Chat with Bruce Levine
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox 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!
Bruce Levine (1:04 PM)
Welcome to the chat. David Bell is the new 3rd base coach on the North side. Still no word on when the White Sox will make it official on Kenny Williams and Rick Hahn title changes. Here we go...
Who would you like to be the next color man in the cubs television booth?
Bruce Levine (1:05 PM)
I definitely would, but my work here at ESPN Chicago prohibits me from taking an extra job. But seriously, I like Dan Plesac a lot. I think there are three or four really good candidates there. None will be Brenly, but the guys being considered have a lot to offer.
Bill (N Side)
If Ozzie Guillen gets fired would he ever consider replacing Bob Brenly in the Cubs' TV booth? That would make all Cubs games must-see TV even while rebuilding.
Bruce Levine (1:07 PM)
Ozzie would be great in English or Spanish doing color commentary. I don't know if he wants to commit to 162 games of broadcasting.
Matty Ice (Chicago)
What will it take for the Cubs to make a decision on moving Castro to third or second base?
Bruce Levine (1:08 PM)
It will take Javier Baez pushed through the minor league system. Baez is the real deal according to the scouts that have seen him in the Arizona Fall League.
Dan Smith (BYU)
When do you think Albert Almora and Jorge Soler will start playing in the Big Leagues?
Bruce Levine (1:08 PM)
Probably not before 2014. The Cubs want their minor league players to have at least 500 at-bats in AAA before coming to the majors.
Gill (Minneapolis, MN)
A-Rod to Sox with Yankees picking-up the tab. No chance of happening but why not?
Bruce Levine (1:10 PM)
It just depends how much of the tab the Yankees would pick up. They aren't going to foot the entire contract if they trade him. Whoever trades for him has to believe he has some good years left, and is willing to pay about $7-10 million per year for that. It's a real gamble at age 38.
Paul (Denver, CO)
Bruce, what the chances that Peavy and AJ will take less money to stay with the Sox?
Bruce Levine (1:11 PM)
I don't know what market value will be for them, but Peavy will probably looking for a 3-4 year deal, and AJ realistically a 2-3 year deal with an option. I can see them negotiating with Peavy more than AJ.
Where do you see Baez starting the season? Daytona or Tenn? He's playing against AA and AAA players in the AFL is that the Cubs way of getting him ready for AA to start the season?
Bruce Levine (1:12 PM)
My guess is he'll start at Daytona and more than likely quickly progress to AA. The Cubs will decide that when they see the completion of the Arizona Fall League, as well as spring training.
Wouldn't Melky Cabrera be a good fit? He can man CF until Jackson is ready, could play LF if Soriano is traded. Yes, I understand his numbers won't be the same but he will come cheap and it's very low risk/high reward.
Bruce Levine (1:13 PM)
It just depends on how the Cubs look at his PED situation. He's still a good player but trying to figure how good he is without the extra help is a difficult process.
Gut feeling....Is Soriano traded this offseason?
Bruce Levine (1:15 PM)
At age 37 it's difficult to project who might want him even though he is still a productive player on offense. If the Cubs are willing to eat most of the contract though, someone might take him for two years.
Any chance the sox go after napoli?
Bruce Levine (1:19 PM)
Obviously his power would be interesting to the White Sox. But he is another big strikeout guy, 1 out every 4 at-bats. It's a possibility they might be interested depending on his asking price.
Have you heard any definite names that the Cubs are interested in or is it still too early for that?
Bruce Levine (1:21 PM)
They'll be looking at free agent pitchers. They are very interested in looking for some outfield help as well as third base. They've begun to talk to other teams about trade possibilities, but no definite names as of yet.
David (Bloomington, IL)
Last year in offseason Theo traded for an MLB prospect(Rizzo)..Any guys like him on their radar this offseason?
Bruce Levine (1:22 PM)
You would think that young players on other teams are people they are looking at. A guy like the Angels' Peter Bourjos comes to mind. Players with potential that might not have opportunity to start with the team they are on now.
Bruce - Doesn't A-Rod's decline make you question contracts like 10 years for Pujols and 12 years for Votto and whatever Hamilton wants
Bruce Levine (1:23 PM)
Yes, but you have to see the results from the early part of those deals, since that's basically what you are paying for. It doesn't appear that GMs feel they will really get 10 years out of players. If you ask the Angels, I don't think anyone would tell you they thin they'll get anything close to 10 years out of Pujols.
Hey Bruce,Do you think the cubs might be interested in Rick Porcello..He seems to fit into what they're looking for, a young arm, not too pricey, and coming from the american league, might translate into better stats with the weaker national league lineups..maybe they can offer a package for porcello and nick castellanos (garza) and kill two birds with one stone..
Bruce Levine (1:25 PM)
Using Garza for a trade will most likely have to wait until spring training. That will be the next time someone sees him pitch. After that, they only have people like Marmol to deal that fall into veteran status. Certainly they could trade young players for Porcello, but that doesn't appear to be realistic right now.
Dave (Woodridge Il)
Bruce, do you think that with the white sox lowering their ticket prices it will significantly have a major impact on fan turnout even if the white sox don't make any significant moves over the off season. I had fun watching this team last year but cant help but notice Cabrera, Fielder Verlander, Fister, and Scherzer are all under 30. And that we need to improve to keep competing which we could not against Detroit last year.
Bruce Levine (1:28 PM)
Good analysis on your part. The Tigers also have some good looking young players on the way. The White Sox are planning on having more marketing done on TV next year to show how fan friendly and fun it is at US Cellular. But I'm not sure that lowering ticket prices will have a big effect. I already thought they were reasonable. Factually they are raising ticket prices significantly in the first ten rows down the baselines. The rest of the ballpark is where you'll find your bargains.
Bill Wiggins (Rockville, VA)
I know Beckham did great at 2nd base buy is there any chance of him moving back to 3rd. We have 2nd base prospects in the minors and he hit better at 3rd plus we could resign Lopez and give him a shot
Bruce Levine (1:29 PM)
A good part of the White Sox' success in 2012 was their defense at 2nd base and shortstop, having arguably the 2 best middle infielders in the American League last year. I don't think you mess with that.
Teri (Chicago )
question. Is Soriano kicking himself in the backside after turning down the proposed deal to the Giants this year?
Bruce Levine (1:31 PM)
Probably not. He really couldn't see the trip from San Francisco to the Dominican Republic in his future. And it's an extremely long flight. Soriano will most likely only approve deals to Midwest or east coast teams. But then again he was considering the Dodgers.
Bruce - you wrote often last winter that the Cubs were pursuing a number of stop-gap 3rd base candidates that were coming off bad years, and specifically mentioned Chase Headley a number of times. Now that he has rebounded to have a season as good as any 3rd baseman, I have to ask - was a trade between the Cubs and Padres ever close for Chase?
Bruce Levine (1:32 PM)
I don't think there was anything close on that deal, but they did kick the tires on it.
Steve (work )
Are the Cubs interested in BJ Upton? He brings alot of production to the team
Bruce Levine (1:33 PM)
Upton is player that improved significantly this year after changing his stance. At this point, I don't know if he fits into his future plans. They'd be more inclined to bring in his brother than they would him.
Tony (Chicago )
Is the Cubs color job the best in the country?
Bruce Levine (1:34 PM)
Well for perception and economics probably. We know that Brenly was being paid more than anyone in baseball as far as local color commentators go. Right now the job has its limitations as WGN can only offer two guaranteed years. WGN could lose their rights to the Cubs after the 2014 season.
Who actually picks the Cubs new announcer? Is it WGN & Comcast Sports Net management? Or is it the Cubs?
Bruce Levine (1:35 PM)
It's WGN working with the Cubs. The Cubs have final veto power on any pick.
Bill (N Side)
Is there any scenario where Steve stone ends up in the Cubs booth anytime soon?
Bruce Levine (1:36 PM)
Not really. He told the White Sox he'd like to stay there for the rest of his career and has two years and an option remaining on his contract.
Any chance sox move Vicideo back to third in an effort to give Danks or another young outfielder a chance?
Bruce Levine (1:37 PM)
That situation has been talked about. But I believe with the progress that Viciedo made on offense and as a left fielder. My guess is they won't want to mess around with that.
Ted (Chicago )
Can the Cubs talk Scott Rolen out of retirement for one more year and give him the job at 3rd? At least until Vitters is ready?
Bruce Levine (1:38 PM)
I didn't hear you too well--did you say you wanted Rolen to be the Cubs color commentator? Seriously though, Rolen has has a great career but he looks like he's finished.
Bill (N Side)
Do you think Sammy Sosa will ever appear at Wrigley Field again under any circumstances?
Bruce Levine (1:40 PM)
I think at some point. Look, Mark McGwire is the hitting coach for the Cardinals. The only difference between Sammy and McGwire is that McGwire had to admit to using PEDs before accepting the job as Cardinals hitting coach. I think at some point you have to recognize the magnitude of Sosa's career and celebrate it regardless of your assumptions.
Ty (Chicago )
Really bad timing for Mark Grace's off the field problem. Do you see the Cubs considering him for color?
Bruce Levine (1:41 PM)
I've heard some rumors to that effect but nothing has been substantiated. He would certainly be a popular choice, but the off the field problems may not allow that to happen.
Name two of the following that you think Cubs could legitimately go after this off-season. All on the low end of 30 or younger and may go for a 1 year deal. Ervin Santana, Brandon McCarthy, Francisco Liriano, Shaun Marcum, Scott Feldman.
Bruce Levine (1:43 PM)
I think all of those pitchers will be under consideration because they fall into the criteria of younger pitchers looking to rebound their careers. The other key angle would be that they sign flexible contracts that the Cubs could flip by the trading deadline.
Whats the chance the sox make a move for a young guy with start power? (like the Upton's for example?) It would do wonders to inject some youthful proven bats for the team and fan base.
Bruce Levine (1:44 PM)
Depends on whether you are talking about free agency or trading. I think the Sox will be looking more at making trades than signing free agents, although they do have a significant amount of money coming off the books, as do the Cubs.
Ryan (South Bend, IN)
What do you see the Sox chance of resigning AJ? Knowing that Flowers hasn't shown that he is the answer.
Bruce Levine (1:46 PM)
It just depends on whether AJ wants to accept a short-term deal to stay. I think he has earned himself a two-year deal. At age 36 it's hard to project how much longer he will be a viable catcher. He did prove that he was an offensive force last season.
why was Listach fired?
Bruce Levine (1:47 PM)
I'm told that Dale Sveum just wanted to go in a different direction for a third base coach. It appeared to me that Listach did a very good job, especially helping Barney and Castro become a better than average double play combo.
Tommy (Chicago )
Theo had Bill LaJoie in Boston to help mentor him. Who does he have now? I mean the old school guys who know the game better then the computer?
Bruce Levine (1:49 PM)
At this point I don't believe that Theo needs to be mentored. He does have Randy Bush and Tim Wilken around to help augment his front office. Epstein is accomplished enough to handle most things on his own after winning two World Series.
Tom (Chicago )
Bruce how is it Sandberg, Maddox, and Girardi are not involved in the Cubs system? I know they have other jobs, but it seems insane to me the Cubs organization doens't have a place for ex players like this in the system? And for the all record all these ex players would love to be a part of a Cubs World championship!
Bruce Levine (1:50 PM)
For one reason or another, they were all rejected at certain points. Maddux left on his own preferring to work with his brother and the Rangers. Girardi was bypassed for Piniella and Sandberg was bypassed for Quade. You never know if they will ever return to the organization or not.
Bruce Levine (1:51 PM)
Stay tuned for more changes and development on both sides of town. I expect both teams to be active in trades and free agency during the offseason. Follow me on Twitter @ESPNBruceLevine and Doug Padilla @ESPNChiCubs.