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 (1:04 PM)
Welcome to Day 6 of the Theo Epstein saga. I think I spotted him and DiMaggio driving around this morning. I'm pretty sure it was DiMaggio but not sure about Theo. Welcome ...
Bruce: It seems that once the Red Sox grant permission to speak with Epstein, they're essentially saying that he's gone. After all, how do you tell your GM that's under contract for 1 more year that he's free to look elsewhere and then, if that does not work out, he's welcome back for the remaining year?
Bruce Levine (1:05 PM)
As the owner John Henry said in a radio interview on Friday, if an executive is asked to interview for a higher postion than he currently holds, the team has no choice but to let him interview. That is the assumption here.
Bruce, this does not seem like any Epstein hiring is going to be a methodical, step-by-step process that we hear about (i.e., we won't hear that the Cubs have permission to speak, and then they're negotiating, and then they offer him the job, etc.). Instead, the next we hear is either that Epstein is the next GM or the Cubs are continuing their search. Agree?
Bruce Levine (1:07 PM)
I agree but from the people I talk to with the Cubs they are already in position to speak to other candidates and have done so in some cases. There is one other possible situation and that is the Angels job. That could be added leverage for Epstein. All the baseball people I talk to say the Angels are hiring from outside the organization.
John (Oak Park)
What are the Cubs options if they do not land Theo?
Bruce Levine (1:09 PM)
Their options are the rest of the baseball world outside of Friedman, Cashman and Beane. There are great baseball people out there. The Sox's Rick Hahn, Arizona's Jerry DiPoto, even Ben Cherington with Boston is considered a top choice. It won't be the end of the world if Epstein decides to stay.
John (Oak Park)
What kind of compensation do you believe the Red Sox will demand in return?
Bruce Levine (1:10 PM)
Not much because they have let him talk. But if it's for a job above GM they probably could ask for a minor league player. Something beyond a middle-range prospect is not realistic.
Nathan J. (Macomb, IL)
What do you think the Cubs' odds are at making a run at Fielder? Also, is Marshall a candidate to be moved this offseason?
Bruce Levine (1:12 PM)
The Cubs need pitching if they are going to compete. Fielder would just be eye candy for the fan base. If you want to put 20 percent of your payroll toward one player that's great but it's not going to solve their problems. I can't imagine the Cubs trading probably the best lefty setup man in the game. He pitched in half the games and his WHIP was the lowest on the Cubs. Nobody was more effective than he was from the left side out of the bullpen in either league.
Ryan (Evergreen Park)
Bruce,What are the chances that Ricketts replaces Crane Kenney as team president? Or is this the carrot the Cubs are dangling to get Theo or another big name GM over here?
Bruce Levine (1:14 PM)
Theo is not going to be involved in the business end of the operation. If he is that would be a huge mistake. His expertise is in baseball. That's why you're hiring him. They might give him a title that's equal to Kenney's but it would almost assuredly be as top baseball executive, president or king of emperor or whatever you want to call him. His power base will be on the baseball side.
Wes (Mt. Vernon)
The NL central will still be up for grabs next year with Fielder moving and stl not making any major addition. What can the Cubs add to realistically make a run? This year shows you don't need to be the best team, just get hot in the postseason.
Bruce Levine (1:15 PM)
Here's what they could add: John Danks, James Shields and J.A. Happ. If they could make a trade for any of the three it would be a strong move. Unfortunately outside of Marmol and Soto, they don't have a lot to trade.
Why not Beane, Bruce? Has he said anything or permission not granted or something? Seems like its been quiet on that side.
Bruce Levine (1:17 PM)
In order to get Beane or Friedman you'd have to give up ownership points. They both have those deals with their present teams. More importantly, I don't think either wants to really go anywhere. Friedman has a well-oiled machine in Tampa, Beane has a sweet deal in Oakland where he doesn't even attend many games. His passion is soccer. That's really not the guy the Cubs are looking for.
Where do you think Ramirez will sign next year?
Bruce Levine (1:18 PM)
My guess is either a team like the Angels or the Red Sox. Although the Marlins are in dire need for some pop on the left side of their infield especially if Hanley Ramirez doesn't regain his form. Ramirez would prefer an East Coast team because of spring training in Florida and closer proximity to the Dominican.
Tommy (Green Bay) (Green Bay)
Any chance K-Rod comes to the Cubs?
Bruce Levine (1:19 PM)
I don't see why. The Cubs have some bullpen arms that are equivalent or better to K-Rod. And since Boras is his new agent you're not going to get any bargain deals.
With Rami being essentially gone, who do u see at third next year? Maybe someone like Kouzmanoff ro someone with the team now?
Bruce Levine (1:21 PM)
LeMahieu could fit in at third. But it's difficult to project him as a power source. I think defensively he would make all the plays and cover more ground than Ramirez, but he might end up with Brent Morel-type numbers for the season.
While I'll admit that sometimes Carlos Zambrano needs to pick his spots for his flip outs/etc.. I think he was essentially a fall guy/distraction for how bad the Cubs truely were. Your thoughts on this and whether Big Z could be on the Cubs opening day roster next year?
Bruce Levine (1:23 PM)
He probably could have won 14-15 games but his selfish attitude on the field was something the Cubs couldn't put up with anymore. He was well liked in the clubhouse and a big contributor to charities and local churches during his time with the Cubs. Cubs officials have said they will do everything they can to trade him in the offseason.
Two questions, when do you think the Cubs name their GM and do you see Soriano getting delt? I know they would have to eat a ton of money but is there anyone who would need a DH and take him?
Bruce Levine (1:25 PM)
The Cubs will eat a good portion of that contract if they can open up LF for someone else. His 26 homers and 88 RBIs are something an AL team should be interested in for the right price. My gut is that, if Epstein is the guy, it will be this week. There has been too many baseball people that feel Theo is in the midst of trying to get the best deal he can with the Cubs.
Mark (Aurora, IL)
If the Cubs were able to trade Soriano by sending cash with him, would the cash cout toward the 2012 payroll or each year (2012-2014)? I realize there are exceptions but how is it generally done.
Bruce Levine (1:27 PM)
When you trade a player the entire amount of money that he's paid in the future has to come from the team he is on. So if they traded Soriano to Team Y, Team Y would have to send the cash considerations to the Cubs when the deal is made.
Big Mo (Chicago)
CJ Wilson, Garza, Dempster, Cashner, Samardzija - sound about right, Bruce?
Bruce Levine (1:28 PM)
Wilson is going to cost $100 million. He's the top left-handed free agent pitcher and the top free agent pitcher, period. I don't know if the Cubs want t ogo forth with that type of deal for a very good pitcher who may not be a great pitcher.
It seems like Selig doesn't like any announcements being made before the world series ends. Is that likely when we will hear something about the GM choice?
Bruce Levine (1:30 PM)
I don't think so. This thing can't drag on. The Red Sox are in the midst of finding a new manager. Either Epstein is going to be a the forefront of that or he isn't. This is the week that he has to make a decision.
Bruce Levine (1:32 PM)
Maybe we will have an Epstein press conference on or before our next chat at 1 p.m. Thursday. In the meantime Doug Padilla will take your questions on the White Sox new manager and his relatively inexperienced new coaching staff. Follow me on ESPNChiCubs for an update on Twitter this week. Talk to you next time.
Doug Padilla (1:32 PM)
The Robin press conference is complete. Let's talk White Sox.
Bill Wiggins (Rockville, VA)
Doug, who will be playing centerfield and please don't say Rios or De Aza?
Doug Padilla (1:34 PM)
Well they won't pay Rios $12.5 million to be the batboy. And nobody is going to take the money off the White Sox's hands. He'll have to play although he's shown he's better suited to a corner OF spot like right. That spot isn't available, though.
Hey Doug,Was Kenny serious about the possibility of making PK a player/manager? What was the context of that comment - seems a little far fetched
Doug Padilla (1:36 PM)
This one seems to be the hot topic of today's presser. Yes, KW said it, but he said it only came to him as a lesser option. Konerko wasn't on the main candidate list. KW thinks Konerko has the savvy to do it, but ultimately didn't want him to pour too much energy into 2 jobs. He just wants him to concentrate on hitting 30 and 100.
tony (justice IL)
will the white sox be contender next year cus this divsion is not this good
Doug Padilla (1:38 PM)
KW says he's convinced because Ventura is confident in the club. But don't underestimate the division. If the Tigers play well all season instead of the last 6 weeks, it could be rugged. Also, KC and MN will be much better next year. Watch out for KC if they get some pitching. And how about Cleveland's start in 2011?
Doug, manager with no coaching experience, bench coach with limit major league experience, hitting coach and 3rd base with no big league experience. Sounds like a really bad reality show. Should we be worried that this could end ugly?
Doug Padilla (1:39 PM)
Ozzie had no experience and his club won a World Series in Year 2. Not saying you should expect that, but there's no reason a young staff can't get the most out of its club. The worry should be more on the team and not the staff.
Do you have reason to believe Sox will get rid of most veterans, including buehrle? Is it youth only?
Doug Padilla (1:41 PM)
Doesn't look good on the Buehrle front. KW said today they will wait to see his market value and see if they are able to counter. The Sox can't go completely young, though. They aren't going to be able to dump many contracts and AJ and Konerko don't look like they are going anywhere. KW didn't call it rebuilding, he called it retooling.
Do you believe Jow Cowleys story that Don Cooper was a rat and if its true how can Robin Ventura trust him?
Doug Padilla (1:42 PM)
The coaching staff had its issues in 2011, no doubt. But Robin has his own relationship with Cooper and has no reservations about working with him.
Kenneth (North Carolina)
White Sox need to hire former Red Sox manager now.
Doug Padilla (1:43 PM)
Um, it's a little late now. And I thought that guy was an announcer now anyway.
Why didnt anybody in the Press Conference ask robin questions about his managerial philosphy, is he a stat guy when looking at matchups etc.... Do we have any info besides what was asked in the PC?
Doug Padilla (1:45 PM)
The beat guys asked that in a separate interview session. He didn't commit to one exactly, but he said he had to see how the roster develops. Sounded like he has the traditional leadoff man, move runners over approach, but has no issues playing big ball if that's what the roster dictates.
Eric B. (Decatur, IL)
Was Kenny Williams serious about considering Konerko as a player-manager? Last time I checked, it wasn't the 1940's anymore. If the Sox are being so cheap they were considering a player-manager, we can kiss resigning Buehrle goodbye.
Doug Padilla (1:47 PM)
Kenny just answered over my shoulder. He said he respects the man to consider it but it wasn't like he spent a lot of time on the thought.
If MB leaves will the Sox receive any draft pick consideration?
Doug Padilla (1:48 PM)
Yes they will. Depends on whether Buehrle is considered a Type A or type B free agent. Type A guys get a first-round pick back. Early indications are that he might be Type B. It's still to be decided though.
Do you think Sabathia opts out and becomes available?
Doug Padilla (1:49 PM)
Not sure if this is a White Sox or Cubs question but CC is expected to opt out and then re-sign with the Yanx.
Bill Wiggins (Rockville, VA)
I'm glad that Hawk will be back, I hope that Stone, Farmer, and Jackson will also be back. Have you heard anything about these excellent announcers?
Doug Padilla (1:51 PM)
Farmer and DJ are locked in. Stone seems safe to return too.
Did Robin say if he knows his current team personnel? Does he know the AL Central since he really hasnt been in baseball the last 3 years. Why would Mark Parent make a good bench coach(if he is chosen)? He doesnt have any big league experience as a coach or manager. Now, that isnt a must, but when your coaching staff hasnt coached in the big leagues besides your pitching coach and first base coach, seems like were in for a season full of major unknowns.
Doug Padilla (1:53 PM)
No, nobody knows exactly how the staff will do, but it isn't like they are new to baseball. There are enough minds on the bench to make the necessary decisions.
have not heard. Can I assume coaches were not officially named today?
Doug Padilla (1:53 PM)
Coaches were not named. KW said in the next day or two. Parent expected to be the bench coach, McEwing the third base coach. Manto or Laker as hitting coach. Manto looks like the guy, though.
Doug Padilla (1:55 PM)
Thanks for the questions. Until next week ... And yes, Kenny really did answer that one question over my shoulder. He just popped into the conference room and took a second to help us out.