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!
Is garza starting to fall to 15 million a year because of the injuries. Maybe 4 years/ 60 mil.
Bruce Levine (1:01 PM)
Should be an interesting week for both teams. Obviously John Danks and Matt Garza will be getting most of the headlines. Welcome to the chat room.
Bruce Levine (1:02 PM)
I don't think right now Garza can have any contract demands. He's first going to have to prove he is a healthy pitcher. If he's healthy, the market for him is somewhere between $15 and $20 million per season. If Edwin Jackson is $13 million per year, what's a healthy Garza worth? Garza would be more along the lines of the deal Anibal Sanchez received.
Tom (Downers Grove)
I picture the Cubs in 3 years with a majority of the non-pitchers being brought up from within the organization but not so much with the pitchers. Can we still succeed with this formula?
Bruce Levine (1:04 PM)
Let me give you the analogy of the Kansas City Royals. They have wonderful position players, almost at every spot. But without the real good starting pitching, the Cubs will again be a 3rd or 4th place team at best. At some point Epstein and Hoyer will have to consider trading top position players for pitchers if they develop more position-player types.
Bruce- what do you think of the Campana trade? Management has to feel pretty good about getting young pitching prospects - especially Leal - for a guy they waived.
Bruce Levine (1:06 PM)
Both of them seem to have really good arms, and again, that's the Cubs organization's goal. If you sign 10 good pitchers maybe 2 of them will have some impact on your major league club. Campana is a very nice piece for a contending team.
Deano (Round Lake Beach)
Do the Sox have any seasoned vets at Triple A should reinforcements be needed (like Wise, Jackson, McPherson, Dan Johnson)? Any untested pitchers who could be called upon (like last year's Quintana, Santiago, Axelrod, etc...)? Thanks again.
Bruce Levine (1:07 PM)
I think what you see is what you get pitching-wise. Trayce Thompson should be the next outfielder called up in June or July, if he continues to improve and the White Sox have a need there.
In your opinion, Garza starts 20 games this season-over/under?
Bruce Levine (1:08 PM)
For his sake and the Cubs', it better be over. There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with his pitching arm. I watched him throw three times this spring and he was really letting the ball go. The key will be when he starts throwing breaking balls, which will probably be a few weeks from now.
With Scott Feldman being named to the rotation, does that mean that Travis Wood will be a filler until Scott Baker gets healthy or is their a chance that Wood may somehow remain in the rotation?
Bruce Levine (1:10 PM)
Wood is going to have to beat out Villanueva and Cabrera is also being groomed as a starter now. The best 5 starters will be there opening day.
Larryj95256 (Konya Turkey)
Greetings from Turkey. Where do you see Soriano's most likely destination, how much salary are the Cubs willing to eat, and what can they get in return?
Bruce Levine (1:12 PM)
Ideally, Soriano would like to play on an East coast team if he is traded. He's more than likely to veto a deal to a West coast team. Right now his preference is to stay with the Cubs, and he has total control of the situation with 10 & 5 rights. By the way, I used to love Turkey...but now I'm a vegan.
What's the status of Brian Wilson? Would the Cubs be interested?
Bruce Levine (1:14 PM)
Haven't heard much about Wilson at this point. I think the Cubs are happy with their bullpen as it is right now. I can see them adding a vet if they trade Marmol. And I believe Marmol will be traded before the beginning of the season.
Do you think the White Sox will be legitimate contenders this year? Seems we are always not picked but are right there until the last month or so, and if we fall behind do you see guys like Peavy and Dunn getting traded to try and rebuild?
Bruce Levine (1:16 PM)
To answer the last part of your question first, that is a possibility. I do think that both Peavy and Dunn would be valuable chips if the White Sox decided to go in that direction. The White Sox will be dictated on how well the second-year pitchers continue to grow. Most will have to avoid the Sophomore Jinx, including Chris Sale, who is basically a second-year man as a starter.
Bruuuuuuce. What is Mike Quade up to these days? Is he currently with another MLB team?
Bruce Levine (1:17 PM)
I asked that question of a good friend of his last week, and he said Quade is not working for anyone at this point. The friend told me he was surprised that Quade was not more aggressive in looking for a job.
With the brewers either have PED issues or injuries plus weak pitching are the cubs a better team?
Bruce Levine (1:19 PM)
It's hard to say right now with Hart and Gamel out for extended periods. The Brewers will be a question mark. Also with the question mark hanging over Braun's head, that could be impactful for him and the team as well. Not sure I'm picking either one to win the division.
Steve (Central Illinois)
Maybe I've missed some updates, but I haven't heard much about Concepcion. Is he at big league camp? If so, how's he look and if not, where will he be playing this year?
Bruce Levine (1:20 PM)
I have not seen Concepcion in big league camp. I'll find out for sure, but most likely it will be at Class A.
Who has impressed you the most this spring, from the Cubs?
Bruce Levine (1:21 PM)
Samardzija is always impressive. His bullpen sessions look like he's ready to start the season. Barney has added about 6 or 7 pounds of muscle in hopes of staying stronger and hitting the ball with more authority this year. Fujikawa blew me away with the two side sessions I saw him throw.
Kevin (Little Rock)
Bruce!!! So I was thinking about the possibility of a trade for Mark Trumbo. Young, great power, can play the outfield, and the Angels farm system is horrid. Trust me I live in Little Rock. The Travelers stink.I am thinking maybe Soriano, Lake, and Marmol could do it, or just a package of prospects like Lake, Szuzcr, combined with Marmol.
Bruce Levine (1:23 PM)
I guess you really are an Angels fan. That seems like an awful lot of talent to pay for Trumbo. We'll count on you for more reports from Angels farm systems in the future--thanks!
Bruce, can you envision a scenario where Detroit isn't running away with the AL Central and they are desperate for an arm/ OF bat maybe both, do you think Garza and/or Soriano could be bait for Castellanos?
Bruce Levine (1:25 PM)
I think the one possible weakness for the Tigers could be their bullpen. The bullpen had to extend out much further because the extra three series in 2012. That and they don't have a bonafide closer right now. The rest of team looks championship caliber. Remember the Tigers didn't get it together until September last year, so the White Sox, Indians and Royals certainly have a shot.
Bruce!!!! Number of starts we see from the big 6 this year, over/under 120? (Garza, Samardzija, Wood, Feldman, Jackson, Baker)
Bruce Levine (1:26 PM)
I'm not in the prediction business and I'm a little hesitant to predict how many starts Garza will have until I see him pitch more in spring training. So I'll say under for now.
Nate (Franklin Park)
Hey Bruce,Everyone wants to know if the Sox are gonna make a trade, and for good reason. But realistically, is there even a difference making left-handed bat out there for them to even sign or aquire via trade (assuming Danks is healthy and they dangle Gavin out there). Seems to me even if we have pitching to trade, there are no impact names to be had...what we have is what we are stuck with no matter what..?
Bruce Levine (1:28 PM)
There will be if someone becomes desperate for starting pitching. If a contending team loses one of their top starters for the season, they will have to consider giving up a left-handed position player. Floyd will be a valuable chip for both the White Sox and if it comes to it, the trade market.
Matt (Knoxville, TN)
Hey Bruce! Any word on Dontrelle Willis around camp? I know the Cubs signed him to a minor league deal in January, but I hadn't heard anything since.
Bruce Levine (1:29 PM)
I have not seen him pitch yet. You would have to think he is a real long shot to make the team, although they could definitely use a second lefty in the bullpen. As a matter of fact, they could use left-handed pitching up and down the organization.
Tim [via mobile]
Does soler have a chance to reach the majors this year
Bruce Levine (1:30 PM)
Absolutely zero chance to make the majors this season. If he progresses through two minor league stops this year, he could be in the bigs by 2014, but definitely no sooner than that.
My wife is being a sport and letting us spend our anniversary at Spring Training. Obviously, I need to make sure to take her to a nice dinner after the game. Where would you suggest I make a happy wife (happy life)?
Bruce Levine (1:31 PM)
Take her to the Italian Grotto. They have the best Italian/seafood in Arizona. Corner of Main and Scottsdale Rds.
Hey Bruce. While the organization is trying to change the culture of this franchise (being the loveable losers), do you know if there has been any talk of doing away with the "go cubs go" song after a win? To me, nothing says loser like celebrating a rare win with a stadium-wide song and dance. Thanks!
Bruce Levine (1:32 PM)
I agree with you sentiment somewhat. But almost every team has a celebration song at the end of a game. I have more trouble with the 'W" and 'L' flags that fly above Wrigley.
What was the return in the soriano to San Fran deal last year supposed to be?
Bruce Levine (1:33 PM)
I think the Cubs were getting some pitching back. Never got names though.
Nick (Peoria, IL)
Bruce, out of the Cubs stud prospects, who do you think will make it to the big leagues first?
Bruce Levine (1:34 PM)
I would say right now Baez is a little ahead of both Almora and Soler. He's going to need an outstanding 2013 season with a promotion to AA to keep that pace.
Bruce is Junior Lake in camp this year? And does he figure to be the 2nd baseman of the future? If so why not trade Barney NOW coming off a gold glove year
Bruce Levine (1:35 PM)
He is in camp, and is an impressive-looking young player. He appears to be too big to play second base. Third base or left field are more likely destinations for him.
Ray (Frigid WI)
Any chance Soriano gets traded before Opening Day?
Bruce Levine (1:36 PM)
Sure, there's always a chance. It just depends on other teams' needs. You have to keep watching the injury reports from other camps. That will tell you all need to know about the trade market for Soriano and Marmol.
peter (chicago) [via mobile]
Do you see hector santiago making his way into the starting rotation if Jon Danks doesn't make it to opening day
Bruce Levine (1:38 PM)
Not sure. Robin Ventura was asked that a few days ago and the answer was inconclusive at that point. One thing that he showed last season was that he is not afraid to throw strikes. The White Sox rotation is a bit too left-handed at this point. But if you have quality, you don't care too much what side they throw from.
The last couple of years we've heard from Beckham that his approach will be better at the plate, he'll build on late season success, blah, blah, blah and he still can't hit any better. Is this a make or break year for him?
Bruce Levine (1:39 PM)
I would say so. With Sanchez coming along as a future second baseman, Beckham probably needs to step it up this year.
Where do you see Lohse ending up? Any Chance the cubs decide to get him a 1 year deal?
Bruce Levine (1:41 PM)
I was talking to a baseball executive about Lohse yesterday. At age 35 he believes that Lohse will be lucky to get a two-year contract at this point. I don't think he falls into the Cubs territory. He's more of a contending team type pitcher right now.
David D. (Traverse City Mi.)
We've heard alot about the Cubs prospects this spring, which White Sox minor leaguers do we have a chance to see in the near future and why are they ranked so low as an organization prospect wise when I see a bunch of good young arms?
Bruce Levine (1:43 PM)
Most people take it for granted that Baseball America is the holy grail of prospect projection. Although it is a resourceful tool for fans to use, it is not the be all, end all to prospect analysis. None of the Baseball America guys are out there actually scouting. They mostly have good contacts who they rely on for the information. Trayce Thompson and Sanchez are guys that should be with the Sox within the next year.
Speaking of White Sox young arms... How are Addison Reed, Nate Jones and the other bullpen guys looking?
Bruce Levine (1:45 PM)
From what I've seen they are healthy and throwing the ball well. They're working on Jones having better pitch selection with his first pitch of the count. The American League hit .325 against Jones on first pitches last year. We'll know more starting on Saturday when the games begin.
Bruuuuuuuuuuce- It seems that there is always a surprise team to make a playoff push. Last year saw the O's and cards surprisingly made the playoffs. What has to happen for the Cubs to be in the hunt come October. Or am I drinking too much Kool-Aid?
Bruce Levine (1:46 PM)
You forgot the A's in your analysis. They were as big a surprise as anybody. I just don't see the Cubs being better than .500. Look at it this way: if they are .500 they improve by 20 wins over last year.
Are the Cubs committed to the Stewart/Valbuena platoon at 3B, or is there someone else we could see?
Bruce Levine (1:48 PM)
I think that's it for now. Those are your two third basemen until Vitters is able to be analyzed over the first few months. And people should not count Vitters out at this point. He has hit at every level he played at except for a small sample in the majors last year.
steve b (parts unknown)
With Chris Carpenter down for the season, shouldn't STL be looking to the Sox for an arm or two?Heard anything?
Bruce Levine (1:49 PM)
The Cardinals feel they have answers within. They have some excellent young arms. Rosenthal should be an immediate answer to take Carpenter's slot.
Mike (Mission Viejo, CA)
Do the Cubs or White Sox have to changetheir approach to compete with big spending teams like the Yankees and Dodgers or can you stil buildthrough the draft and let big money free agents sign elsewhere?
Bruce Levine (1:51 PM)
The Yankees look like a team that might be going the opposite direction this year. They are definitely getting long in the tooth. The Dodgers spent $250 million+ in one trade and did not make the playoffs. Spending money is not the answer. Plugging in solid players into a good system seems like a good way to go.
Al Smith (Downers Grove)
Is Vitters in camp if so how does he look?
Bruce Levine (1:51 PM)
I have not seen Vitters play yet. Games don't begin until Saturday, intrasquad probably the next few days.
Can you believe all of the Cubs (I will put this nicely) morons who think trading Campana was the 2nd coming of the Lou Brock trade. Some were even calling for firing Theo for this move. New Cub fans need to wake up.
Bruce Levine (1:54 PM)
Campana is a very good extra man on a good team. One scout who I talked to from the Diamondbacks thinks he's a little better than that. He pointed to former major league Brett Butler as a minor league manager that could have an impact on Campana's career. Butler took below average ability and made himself into an all-start by using his speed and bunting ability. Campana has not been a good bunter. So if Butler is able to help him use that particular skill to more of his advantage, he could be a better player. I agree with you though, he's below average outfielder with a way-below average arm. He has one great skill: speed and base-stealing.
Bruce Levine (1:56 PM)
Looking forward to games beginning over the weekend. It's always to give everybody a solid report once we see the teams in competition. Follow me on Twitter @ESPNBruceLevine, Jesse Rogers @ESPNChiCubs and Doug Padilla @ESPNChiSox. Thanks for all the questions!