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 (1:01 PM)
Welcome to the chat room. Check out ESPNChicago.com's new story on Jim Hendry taking a job with the Yankees. Let's go
What type of numbers do teams expect from Cespedes in year one?
Bruce Levine (1:02 PM)
Very hard to project. But I'm sure they are not going to spend between $50-$60 million for a player they don't believe can contribute right away. Wherever he signs, his work in spring training will dictate where he starts the season.
chris (Arlington Heights)
Can we expect Soriano to become a platoon player along with Byrd, if he's not traded, if the Cubs sign Cespedes? Because the outfield would be full otherwise, I'm assuming B. Jackson is brought up early in the season.
Bruce Levine (1:03 PM)
I don't expect Soriano to be a part-time player for anyone. Either he is out there in the field or someone has written a check to give him his outright release. But 26 home runs and 88 RBIs should make you attractive to someone.
Adam (Highland, IN)
Bruce, any word on the Cubs and Cespedes? I know they were the team most interested in him according to him, but does that translate well to actually signing him?
Bruce Levine (1:05 PM)
No, not really. That's the agent's job. Cespedes will have a good support system regardless of where he signs. The Cubs, Marlins and White Sox appear to be the most aggressive teams at this point.
I do not understand all of this talk with moving Soriano. It is not like he is a bad clubhouse guy with issues like Z was. Since the Cubs would need to eat mostly all of his salary in any deal, why not hold on to him, get some HRs and RBIs from him and then if a team comes calling closer to the trade deadline due to an injury and is willing to eat more of the salary or offer up something better, do the deal then.
Bruce Levine (1:06 PM)
That's assuming he has had a productive season. If he has had a poor three or four months then you may never be able to move him. But I'm with you. Somebody is going to have to drive in a run on this team. And it might as well be Soriano.
Any updates on Soler?
Bruce Levine (1:07 PM)
As of this point we have not heard whether he has received Dominican citizenship. Until then he cannot apply to MLB for free agency. Cespedes is already going through the process.
Gerry (Des Plaines)
Bruce, love your work. It seems (barring spectacular performances in AZ) Rizzo and Jackson will start the year in AAA. When is it likely they will see big league action? How much of an impact will they have on this year's team?
Bruce Levine (1:09 PM)
Looking at the makeup of this year's 25-man roster, they could come up anytime. My guess is either one can come up in May or June depending on their production at Triple-A and the first baseman and CF's production at the major league level.
James (Fort Wayne, IN)
Are the Cubs going to lose someone the caliber of Brett Jackson in the Theo compensation deal? Could it be even worse?
Bruce Levine (1:10 PM)
Highly unlikely, according to people I talk to. I don't know where people are getting the information that the Red Sox are getting a highly rated prospect. There is no precedent for this. A lower-level minor leaguer and money should be the proper compensation package.
Hi Bruce- Soto's name has been out there in trade rumors...how close are Clevenger and Castillo to being MLB ready by April 5th. I'd love to move Soto for some younger player(s), save the $5 million, and see if either of these two guys can play.
Bruce Levine (1:12 PM)
It depends on where you're going to put the $5 million. Is it going into player development or further property purchases toward the rennovation of Wrigley? Major league catchers are very hard to find. Although Soto isn't perfect you would need to get top quality back. A rookie catcher is a very precarious position to be put in.
Bruce...Where would you bat Castro?...I hear so many fans say he can't bat third because of how he did last year...that seems shortsighted to me...I think he is the only guy on the roster TO hit third?
Bruce Levine (1:13 PM)
I'm with you. Castro has to bat third. Leading him off would be a waste of his productive bat. His 200 hits could drive in a lot of runs from the three spot. They could let DeJesus lead off.
AJ (Dixon Il)
With the signing of Miller , could the Cubs be stock piling lefties for a possible move of Gaub or Maine to the Red Sox for the Theo compensation ?
Bruce Levine (1:14 PM)
I would certainly hope not. The Cubs are counting on Gaub to vye for a bullpen spot this spring. Miller is 38, and he is just another security blanket for the staff.
David (Va Beach)
Are the Cubs looking at more than just the Cuban IFAs right now. Still some guys left over from last July 2nd signing period and a few guys out of the Pac Rim as well.....
Bruce Levine (1:15 PM)
I know that they are interested in international players so I believe they are leaving all their options open but their major concentration is on Cespedes and Soler. Soler is more of a player who fits into their near future like Rizzo and Jackson.
Paul (St. Louis)
Bruce, feel any more moves coming like a backup 1b? This team has the potential very bad versus good if Steward and LaHair are exposed.
Bruce Levine (1:16 PM)
For now Baker is your backup first baseman. Rizzo is only one phone call away.
Martinez (Costa Mesa)
Hey Bruce... Is Garza going to finish the year with the Cubs? Hope he does hes a great arm to build around...
Bruce Levine (1:18 PM)
My theory is that if they can't sign him to a long-term contract he will be gone by July 31. Other teams especially in big markets will overpay for Garza if and when they lost starting pitchers to injury. At this point the Cubs can sit and wait for the best deal. Personally I think a long-term contract makes sense but you will be paying around $60 million for 5 years.
Starlin Castro went from 3 HR in '10 to 10 in '11. Do you expect those numbers to increase in '12 or stay about even and for him continue to be a singles guy?
Bruce Levine (1:19 PM)
I believe he will be an impact RBI machine within the next couple of years. I project 20 home runs and 40 doubles for him in 2012. Throw in another 7-10 triples.
What are your expectations for Travis Wood and Chris Volstad?
Bruce Levine (1:20 PM)
Both would have good years if they win 12-14 games and keep their ERAs slightly under 4. That would be more than expected by management.
SteveFitz (Chicago, IL)
Bruce, what's the latest on the Wrigley renovation now that Emmanuel is in office?
Bruce Levine (1:22 PM)
Now is not the time to ask the City of Chicago for economic relief. Emmanuel is working on adding all the dollars he can into the city coffers. A more likely scenario would be for the Cubs to slowly segway into financial-related meetings with Emmanuel's top people sometime in the near future. Right now doesn't seem like the proper climate.
Closers that feature sliders generally fall off and stay off. Is Marmol at that point? Does he trust his fastball enough to use it?
Bruce Levine (1:24 PM)
It's an interesting point because he feels regaining his command of the fastball is the key to his 2012 season. He's just been overused for the past four years. The Cubs continue to use him like a setup man while has is a closer which is a sure way to burn someone out. Marmol had 27 back-to-back appearances, the most in the majors.
Who bats clean-up this year? There really isn't one person on the team that I consider a 3 or 4 hitter.
Bruce Levine (1:25 PM)
Can't really argue that point. Soriano, LaHair, Castro, Stewart. Those are pretty much your choices for 3-4-5. It's hard to imagine how much run production you'll get out of that.
Paul (St. Louis)
Wouldn't a Soriano plus cash for AJ Burnett makes sense for both Cubs and Yanks? Soriano's defense and obp flies in the face of the new Cubs Way and Burnett would add to Hoyers pitching depth.
Bruce Levine (1:27 PM)
Not really. I'm not a big believer in lateral moves. They rarely work out for either team, ie Bradley, Silva, etc. Soriano is a superior player to Burnett and an outstanding teammate. Moving him just for the sake of moving him doesn't make sense to me.
alan (north side)
Any chance that tony campanna stars in the OF? he is a speed demon
Bruce Levine (1:28 PM)
That wouldn't bother me at all. I know he has put on some weight in the offseason to hit the ball with more authority. To me I would give him a shot as a leadoff man and CF and move some of the vets around from position to position. That's just me though. No one has told me that would be the case in spring training.
Darwin Barney vs Blake Dewitt, who is the better long term fit?
Bruce Levine (1:29 PM)
As what? Barney is the ultimate overachiever. At this point DeWitt has not lived up to his potential. Both are utilitymen on a good team.
Adam (Des Moines)
Which player do you think will be the biggest surprise for the cubs this year?
Bruce Levine (1:30 PM)
Most scouts I talk to belive Stewart has the chance to be that guy. They feel once he is physically 100 percent that he will get back his confidence and swing. He has 30 home-run potential.
Bruce Levine (1:31 PM)
Just 19 days until spring training when pitchers and catchers report. Time to get this silly NFL season over with. Take the Giants in points. Follow me on ESPNChiCubs. Talk to you next week.
Doug Padilla (1:32 PM)
No betting tips here. Just White Sox talk. Let's begin.
Justin (Long Island)
Hey Doug,Missed you at Soxfest over the weekend! What was your biggest take away from the event? Are you impressed by anything or more worried than ever about the season at this point?
Doug Padilla (1:34 PM)
Probably their collective confidence struck me most. I know they have no other choice than to believe they can win, but guys like Danks and Beckham really seemed itching to start already. And Dunn really seems to be in a better place mentally. All that matters, though, is how it works out on the field.
alan (south side)
are the sox rebuilding or not. the contract for denks says they arent but trading santos, quentin etc says they certainly are
Doug Padilla (1:36 PM)
No, not in the traditional sense. They got rid of some guys that other teams were willing to take, but Dunn and Rios have no trade value right now. They trimmed payroll a bit and decided that they wanted Danks to be part of the rotation for the long term.
kaufmak (Rogers Park)
1972 throwbacks, yay or nay?
Doug Padilla (1:38 PM)
Seems harmless. But not everybody feels the same way, of course. What it seems to be is an obvious money maker. So the team wants to sell some red unis. Good for them.
Outside of Dayan and Reed, who is the rookie we should be looking out for this year?
Doug Padilla (1:41 PM)
Not many more left for me to choose from. I do think Hector Santiago can do some good things as a lefty out of the bullpen if he gets a chance. A decent spring should earn him a roster spot. Like that screwball (the pitch, not him).
Will Ventura be more, shall we say, guarded in his approach with the media. If so, how will that help/hurt the Sox?
Doug Padilla (1:42 PM)
He's just going to be himself and that is a good thing. He's no Ozzie, if that's what you mean. Robin was asked if might be willing to generate a buzz with his words every once in a while and he said he wasn't interested in wearing all of Ozzie's former hats.
Since 1-5 in the rotation is set, does Zach Stewart start in Charlotte and is he the 1st they call in when an injury happens? He showed some promise last year.
Doug Padilla (1:44 PM)
I think Zach has a good chance of earning the long man spot in the bullpen with a decent spring. The trick will be to somehow keep his innings up if they need him to start at some point because of injury.
If this season falls apart quickly, do you believe Jerry pulls the plug on Kenny and hires LaRussa as GM?
Doug Padilla (1:47 PM)
Kenny is certainly on the spot, but Jerry is very loyal but it's not like this team is expected to get to the World Series. In that sense, at what point are things considered disappointing? If Jerry does go the unexpected route and part ways with Kenny, I think Rick Hahn gets first crack at the job.
Have I missed something? Assuming Dunn and Rios return to form, the team is still very good overall and should be able to compete. The Tigers look good but so did the Phillies last year....
Doug Padilla (1:49 PM)
No, you are correct, there is potential. If everybody played to their career norms, the Sox could be interesting. But so many guys played well under teir career norms that it makes it tough for all of them to get it back in one season. Kind of dangerous to be banking on a Tigers bust, though.
If the Sox are out of it by July 31, do you think they will shop Konerko and/or Floyd. Both could bring back nice packages, I would think.
Doug Padilla (1:51 PM)
I think Thornton, Floyd and Crain could all be shopped if the team is underperforming. Knoerko hasn't expressed a desire to leave but maybe he changes his mind for the right opportunity. He has the ability to block a trade though. A.J. is in the same boat as Konerko and might be willing to leave for a chance to play on a winner.
Any chance the sox sign any reliever to a small contract? We sure could use another reliever with experience.
Doug Padilla (1:53 PM)
No that isn't likely to happen. Kenny was asked if the club had a little bit of money for some bench guys and/or bullpen help and Kenny said he was "Tapped out."
Jeff (Highland Park)
What kind of impact will Dayan and Alexei have on Cepedes decision?
Doug Padilla (1:54 PM)
Viciedo has already put in a good word for the organization to both Cespedes and Soler. But the problem seems to be cash flow. Kenny was coy over the weekend, though, when asked about the available Cuban players.
What do you think there record will be? Do they have any shot at making the playoffs?
Doug Padilla (1:56 PM)
Assuming this is a White Sox question, even if they manage to win 93 games, they get nowhere if the Tigers are the real deal. If they hit they can win 90. If not, look out. Don't see playoffs, but what do I know? I had them winning the division last year.
As a die hard Sox fan living in Atlanta, could you give me a reason to buy the season on satellite?
Doug Padilla (1:58 PM)
This sounds like a job for White Sox marketing, but I'd buy it just to see how the players mesh well with Ventura, especially early in the season. And when Viciedo goes on that hot streak like everybody knows he will get on at some point, it will be nice to have the entire streak on DVR.
Do you see Morel as an every day guy at 3B this year? If so, how helpful do you see Ventura being for the young bats of Beckham and Morel? Both show promise with the glove already.
Doug Padilla (2:00 PM)
Yes, he will be the starter at 3B. For some expanded thoughts on this very subject, cut and paste the folowing link: http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/white-sox/post/_/id/8502/morel-cant-avoid-ventura-comparison
why is mgt so tolerant of Rios' seemingly "I do not care attitude"
Doug Padilla (2:02 PM)
I think Rios is a bit Garland-like where he cares but doesn't seem to show it. Whatever the case, they don't have much choice since he's on the club and is making a lot of $$$. But Robin rather bluntly said this weekend that he has no problem showing the bench to high-salaried players. We'll see how that plays out when the season starts.
All things considered, isn't Crain probably the best suited to get the 9th inning job?
Doug Padilla (2:03 PM)
That seemed to be the case, but Ventura said last week that Thornton is the favorite. They'll fight it out in the spring and a little competition is never a bad thing in these situations.
When are you coming out to Three Floyds?
Doug Padilla (2:04 PM)
The sooner the better.
I think this will be a great year for the South Side, we will go under the radar. To have youngsters like Dayan & De Aza playing everday will be the difference this year. Where do you rank our starting pitching staff with the rest of the Central?
Doug Padilla (2:06 PM)
I think any staff with Verlander on it is tough to beat. But I actually like the White Sox's staff and would slot it right under the Tigers. Danks has to act more like an ace, though, and Peavy needs to return to his Padres days. Sale's development in the rotation will be interesting.
Doug Padilla (2:07 PM)
As always, thanks for the questions and talk to you all soon. Also, follow White Sox news on Twitter: @ESPNChiSox.