Chat with Bruce Levine
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Bruce Levine (1:01 PM)
Welcome to the Tuesday Hot Stove baseball chat room. I'll take your questions on the Sox trade rumor rather than address it in this opening statement. Let's go.
What have you heard on the Gonzalez/Konerko/prospects three way? Any truth?
Bruce Levine (1:04 PM)
Although the Sox certainly have interest in Gonzalez, as all the other 29 teams do, that trade doesn't make sense. Why wouldn't the Angels make a direct trade of Gonzalez to the Angels for the prospects? Right now they have two free agents in Figgins and Guerrero, who might leave the team. Why would the Angels want a one-year commitment to Konerko when they can have Gonzalez for 4-6 years. Most likely scenario will have Gonzalez going to Boston for prospects.
Bruce, I love the chats. Is there any chance the Sox offer arbertration to either Dye or Dotel to get the draft picks?
Bruce Levine (1:05 PM)
No. It would be too risky. Dotel could make $7M and Dye could make upwards of $12M, maybe more. The answer is no.
John Janak (Zionsville)
Are the Cubs looking at any big pick ups?
Bruce Levine (1:06 PM)
The Granderson situation is real, but the names really haven't been figured out. Dave Dombrowski, the Tigers GM, has a mandate to get rid of payroll. Although he doesn't want to trade Granderson, some of his other contracts would be impossible to unload.
Jordan Campbell (Algonquin, IL)
When will Bradley get traded....And to What Team???
Bruce Levine (1:07 PM)
I have to admit that I might have jumped the gun last week. I thought he would be gone by now. But a couple of the scenarios for Hendry haven't taken place. Right now it's still Tampa and Texas as the most viable deals. It appears Kevin Millwood would be coming back from Texas and Pat Burrell if the deal is made with Tampa.
Brett Davis (Hot Springs, AR)
What was your take on a reliever winning the ROY over a great young shortstop, a stud kid starter, and Gordon Beckham?
Bruce Levine (1:08 PM)
It's obvious the BBWA wasn't paying attention to what Beckham did in the second half of the season. Bailey being a relief pitcher is a better call than naming a starting pitcher ROY, just becuase of the amount of appearances. But Beckham certainly got ripped off.
Bruce Levine (1:09 PM)
My vote would have been: Beckham, Andrus, Bailey and then Porcello.
Brett Davis (Hot Springs, AR)
Do you believe the Sox will sign Vladimir Guerrero?
Bruce Levine (1:10 PM)
I don't. Guerrero is on the downside of his career. However, the Sox might be bottom feeding by January and any number of RBI-type guys available could still be on their radar.
Brett Davis (Hot Springs, AR)
How does Mark Teahen fit into our lineup and in our ballpark?
Bruce Levine (1:11 PM)
Teahen is a versatile left-handed hitter who can play any number of positions. I believe the White Sox traded for him due to the fact they needed left-handed hitting and that if they acquired other players Teahen could easily move to another position or back up three or four. I still don't think dealing Getz was a good move.
I think the Cubs would be a great fit for Gonzalez. They have the propects and could move Lee to the Angels. I would think the Angels would rather have him than Konerko.
Bruce Levine (1:12 PM)
Lee, who has a full no-trade clause, was approached last offseason by the Cubs to see if he would be interested in being dealt to a Calif. team. His answer was a firm 'no.' He's in the last year of his contract and the likelihood of an extension is more a possibility than a trade.
Ryan (Evergreen Park)
Will the Cubs make any moves before the Winter Meetings? What are the most realistic?
Bruce Levine (1:14 PM)
Bradley, Bradley and Bradley. Jim Hendry has to be concerned with that deal first in order to free up some cash for other players. At some point in the next couple of weeks - or sooner - Hendry should sign free-agent Jon Grabow to a two-year, $7 - $7 1/2 million deal. PS: All free agents can negotiate with any team starting Friday.
Joe Ashe (Chicago)
If the White Sox didn't claim Alex Rios and his 60 million owed would they be the front runners for Chone Figgins?
Bruce Levine (1:16 PM)
Don't be so sure that Kenny Williams and company don't figure out a way to find some cash for Figgins. Right now they're tapped out. But if they move a contract like Jenks' the Figgins bidding could begin. The Sox are not the type of team to set the market for a player. They're always back in the bushes waiting to make that late and final bid before the player goes to another team.
What are the chances Thome comes back to provide some left handed power? Assuming of course these Gozalez rumors are false
Bruce Levine (1:17 PM)
Thome is always a possibility, especially if the Sox get a hometown discount. The most important thing to Jim is going to a good team where he can contribute. Certainly that criteria exists with the Sox.
Will the Cubs do anything with their rotation as far as adding another starter or will they be heading to camp with Gorzellany and Marshall vying for the 5th starter role?
Bruce Levine (1:18 PM)
Don't forget about Samardzija, who just completed pitching four weeks in Mexico. The franchise is enthused about his future. Also a deal to Texas would bring back Kevin Millwood who would be a one-year pitcher.
between the sox and the dbacks whose gonna get the better of the deal? Pena for the sox or allen for the dbacks? I was watching allen hit for us and wasnt impressed. He strikes out too much your thoughts please?
Bruce Levine (1:19 PM)
Allen struck out 40 percent of the time with his 100 at-bats with the Diamondbacks. When I was in Ariz. last week, I watched him continue to swing and miss at breaking balls. Pena was no great wonder for the Sox, but he did pitch better late in the season. I'll go with the Sox on this one.
Who would the Cubs platoon with Granderson if they got him? He can't hit lefties.
Bruce Levine (1:20 PM)
As you know, baseball players at their very best make outs 70 percent of the time. I could live with Granderson hitting .200 against lefties and playing solid defense, letting someone else win the game that particular day or drive him in because of his speed on the bases.
bruce why are the white sox not trying to get a younger lead off hitter. who can actually steal more than 50 bases a season. play smart small ball!!!
Bruce Levine (1:21 PM)
David, who would that be? Every team would like to develop a young, speed player like a Michael Bourn. Or a young Figgins. Most teams are in the same situation the Sox and Cubs are in, looking for that player.
If the cubs can't spend money to get a CF, would they be willing to give fuld the job to see how he does?
Bruce Levine (1:22 PM)
Scoots, I don't think that's a bad idea. But it appears the Cubs feel Fuld is at best a backup. As we mentioned here previously, Fuld battles diabetes, which makes him vulnerable to infections and other illnesses. The Cubs have some concern in this area as far as his durability.
Are the Cubs looking for a closer, or is Marmol their guy?
Bruce Levine (1:23 PM)
Marmol's the guy for now. The only problem for him is that he creates his own negative situations by walking the world. He's still one of the most difficult guys to hit in the majors.
If the cubs dealt for Granderson, what do you think would be the package needed for him? Would we have to give up Castro, Vitters or Cashner? Can the cubs get away with just including veterans like Fox, Haufpauer, Marshall, etc?
Bruce Levine (1:24 PM)
The Tigers are not interested in back-up players. What they're interested in is young players they can project for the future. The Cubs certainly would have to give up a player like Vitters in a package that would include another two or three players. Remember Granderson still is young at 29 and his marketability is off the charts.
Mike L (My cube)
Do you think Carlos Q can stay healthy playing everyday in the OF? His career has been injury plagued if I am not mistaken
Bruce Levine (1:26 PM)
That's the main question for the Sox in 2010. They're hoping to move him to right field if he is healthy and then slot either a new player or Podsednik back into the left-field spot. Quentin has been injured every year of his career.
Matt (oak lawn ill)
Bruce, what do you see the white sox doing with there last outfield spot? resigning scott podsednik, another free agent?
Bruce Levine (1:27 PM)
The Sox can go in a lot of different ways. They can sign Podsednik, or they can look at the free-agent market or wait for non-tenders after Dec. 12. I'm told flat out they have no money to spend at this particular time. But owner Jerry Reinsdorf has always ponied up when the baseball dept. feels a move needs to be made.
Rob (Lime Rock, CT)
In your opinion is there any chance the White Sox go after Carl Crawford or BJ Upton? It would probably take Flowers and Hudson plus another prospect, right?
Bruce Levine (1:28 PM)
That's not enough for either guy. Crawford's definitley not going to be traded. For Upton, the Rays would want another CF back. I don't see that happening.
Charley (Naperville, IL)
Looking into your crystal ball, who leads off for the White Sox in 2010 and who will be there biggest acquisition this off-season?Thanks
Bruce Levine (1:31 PM)
I have no crystal ball, just baseball sources. The Sox keep all their information within the confines of Reinsdorf, Williams and asst. GM Rick Hahn. That is why very little information gets out from Sox HQ. Right now, Alex Rios because of his OBP, would be the most viable lead-off man. I don't expect that to be the case on April 4. Sox need to make a move. Figgins would be the best choice if they had the money.
Richard (the Office)
So if Milton Bradley doesn't get moved, what then? Bring in some more "Veteran Clubhouse" guys that can assert the leadership D.Lee and others have been reluctant to?
Bruce Levine (1:32 PM)
Bradley will get moved, but it's not going to be an easy process. Hendry has to show some fiscal responsibility in this area and can't just trade him without getting a good amount of money back.
Joe (New York)
Would you trade Beckham for Jose Reyes if you were the White Sox?
Bruce Levine (1:33 PM)
I certainly would not. Reyes has been an injured player for the last couple years and has not come near to the superstart status that was predicted for him. Beckham's upside is beyond what Reyes' is at this point.
Bill (Glendale Heights)
I wouldn't trade Castro, Vitters, or Cashner for Granderson.. if Hendry does that he should be fired on the spot. Hendry has made way to many mistakes in recent years to mortgage his future for a platoon hitter like Granderson!
Bruce Levine (1:34 PM)
Granderson is much more than a platoon hitter. Baseball history is full of guys that couldn't hit left-handed pitching and were still All-Stars every year. Granderson would be a huge uptick for the Cubs in the outfield, where the Cubs offensively and defensively are hurting big time. Don't expect Castro and Cashner to be included in any offseason deals.
Bruce,What are the chances in your opinion of the Cubs getting Granderson. I think this kid is really a excellent player, one the Cubs could build around for years to come... Is it possible for Bradley to be included if the Cubs pick up aot of the Bradley contract with Detroit
Bruce Levine (1:35 PM)
Detroit's not interested in Bradley. They're already stuck with their own contracts they'd like to move. Trading Ordonez is impossible, he's making $18M. Bonderman and Willis have awful contracts they can't move as well. That's why Dombrowski has to float Granderson to see what he would bring back. It's not a slam dunk that he'd trade him.
Tony (Elk Grove )
What are the odds of the Chicago Cubs resigning Rich Harden? I have heard he wants to stay as a cub.
Bruce Levine (1:37 PM)
Zero. Harden's 25 starts per year is not what the Cubs are looking for, especially if he's going to make somewhere between $7M and $10M. Harden probably will take a one-year deal with an option somewhere else.
any chance the cubs go after Ben Sheets?
Bruce Levine (1:37 PM)
That's a good name. After being out one year and having surgery he fits into the prototype of the tough Cajun who the Cubs always have a fondness for.
Boomer (Lisle, IL)
In all the excitement of the sox starting rotation for next year and sigining/trading for new offensive/defensive weapons it seems that the need for help in the bullpen has been overlooked. Since the bullpen completely collapsed at the second part of last year what moves have you heard/project being talked about in that department?
Bruce Levine (1:39 PM)
Very astute on your part. The Sox are very concerned about how the back end of their bullpen is going to shape up. If they do trade Jenks, it would be to bring in some other people who are competent in the bullpen. Dotel will be gone as a free agent, Linebrink is a big question mark. After that you're left with Pena, Thornton and Jenks, maybe Carrasco. Look for them to try to find some solutions at the Winter Meetings in Indy Dec. 7-10.
Bob (Austin, TX)
The Sox need a lefty power bat, a lead-off type guy, and bullpen help that will actually help. Are there many teams that don't need those type players? Is there any way Kenny Williams can rely on young home grown players without 2010 being a "rebuilding" year?
Bruce Levine (1:41 PM)
The Sox are going for it next year. They're commitment to Peavy, and Rios, indicates they're going to try to be the dominant team in the Central Division. They're back-up players look pretty good right now if you throw Teahen into the mix. Daniel Hudson is the wild card. He could either be in the bullpen or push Freddy Gonzalez for the fifth rotation spot.
Brett Davis (Hot Springs, AR)
Obviously you are around the team more than I am, but I think dealing Getz was a great idea. His defense just didnt add up for such an important up the middle position, if you look at any defensive metric. That said, he had a few clutch hits, but I think the Sox sold high.
Bruce Levine (1:42 PM)
When you trade a good-looking, young, left-handed hitter who steals 25 bases and makes zero money, then you hope you're getting a real good player back. I like Teahen but I don't believe he's an All Star-type player. As for defense, Beckham now has to learn a new position. And atlhough he's an outstanding baseball athlete, there will be an adjustment period, especially on the double play.
Bruce, why don't the Cubs go sign Pods? He can fill the void in center and be the leadoff guy with Theriot hitting behind him. Pods gets on base, steals second and Theriot hits him over to 3rd. Oh wait, it's the Cubs, they can't score with a man on third and less than 2 outs!
Bruce Levine (1:44 PM)
Funny guy. Podsednik was look at by the Cubs two years ago, when he was riding the bench for the Rockies. Offensively, he would a nice solution. Defensively he'd be a train wreck in center, where the Cubs defense has been below par for too long.
Bruce you never ansewered the question on the White Sox offer arbitration to Dye or Dotel.
Bruce Levine (1:46 PM)
I think I did, but just in case, Dye could earn between $12M and $14M in arbitration, something the Sox aren't willing to risk. Same with Dotel, who made $6M last year and would make at least that much if he decided to take arbitration. The Sox don't want either one back and couldn't afford paying those salaries.
Tom (Chicago, IL)
You said earlier that if the Sox could move Jenks contract, they'd be in the running for Figgins. Who could the Sox get for Jenks if they decide to move him - what would they look for?
Bruce Levine (1:47 PM)
Bullpen help would be No. 1. They seem to have plenty of starting pitching for right now. A left-handed hitter would be a nice idea, but that might be filled through existing free agents and non-tendered players.
What are the chances the sox sign another left handed guy like hank blalock to DH and backup at first?
Bruce Levine (1:48 PM)
That's a good call. Blalock like Aubrey Huff, Thome and Matsui are all on the Sox list of prospective players they'd like to add. The market would have to set itself before the Sox jump in .
Bruce I read the Sox and Cubs are two teams intereted in signing Billy Wagner. Does he fit into either teams plans?
Bruce Levine (1:49 PM)
First of all Wagner has to be sure he wants to pitch again. Then his market value has to be determined. As to what he has left, it's questionable whether he'll be a closer again.
$7 million on Grabow is an absurd waste of money. Can you say Mike Remlinger or Latroy Hawkins or Scott Eyre? John Gaub will be just as good as Grabow and for 1/20 of the price.
Bruce Levine (1:50 PM)
Grabow is a very good left-handed set-up man. Those guys aren't easy to find. Unfortunatley for the Cubs, the market for a left-handed set-up man alreayd is set by other good and bad contracts. Real market value for Grabow is $3M to $4M. He will sign with the Cubs.
Do you feel that the cubs need to reconstruct the bulpen if so what are the options for the bulpen either in house or out
Bruce Levine (1:51 PM)
Grabow and Marmol are 1-2 at the back end. As far as whether Heilman or Marshall will be a part of this year's bullpen is questionable. The right-hander Caridad looked good at the end of the year. Look for him to get a shot in spring training. John Gaub is a power lefty who can make the team this spring.
Bruce, wouldn't you agree that getting a guy like Curtis Granderson to lead off for the Cubs would be the same as Soriano leading off with a slightly less power? Both strike-out a lot and neither hits for a particularly high average...won't it be a repeat of the Soriano experiment.
Bruce Levine (1:53 PM)
It could be. You're correct in that Granderson had a bad year as far as batting average goes. And he does strike out a lot. But so does Grady Sizemore, of the Indians, who most consider an All-Star and impact player. It's not like there's a lot of players out there with Granderson's ability. But you have defined two weaknesses in his game.
Cory Hartzheim (Kaukauna)
What do you thnk the chances are of the Cubs going after a second basemen like Orlando Hudson? Second base seems to be up in the at the moment with both Fontenot and Baker being arbitration eligible
Bruce Levine (1:54 PM)
Hudson would be a nice one-year call for the Cubs. It would allow Castro to have more seasoning at Double-A and Triple-A before he's moved up to play short. The problem with Castro playing short is Theriot moving to second, a position he hasn't played for four years. That's not an easy adjustment, especially playing with your back to the runner coming down on double plays. Still Hudson would be a nice addition for one year. Orlando Cabrera wouldn't be a bad idea either.
What do the cubs do at Catcher?? If Soto slumps early --- there has to be a back-up plan
Bruce Levine (1:55 PM)
Koyie Hill is the back-up plan for now. Defensively, he had the highest percentage of base-runners caught stealing in the NL. Offensively, he's not the answer. How would you like Pudge Rodriguez as a back-up free agent?
How will the Sox play be affected by the Twins new stadium. Will they have a better chance of winning there?
Bruce Levine (1:56 PM)
The best aspect of the Twins moving into Target Field for the Sox is that their players might not be as effective playing outdoors. April will be a real test for the power hitters as well as the speed playes on the Twins.
Any way Cubs dump Bradley and are able to get both Byrd and Granderson? With Byrd in RF and Fukudome as the 4th OF.
Bruce Levine (1:58 PM)
The Cubs don't have enough money to address many free agents. They already have a commitment of over $130M. Their payroll is going to be at $140M, and they have six players going to arbitration. Economically, this is a tough year for the Cubs. The Ricketts family is not giving any more payroll at this time.
Bruce,if Hendry does trade Castro or cashner doesn't that contradict what Ricketts mentioned during his press conference about building the minor league system?
Bruce Levine (1:59 PM)
Castro will not be traded. He is the shortstop of the very near future. Teams do not trade players like this unless they have a young stud at the position already. Cashner would only go in a blockbuster trade where the Cubs are getting other young people back. That would not contradict Ricketts' statement considering you're bringing in other young players.
What are the chances of the Cubs bringing back DeRosa?
Bruce Levine (2:01 PM)
Maybe DeRosa would be the right answer for the Cubs' new marketing director. The team did say it was going to have a high-profile, well-known guy to take that role. But seriously I don't see where DeRosa fits for this team. He's going to play at age 35 coming off wrist surgery. His best positions are first and third. I do miss him, though, in the clubhouse.
Brett Davis (Hot Springs, AR)
Realistically, at this moment, I would say the Sox are the favorites to win the division in 2010. Am I wrong in your opinion?
Bruce Levine (2:02 PM)
When you look at the state of the Indians and the Tigers, you have to like the direction the Sox are going in. The Twins will remain their main competition. But if Rios and Peavy play up to their potential, the Sox should be the class of the division next season.
Bruce Levine (2:03 PM)
Look forward to more of my reports this week on the owners' meeting taking place in Chicago. I'll continue to follow all rumors, both real and imagined, for you on ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000. Tune into Talking Baseball on Saturday from 10-12 CT on ESPN 1000 or listen to via live stream on ESPNChicago.com.