Chat with Bruce Levine
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! Baseball beat 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 (1:05 PM)
Today is the day teams have to offer arbitration to their free agents. However, 3 years ago, the rules changed. Even if you don't offer arbitration, you're still able to sign them as free agents. Welcome to the chat room.
Will Hendry make a significant pen signing or try to pick off the scrap heap and find a hidden gem?
Bruce Levine (1:06 PM)
Considering his cash available is limited, Hendry is going to have to gauge where to throw the minimial amount of money. He needs to acquire a starting pitcher, left-handed RBI man and bullpen guy. Bottom feeding is a possibility.
Dino (Bartlett, IL)
I saw that Guyer has only 69 ab's, did he get injured in the winter league?
Bruce Levine (1:06 PM)
I'll have to look it up, and 69 at-bats isn't that few right now.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
How would U.S. Cellular Field be for a Football Game since Wrigley Field is way too small?
Bruce Levine (1:07 PM)
It's a moot point, unless the White Sox want a game there. They can veto any event at U.S. Cellular Field.
Bruce, why haven't I heard anything about the Cubs having interest in Carl Crawford? I know $$ is short but Crawford would be perfect on this team. Consistent. Speed. Defense. Sign Pena cheap too, and I really like the look of the lineup.
Bruce Levine (1:11 PM)
I don't know if you heard this, but money is short. I don't mean to be a wise guy, but Crawford is signing between $17-$20 million a year, and the Cubs don't have that money. Pena is a possibility. Boras is his agent, and you never know what story he might concoct about why Pena only hit .195.
Hi Bruce! Jermaine Dye. Why didnt the Sox keep him and why didnt anyone pick him up? Thanks!
Bruce Levine (1:12 PM)
The reason the Sox didn't keep him is 2 years in a row, his numbers eroded in August and September. Teams like the Cubs offered him a contract, but he said the money was insulting. The Cubs offered a one-year, $3 million deal.
Dino (Bartlett, IL)
Any thoughts of moving Soriano to 1B?
Bruce Levine (1:12 PM)
I talked about it a little last year, but people told me I was out of my mind. He had trouble staying healthy in the outfield, so he'd never stay healthy at first.
Greg M (Chicago)
Bruce although there have been some peaks and valleys, my impression is that the Cubs pitching staff was usually in the top half of the league in ERA and strikeouts during Larry Rothchild's tenure. Do you feel there will be a drop-off with a new pitching coach?
Bruce Levine (1:13 PM)
Tell me who the pithcers are, and then I'll tell you if I think there will be a dropoff. Cubs didn't strike out that many last year and the ERA was horrendous, because Larry didn't have the good pitchers he's had in the past.
James (Park Ridge)
What are the chances K Wood takes a pay cut to come back to the cubs as a set up man, and is Maddux interested in the vacant pitching coach position?
Bruce Levine (1:14 PM)
The answer to the last part is no. Maddux told me he's never really been interested in being a pitching coach. He'd rather manage. There's a decent chance Kerry could end up with the Cubs. Mutual admiration between Hendry and Wood.
Does Jeff Baker get non-tendered? He has his faults but his defensive versatility is hard to find.
Bruce Levine (1:14 PM)
The Cubs will make him an offer. If he doesn't find it reasonable enough, they'll move on without him. He was dynamite against lefties, and awful against righties.
Josh (San Francisco)
Bruce, do you see Chris Sale in the rotation to start the season? I read that Ozzie thinks he's better off out of the pen for now.
Bruce Levine (1:16 PM)
Upper management wants him to start, so that's where he'll begin in spring training. It depends whether the Sox trade for or sign bullpen guys to replace Jenks and possibly Putz.
Vin (New Jersey)
Predictions on whether Putz, Konerko, and/or A.J. come back for the Sox?
Bruce Levine (1:17 PM)
With Martinez signing today with Detroit, A.J.'s stock has just gone up as a free agent. Boston, Texas and Baltimore all are looking for catching. And he can get more than one year, which the Sox are most likely to offer.
If they Sox lose both AJ and Paulie, could we see a scenario where KW trades some more veterans(Floyd, Jackson) for prospects and go young for a year?
Bruce Levine (1:18 PM)
You could, but that's not Kenny's MO. He usually goes young with the idea of contending at the same time. That's what he did when he traded for Floyd and Quentin.
Bruce, you have said in the past that the Cubs have only $5-7M to spend. Isn't it more accurate to say they only choose to spend $5-7M this offseason? There is no way the Cubs can claim to be poor when they have the highest average ticket in baseball, sell out most games, scalp their own tickets in off-site ticket brokerages, get 17% of rooftop revenue, get $2M from Toyota, etc., etc., etc. Do the Ricketts think their fanbase is stupid? Why have they not once used the word rebuild when this is what they obviously have been doing and need to do?
Bruce Levine (1:20 PM)
I agree with almost everything you say. However, Mr. Ricketts feels that building the team through the farm system is the way the Cubs should go for now. It's not rebuilding, it's building for the future.
When Hendry looks at the first base situation don't you think he has to think about defense first? I know they need a run producer, but a solid glove at first is going to help Castro quite a bit.
Bruce Levine (1:21 PM)
An astute point by you, which is why Hendry might choose Carlos Pena to pursue. He's an outstanding glove man, and still hits home runs and RBIs to go along with strikeouts and horrendouns 2010 batting average.
Sean Marshall still going to be a bull pen guy in 2011 or will he get a shot at the rotation?
Bruce Levine (1:22 PM)
The Cubs aren't going to mess with his success in the pen. Hendry on "Talkin' Baseball" on Saturday said Marshall was arguable the best left-handed reliever in the NL, who wasn't the closer. The bullpen strength is Marshall and Marmol with Cashner being an unknown at this point.
Dave Johnson (Skokie)
Hey Bruce is it true that the White offered Victor Martinez a 3 year $48 million dollar contract, and he chose the 4 year $50 million dollar deal from Detroit instead?
Bruce Levine (1:23 PM)
Don't know if the money is exactly what you say, but they were negotiating. At the same time, the Sox have talked to many agents, including Adam Dunn's, who is still their primary target.
Amanda Gard (Elgin, IL)
Assuming the Sox don't get Adam Dunn, would Matsui be the left handed bat we go after next? And is Olivo the Sox starting catcher in 2011?
Bruce Levine (1:24 PM)
I can't see how Olivo fits with the White Sox. The reason they got rid of him initially is he called a terrible game. Unless he's gotten a lot smarter over the last five years, I don't see it. Matsui is someone they are interested in. The agent and the Sox have had a solid history of communication.
Joe (Chicago: Pilsen Area)
Are the Cubs still thinking Dunn and Pena or have they moved on to cheaper money wise options at 1st like LaRoche or Berkman?
Bruce Levine (1:25 PM)
Dunn is out of the picture, unless Mr. Ricketts changes his mind tomorrow and gives Hendry another $10M-$12M. Don't discount a trade for a first baseman. Hendry talked to the Rangers abuot one of their young 1B during the GM meetings.
How strong a possibility for the Cubs is a deal for Chris Davis? Doesn't it make sense to save money and take a chance on a talented young player with long term potential, especially considering the Cubs don't really have a first base prospect in the minors?
Bruce Levine (1:27 PM)
Davis is a big-time strikeout guy. His one solid tool is his power. That's the player Hendry talked to Texas about at the GM meetings. Texas is interested in either Wellington Castillo or Robinson Chrinios.
Bruce, if the Cubs add a decent first baseman and solidify their pitching, can they realistically compete for the Central Division next year?
Bruce Levine (1:27 PM)
It depends. The Cards already solidified their rotation by signing Westbrook. And Cincinnati is still the same team they were when they won the division. Cubs need a few upgrades to compete.
Jose (Oak Park)
There have been some rumors about the Cubs possibly going after either Garland or Vasquez, who do u see being more of a possibility of coming here and how much would it cost the team?
Bruce Levine (1:29 PM)
Vazquez has more upside than Garland, especially having been successful pitching in the NL. Hendry also has a good rapport with the agent for Vazquez. Same agent for Marlon Byrd and Milton Bradley. A two-year deal would not be out of the question for Vazquez.
What is the biggest challenge the White Sox face in 2011?
Bruce Levine (1:30 PM)
Keeping their starting pitchers and bullpen healthy. The Sox can be competitive if they can replenish their bullpen and get a left-handed bat.
Bruce is there any reason to believe in the Ricketts as owner's of the Cubs to bring a championship to the Northside? I myself don't believe so! i'd rather have Mark Cuban than these clowns!
Bruce Levine (1:31 PM)
Let's just say the Ricketts have had a bad couple of weeks. Their intent is to win world championships and be a good team for years. They are nice people who are still learning the business of baseball. Tell me how many championships Cuban has won.
Bruce Levine (1:32 PM)
Sorry we have to cut this short. Keep your eye on the dates of Nov. 30 and Dec. 2. Nov. 30 is when free agents have to tell their teams if they're accepting arbitration, and Dec. 2 is when the clubs offer arbitration to the players they have under contract. Have a great week, Thanksgiving, see you Saturday on "Talkin' Baseball".
SportsNation on Facebook
THIS WEEK'S CHATS (All Times CT)
- 10:00 AMFantasy's Eric Karabell
- 10:00 AMNCAA BB with Jeff Goodman
- 11:00 AMNFL with Matt Williamson
- 12:00 PMCowboys with Todd Archer
- 12:00 PMNFL Insider Mike Sando
- 12:00 PMMMA with Brett Okamoto
- 12:00 PMNBA Insider Chad Ford
- 1:00 PMRavens with Hensley
- 2:00 PMGolf columnist Bob Harig
- 2:00 PMNHL with Katie Strang
- 2:00 PMSeahawks with Blount
- 3:00 PMNFL columnist Ashley Fox
- 10:00 AMPatriots with Mike Reiss
- 10:00 AMFantasy MLB's AJ Mass
- 11:00 AMNHL with Scott Burnside
- 12:00 PMMLB Insider Keith Law
- 1:00 PM49ers with Bill Williamson
- 1:00 PMNFL Draft Insider Mel Kiper
- 1:00 PMMechelle Voepel on NCAAW
- 1:00 PMBracketologist Joe Lunardi
- 1:30 PM'Hawks with Scott Powers
- 2:00 PMNBA Insider Amin Elhassan
- 3:00 PMTitans with Paul Kuharsky
- 3:00 PMNFL Insider KC Joyner