Chat with Bruce Levine
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox reporter Bruce Levine stops by Thursday 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 Thursday at noon CT/1 p.m. ET!
ESPN Chicago (1:06 PM)
Bruce is just about ready to go...hang tight and keep the questions coming. White Sox fans -- where you at? We don't see a lot of Sox questions today...
Bruce Levine (1:11 PM)
Welcome to the post-Hall of Fame vote chat room. Willing to take all of your opinions on how the voting went and should possibly change, and what directives should come from MLB. Cubs and Sox questions always appreciated too.
Am I crazy to think Dontrelle could be an effective LH specialist out of the bullpen? No long-term value, but maybe fetch a prospect at the trade deadline or something.
Bruce Levine (1:13 PM)
There's nothing to indicate that he is still a quality major league pitcher at this point. Major issue with Willis has been his lack of command. When he was at his best he would throw lots of strikes. That has not been the case in recent times.
Dave (San Francisco)
Hey Bruce, The Soriano to Philly rumors seem to keep popping up here and there- anything new on that front that you know of?
Bruce Levine (1:13 PM)
Just know what my sources told me -- that they talked seriously about 8 weeks ago and that nothing much has changed.
Will Greg Maddux go into the Hall of Fame as a Brave or a Cub? Heard anything?
Bruce Levine (1:14 PM)
Sadly, he'll go into the Hall as a Brave. His major body of work and his high performance years were mostly with Atlanta.
Steven O'Shea (Palatine, IL)
I was wondering when do you think Dick Allen will get into the Hall of Fame? He had a better career than Ron Santo and nobody talks about him.
Bruce Levine (1:15 PM)
Quality-wise there were very few players that ever had Dick Allen's talent. Unfortunately he doesn't have the numbers to support his inclusion to writers that never saw him play.
Why don't the Cubs hire a hitting instructor that will teach players like Tony C. to slap and run... someone like Kenny Loften?
Bruce Levine (1:18 PM)
I think you should take it a step further and have someone instructing him in the off-season. I have long been a proponent of the Cubs having a small man's camp every off-season. That's where you teach your speed guys and contact hitters the finer nuances of the running and hitting game. I've often said Maury Wills, Davey Lopes or Brett Butler would be ideal instructors for this type of camp.
Bill Wiggins (Rockville, VA)
For the White Sox, do you think De Aza will be starting in centerfield for us? I'm surprised that there hasn't been more rumors this offseason!
Bruce Levine (1:20 PM)
I think the White Sox have been trying to obtain a left-handed hitter through free agency or trade over the last few months. If it was a corner outfielder that would mean that Rios would move back to center field. There's no way the White Sox would want to comment on that. First and foremost because Rios has been very comfortable in right field. I still think the White Sox will make a deal for a left-handed hitter before the end of spring training.
Mrs Zambrano (Venezuela)
Will Carlos Zambrano have a job this year ?
Bruce Levine (1:21 PM)
Carlos is going to have accept a minor-league contract to make a team, or wait until teams start losing pitchers to injuries in the spring before he gets a job. I'm being told he doesn't want to retire and one way or the other he'll end up on someone's club.
Zoe chicago [via mobile]
Is there anything more on the Carlos Gonzales to the sox rumor, how far away from the big leagues is Courtney Hawkins and Jared Mitchell, who is the sox best in field prospect
Bruce Levine (1:23 PM)
The Sox are very high on Hawkins. I'd say one more solid season in the minors might do it for him. Although they love Mitchell's skills, he still strikes out too much. As for the trade, the White Sox are not in the position to move pitchers that Colorado would need at this particular point in time.
It takes two sides to tango, for sure, but why wouldn't the Cubs go two years or so with Lohse (I guess they still could) instead of four on E-Jax? I understand Jackson has some future, but he's no more than a #4.
Bruce Levine (1:24 PM)
I think that Jackson is younger and he doesn't have Scott Boras as his agent. Not that Scott is a bad agent to have, but he's a little more demanding for his players.
Any truth to the 3-team trade with Detroit/Baltimore which would net the Cubs Rick Porcello?
Bruce Levine (1:25 PM)
I've heard that rumor, but not heard it substantiated. I do know that the Tigers were very interested in Darwin Barney last July. But Omar Infante is their second baseman now.
Thomas (Milwaukee) [via mobile]
In your opinion, any chance of the Cubs trying to sign Cano next year?? Trade D. Barney for pitching??? Cano, Solar and Rizzo as your 3,4 & 5 hitters for 2014 ain't too shabby.
Bruce Levine (1:27 PM)
It's kind of hard to imagine Cano coming to the Cubs unless they're really going to overpay. The problem with players that are used to winning is that they would be reluctant to go to a rebuilding-type team, unless they are convinced that the team is close to winnning. The Cubs can offer as much as any team, but that won't necessarily be the deciding factor if they have interest in signing Cano.
Bruce Fudge Jr. (Minneapolis, MN)
Do you think MLB should include the players in the HOF voting process. I feel the writers take the the voting process to personal. I thought that they were voting on the players career and not if they like the player or not. I feel you should be voted by your peers and some emotional journalist.
Bruce Levine (1:31 PM)
There's a couple problems with Hall of Famers voting. #1: they don't watch all the games. #2, maybe most important, there is an arrogance where Hall of Famers don't necessarily believe others are as good as they are. The living Hall of Famers made up the old timers committee for 8 years and failed to induct anyone into the Hall. The board of directors at the Hall finally took the vote away and came up with a revised old timers committee. A clearer direction from the board of the Hall of Fame would help the baseball writers have a better perspective on how to vote. As an example, they could just say, if a player is not on the suspended list you should just vote on the results of his career, rather than considering what type of substances he you think he might have taken to enhance his performance.
Joe the Great (St. Louis, MO)
Sosa's HoF votes were much lower than I would have expected. Do you think he'll ever get in?
Bruce Levine (1:33 PM)
It's pretty doubtful at this point. 600 home runs doesn't appear to mean anything to the baseball writers that are voting right now. A lot of that has to do with the Bonds record and the fact that guys are back to leading the leagues with 40-50 homers.
Rich (San Pedro, CA)
Bruce, outside of a poor three-game stretch in July, Travis Wood pitched to some fantastic numbers (3.34 ERA, 1.12 WHIP). As the only LH starter, does it look like he's going to be in the rotation?
Bruce Levine (1:34 PM)
I think he'll get every opportunity to establish himself in spring training. I talked to Chris Bosio recently and he feels Wood made some important strides last season. Also having a left-hander in the rotation is pretty important, just to be able to change the way a lineup looks at your pitching staff during a series.
Motherless Child (Juvey )
Why are Edwin Jackson & Anibel Sanchez the type of guy Theo/Jed want to sign but Matt Garza will be on the trading block ?
Bruce Levine (1:36 PM)
There's a few factors. #1 is whether or not Garza would be willing to sign a long-term deal with the Cubs. Secondly, are the Cubs sure they want to offer a deal to a guy that has had some elbow problems over the last couple of seasons. Ideally Garza is someone that could lead your staff for the next 4-5 years. But with his pendoing free agency in '13, signing him or traading him not all that clear cut.
Peter (chicago) [via mobile]
Do the white sox have any chance of signing Kyle Lohse?
Bruce Levine (1:37 PM)
I don't think the White Sox are interested in Lohse at this point. The Sox are pretty happy with their starters at this point. What they'd like to do is add a reliever and left-handed bat. Those would be two areas of priority going into the new season.
I would like to see the sox go after a dback's "extra" outfielder who hasn't been mentioned much -gerardo parra. Great glove, lefty hitter, decent bat and some speed and he wouldn't cost what they are asking for kubel or upton(pipedream).If traded for floyd we could probably get a midlevel prospect as well. If for ramirez a high level as well. Whadya think?
Bruce Levine (1:39 PM)
I like your perception, I think Parra is underrated. I just don't think timing-wise the Sox can afford to part with Floyd until they know how Danks' shoulder is responding and he's pitching every five days again.
Why do the cubs hold the convention attendees list like its a secret FBI document? Maybe if people knew who would be there for than a week in advance they'd sell more tickets!
Bruce Levine (1:40 PM)
I've kind of had the same problem myself in getting the exact list of people that will be in attendance. As I told you last week, I'll continue to try and get that complete list.
Jake (Cedar Falls) [via mobile]
Bruce, First of all thank you for your time. Any chance we see solar or almora in spring training or even the regular season this year?
Bruce Levine (1:41 PM)
No, both players are at least a year or two away from playing at Wrigley every day. They will be in spring training but in the minor league camp.
Tony Kries (Hammond,Indiana)
Do you think Ian Stewart has anything left in the tank to play 3rd until Vitters is ready?
Bruce Levine (1:42 PM)
Well the Cubs certainly hope so. Stewart at his best was a 25-30 home run hitter, but that was 4-5 years ago.
Bruce Levine (1:43 PM)
More on the Cubs Convention: we know that Castro, Rizzo, Brett Jackson and Samardzija are confirmed. Cubs also advertise on their site that more than 50 current and former players as well as minor league players will be in attendance.
Patrick (Columbus, OH)
What are the odds a Porcello trade happens? Any idea on who we are being asked for?
Bruce Levine (1:44 PM)
I do not know the names that Detroit is asking for in a potential Porcello deal. Trading young players at this point is a tricky situation for the Cubs front office.
Am I crazy for thinking that the AL Central is very winnable next year? Cleveland and Minnesota will finish 4th and 5th, KC will be improved but not there yet and Detroit is very strong. I don't understand the pessimism among Sox fans.
Bruce Levine (1:46 PM)
I think the White Sox are underrated both locally and nationally. People have short memories in that they forget that the Sox led the central for 117 days last year. This is a young team that may continue to evolve into a championship team.
Is Frank Thomas an automatic lock for the first ballot?
Bruce Levine (1:49 PM)
At this point I would hesitate to call anybody other than Greg Maddux a lock for the first ballot next year. Thomas and Glavine may not get the full 75% right away, but they should. To me all 3 are first ballot HOFers. In the case of Maddux, he should get 95% of the ballot.
John Kenosha WI [via mobile]
Any word on the Wrigley Field Renovation?
Bruce Levine (1:51 PM)
There's no renovation of any significance going on this offseason. There will be a few minor in-stadium repairs made. But the Ricketts family and Mayor Emanuel will have to find some common ground before they go forward on any major renovation.
Bruce: Speaking of the Hall of Fame why is it a player inducted has to have one team designated on their cap for their plaque (like you mentioned about Maddux going in as a Brave)> I have been to the Hall and there are many players with no team insignia on their cap on the plaque. If a player was on multiple teams as many are nowadays why can't they just put no team on the cap....there are already many in the Hall like this, takes away the controversary of insulting a fan base or like Andre Dawson he wanted to be in as a Cub but was made to go in as an Expo
Bruce Levine (1:53 PM)
To go along with your way of thinking I don't see any reason why they even hae to have caps on on their plaques. I'm sure most Cubs fans would prefer that Maddux have no cap rather than a Braves cap on his plaque. It makes even more sense considering that, like you said, players play for multiple teams now. Consider Lee Smith. Smith should have been in the Hall years ago and pitched for over 10 teams. How do you decide which team's hat he should wear?
Zoe chicago [via mobile]
Is there a player available via trade/fa that would make the sox strongly consider moving either Gordon/dayan to 3b and what would it take to acquire such person
Bruce Levine (1:56 PM)
I think it's more logical to go after an outfielder like Kubel or Justin Upton. My preference would be that they try to obtain Kubel and move Rios back to CF. I think Kubel would do some real damage in the White Sox lineup and do even better at the Cell than he did in Arizona's park.
Jason (South Dakota)
Do you think Bonds and Clemens and any other surefire steroids user should be in the Hall of Fame. I personally think they should be (I don't agree with what the did, but it is a product of the era they played in). We have other cheaters in the Hall. How is this any different?
Bruce Levine (1:58 PM)
I'm pretty much out of answers as to who should or shouldn't be in the Hall at this oint. I think the guys that dominiated the game during their playing time and were never suspended should be voted in. If a player admitted to or was found to have done PEDs during his career, than I would have to consider that in how I would vote. But again, a clear directive from the Hall of Fame on how to vote would make it a much easier process.
toby (charlotte )
with the sox wanting a of and cubs stockpiling pitching--why not a dejesus for floyd type of deal to keep everybody in town?
Bruce Levine (1:59 PM)
I believe the White Sox feel that De Aza is as good or better than DeJesus. That wouldn't really be enhancing the postion for them.
Do you see the Cubs competing for a wild-card next season?
Bruce Levine (1:59 PM)
No I do not. But I will say that if the starting pitching stays healthy and improves that they could win 75-80 games.
Bruce, if players from the steroids era shouldn't get in to the HOF, then can an argument be made that Bud Selig shouldn't either if he ever comes up for induction? He presided over the sport during the biggest cheating era the game has ever known, and most think he and the owners turned a blind eye because the game needed fans to come back.
Bruce Levine (2:01 PM)
Selig did try to encourage the players association to put in stronger rules concerning drugs from the mid-90's on. If anyone is to blame for this era it is the players association, turning a blind eye to players using the drugs to enhance their abilities.
Mark (va) [via mobile]
Where does castro hit in 2013 lineup?
Bruce Levine (2:02 PM)
I thiink Castro is anywhere from 2 to 4. I think he'll be up to the 20-30 home runs mark next year. Eventually he and Rizzo may be interchangeable at 3 and 4. That said, he'd have to show more consistency in getting a pitch to hit.
Can Vitters make his way to the majors eventually? I notice he is missing on the Cubs top prospects lists...
Bruce Levine (2:04 PM)
Vitters is not necessarily considered one of their future stars. I beleive other organizations like Vitters more than the Cubs do. Vitters has hit at every level and showed more power in the minors last season. Keep in mind that he played at age 22 last season. There is still reason to believe he will continue to get better.
do you see the white sox maybe offering brian wilson a 1 year contract? and do you also see the in the running next year?
Bruce Levine (2:06 PM)
I like the White Sox' chances better than most people do. Losing AJ and Youkilis hurts, but Flowers and Keppinger will have a chance to show their stuff. I would love to see Wilson end up with the White Sox. He is a proven back end of the bullpen pitcher when healthy and great personality.
Zoe chicago [via mobile]
In a trade for kubel who hits leadoff for the sox assuming de aza being gone Rios back in cf
Bruce Levine (2:07 PM)
Very good question. Considering Keppinger's OBP, it might be him. But we don't know who the Sox would have to give up to get Kubel.
Either you're a HOFer or not. This 15 chances to get in is ridiculous; whether you get in on the 1st or 12th time, it's all irrelevant. People just need to make up their mind. Everyone knows that Biggio should be in, yet why mull on it anymore then you have to?
Bruce Levine (2:11 PM)
Keep in mind that Joe DiMaggio has only about 44% of the vote the first time he was on the ballot. Just to put in perspective the way baseball writers look at players the first time they are eligible. To me Biggio is everything you want in for a first ballot Hall of Famer. 3000 hits, gold gloves, 400+ steals as well as old timer's approach to playing the game the right way. Hopefully he won't be impacted by the great players that will have to be considered next year.
Bruce Levine (2:12 PM)
Follow me on Twitter @ESPNBruceLevine. Please join me in sending condolences to ESPN Chicago's John Jurkovic on the passing of his brother Mirko. Thanks for all your questions!