Chat with Bruce Levine
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox reporter Bruce Levine stops by Wednesday 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 Wednesday at 11 a.m. CT/noon ET!
Bruce Levine (12:00 PM)
Welcome to a chat from sunny Arizona as I cover the end of the Arizona Fall League. Lots going on, but most of it is concentrated on Toronto and Miami. Welcome
Who are the Cubs looking at for CF next year? Will it be through FA or trade?
Bruce Levine (12:02 PM)
It could be from within. There's always the possibility of Campana and Sappelt platooning in center. In other words, don't expect them to sign Bourn any time soon. Jackson will start the year in Triple-A according to Cubs officials.
Brad (Huntley, IL)
What are the chances the Cubs trade Carlos Marmol this off-season and if they do what would they be looking to get in return?
Bruce Levine (12:04 PM)
You saw what they were looking for in the aborted Dan Haren deal. But they are also looking for a third baseman. They feel they have the 1B, 2B and SS of the future. They would like to fill in a good-hitting 3B.
mike b (oak lawn)
any way the sox trade viciedo for a third basemen. The sox have some quality youngsters in the minors that could viciedo's spot in the outfield.
Bruce Levine (12:04 PM)
That's an interesting thought but you don't want to trade the next 35-homer, 100-RBI guy just when he is starting to get his act together.
Any word on what the Cubs expect from Scott Baker to start the season? We normally expect a year or so recovery time from Tommy John surgery, and Baker went under the knife in April 2011.
Bruce Levine (12:06 PM)
The good news is that some guys are coming back within 11 months. So I'm sure the Cubs doctors took a good look at him before they signed off on a contract. Realistically, he starts pitching in March and he's ready by the middle to end of April.
What in the world is Rick Hahn thinking by having Viciedo as a possible trade candidate? Is he out of his freaking mind? The guy had a good season being his first full season in the big leagues. He's still young. Why in the world would any general manager want to trade Viciedo? Don't do it Hahn!!!
Bruce Levine (12:07 PM)
I don't think they are shopping him. What Rich said is there are no untouchables when it comes to at least talking about a proposed deal. It would take a ton of good players to part with Viciedo.
Bruce, why didn't the Cubs go for the Marlins package? Reasonable salaries, great starting, absence of no-trade clauses, potentially great trade chips moving forward, not having to give up big pieces from the minors . . .
Bruce Levine (12:08 PM)
Thee Cubs are going in the direction of being competitive for the next 10 years. That means you don't bring in a Buehrle or Johnson if you are thinking about building from within the organization.
Bruce, we know Mark Buehrle is a consummate professional and great teammate. How do you think his reaction to the Toronto trade went?
Bruce Levine (12:09 PM)
'I guess I still get my $14 million a year.' Until the contract exprires. Buehrle and his agent knew that he could be traded when they signed the deal without a no-trade clause.
The Cubs have a TON of potential 3rd basemen in the system, all of whom have a legit shot at making it in the near future. Vitters, Lake, Villanueva, Baez, Candelario. Why trade for another?
Bruce Levine (12:11 PM)
In their opinion they may not have a third baseman of the future in their organization. Also if you can get a more finished product like a Castellanos or Chisenhal you've just added another possible star player. You can't have enough talent at one position. You can always move people around just like the Tigers did with Cabrera.
Nick M (Algonquin, IL)
Bruce what moves do you think new Sox GM Rick Hahn has up his sleeve this winter?
Bruce Levine (12:12 PM)
I wish I was his tailor because I would know a lot more about's up his sleeve. But I can tell you they are looking to get more athletic, continue to add speed players if they can. The last two weeks of the season was pretty dreadful waiting for someone to hit a three-run HR.
Hey Bruce . . . read again that Theo/Jed have been in touch with Ian Stewart; do you have any word on what his status/health/prospectus is?
Bruce Levine (12:13 PM)
They are very vague about it. Honestly it doesn't sound like this is the direction they want to go.
Patrick M (Columbus, OH)
I like Barney a lot, I mean who wouldn't with his effort and defense. That being said his value may not ever be much higher than it is right now. It is easier to find a replacement second basemen than a pitching prospect he might net us. Any chance Theo and co move him?
Bruce Levine (12:14 PM)
I think they would listen to a deal for him. But they have a newfound appreciation for Barney after watching him play for a whole season. They also love his leadership ability which is really hard to find in an everyday player.
Bill (Rockville, VA)
Do you think that since the Sox have Sanchez about ready for a shot at 2nd in spring training that we might trade Beckham or move him back to 3rd where he hit better?
Bruce Levine (12:16 PM)
I don't think they would move him but I think they would listen about trades. The one thing that is underrated about the Sox is their defense at 2B and SS. They have arguably the best DP combo in baseball. Defense is king in my world even though good defensive 2B can be found elsewhere. Beckham's numbers were not awful for a 2B.
are negotiations with Dempster still ongoing?
Bruce Levine (12:18 PM)
I don't think we would call that negotiations as far as the Cubs are concerned. One Cubs team official bumped into Dempster on the street two weeks ago. They had a casual conversation. Dempster's agent talked to Epstein and Hoyer brifely at the beginning of last week. I don't believe that there were any negotiations at that point.
Luke (Edwardsville, IL)
Who do you see the Cubs pursuing for the 5th rotation spot? What about the hole at 3B? Do you think they will deal Garza this offseason?
Bruce Levine (12:21 PM)
Considering they were close to dealing Garza at the deadline, my guess is their position has not changed. As soon as he's healthy I'm sure other teams will be interested in watching his side session. The Cubs actually opened up his side session to teams that were interested in July before he got hurt. Keep in mind Garza is a free agent after this season.
Baker was a good, upside sign. Who is next? McCarthy? I don't get the interest in Marcum. His stuff wasn't good to start with, and has gotten worse. Haren seems like a better upside play.
Bruce Levine (12:23 PM)
The Sox and Cubs have interest in McCarthy. I talked to his agent last week, and he said that McCarthy would love a chance to come back to Chicago.
Al (Downers Grove)
You just mentioned you can always move people around, but when will they start to do that? They keep talking about building for the future, why not move the players to the positions they will be playing in the future then?
Bruce Levine (12:27 PM)
Many teams have had success moving players from position to position. HOF Robin Yount was a gold glove winner at both SS and CF. If you're a good athletic baseball player you can change positions and do quite well. Therefore, if the Cubs have three good SS as they do now with Castro Baez and Lake, that's a great problem to have. You can either move them to another position or use one or two for trade possibilities. VP of Player Development and Scouting Jason McLoed told me last week that Baez is going back to playing SS after a short stint at 3B in the AFL.
Mikey Gondola (Normal, IL)
Theo said he is going to be more involved in the trade market than the free agent market this season. Have you heard any rumblings about possible trades in progress?
Bruce Levine (12:30 PM)
It's going to be interesting to see who Theo thinks he can deal. I assume that means he's going to trade his young players for other players, unless he has a viable deal on the table for Soraiano and/or DeJesus that I don't know about. trading good young players for other people's good young players is how the White Sox have competed over the last ten years. That philosophy does come with some risk, though. Sometimes you end up with a Gio Gonzales winnint 20 games for another team. The Sox traded him not once, but twice. Still, the Sox have been mostly successful trading for guys like Floyd, Danks and Quintin.
With Stanton wanting out of Miami how about we offer Barney, Vogelbach, Lake, and Watkins. Is this possible?
Bruce Levine (12:31 PM)
How about just money, since that appears to be all Jeffrey Loria is interested in at this point. The bottom line is that I'm hoping Loria is interested in selling the team now, and that the new owner will build back up around Stanton. They've run quite a shell game on the city of Miami over the last few years.
Jason (Clinton, IA)
Hey Bruce, in your crystal ball who do you see starting at 3B for the Cubs next season? What would it take for Chisenhal?
Bruce Levine (12:34 PM)
I know that the Indians like some of the Cubs' young players, and for Chisenhall it would probably take Vitters and another young player. Most other teams are not really holding Vitters' September experience against him. He needs some more time in the minors, but he's hit at every level. The Cubs don't need a 1B, but other teams might consider him as a position-change type guy.
jeff (worth, il.)
having had losing seasons in the last 20 years, im wondering if jed hoyer or rick hahn should ask about what it would take to acquire andrew mccutchen from the pirates? both teams need a core player to which they can build around, and i know the pirates need to rebuild
Bruce Levine (12:36 PM)
You're right in one sense. Both teams need a core CF for the future. With all due resect to De Aza, I don't think he's the long-term answer to CF on the South Side. Brett Jackson's swing-and-miss ratio is alarming to the Cubs hierarchy. There are many positive aspects of his game, but a 50 percent strikeout ratio in the majors is a problem.
Caps (Miami, FL)
OK, so, we just signed Scott Baker, what's next regarding the rotation? Are the Cubs getting just 1 more SP or are they getting at least 2 more in case the Baker experiment fails?
Bruce Levine (12:38 PM)
They have plenty of money to load up on free-agent pitching if they want to. The question is whether they can find players that fit for now and tradeable for the future. Brandon McCarthy is certainly a guy who would fit into their plans for now and the future.
What about acquiring one of the shortstops from Texas and moving Castro to third?
Bruce Levine (12:39 PM)
Not a bad idea, but for now Castro is going to play SS until someone in the organization shows that they can play SS better than him. The interesting thing about Castro's contract is that it is fluid. They can trade him whenever they'd like to. But, that's not a part of their plan at the moment. They still think he's going to be a big-time run producer.
Given his previous connection to epstein, any interest in Dice-k for a possible gamble for a flip?
Bruce Levine (12:40 PM)
I would never say no, I don't know if Theo wants to revisit that after the initial disappointment.
Any update on Baez's thumb injury?
Bruce Levine (12:42 PM)
Baez has a displaced thumb fracture and McLeod told me that he'll be ready and 100-percent by Spring Training. He was leading the AFL in HR and RBI, but was only hitting .211.
Jon (Bozeman, MT)
Bruce, who do you think that the Cubs are targetting this offseason? Melky and Marcum a good starting point?
Bruce Levine (12:43 PM)
I guess somebody is going to sign Cabrera, and I wouldn't count out the Cubs or the Sox. Players have made PED mistakes before and have been welcomed back, and he's probably not going to get a lot of money this time around.
Mark (Chicago, IL)
Any word on what the White Sox plans are for third base? Any possible trades for guys like Chase Headley or even a super long-shot in David Wright?
Bruce Levine (12:44 PM)
I don't think at this particular point either of those teams are trading their 3B. Wright may be available in the middle of the summer, but Headley is coming off leading the NL in RBI. No reason to trade him unless it's a blockbuster deal.
Paul (St. Louis)
I have read the Cubs made an offer to Francisco Liriano. Can you confirm, deny or provide an update on this?
Bruce Levine (12:45 PM)
When I asked a Cubs official about Liriano, they couldn't help me with any background information. Jim Bowden reported 10 days ago that the Cubs had a deal on the table for Liriano. There was another report that had the Cubs offering him a two-year deal. Have not been able to substantiate either.
Bruce Levine (12:46 PM)
He'd be right up their alley though.
Eric(Indy) [via mobile]
With this big trade goin down and how much the Marlins are in shambles, any chance they relocate sooner or later? I believe Indy can be a great host for a MLB franchise!
Bruce Levine (12:48 PM)
That new stadium they built in Miami may be a motor speedway before we know it. Florida has turned into a major mistake for MLB. Neither the Marlins or the very professionally run Tampa Bay Rays can draw people, so moving out of Florida (for both teams) could be a viable move int he future. It's pretty sad that the state of FLorida is all about HS and college football. I love Indy -- it's a good town and a good football town. Not sure if they have enough people in the metro to support a major league team. That said, they'd do much better than Miami is doing.
Patrick C (Wheaton)
Mr. Levine: Baez, Castro, Rizzo, and Lake -- future infield?
Bruce Levine (12:50 PM)
Your scenario is certainly a possibility. They feel Baez and Lake are true major league prospects -- Baez moreso than Lake.
Steven (Rockford, IL)
What about the Sox trading for Moustakas? The Royals want MLB pitching and we could give them Gavin Floyd with Quintana and Santiago to possibly fill out the 5 man rotation.
Bruce Levine (12:51 PM)
I don't think Rick Hahn is going to trade Floyd until after they see how John Danks throws in Spring Training, or they trade for another starter.
what do you think vogelbach's future with the cubs is?
Bruce Levine (12:53 PM)
They like him. He'll most liekly spend the year at High-A or Double-A this year.
Do pitchers like Lendy Castillo, Trey Mcnutt and others in the minors have any trade value at all?
Bruce Levine (12:54 PM)
Not a lot. Interest in McNutt is way down compared to a couple years ago. Castillo has a really good arm, but hard to say where he's going to end up this season.
Paul (Denver, CO)
Chances Cubs get Marcum, McGehee, or Eric Chavez?
Bruce Levine (12:55 PM)
They'd probably look at McGehee and Chavez, but neither appear to be 162-game players. Chavez is just a platoon player at this point.
any thoughts on how long until we see almora in cubbie pinstripes?
Bruce Levine (12:57 PM)
If you want to see him in pinstripes, you may need to head to Kane County. They're not going to rush any of these guys so he'll spend another two years (at least) in the mionors. Remember that Theo and Jed said that no players will come up until they've had at least 500 ABs in Triple-A.
Paul (Denver, CO)
Any news about Youkilis and the Sox?
Bruce Levine (12:57 PM)
I think the White Sox's offer would be about two years in the $18-20M range. Although the Cubs would be interested in Youkilis, he's probably looking to go to a team that can compete at this point.
Justin (Sioux Falls, SD)
Sort of an off-topic question, but being that I'm not from Chicago, it is something that interests me. What is the status of the upgrades to Wrigley Field, such as "Cubs Alley" and the updated concourse? We've all seen what Boston has done to upgrade Fenway and also seen New York tear down one of the most hallowed houses in all of sports...what do you think the fate of Wrigley Field is?
Bruce Levine (12:59 PM)
I heard that they're goign to add another LED board in left field, but that has not been confirmed as of yet. A lot of their upgrades are being held up by the Mayor's refusal to talk to them at this point.
Bruce Levine (1:01 PM)
Thanks for the time, folks. I'll have some Cubs and Sox stories in the next couple days from the Arizona Fall League, so check the blog and follow me on Twitter @ESPNBruceLevine. Talk to you all next week.