Chat with Bruce Levine
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! Baseball beat reporter Bruce Levine stops by Tuesday to chat.
Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.
Send your questions now and join the chat Tuesday at noon CT/1 p.m. ET!
ESPNChicago.com (1:03 PM)
Bruce is running a couple of minutes late.
Bruce Levine (1:05 PM)
Welcome to Cubs/White Sox chat room. Your teams are dangling pitching out there. Now that Darvish is designated there might be other movement. Let's go.
Tony (Dixon il)
How about Bret Jackson roaming the vast outfield of Petco Park while Anthony Rizzo hits monster homers in Chicago ?
Bruce Levine (1:05 PM)
That's one rumor. I don't see how you trade your top young prospect for somebody else's. Cubs need OF help a heckuva lot more than help at 1B.
Paul (Longmont, CO)
Bruce, the Cubs are talking with Paul Maholm's agent. What are the chances the Cubs will sign him?
Bruce Levine (1:06 PM)
Just depends on what direction they're going. From what I've seen, the direction may change on a weekly basis. Trading Garza, keeping Garza, getting Darvish, not getting Darvish, part of the topsy turvy world Epstein and Hoyer live in right now.
Is the Prince Fielder market weaker than he and Scott Boras thought? With the Rangers and Yu Darvish has another team moved out of the picture?
Bruce Levine (1:07 PM)
The Rangers were saying they weren't in it from 10 days ago. I still would not be shocked if they get back into it. They have a ton of TV money coming over the next couple of years. If they got Fielder to go along with Darvish, that would be the coup de gras and a real answer to the Angels.
Joey D (Chicago)
Bruce, any more updates with the Cubs and Padres over Anthony Rizzo? I would love for them to get him-22yrs, lefthanded bat, power,avg. Build with him and Castro in the infield
Bruce Levine (1:08 PM)
Sounds good, but you'd have to wonder why the Padres would move him rather than Alonso. Don't be so sure Alonso's not the one who will be traded, but it won't be for Garza. They're not looking for someone making $10M.
Lyle (Oak Lawn)
What have the Cubs done to improve so far? I know about the farm system, but how are we going to compete this season?
Bruce Levine (1:09 PM)
You have to assume these guys know what they're doing and give them some time. April 5 is still pretty far away. It just depends how good or bad they want to be this year. Would being good in short term really be the answer for long-term goals.
Linas (NW Indiana)
In your opinion where is Prince Fielder going to sign and when is he going to sign? I think we are all tired of waiting.
Bruce Levine (1:10 PM)
I still think the Cubs have a great shot. Especially if Fielder decides to take a shorter term. 4-5 year deal would make sense for a lot of teams, like the Cubs.
Do you think Dempster finishes the season with the Cubs? Seems like he might be a trade deadline target for contenders, no?
Bruce Levine (1:11 PM)
Totally in Dempster's control. He has a no-trade. As to whether he'd want to stay around on a team that's rebuilding, that's something he'd have to answer.
Do the Cubs have anything to offer for Gio Gonzalez?
Bruce Levine (1:12 PM)
You would hope they might. But the Billy Beane method is to get young people not ready to make money, so you'd eliminate people like Marmol and Soto in trades like that. Although come to think of it, he gets a high-profile player once in a while to trade them off again in July.
Do you really think the Cubs will trade Garza? Toronto seems like a perfect match!
Bruce Levine (1:13 PM)
I think you've identified a team that certainly might have interest now that they've missed out on Darvish. The difference between having Darvish and getting Garza is you'd have to trade players. That's a whole different dynamic.
Mike (Westford, MA)
Why does Brian LaHair get no credit. He had a better season at triple A than Rizzo and was pretty decent. He seems to get pushed aside for the next big thing. Save the money and find some pitching.
Bruce Levine (1:14 PM)
One is 22 and the other is 29. That's the difference between prospect and suspect. I think LeHair is a nice story, but he's not someone to build the future around.
If Cubs dont go after Fielder, is this a 100 loss team next year?
Bruce Levine (1:15 PM)
Depends on what they do with rest of the team. Are they moving Byrd, Garza? If they trade Garza, the losses probably will pile up.
Paul (St. Louis)
Bruce, I really like the guy but maybe it is time to sell high for a change on Marshal. What do you think?
Bruce Levine (1:16 PM)
He's your top left-handed set-up man in the NL, at the very least. If you're going to get young, high quality pitching back, I'm with you. The Cubs need to build their inventory of pitching, which is very weak at this point.
So far it seems all the Cubs have done this offseason is acquire players who are coming off of poor seasons with the hope that they will improve. Why am I thinking "meet the new boss, same as the old boss"? I know they are not trying to be in it this year but do they have a gameplan?
Bruce Levine (1:17 PM)
Their gameplan was changed significantly by the new CBA. They were going to strip it down and throw a ton of money at the amateur draft and international players. They still have high hopes for one of the Cuban players, but that gameplan is difficult to fathom at this point.
Likelihood of Sox moving Rios to LF and putting De Aza in CF?
Bruce Levine (1:18 PM)
I think they'll contemplate that, but Rios might end up in right with Viciedo in left. Have to be a little more athletic to play right.
JJ (carol stream Il)
Bruce what is the new GM doing with this team they sign an outfilder who is coming off his worst season and then trade for a guy who also had the worst season and yet A. Sorino is still on the roster what our we going to be watching next yr will we win 60 games
Bruce Levine (1:19 PM)
They're counting on fact DeJesus and Stewart had anamolies and will be going back to type of players they were previously. They have increased left-handed hitting and athleticism is better as well. Both are good defenders.
What about Edwin Jackson? He is a Boras client so he could be more expensive than what we are looking for but he is the same age as Garza and they would make a solid top of the rotation for the next few years if you can get them both locked up.
Bruce Levine (1:20 PM)
Doesn't make sense to throw $30M his way. You could sign him and trade him like everyone else has.
Are we being too impatient or is it time for Theo to give some direction of what's in store?
Bruce Levine (1:22 PM)
I think he's having a difficult time. He's making attempts at guys like Darvish, and the two Cuban kids. They could be much better by spring training if they get one of the Cubans, Brett Jackson is in the OF and they address some of the pitching needs a bit. Cincinnati already has made a strong move to get back to being one of elite teams in division.
Paul (Longmont, CO)
Is Tony Campana likely to make the team now that David DeJesus is a Cub?
Bruce Levine (1:23 PM)
Hard to say. They don't know much about Campana. I think he has some ability. We know he has one tool that's better than anyone else's with his speed. Do I see him as a starter for the Cubs? Why not if they're rebuilding.
Matt D (Lincoln Park)
Do the Cubs go all in for Cespedes? where would he play? its hard to see this team competing as of right now.
Bruce Levine (1:23 PM)
There's a younger Cuban player, just 19, that they may be more interested in. He might have a bigger upside down the road.
What is your guess as to where Danks ends up as well as whether we will get the top prospect/s KW is hoping for in return?
Bruce Levine (1:24 PM)
Danks could end up with either the Yankees, Toronto or a surprise team.
Hey Bruce, I kind of like the idea of Crisp playing left. There are rumors saying the cubs are in talks. How serious do you think those rumors are and what would the plan be with soriano if the cubs were to sign crisp?
Bruce Levine (1:26 PM)
You still have to move Byrd and Soriano at some point. Soriano's contract looks to be impossible to move. A lot of teams would like to have Byrd. Jackson has to have a spot.
Bob Hilgers (Neenah,Wisconsin)
What is Gordon Beckham's problem at the plate? Will he be able to fix it or should we sell while we still can?
Bruce Levine (1:27 PM)
For the lack of another term, he has a hitch in his swing. It's up to Jeff Manto to get him to relax and find the groove he had when he came up in 2009.
If Dunn and Rios were FAs, what type of money/years could they get?
Bruce Levine (1:27 PM)
After last season, Dunn would be a one-year deal as a DH for a low figure with a lot of incentives. Same thing for Rios.
Alex (Schererville IN)
I say trade Sean Marshall to Boston for Will Middlebrooks and trade Garza to the Padres for Rizzo and whoever else. What do you think of that Bruce??
Bruce Levine (1:28 PM)
San Diego not interested in Garza. I'm not opposed to trading anybody on the Cubs if you improve the team. I think Theo and Hoyer feel the same way.
What would it take to get Rizzo from the Padres? Seems like the front office loves him since they drafted him and then Theo traded him to Hoyer and the Pads.
Bruce Levine (1:29 PM)
Might take Cashner or McNutt. Position-play-wise, put in a combination of Junior Lake and a pitcher. They don't have much to trade.
If the 2012 season started on January 1, would the Cubs have a new first basemen or would they have to settle for Bryan LaHair.
Bruce Levine (1:30 PM)
Obviously LaHair, unless there's a Christmas Eve deal. I think their interest in Rizzo is real. Just don't know if they have the prospects.
How upset were White Sox fans trading away Santos when he was still under team control for a few more years?
Bruce Levine (1:31 PM)
I think the general public is confused by the trade. White Sox really don't have another closer to look at unless they develop Addison Reed. Maybe that's the way they're going to go.
michael beaudoin (waukegan,il)
Are there any closers who can get the job done, than marmol?
Bruce Levine (1:32 PM)
Samardzija or Cashner can do it. I think Samardzija made some great strides but he's been told he'll ge a shot at the rotation.
Bruce,It seems like things are cooling off on the White Sox trade front. Are the Yankees interested in making a deal for Danks involving one of Montero/Banuelos? Will things start to heat up? will they stand PAT?
Bruce Levine (1:33 PM)
I think there's some hesitation in trading Montero. But closer you get to spring training, the more you think the Yankees will be involved. Also, don't count out Garza as someone they'll be interested in.
Capi (Miami, FL)
Hi Bruce. With Darvish going to the Rangers, what other teams are there showing strong interest in Garza and what are the chances the Cubs trade him? Personally I don't think he should be traded unless the offer is too good to pass.
Bruce Levine (1:34 PM)
You can either trade him or re-sign him. He has two years left. You might want to sign him to a long-term deal if you beleive in his talent. I don't know if the Cubs are at that point.
Paul (Longmont, CO)
Bruce, who is more likely to sign with the Cubs, Tim Wakefield or Paul Maholm?
Bruce Levine (1:35 PM)
Maholm is probably a better idea. They need a lefty in their rotation and he's an innings guy. Wakefield was at my bar mitzvah, which makes him pretty old.
How does the new Cubs brass feel about the 2011 draft? Obviously they inherited the class. Are they enthusiastic about Jim Hendry's last hoorah?
Bruce Levine (1:37 PM)
They were impressed wtih the Cubs' last draft. They were directed to spend money for a change in the draft and they seem to have spent it wisely. This year's draft will be more of an even playing field. Teams can't just spend without paying taxes.
Chad (Goshen, IN)
What will it take to get Danks from the South Siders? I'd be willing to give them Marmol and a prospect.
Bruce Levine (1:37 PM)
If you want to get creative, that's not enough. They're not looking for a closer who blew 10 saves last year. If you want to get creative, start with Brett Jackson and Junior Lake.
Does the Ricketts $23 million purchase of the McDonald's property hurt the Cubs chances of begging for public money to rehab Wrigley Field?
Bruce Levine (1:38 PM)
Their contention will be that it's a private holding company that's not associated with the Cubs. It is an LLC with some of the Ricketts family being involved. Separate money.
Do you think Theo is more interested in Jorge Soler than Cespedes since Soler is much younger?
Bruce Levine (1:39 PM)
I'm hearing they like both, but Soler will cost them loss and may have a bigger upside. Cespedes is 26.
Bryan (Carol Stream)
The Sox recently traded their 28 year old closer Sergio Santos for Nestor Molina... Its a move that I'm fine with due to the need for prospects but it also leavings a gaping 9th inning hole. What do you think the odds are that they go after a Francisco Cordero to close?
Bruce Levine (1:40 PM)
No chance they're spending big money on a closer. The solution will have to come from within unless they get a great arm in the Danks trade. I still think Danks will be traded, but a lot of people feel they'll hold onto him now.
Joey (Tinley Park)
Hey Doug. My 12 year old son is keeping tabs on who is attending Sox Fest, still no Danks. Is this so long, Johnny, before the season begins?
Bruce Levine (1:41 PM)
They don't want to advertise a player who may not be around by Jan. 28. I can't tell you he'll be gone by then. Kenny has made a lot of trades around Sox Fest, and the longer you wait sometimes the more you get. At least that's what Doug told me.
William (NW Burbs )
Why wouldn't the Yanks want Garza?
Bruce Levine (1:42 PM)
Most likely they would. Not like Theo to let us know that's what they're thinking.
SteveFitz (Chicago, IL)
Will we ever know the Cubs bid price on Darvish?
Bruce Levine (1:43 PM)
No, because it's not really to the Cubs' advantage to let people think they didn't bid enough. If they bid $45 million maybe that would be different. But if they bid that much, how could people be writing that they don't have any money.
Mike Alioto (Oak forest)
Are the White Soxs heading down the samw road as the Cubs?
Bruce Levine (1:44 PM)
Kind of stuck in the same mode as the Cubs for a couple of years. Long-term deals, veterans who aren't at their peak, that's a tough place to be. The Cubs are still trying to shed the last few players with those contracts.
Do the Sox intend to have Chris Sale start? He looks like he could be a dominate closer in the future. Is he the answer to the 9th inning now that they traded Santos.
Bruce Levine (1:45 PM)
No. He's definitely going to get a shot to start. I thought it was a mistake to have him in the pen last year. But they've had good results with taking starting pitchers and putting them in the pen, like Garland and Buehrle. So maybe they know more than I do.
Hi Bruce- Any word on Soto being moved and handing the reigns to Clevenger/Castillo. I'm sure you could bring back a young arm/position player and save $4+ million.
Bruce Levine (1:46 PM)
Probably going to be closer to $5M, and one team with the most interest was Pittsburgh, which signed Rod Barajas. Don't see a suitor for him at this point.
What do you predict to be the Cubs next move?
Bruce Levine (1:47 PM)
I predict the Cubs will sign Paul Maholm at some juncture. Makes sense for them. They need a lefty.
Jeff N (Brooklyn, NY)
Bruce, it seems like picking up Fielder is a no brainer. He's 27, a power house hitter, great 1B, a superstar to build a team around for years to come. Why aren't the Cubs going all in on this guy? Offer him such a deal that no other team could come close. Seems like the best move. Do we really not have the $$?
Bruce Levine (1:49 PM)
They don't see him as an 8-10 year player. I think they would gladly give him a five-year deal. Remember the last 8-year deal they gave a player hasn't worked out so well.
Do you think there is any realistic chance A. Soriano is traded or are we stuck with him? From what I've heard, Tom Ricketts said he is willing to eat the big contracts, so are there any takers?
Bruce Levine (1:50 PM)
Yeah, $54M is a big meal. Some AL team might look at him as a DH. A team like Seattle with no offense whatsoever might be interested for a low amount of money.
Should we expect Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters in Iowa to start the year?
Bruce Levine (1:51 PM)
I assume they will, but if Jackson has a solid spring, hey might be in opening day lineup. Cubs fans have to have some hope for future but Epstein won't force him onto scene.
Andrew Cashner looks to have the stuff to be a starter, but it doesn't look like his arm can handle it. Do you think he stays in the bullpen this season to build up arm strength with the hopes that he's in the rotation in 2013? Thank you.
Bruce Levine (1:52 PM)
I'd just leave him as a bullpen guy, develop him as a close or primary set-up man. Two red flags with shoulder flareups.
If the Sox do poorly this year is Kenny canned?
Bruce Levine (1:52 PM)
Kenny's not going anywhere. Jerry Reinsdorf believes in Kenny and what he's done in the past and what he believes he'll do in the future.
Matt J (Lexington, KY)
Have you heard any talk of bringing back Pena at 1B? He works the count, gets on base, and plays good defense. Plus would not have to spend a lot of money or send the few prospects they do have in a trade.
Bruce Levine (1:53 PM)
It's possible he's already talked to Epstein and Hoyer about just that. Two-year deal for Pena wouldn't be a bad thing if the Cubs can't acquire Rizzo or Alonso.
Bruce, I am glad the Cubs didnt drop $51+ on Darvish... I don't trust Japanese players and think it is ridiculous to spend that much just to talk to them....thoughts?
Bruce Levine (1:55 PM)
So far you've been proven right. Matsuzaka only had that one bust-out year. But this may be a different type of Japanese player.
Mike (Oak Lawn)
Any chance Woody takes over the closer role for Marmol this year?
Bruce Levine (1:56 PM)
I wouldn't think so. I think he's still capable. But wouldn't you want to develop Samardzija, Carpenter or Cashner.
Jonathan Grey (Chicago)
Do the Sox lose Danks and Floyd by Opening Day? I won't be watching if this is the case.
Bruce Levine (1:57 PM)
I don't think anybody liked when Kenny traded McCarthy for Danks. They also didn't know who in the hell Gavin Floyd was or Quentin. So give Kenny a chance to show he can trade for good young players one more time.
Any chance Zambrano ends up in Miami with Ozzie?
Bruce Levine (1:57 PM)
I still think yes. But Zambrano will have more than just Florida as a suitor. That would be the best fit because of Ozzie.
Karl (Western Springs, IL)
Am I correct in thinking that it is quite possible the Sox are not going to get any good deals for the players available on the roster? I think Kenny over estimated the worth of some players and will not get what he wants for them. Hopefully not unloading them for nothing just to lower the payroll.
Bruce Levine (1:59 PM)
Patience is a great virtue and I think Kenny is doing the prudent thing by waiting. He doesn't have to trade Danks. He should wait and hear the best offers.
What are the chances the Sox trade Jake Peavy by july 31 trade deadline? Isnt he a free agent after this season.
Bruce Levine (2:00 PM)
Peavy has a no-trade. So if he's going to be dealt, he'll have to be involved in the deal. I don't know how anybody would be interested in dealing for him becuase of his injuries.
BruceCubs were in finals in AA and won championship at high A - is cupboard really bare?
Bruce Levine (2:01 PM)
They have some good looking young prospects down there, but they are just that. Nobody is predicting any greatness for their young guys at this point. But they have some talent. Not sure if Theo and Jed believe it, but they'll get a chance to see this spring.
Bruce Levine (2:01 PM)
Happy Holidays to all of our friends. Thanks for your support. Doug and I really appreciate it. Hopefully you'll have something in your Holiday stocking in the way of new players.