Chat with Bruce Levine, Doug Padilla
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! Baseball beat reporters Bruce Levine and Doug Padilla stop by Tuesday to chat.
Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000. Padilla covers the White Sox for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.
Send your questions now and join the chat Tuesday at noon CT/1 p.m. ET!
Bruce Levine (1:03 PM)
Could be a very active time for the Chicago Cubs. Lots of things happening, including the possibility that Matt Garza goes on the DL. Welcome, let's go.
Rich (On vacation in Sundane, Wy.)
Colorado Rockies had a great April but gone 6-14 in May. What's happen to them?
Bruce Levine (1:04 PM)
If you try ESPNDenver.com .... wait, Carlos Gonzalez has to get the job done, and he has not been hot. Also run production has to be better. But you have one of the best managers in the game and things will be alright. On to Cubs talk.
Even without high hopes for the season, I've been very disappointed. Do you see a major overhaul of upper management if this season continues as it has started?
Bruce Levine (1:06 PM)
Tom Ricketts has to look at himself first and know you deducted $16M from the payroll. Jim Hendry was forced to trade Tom Gorzelanny to have enough money to pay Carlos Pena. So look in the mirror first if you're ownership, and if you're Hendry and his people, decide when it's time to pull the plug on 2011. Obviously, it's a little too early.
Tyler R (Knoxville, Tn)
Any news on Soto's rehab? When will he make a rehab start?
Bruce Levine (1:07 PM)
I'll check on that today. Keep checking ESPNChicago.com.
Ryan O' (Chicago)
Do you think the Cubbies will make any trades this season to get younger and build for the future? Like trading Big Z to a contender for some highly rated prospects.
Bruce Levine (1:08 PM)
If they're 10 games out at the break, that's what they should do. They should move their veterans. That's how some teams astutely rebuild their franchise. This would be an ideal year for the Cubs to do that. They don't have a lot of desirable players. Teams might want Ramirez if he straightens out, and they might want Zambrano if he stays ok. But those are huge contracts, and Ramirez is a potential free agent in November. Both also have no-trade clauses, and Soriano is not tradeable.
Bruce,Last week when the cubs demoted Colvin, Hendry made the comment that the cubs were in the "production business". Is he serious ? Can he really say that with a straight face as they trot Soriano out to LF everyday ? Come on. The guy has to be the worst OF'er I have ever seen. Does he think we're stupid ?
Bruce Levine (1:10 PM)
Hendry did not sign Soriano. That was management above Hendry who signed that deal when Jim was on an airplane. Refer your regrets to them.
Should the Cubs try to trade for Kevin Slowey? The Twins are looking to move this guy and we need another starter. He might be a decent #4 or 5 for us??
Bruce Levine (1:11 PM)
I'm all for trading for young people you think are going to be productive. Anyone 28 and younger who Cubs have some control over as far as contract, to me is a good idea. The Sox have been able to compete for years now, trading for other people's underachieving young players. The Cubs are in position to do that this year as well.
Bruce, overall baseball question for you here. All this talk about it being the Year of the Pitcher, but what do you think about the idea that we're finally seeing hitters come back to reality now that there is a more stringent PEDs testing policy in play? Relative to the Cubs then, could more .500ish parity allow for a glimmer of hope for this season, that if a team can linger around .500, a Aug-Sept. hot streak could be what makes or breaks a team?
Bruce Levine (1:14 PM)
Teams are drafting better athletes than they did five years ago. Everybody wants to find speed players because of the fact PEDs are generally out of the game. The parity is part of NL baseball. An example is 10 days ago the Reds looked like the 2nd best team in the NL, since then they looked like one of the worst. The real answer is they're neither. And yes, the Cubs can compete, but not by losing a different player almost every day.
Guys whose going to be the main player to take over for Byrd during DL stint? Will this kid Montanez be in the running and what do you know about him? Thanks
Bruce Levine (1:16 PM)
Montanez, as we have in our news story, is a former No. 1 pick as a shortstop out of Miami. He didn't hit and wasn't a great SS either. But as he's matured, so has the bat. He can be a decent extra outfielder. But this is no kid and this isn't someone they expect to win a an everday job.
Tyler R (Knoxville, Tn)
Will the Cubs ever learn Russell is not effective as a starter? I hate watching hi pitch and he is 0-5. We are just giving games away when he takes the mound. In relief however he is good with the 0.00 era. Now that Garza is hurt will he be the fill in starter again or will we call someone up like Jay Jackson?
Bruce Levine (1:17 PM)
Garza's role will be filled by Randy Wells this weekend. Therefore Cubs will not have to make any decision on another starter. The hope is that Wells, Doug Davis and the improving Casey Coleman can help you compete or stay afloat. It will not be easy.
Adam (Loop) [via mobile]
Hi Bruce - I know the Cubs don't want to rush him and he's coming off an injury, but with Byrd out for an extended period of time, when can we expect Brett Jackson in the line up? I love the idea of Jackson, Barney, and Casto at the top of the order.
Bruce Levine (1:18 PM)
Jackson has just finished rehabbing a broken finger. He's going back to Double-A. He'll need some time to get his legs and stroke under him.
Are the Cubs doomed this year by an onslaught of injuries? I don't think they're deep enough to overcome all of the DL trips
Bruce Levine (1:19 PM)
Nobody is deep enough to overcome 3 starting pitchers going on the DL. That's not an excuse, but we weren't really sure how much Cashner would contribute as a starter. Garza is pretty much the season for the Cubs. We'll know later today how long they think he'll be out.
Did the cubs make any efforts this offseason to go after Adrian Gonzalez? It s
Bruce Levine (1:20 PM)
Yes. They had inquiries about him numerous times. But remember Gonzalez was going to be a free agent after this season. So ownership would have had to sign off on a possible long-term deal before you trade a top prospect for a one-year wonder.
joel (lake forest)
with all the money coming off the books for the cubs next year, better idea to spend it, or save it and let all the young guys play untill soriano is off the books and they really can do soemthing
Bruce Levine (1:21 PM)
Remember you have to support $120 box seats. Give those people a reason to buy them. The Cubs can't be Kansas City or Pittsburgh. If you hurt your fan base, you're really up against it.
I am sorry Bruce, but Quade is not the answer. Can we start looking at possible replacements after this season.
Bruce Levine (1:22 PM)
I didn't hire Quade, contrary to your belief. But I really don't think he's the reason their record is five games under .500. They had a marginally competitive team going into the season, and after all the injuries, it's not competitive.
I am assuming the Cubs will not be buyers this summer, so who do they sell? I think Ramirez, Baker while he is hot, Fukudome??
Bruce Levine (1:23 PM)
You have to ask yourself if you're a GM how much you would give up for Baker or Fukudome. Both decent players, not difference makers. Teams are looking for difference makers when it comes to the trading deadline.
Craig (Peoria Il)
What is the point of having 2 young kids in Campana and Castillo riding the bench when everyone knows they are not going to win this year?
Bruce Levine (1:25 PM)
I like Campana as much as you do. And maybe with Byrd hurt, he'll get a chance to play. Sometimes organizations don't know what they have until they put a guy out there and he competes. An example would be Theriot and Barney. Castill is still learning his trade as far as calling games. Physically he's a better catcher than either Soto or Hill but that's not necessarily what catching is about.
Bruce, We all know this team is going nowhere. Please tell me at some point this year we're going to see some more kids. For example, we know Fukudome will not be here next year, what is the point of playing him when you have the opportunity to see if Colvin or some other young player can do the job ? Ryan Flaherty has 10 Hr's 46 RBI's in AA. I'd much rather see him than the whirly bird. Agree ?
Bruce Levine (1:26 PM)
On the surface as a fan, I agree with you. As a baseball guy who covered the game for 30 years, there's a marketing and ownership element that goes with it. They owe the fan a good product, so eventually they might get around to the fact it could be younger organization players who fill the need.
What is the buzz surrounding Cashner's shoulder injury? The relative silence is deafening.
Bruce Levine (1:27 PM)
Cashner will rehab the same way he did the first time. It will be until at least mid-July. After two injuries in the same spot, you may see the Cubs shut him down after that.
Sam Fuld has more rbi's than Ramierez so how can Hendry say its al about production?
Bruce Levine (1:30 PM)
You're right saying it's generally about production is not correct. It's about production and long-term contracts that you can't move or get out of. Every team has them, including the Red Sox and Yankees. So that was a general statement but not blanket statment.
Bruce Levine (1:31 PM)
Should be a very active week for the Cubs. The next couple of weeks could determine what direciton they go the rest of the season. Know more about Garza today. My sense is he goes on the DL. Now to Doug and the White Sox.
Are you going to answer any questions regarding the White Sox?
Doug Padilla (1:32 PM)
We are now. Is that the only question you had?
Neel Patel (Aurora, Il)
What does Mark Buerhle need to do to get back into All-Star form?
Doug Padilla (1:34 PM)
Not sure I know what you mean, exactly. He's pitching about as good as anybody on the White Sox staff. Hasn't allowed three or more runs in his last 5 outings and the Sox have won the last four. If you want to know when he's going to throw another perfect game, ask anybody and they'd bet he'd be the last one to do it. Buehrle pitches to contact and pitches best when the defense is working behind him.
Bill Wiggins (Rockville, VA)
I think the Sox should stop trying to steal and stop trying to bunt until they find someone who can do it! What do you say?
Doug Padilla (1:36 PM)
I agree, to a point. Pierre and Ramirez are not good at the sacrifice, but Pierre is excellent at bunting for hits. Go figure. When the offense is more in sync, it could go away somewhat, but Ozzie has always been fond of smallball. But yes, not everybody is cut out for the sacrifice.
Tommy Peters (Romeoville)
Is it just me or do the sox play scared? Especially with runners in scoring position.
Doug Padilla (1:38 PM)
Yes, they do seem to be pressing and they are aware of it. Everybody wants to be the guy that gets the offense on track. It's a fine line between patiece and urgency. Clearly they have been better over the last 3 weeks, not counting last night against a tough TX pitcher.
Rob Slater (Elk Grove, IL)
Are there any rumblings in the baseball world about MLB cracking down on Joe West and his shenanigans? As an umpire it is hard to stomach some of his antics at times.
Doug Padilla (1:39 PM)
Haven't heard Rob, but yes, he does seem to make it about him at times. Interesting he hasn't been on a White Sox series this season, at least not that I remember. MLB might be avoiding that matchup.
Are Adam Dunn's stats the result of a good player just having a difficult run, or is there something deeper which could be more concerning? What is causing this atrocious start?
Doug Padilla (1:41 PM)
The deal with Dunn is that you have to take the good with the bad. But the good has been nearly nonexistent aside from the West Coast trip. At every one of his stops, he has critics who think more production should come from his potential. And that criticism has started here too. His strikeouts will happen, but he needs to have more of those good days too. He's not going to hit just 10 HRs this year, that's for sure.
any chance the sox send Sale to the minors
Doug Padilla (1:43 PM)
There's always a chance. They would still have 2 lefties in the pen with Ohman and Thornton and should be able to get by with that. He looks rattled so maybe lesser competition can get him back on track. It'll be interesting to see what happens next week when the 6-man rotation experiment ends.
Paul (Clarendon Hills)
What do you think of moving Dunn down in the order? The only positive to Dunn's game right now are his walks. Have the Sox considered dropping him in the order?
Doug Padilla (1:45 PM)
They already did it earlier in the season, remember. Ozzie says he doesn't want to juggle his lineup so much by taking a flyer on a hot hand. If somebody deserved to be in the 3 spot, like Quinten did earlier this year, moving Dunn down might be easier. Doesn't help him now that Konerko has cooled off too.
Mark B (Chicago)
I thought Dyan Viciedo was orginally a third baseman...Why can't he come up as a 3rd baseman?
Doug Padilla (1:47 PM)
Knowing that an OF spot will come open next season (Pierre is a free agent after this year) the White Sox gave Viciedo a position that would open sooner rather than later. They have targeted Morel as the 3B of the future and it does no good to have them fighting each other for playing time.
John (Minnesota, unfortunately)
The Sox are clearly playing more toward their potential. But can the Indians keep this up? I'm willing to admit they're better than I thought they would be, but best in the league? No way.
Doug Padilla (1:49 PM)
Pretty sure they can't kep this up, but I kept saying the same thing the year the Rays emerged and won the AL East. The White Sox are playing well against CLE though, so we'll see if that continues. That would be huge toward closing a gap that hasn't seemed to move even though the Sox are playing better.
What is a possible solution for Danks' 0-7 record? Can you see Ozzie sitting him down for a week or so?
Doug Padilla (1:51 PM)
Danks isn't going anywhere. He's pitched well for the most part, but has had no run support, has been matched up agianst some tough opposing starters and has allowed the big hit at times. Maybe they try skipping his spot in the rotation when the 6-man ends. But Oz said last night that he has no intention of taking Danks out of the rotation.
Greg (San Rafael, CA)
Ive been asking this question to myself for a long time. Why is Tony Pena still on this team? Can't we find anybody better to fill that spot?
Doug Padilla (1:53 PM)
I hear you frustration Greg, but Pena has pitched a little better of late. There are about 1 million reasons he isn't going anywhere, though, despite his early struggles. That mop role can save some arms down there and he did his job just fine over the weekend.
JOhn (Cincinnati, OH)
Long term: You like Santos as the closer?
Doug Padilla (1:54 PM)
Heck yeah. Fearless, nasty slider with a live fastball and let me go with fearless again. I want to see how he rebounds after Friday's blown save.
Andrew (St. Louis)
If you had to guess at this point, who do you believe will be the odd man out when the 6 man rotation ends?
Doug Padilla (1:56 PM)
It's a great question. Can't see any of them getting bumped. Maybe one gets skipped (Danks perhaps) as they continue to stall for time in trying to make a decision. Still too early in the Peavy recovery process to trade a guy, though. I wouldn't do it anyway. Humber has been great as a starter. It'd be a shame if he got bumped.
How is Beckham feeling? Do you think he can return to the form that we saw in the second half of last season?
Doug Padilla (1:58 PM)
It often looks mental with him. Still a young guy dealing with the best pitching he has ever seen as a baseball player. He does look better now. But it was only last week that he looked completely lost, striking out while barely putting up a fight.
Is there any chance that Lillibridge gets a permanent spot in the outfield?
Doug Padilla (2:00 PM)
Probably not. His versatility is valuable. There is a worry that he could be exposed by playing every day. Pierre finally looks better at the plate and he won't sendQuentin to the bench. Rios is making too much $ to try that experiment with him.
Andrew (St. Louis)
Is there a reason Morel has lost playing time to McPherson? He's gotten one start at 3rd base since his big homerun last week.
Doug Padilla (2:01 PM)
Oz trying to see what he has in McPherson. He had a good approach when he first came up last week. We'll see more of Morel on the road trip.
Doug Padilla (2:02 PM)
Great questions. Sorry I couldn't get to all of them. So from Texas I say, talk to y'all next week.