their division because their pitching is better. Their pen is better and their staff is better and they've been more resilient than any other team and they have one of the best managers in the game and the best pitching coach.
Would you expect the Sox to non tender or trade Jenks this winter considering they have cheaper options in Thornton, Sale or Santos?
Bruce Levine (1:17 PM)
They may. Again, if you look at his overall body of work, it's pretty darn good. I don't see any reason to get rid of him, but he'll probably be up around $9M per season. That's a lot for any pitcher, but the Sox have to make sure they don't outsmart themselves. Remember, Putz is a free agent. And Santos is still a product of development.
Hi Bruce- Obviously, the Cubs need some bull pin help next year...Between Gray, Gaub, and Grabow can any of these guys an answer to go along with Marshall, Marmol, and Cashner?
Bruce Levine (1:18 PM)
You need some more Gs, becuase those three aren't really guys you want to count on for next year. Grabow is coming off an injury and unproductive season and Gray is unproven after spending most of his season in the minors. Look for big contributions from starting pitcher Chris Archer.
Bruce, looking at the schedules, I am starting to think the Sox have a better chance at catching Tampa then they do the Twins. Your thoughts?
Bruce Levine (1:19 PM)
The Sox have a tough sked, but they also have more home games I believe than the Twins. I would say the Sox catching Tampa is still a long shot, big-time long shot. The division will ahve to be the deciding factor for the Sox, espeically since htey don't have any head to head with Tampa.
Why would anyone pass up a finished product for someone that they might be able to develop into a finished product? Maybe this is one of the reasons why the Cubs stink.
Bruce Levine (1:21 PM)
Let's not go having a big party for the Sox player development system. Their recent record on player development and drafting is good. Prior to the last couple of years, their minor-league system was awful and they have no Latin American impact on their roster from their farm system. That's why Jerry Kraus was hired to revamp the Sox pathetic Latin American development program.
Dave (Glendale Heights)
Hey Bruce! What are your thoughts on the impact of stolen bases? I've heard talk recently that SB are the most over-rated stat in the league and that this season the Sox have hurt themselves more by being caught stealing than they've helped themselves by stealing the base. Would you agree with that or not? And overall, do you agree with a team strategy (like the White Sox) to put pressure on the defense with steals and the hit-and-run?
Bruce Levine (1:23 PM)
I believe steals and hit-and-run baseball is the wave of the future. I believe if you look at the Cubs, that's one of the reasons they're such a one-dimensional offense over the past years. Wheny your power doesn't producce you have nowhere to go with that style. Putting pressure on the defense is what set thes stage for the Sox winning a championship in 2005. Ozzie-ball is just another term for diversified offense.
joel (lake forest)
mike quade is trying to prove a point to cubs management that he can handle the young kids by what he's doing by sitting starlin castro again tonite, will this back fire, i sure hope so he should try this with an older player and see what happens
Bruce Levine (1:25 PM)
I think your perspective is an excellent one, and it's one that two previous managers failed to approach. That is disciplining and benching high profile-high paid players who don't give you 100 percent. Nobody has the testosterone to do that anymore.
Joe (Edison Park)
Bruce, What are the Sox plans with Sale for next season, will he be a started, if so won't they have to mvoe one of their starting pitchers assuming Peavy is back?
Bruce Levine (1:26 PM)
I would hope they keep him in the bullpen to be honest. They're going to need that extra fresh young arm out there. And don't forget Thornton will be 34, Jenks may or may not be with the team and Putz is a free agent. All great reasons to keep Sale in the 'pen.
Robert (Madison, WI)
What do you think the chances of Alexei Ramirez winning the gold glove are? He's been a highlight reel over there this year, and he's among the leaders in a number of the defensive stats (UZR, etc.)
Bruce Levine (1:27 PM)
Watching him every day like Sox fans get a chance to do, you know he's as good as any SS in baseball. The range he has and the arm he has is unparralleled. I'm with you on him winning the Gold Glove.
Hey Bruce, any chance Giradi brings Kerry Wood with him next year when Joe manges the Cubs? In your mind who has the best chance of comming back home Wood or Giradi?
Bruce Levine (1:28 PM)
Wood would have been the answer to the Cubs' 8th inning failures this year. But at age 34, how much are you willing to pay him to come back for a reunion tour? The one thing I dislike about media and fans in sports is taht they're always too comfortable to bring back people they know rather than expanding their horizons.
The Sane Madman (Cubs Nation) [via mobile]
For the love of God... It seems as if Hendry has one more screw up lurking up his sleeve. If this man doesn't hire Sandberg, he's going to receive the Lane Kiffin treatment. And don't speak of "well he has no MLB experience." The man obviously is a teacher, developer, and motivator who holds people accountable. Seeing how we will be going young the next 2 yrs, who better to do it but Ryno. It's time for new blood within the dugout as well as the field. I just hope hendry doesn't overpay one last time on an awful contract before he goes.
Bruce Levine (1:32 PM)
Who said the Cubs are going young? Right now they have one legit young player in SS Castro. There's no one else in the system who is ready to be a regular at the MLB level. Secondly, no one questions Sandberg's work or his potential as a very good MLB manager, however he's never coached at the MLB level, and he has no knowlege of the NL right now. Would he better served by being a bench coach or 3rd base coach for a year is my only question. That said, I'm not saying he's not the best candidate, but these are things that will be looked at before hiring the next manager. Sandberg falls into the most familar name category.
SeasonTickets (Left Field)
Bruce - Your thoughts on Casey Coleman for next year...starter, reliever, good trade bait as part or a package for a real 1st baseman next year?
Bruce Levine (1:34 PM)
Too bad you can't take COleman's baseball IQ and attach an arm that throws 95. His stuff is short, but his competitiveness and instincts could make him at least a serviceable MLB pitcher.
Bruce, do you know what Putz' feeling are about playing in Chicago? Would it not make sense to offer him 2 year deal about the same money as you would have to pay Jenks and make him the closer?
Bruce Levine (1:35 PM)
If you're convinced his injuries are behind him, that' might be a good move. He's also 35, with prior arm injuries. How many years and how much money is he worth?
Shawn (Chicago, IL)
The Sox are leading the league in Batting Average with runners in scoring position. It seemed the last few years the've been near the bottom in this catagory. What do you attribute for the change?
Bruce Levine (1:36 PM)
Less strikeout guys. Ozzie's idea about more contact hitters has proved to be correct. You're missing the swing-and-miss guys in Dye and Thome. This is a much more productive team in a much-less impressive way.
Why do the Sox seem to have limited patience with pitchers in their organization (i.e. Clayton Richard, Gio Gonzalez, Daniel Hudson, Aaron Poreda, et al) thna pitchers they acquire via trade - Danks, Flod, etc. Kenny always seems to be in a hurry to trade our young pitchers before they can develop
Bruce Levine (1:38 PM)
The Sox theory is to trade for players who are closer to contributing at the MLB level. That's why they dealt Gonazalez twice and Richard and Hudson. I agree with you that they might regret trading Richard and Hudson. Gonzalez looks like a 15-20 game winner of the future, but the Sox can't afford to wait for players to develop. They try to win every year. In the long run they may be burned, but for now it's worked rather well.
Will we get a chance to see Brent Morel play some 3b instead of Mark Teahen?
Bruce Levine (1:39 PM)
They brought him up -- Ozzie always likes the players brought up but the Sox are in a pennant race, so Ozzie will probably only use Viciedo and Morel in extra-man situations. Or when people desperately need rest.
Short and sweet. Why no Lahair
Bruce Levine (1:39 PM)
They have peopel they feel are ahead of him right now. Schneider is one of them. Also Colvin is the future 1B candidate, and they have plenty of OFs.
Your prediction on who the Cubs starting 1B will be next year?
Bruce Levine (1:40 PM)
Imre (Missoula, MT)
I have no problem with Quade sitting Starlin. However, I and I think many others have a problem with doing it so publicly and in a demeaning way to Castro. The kid is 20, he's made a few gaffes, does he need to sit? Yes. But does he need to be embarrassed by this interim manager? NO! Should have been handled behind closed doors! Starlin seemingly has a fine attitude, does not show-boat or slack-off and should be treated well! Quade is a chump for making this a story in the media!
Bruce Levine (1:41 PM)
I agree all players should be treated equally, and if he's going to discipline Castro for mental lapses, he should do same things with veterans. otherwise it could be viewed as a grandstand play.
Hey Bruce, Are the Sox a real title contender
Bruce Levine (1:42 PM)
I believe they are the second-best team in the AL right now. I believe the Yankees are the only team that's better. Their challenge is to prove me right by getting into the playoffs. Manny adds tremendous aura to the Sox as well, regardless of the fact he's not the power hitter he used to be.
Is it an indictment on Lou because the team obviously was affected by his off-field family issues? The team has actually won for Quade, which couldn't really be said Piniella.
Bruce Levine (1:44 PM)
Let's not get too excited about the Cubs' record since Lou left? Let's look at who they defeated here. They swept Washington, 2 of 3 from Pittsburgh, 2 of 3 from Mets, game from Houston. These are 3 of the worst teams in the NL. I'm not punishing Quade or the Cubs for winning, but it is September and these are bad teams. Let's try to have a little perspective. Also the resurgence of Carlos Zambrano is a big part of this, not the switch of managers.
What type of local media treatment do you think Sandberg would get if hired? As a fan, I'm worried he won't be held to the same level of accountability by the media as someone who hadn't played here. If the Cubs do well, that won't matter, but if they struggle do you see him getting a longer honeymoon than an outsider?
Bruce Levine (1:46 PM)
I don't think there's any honeymoon for a Cubs manager. The only thing Cubs fans will stand for now is a winning team. The team's success on the field will dictate how the media reacts to Sandberg.
Jackson, Floyd, Danks. That has to scare some teams if the Sox make it to the playoffs.
Bruce Levine (1:46 PM)
Nothing wrong with Buehrle or Garcia either. Both are big-game pitchers. I don't think anyone is scared, but the Sox may have the most capable pitching staff.
Bruce,Would you be for or against a new stadium for the Cubs? I was in Cincy for a game last weekend, not a bad seat in the building. Surely we could build a new stadium with some of the 'old Wrigley' feel. I know I might get shot for that suggestion, so I didn't use my real name.
Bruce Levine (1:48 PM)
I loved old Comiskey and I hated when they ripped it down, but I like this place a lot better. Why wouldn't everyone feel that way about Wrigley? Amenities are what sports are all about in 2010. They could bo both.
Derek (Country Club Hills)
is it safe to assume Garcia is gone next year after the edition and great performances by edwin jackson?
Bruce Levine (1:49 PM)
It depends if you can get a deal for $1m a year for ap itcher like that again. That's one of the best bargains for any team this year. I wouldn't be surprised if they offered hiim another year.
Adam Dunn???? Nooooo!! The errors, Bruce, the errors!! Can they at least play clown music on the organ whenever the Cubs take the field??
Bruce Levine (1:50 PM)
Would you prefer Carlos Pena? Somebody has to drive in a run in the middle of the order. Unless you're convinced it's Tyler Colvin.
What do you think our starting rotation is going to look like next year? With Sale now in the mix are we going to get rid of floyd or danks?
Bruce Levine (1:51 PM)
To me the pen is more important than the rotation. I know it sounds ridiculous, but if you have good starters and great releivers you have a chance to win. Sale to me is a closer/set-up man.
With Zambrano's recent success, do you think it's in the the Cubs best interest to keep him for next year?
Bruce Levine (1:52 PM)
That's the conundrum for the Cubs. If he pitches great the rest of the year, you're going to say he's back and is the pitcher he used to be. If he gets sloppy about his habits again in the offseason he might go back to the pitcher he's been the last two years. I don't think there' san exact science as to how to figure it out. But i would say if the Cubs have a good offer they will consider it: $36M can be used elsewhere.
I'm surprised to see you think the Sox will still win the division. What records do see the Sox and Twins posting the rest of the way?
Bruce Levine (1:53 PM)
I believe the Sox will play at least .600 ball, and that might not be enough. I see some wear and tear on the Twins' staff that may result in them having to outslug some teams. With the injuries to Kubel and Morneau out the rest of the year, that puts a lot of pressure on the offense. I like the Sox, I can't tell you why, but I do.
Do you think the MLB network will be able to come up with as compelling of a reality show as HBO's Hard Knocks is? I enjoyed the Club and the Pen but it's no where near what Hard Knocks is.
Bruce Levine (1:55 PM)
Different sport with different mentality and different ebb and flow to it. Football is a more in-your-face sport. The mentality is different and that's probably why you enjoy Hard Knocks more than you would The Club.
Which one of the cubs young potential starters do you see making the biggest impact in the future? Cashner (if he moves to the rotation), Jackson, Diamond, Archer, etc.
Bruce Levine (1:55 PM)
Haven't seen Jackson yet. According to scouts and baseball people outside the organaization, Archer has the biggest upside, so I'll go with him.
You address the Cubs' terrible bullpen in your blog, but what is the bigger issue with the overall staff: finding and acquiring talent or coaching up the talent they have? Virtually every starter and reliever struggles with throwing strikes that don't get hit 410 feet.
Bruce Levine (1:57 PM)
First of all thanks for reading the blog. I appreciate your interest. Secondly the talent level coming up to the Cubs is not all MLB caliber. People get confused sometimes when they see players in big-league uniforms. They confuse them with being finished products. There are 4-A players who have come up and pitched for the Cubs in the bullpen this year. Some of them you can't project as productive MLB players in the future.
Jason T. (Chicago (Bridgeport))
Bruce, If Manny Ramirez has a great rest of the season and helps the Sox get in to the playoffs. Do you see him staying with the Sox?
Bruce Levine (1:59 PM)
If you can tell me whether the Sox bring back Konkerko and A.J., I'll have a bette ridea if they'd be interested in bringing back Manny. In general, my gut feeling is it's a 30-day association and 60 at its very best.
Derek (Country Club Hills)
But if they did resign Garcia... with Burlehe Preavy Floyd Danks... where would garcia fit?
Bruce Levine (2:00 PM)
I'll answer your question with a question, how often does a team go through a season without an injury to a starting pitcher, ie Jake Peavy. And what makes you think Peavy will regain form of the past?