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 (1:01 PM)
Fall League baseball is over. Now it's just time for Hot Stove baseball. Cubs and White Sox remain active in pursuing better records. Welcome.
Bruce-I read on another site last night that you were predicting a trade of Cub propects. Could you elaborate on that?
Bruce Levine (1:04 PM)
Never predicted a trade of Cubs prospects, only that there was some interest in Chisenhall for a while. Sources told me yesterday that the Cubs are not intent on trading their young players at 'this' particular point or time.
Joe (Davenport, IA)
Do the Cubs have no faith in Clevenger or Castillo? Why else would they sign Navarro?
Bruce Levine (1:05 PM)
You never have enough catching in major league baseball. If you look at it from the Cubs point of view, they will get ample time for Castillo to catch with Navarro backing him up. And then Clevenger can catch every day at AAA. This allows player development for both of the young catchers at the same time. Clevenger is too young to be considered a backup, and he has too much potential. Other teams will ask about both catchers between now and the end of the winter meetings.
Bruuuuce, I'd love to see the Upton brothers playing together on the North Side next year. BJ is a free agent and Arizona is willing to listen to offers for Justin. What type of contract do you think BJ is looking for and what offer would Arizona be interested in? Could a package of Garza, Marmol, Lake and Vitters get them to not hang up on us right away?
Bruce Levine (1:07 PM)
There's no reason to trade all your good young players to get one player. Justin Upton has been an underachiever so far, although most people think he has the capability to be a perennial all-star. I don't think either Upton is the type of player you bring in right now. Personally, I'm not a BJ Upton fan. His hitting technique is bizarre and jumbled at points. Although he did hit for power in 2012.
Hi Bruce , Michael Bowden has been starting in Winter ball. Are the Cubs going to try him as a starter option or just stretching him out for long relief ?
Bruce Levine (1:09 PM)
Definitely stretching him out. Organizations love getting some of their younger pitchers more innings and a chance to work on developing other pitches during fall/winter ball. Bowden has a good arm but needs more consistency with command and secondary pitchers. Remember, he was designated for assignment twice last year.
John (KC) [via mobile]
Do you think the sox will make any impactful free agent moves or trades this offseason?
Bruce Levine (1:11 PM)
I know new GM Rick Hahn would like to add a more athletic outfielder to the mix. It's not like they don't like De Aza, but he did falter at the end of the season due to injury. Let's also be honest about the fact that Ventura and the coaches decided to play Dwayne Wise in center field quite a bit last year, with De Aza getting some time in left field. There seems to be enough centerfield free agents to choose from.
What is status of dempster and Liriano?
Bruce Levine (1:13 PM)
Other than reports that the Cubs had an offer on the table for Liriano, I haven't heard anything in that area. One site there was a two-year offer on the table but that has never been substantiated. No word on Dempster yet either, other than some casual conversation between his agent and Cubs executives at the beginning of the GM meetings.
Bob (Foley Al.)
Why would the Cubs be interested in a 32 year old free agent closer from Japan?
Bruce Levine (1:15 PM)
The Cubs have two full-time scouts that cover the Pacific Rim. Solidifying the bullpen is something that would make sense for them, especially if there is more interest in Marmol as the offseason progresses.
Ruben S (Aurora, IL)
Is Marmol staying or on his way out still? Are we looking at any good 3b options?
Bruce Levine (1:18 PM)
The Cubs are interested in upgrading third base if they can, but only if it makes fiscal sense on a short-term deal, unless of course, they can trade for a younger prospect. They have not soured on Vitters just because of his poor showing in the majors last season. Every scout I've talked to has said that Vitters will it in the big leagues. The Cubs were going to move Marmol because they thought they were getting a valuable piece in Dan Haren. Unless the Cubs feel they are getting a valuable piece back, they are not going to give Marmol away.
Steve B (Northbrook)
Please give me one name of a player for whom the Sox are interested in. Anybody? Bueller?
Bruce Levine (1:20 PM)
Call the Sox and ask for Rick Hahn. Because right now I don't have any names on who they might be interested in. all I know is that they want to upgrade and get more athletic, and that Michael Bourn is not on their wish list. Bourn will get most likely between $80-100 million.
Adam (Des Moines)
Bruce, do you see the Cubs ever moving Wrigley away from Clark and Addison?
Bruce Levine (1:21 PM)
Common sense would tell you that building a ballpark downtown would work well for either team and would make more sense for the city as well. The Ricketts family has already invested in buying up neighborhood properties, so a moving scenario seems unlikely.
Steve B (Northbrook)
Do you think the Sox could package Floyd and maybe Santiago and get someone like Curtis Granderson?
Bruce Levine (1:23 PM)
If they feel Granderson is the final piece of the puzzle, I'm sure they would consider it. He's just an average defensive centerfielder at this point though. A terrific individual that would hit a lot of home runs at US Cellular Field, but the .240 average and the 150 Ks scare me a bit.
Tom (Pingree Grove, Illinois)
Hi, Bruce: Is there any update on the color commentator search, and is there a problem because only a two year contract can be guaranteed with the current television deal expiring in that time? Thank you.
Bruce Levine (1:24 PM)
I'll be writing later today about the search. It appears that not being able to guarantee anything after two years has convoluted the search.
jeff (richton park)
Are the white sox looking at adding a lead off man this offseason through trade or free agency?
Bruce Levine (1:26 PM)
It appears they would like to. For a good portion of the year De Aza was a solid player for the White Sox. But once he got injured it appeared the Sox had some doubts about him being the leadoff man and center fielder of the future. Don't get me wrong, they still like De Aza. But I know they would like to upgrade the outfield with a more athletic player.
Does Dan Vogelbach have any future with the Cubs? The dude can mash, but he isn't going anywhere with Rizzo playing first.
Bruce Levine (1:27 PM)
There's always future in the organization for a guy that can hit. It's just like the shortstop situation with Baez and Lake. You just can't have enough quality players at any position. You can always have someone change position or use them in a deal down the road.
Aaron E (Birmingham, AL)
Which young future impact players (Baez, Lake, Vogelbach, etc.), if any, would the Cubs be willing to part with in order to acquire other young talent, namely pitching depth that the farm system currently lacks?
Bruce Levine (1:29 PM)
None of those names right now, most likely. Remember the Cubs front office has only been around these players for a year. That means all their executives are still trying to figure out the upside of the talent in the minor league system/ The Cubs traded Colvin and LeMahieu last winter and if they had to do it again, they probably wouldn't.
Please don't tell me Campana is going to be the Cubs starting CF next year.
Bruce Levine (1:31 PM)
Certainly the Cubs would like to upgrade. But there is a possibility that Sappelt and Campana could platoon in center. If Campana can improve his OBP, you know he can impact games. Jackson will start the year in AAA.
Andrew VA BEACH [via mobile]
What are your thoughts on acquiring Porcello and Castellanos? Any rumored trades with the Orioles for a guy like Arrieta or Matusz?
Bruce Levine (1:33 PM)
I watched Castellanos play six games this fall, and he did not live up to expectations. He just might have been tired. The Tigers still believe that he is still the top young position player in their organization. I've not heard any deals involving the Orioles.
Any chance a 1yr deal for Haren might happen? Even if the money needs to be a little higher for him to consider 1yr hear in upping his value for the next year?
Bruce Levine (1:34 PM)
It's doubtful. The Cubs doctors didn't like what they saw before and that won't change one month later.
Bruce, Happy Thanksgiving. What's the word on A.J., do the Sox want to go another 2 years, and continue to groom Flowers, are is it more likely, the changing of the guard has happened, and Flowers will get his chance for the everyday backstop?
Bruce Levine (1:36 PM)
My guess is that Flowers will be the everyday catcher with Jimenez backing him up. Flowers has shown good signs of being a decent defensive catcher as well as outstanding power. After breaking a hand late in the season, the White Sox have assured people that Flowers will be 100% healthy for spring training. I think AJ needs to get a two-year deal and make some money elsewhere. But he's been a great player for the White Sox.
Bruce it seems as Tori Hunter will still continue to be a thorn to the Sox with the signing in Detroit. Was there a moment the Sox went after him again?
Bruce Levine (1:37 PM)
At 37 Hunter is certainly still a good player but past his prime. He's no longer a center fielder. The White Sox have an excellent right fielder in Alex Rios.
ANY chance of a Floyd for Moustakas deal?
Bruce Levine (1:39 PM)
I've heard rumors about that. After the Royals signed Jeremy Guthrie today it appears they are going in a different direction to add starting pitching. I don't know if the Sox are comfortable in trading starting pitching before they A) add a free agent pitcher themselves or B) see John Danks pitch for an extended period of time in spring training. Right now having Floyd gives the Sox a comfort level in their rotation.
scott (oaklawn, il.)
hi bruce i think both the cubs and the sox could always use another guy in the bullpen. im wondering if grant balfour might be too expensive for the a's too keep around?
Bruce Levine (1:41 PM)
The Cubs executives have a great relationship with Billy Beane, but Balfour is a guy that has some years on him. I don't see him fitting the Cubs. I'm sure the Sox would be more viable players for Balfour. They could use at least one or two more vets going into 2013.
Tom (Chicago )
Bruce depending where the Cubs are at, do they extend Theo's deal after the five years are up?
Bruce Levine (1:43 PM)
I don't think either the Cubs or Theo are concerned about his contract right now. He's only in the second year. I can tell you that both the Ricketts family and the Cubs business side, led by Crane Kenney, are thrilled to be working the Cubs young executives at this point. They feel they are pointed in the right direction.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What is the Hottest & the Coldest Chicago Baseball Game that you have been to?
Bruce Levine (1:44 PM)
The coldest was 1981 at Wrigley. The wind chill was at 12 degrees on opening day. That's when top prospect Tim Leary blew out his arm and was never the same again. The hottest was in Texas at the All Star Game in 1995. I looked up at the scoreboard and it read 116 degrees.
Bruce, is Beckham on a short leash this season if he doesn't hit again? His 2nd base is steller, don't get me wrong. But if he can't hit, the Sox still have a hole in the lineup.
Bruce Levine (1:46 PM)
Depends on your perspective of not hitting. His home runs and RBIs were up, but his batting average of .240 is still too low. Beckham said he had some special work on his hitting to do during the offseason, but he was vague on what that meant. Beckham is a very passionate guy about improving. He talks to Konerko every day about hitting. I wouldn't bet against him being a .260-.270 hitter in the future. That said I don't know whether the White Sox would consider moving him in the future or not.
Bruce Levine (1:48 PM)
We're only 12 days away from the winter meetings in Nashville. I expect both teams to be active. Follow me on Twitter @ESPNBruceLevine and Doug Padilla @ESPNChiCubs. Thanks for all the questions!