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 (1:02 PM)
Welcome to the wonderful world of adding a different player every day on the North Side. I'm sure you will want to talk more about Garza and Wood over the next half hour. Welcome ...
Mr. Baseball (Lincoln Park)
Any Marlon Byrd rumors? Seems like he has been a hot topic of trade discussion yet it doesn't seem like anything has surfaced.
Bruce Levine (1:03 PM)
I think the Cubs have a priority to try to move Soriano first. They want to have better defense in LF. Keeping Byrd around as a centerfielder or backup would not be a crazy idea. They have talked to numerous teams about him.
Hey Bruce!Wondering what to make of the Matt Garza situation. I really like him, but can't help but daydream about the possibility of getting some top tier prospects in return. Do you think he's a Cub on opening day or are they going to ship him out to other pastures?
Bruce Levine (1:05 PM)
It's interesting because Garza fits into the long term plans for the team or he could bring back young talent. Unless the Cubs get everything they want for him in a trade, I don't believe they will pull the trigger. Discussing a long-term deal for him is also a possibility.
Andrew (Ann Arbor)
Do you think that the cubs will attempt to sign either Yoenis Cespedes or Jorge Soler
Bruce Levine (1:06 PM)
I think the Cubs have interest in both. Cespedes money seems to be skyrocketing as upwards of seven teams are interested. Don't discount the white Sox being part of that.
Do you know the prospects being discussed with the Tigers for Garza? Jacob Turner for sure but who else?
Bruce Levine (1:07 PM)
Turner would most likely have to be in the deal. But the Tigers have a top of the line third baseman in Nick Castellanos that they will refuse to trade. They would have been able to get Adrian Gonzalez if they would have included him last year.
TONY T (MANTENO,IL)
Soriano, is there any chance they trade him?
Bruce Levine (1:08 PM)
If they can find a willing partner in Baltimore or Seattle. The problem is both teams have been burned on free agent signings in the past so neither would be willing to offer much money in return.
Kerry Wood (Chicago)
Will I be a Cub this upcoming season?
Bruce Levine (1:09 PM)
I still think you will be and it probably will be done by Friday.
What is your take on the signing of Maholm?
Bruce Levine (1:10 PM)
He adds another experienced starter to the rotation and another left-hander. Having two in the rotation is something they haven't had for three years. As to what type of season they will have, your guess is as good as mine. As of right now, with the rotation they have, no one had over a .500 W-L record last year. Some of that was poor run production behind them.
Is the only hope of seeing B.Jackson at the major league level to start the year is if we move Soriano and/or Byrd?
Bruce Levine (1:12 PM)
Not necessarily. Epstein said he wouldn't start a player like Jackson unless everyone is comfortable that he is ready for the majors. Like Rizzo, he could start at Triple-A.
Devale (South Side)
Im pretty stoked we got Rizzo, am i overreacting?
Bruce Levine (1:14 PM)
Rizzo has a huge upside with big-time power. The swing and miss factor at the major league level was a concern. But they are expecting big things from him by 2013.
Bruce, with the Cubs trading for Rizzo, how do you see them spending that $10 million they had allocated to Pena last year? Do you see them making an even larger play for Cepedas?
Bruce Levine (1:15 PM)
There are still a couple parking lots around Wrigley that they haven't purchased. But seriously they are interested in spending money on international talent. I believe they will be in on both players all the way.
Paul (Columbus, Oh)
Any chance Soto is actually going to work out this offseason? Or should we look for him to be traded?
Bruce Levine (1:16 PM)
Soto has been a frustrating player since his breakout rookie season. But when you look around the major leagues at catching, he is still worth holding on to for now. There is no guarantee Castillo or Clevenger are going to be everyday catchers.
Full Monty (Peoria)
Maholm's signing will put the Cubs over on the 40 man roster. Do you expect a trade or is Bianchi or Mateo soon to hit waivers?
Bruce Levine (1:17 PM)
They haven't added him to the 40 yet but they will have to make a move. Somebody will have to be designated for assignment in the next few days. They also will have to make room for Wood if he signs later this week.
Soto seems like a good fit for Tampa, who could use the offensive and defensive upgrade at catcher. Any chance we see Wade Davis for Soto?
Bruce Levine (1:18 PM)
I doubt it. Again, catching is at a premium, but if they are offering Davis I would probably have to think about it.
Dino (Park Ridge)
Bruce - you along with many other folks (including me) thought Fielder was coming to Chicago. Where does he land now and for how much?
Bruce Levine (1:19 PM)
I still think Washington is the top team but I have been wrong before. Some believe the Rangers have been laying in the weeds and will be involved at the end.
Does Ricketts have the stomach to deal with a 90+ loss team and a fan base that will stop showing up after July 4th for the long term good?
Bruce Levine (1:20 PM)
Yes, i think he does. He hired Epstein and Hoyer to clear the path for a younger team that was built through player development. He's more than willing to deal with the growing pains although it won't be pretty.
The cubs have two 1B now, who gets the nod opening day ?
Bruce Levine (1:21 PM)
LaHair, according to Cubs executives. They have Rizzo penciled in to begin the season at Iowa. The Cubs don't believe that having a great spring training will automatically earn you a spot on the team.
abe (chi town)
why didnt the trade for rizzo include the compansation for hoyer... any update on that?
Bruce Levine (1:22 PM)
Haven't heard a word about the compensation talks but we continue to ask. No one seems to care very much at this point. It seems like business as usual for all three teams.
Are there truth to the reports of the Orioles sending back Brian Roberts in a trade for Soriano?
Bruce Levine (1:23 PM)
I haven't heard that. And Roberts is an injured player at this point who would probably clog up the development of Barney and other players at 2B.
Bruce, Are the Cubs waiting to see if the Rangers and Darvish fall through?The Rangers would be nice trading partners for Garza?
Bruce Levine (1:24 PM)
They were the team that wanted Garza all along. So yes, they would be a good trading partner with good young talent. I don't see the Darvish deal falling through.
Is there any chance Josh Vitters makes the opening day roster? He seems to have been in the minors too long for such a high draft pick.
Bruce Levine (1:25 PM)
Sure he will make the Opening Day roster but it appears to be Triple-A. Ian Stewart will be the starting 3B for the Cubs. Unless Stewart continues to struggle like last year in Colorado, I don't see Vitters on the major league team in the early part of the year.
What's the plan for Jeff Samaardabcoifbnopaebnaovbnosabnja now with the 2 new lefties? Seems like a slot for the 7th inning is what is best for him/cubs now?
Bruce Levine (1:27 PM)
Hoyer said today that Samardzija will get stretched out as a starter in spring training. He also left the door open for his return to the bullpen, too. But if Garza is traded, then there would be a competition for that fifth spot. That could be between Wells and Samardzija, depending on who the Cubs get back for Garza.
Do you see Randy Wells on the team this year or is he going to be sent packing, as well? 29 years old seems ancient for the team that is being put together right now.
Bruce Levine (1:28 PM)
He is arbitration eligible but they need pitching depth. Remember what happened last year after Wells and Cashner got hurt.
david (vabeach beachva )
Concerning Garza, is a trade likely to happen before arbitration figures have to be announced? I'd think a team would want to negotiate from their own platform.
Bruce Levine (1:29 PM)
It doesn't really matter because his number is going to be his number. He will make between $8-$9 million. If another team wants to negotiate a long-term deal after trading for him they have plenty of time to do that.
Mike Alioto (Oak forest)
Is their any chance to get Pena is coming back to the Cubs?
Bruce Levine (1:30 PM)
Zero at this point. LaHair is going to be the first baseman. Rizzo could be up as early as June depending on his development and LaHair's success.
Bruce Levine (1:31 PM)
Please continue to follow me and the Cubs on ESPNChiCubs on Twitter and I'll be doing reports on the radio beginning tomorrow with the kickoff to the Cubs Convention and their caravan ...
Doug Padilla (1:32 PM)
Good to be back. Let's talk White Sox.
SmoothQ (Palos Park)
If you had to guess, will Gavin Floyd be on the opening day roster?
Doug Padilla (1:33 PM)
I will say that he will. KW at least isn't shopping him. Now if somebody comes at him with an eye-opening offer, that could change, but that doesn't seem likely. Expect Gavin to be in the rotation this April.
Are the Sox done trading? If not who goes?
Doug Padilla (1:35 PM)
It seems that the White Sox roster, as you see it, is likely the one they take to Arizona. Can't really afford to lose any more vets in the pen. The rotation looks set. Can't add money for the lineup. They still need a utility infielder but that won't come via a trade you wouldn't think.
Did Kenny get enough for Quentin and Santos? Seems like he could have gotten more than just the salary dumps.
Doug Padilla (1:37 PM)
The prospects he got back have a chance to be good. They really do. But not everybody who makes it thier business to analyze this stuff agrees that all these guys will make it big. Not to avoid the question, but only time will tell. If anybody can get a pitcher to reach his full talent, Coop is probably that guy.
I know Rios makes a ton of money, but are the Sox at least entertaining the idea of him playing a corner with De Aza in CF? I am still recovering from the Rios "highlight" feature on South Side Sox blog today.
Doug Padilla (1:38 PM)
When we asked Ventura last month he said he had not yet entertained that idea. He's going to have to, though, because De Aza in center and Rios on a corner is their best defensive outfield. If we can see that, they should be able to see it too.
Ken (Tinley Park)
Are the Sox truly in "rebuilding" mode?
Doug Padilla (1:40 PM)
They never had a chance to be in a true rebuilding mode. If you can't shed Rios, Dunn and Peavy contracts then you can't really be in that kind of a mode. The Cubs look to be in more of a rebuilding mode than the White Sox.
SmoothQ (Palos Park)
If the Sox bottom out this year, is there any reason to expect KW loses his job at the end of the year?
Doug Padilla (1:41 PM)
Hard to say because of the Reinsdorf loyalty factor. But with Ozzie gone and a new manager in place, the hot seat belongs solely to KW. If Reindsorf also liked the moves that fail, he isn't likely to make KW pay the price for that.
Ken Collins (Murfreesboro, TN)
on a scale of 1-10 how good is Robin V going to be?
Doug Padilla (1:43 PM)
I think he's going to be better than most people think. He's a good guy who gets a ton of respect and doesn't seem to be a good guy that will get walked on. There will probably be some rough spots early (remember when Oz didn't know how to call a pitcher from the pen?) but he should be fine.
Sam D (Glenview)
Adam Dunn for Alfonso Soriano?
Doug Padilla (1:44 PM)
No. Not gonna happen. But there seems to be somebody who asks every week.
Carlos (Humboldt Park)
Do you think the Sox will add a veteran fourth outfielder as insurance in case Viciedo doesnt hit or Rios continues his struggles?
Doug Padilla (1:45 PM)
Yeah maybe, but I don't think it will be an impact type guy. More like the Lastings Milledge move from last year. Remember Lillibridge is in line to be the fourth outfielder.
Justin (Long Island)
Hey Doug, great work as always! Who do you see leading off this year? De Aza?
Doug Padilla (1:46 PM)
Had to post this just for the compliment. I say it's De Aza. Check out my post from yesterday. Copy and paste this link: http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/white-sox/post/_/id/8399/projected-white-sox-lineup-has-familiar-ring
Shawna (Gold Coast)
Brent Lillibridge is a beast. We know this. How do you see his role growing in 2012 if at all?
Doug Padilla (1:48 PM)
I think Lillibridge will be used in heavy rotation at all 3 OF spots (more than your typical 4th outfielder). I also expect him to get some time at second base this spring to not only be a backup there but to help push Beckham.
Jared Mitchell (South Side)
How is the future looking for me?
Doug Padilla (1:49 PM)
What will be really telling is whether or not you get an invite to big-league camp this spring. That should go a long way to saying just how the White Sox feel about your prospects of making it.
With the current Fab 5, do you see in 20 game winner in any of them, besides Sale sneaking up on some teams that never faced him?
Doug Padilla (1:52 PM)
I really think Danks can do it. He has the guts to do it anyway. It will be interesting to see what they have in Sale. 30 starts and 13-14 wins (I know, I know, Ws aren't the best indicator of success) in his first year as a starter will be huge.
Who leads the team in Wins, ERA, BA, HR, SB, and will Alexi get the gold glove this year?
Doug Padilla (1:53 PM)
In order: Danks, Floyd, Konerko, Konerko, De Aza. And yes, Alexei will win the GG. He sort of plateaued last season and I think he pushes himself to not let that happen again.
SmoothQ (Palos Park)
This may be a tough question for you to answer. But, do you have any idea how highly the White Sox FO values sabermetrics?
Doug Padilla (1:56 PM)
They put a solid emphasis on it. Not saying it's the deciding factor in all their moves, but they have a guy that works closely with KW to break down those numbers.
For all the consternation about the present offseason, aren't the Sox in a similar situation to where they were after 2007? They were able to bounce back in 2008 when nobody expected them to by getting big contributions from some younger players (Quentin, Danks, Floyd, etc.) If some of the young guys (Sale, Humber, Viciedo, etc.) take a nice step forward and some of the 2011 disappointments rebound, couldn't the Sox surprise in 2012??
Doug Padilla (1:57 PM)
That's the hope anyway. Contributions from the young guys will go a long way toward helping, but it won't matter if Dunn and Rios can't move toward their career averages as well.
Sherwin (The Bullpen Bar)
Hey Doug, what do you think Tyler Flowers' contribution to the team will be this year? Will he playing kind of 'Roman Castro' role where he spells AJ? Or is the team still convinced he's Joe Mauer 2.0?
Doug Padilla (1:59 PM)
He will play more than Castro did, and nobody's saying he's going to be the next Mauer. He should get plenty of chances to play. Put it this way, it doesn't seem like there is any chance of AJ catching 1,000 innings again this year.
Kerry (Evergreen Park)
Doug, just how much did #56 rub off on Danks, and will his influence and friendship with John be apparent in the way he throws and conducts himself as a leader now?
Doug Padilla (2:02 PM)
Those guys are really similar in terms of being laid back while finding a way to get nasty come game day. I think it was good for Danks to see that his approach and personality has been successful at this level. It helped him to be himself. Buehrle led by working hard and being a good guy. Danks does that too and doesn't have to change at all now that Buehrle is gone.
Paul (Clarendon Hills)
Whats the biggest difference between Walker and the new hitting coach?
Doug Padilla (2:04 PM)
Walk was huge on mechanics, passing along what he had learned over the years from some of the greats in the game. He coached the mental side as well, but the word is that Manto will stress the mental side even more. Manto wants you in a great frame of mind to hit, then he will go to work on mechanics.
At this rate, who is the opening day starter?
Doug Padilla (2:04 PM)
Ryan ((Wicker Park))
Is Chris Sale the next Clayton Kershaw?
Doug Padilla (2:07 PM)
No. Lots of differences but they do have that live fastball. Kershaw can vary his velocity so much and relies heavily on a curveball. Sale is more of a slider guy. Kershaw struggled in the early going with loocation and Sale seems ahead of him in that regard.
Doug, are the Sox still trying to land either Yoenis Cespedes or Jorge Soler?
Doug Padilla (2:08 PM)
All indications are that they remain very interested, especially in Cespedes.
Andy (chicago )
is our best hitting 3rd baseman coaching the team
Doug Padilla (2:11 PM)
Morel has it in him. Not gonna say he's going to drive in 19 runs every month like he did in September, but if anybody can get some consistency out of him it could be Robin. I think the Ventura/Morel dynamic is one of the more interesting things to watch in 2012. Both are central California natives and residents. Don't understimate that part of their connection.
Doug Padilla (2:12 PM)
Folks, it's been fun. Wasn't sure we'd have enough to talk about for an entire half hour but there was even more stuff I wasn't able to get to. Send it in again next week. Talk to you then.