Chat with Bruce Levine, Doug Padilla
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! Baseball beat reporters Bruce Levine and Doug Padilla stop by Tuesday to chat.
Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000. Padilla covers the White Sox for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.
Send your questions now and join the chat Tuesday at noon CT/1 p.m. ET!
Bruce Levine (1:02 PM)
Welcome all Bulls fans. We've been waiting for you for months. There is good baseball on the South and North side and soon it will be played that way.
Matt D (Chicago, IL)
With Sori out, why on earth is DeWitt going to be playing the outfield? Why not Colvin, or Flaherty, or Jackson? Just another very questionable decision by Quade this season.
Bruce Levine (1:03 PM)
Quade doesn't make roster moves. That's up to Hendry and Bush so if Soriano is out for an extended period of time you most likely will see one of those players. And by the way, DeWitt's kick save was one of the best I've ever seen.
Bruce, Why would the Cubs call up LeMahieu if they just plan on keeping him on the bench in a backup role? Wouldn't a career AAAA player like Scales be more appropriate so DJ could move up to AAA and continue to develop? Also does he have potential at 3rd or will his power numbers not be what's expected for the position?
Bruce Levine (1:04 PM)
With all due respect to Scales and the other vets at AAA, I think the Cubs want to move the timetable up on some of their young players. It didn't hurt Castro last year when they brought him up. It's a short term idea.
Nick (South Dakota)
Bruce, What will these outfield injury issues mean for Brett Jackson? Will we see him sooner than expected or will his promotion be only a function of his performance/readiness? Thanks.
Bruce Levine (1:05 PM)
I think the latter. He has just returned to play in the minors after being out for a month so I don't think they want to rush him at this point. The team's record and his progress will be the main indicators as to when he is promoted.
This stupid trade for Lopez is why Hendry needs to go. Giving up a young, lefty power arm for a broken down waste of a 6th starter. Even if Lopez does well the trade was stupid. Why does Hendry continue to sell of decent prospects for Triple AAA players who the Cubs let play on their major league team. What a waste it is being a Cubs fan.
Bruce Levine (1:07 PM)
The Cubs were desperate for pitching help and I don't think you can blame Hdnery for injuries to his rotation. If any team loses three of their five starters they are going to be scrambling. Your Hendry hate may be well-founded in your own mind, but this probably is not a good example.
Randy (Des Moines, Iowa)
The biggest stat from yesterday's game was the attendance of 30,450. I hope Ricketts hears those 10,000 plus empty seats loud and clear. If it is like this in May, what is it going to be like by the time August rolls around?
Bruce Levine (1:09 PM)
The product dictates interest. And right now the product is not real good so you are seeing waning interest. It's pretty obvious people will not come out in droves for a team that is not going to compete. That said, ti still is the NL and one hot week puts you back in contention. Look at the NL West.
Hey Bruce-It's sad, but on the last day of May I've already given up on this season and am looking forward to seeing prospects come up and see what happens in the draft. Sevaral mock drafts have the Cubs taking Bubba Starling if he drops that far. Is Rickets going to pay the kind of bonus money he will demand, or will they go for some cheap guy that no one has ever heard of like last year? I see that Homer..I mean Hayden Simpson is not exactly tearing up Peoria these days.
Bruce Levine (1:11 PM)
That is a very interesting question. Tom has said that they are going to throw a lot of money at the farm system and foreign free agent signings. That remains to be seen. The player you're talking about is someone the Cubs would love to have but he will cost them a lot of money.
Cubs Fan (Aurora, IL)
Is it safe to assume that the higher priced FA's (Fukudome, Ramirez, Dempster, Pena, etc) will not be back with the club next year? All I keep hearing is how great our minor league system is and Rickerts doesn't seem to like the FA route (even though they put fans in the seats).
Bruce Levine (1:13 PM)
Ricketts might not like the FA route but if the team is going to compete they are going to have to make some good trades and sign some free agents that makes sense for them. Nobody competes with just young players, not Minnesota, not Florida, not any of the great teams that have been mostly formed through great farm system players. The Cubs are a huge big market team and cannot have a formula like KC or Pittsburgh.
J.R. Van Houghton (Chicago)
Since this season is lost, why dont the Cubs bat Campana leadoff and see what he can do with his speed.....can he possibly steal 70 per year?
Bruce Levine (1:15 PM)
There's no doubt he can steal 70. The question is can he hit .250? Some might say he can bunt .250. It is interesting to watch a player with speed play for the Cubs. Other than Eric Young and Juan Pierre, this is probably the only base stealer they have had in the last 10 years.
Landry (Tualatin, OR)
Bruce, isn't there someone else in the organization who can pitch more effectively than Doug %$#&@$^ Davis, or Rodrigo %$#^
Bruce Levine (1:16 PM)
The answer is yes, but not at this level. They have godo young pitchers at Double-A and now moving up to Triple-A, but they are not quite ready yet.
How likely is it that the Cubs send everybody packing and rebuild? We would all love to see Soriano's terrible contract go away, but I know he's pretty untradeable (especially since he has a no-trade clause) even though he's been productive this year.
Bruce Levine (1:17 PM)
The guys all have no-trade clauses so if they are interested in going somewhere else it's possible you can trade them. Production from those players would be the forerunner to that. If they are not productive, no one is going to want them. The money is a separate issue.
Bruce, what level prospects can we expect back in a potential Big Z trade? Also do the Cubs have any shot of dealing Ramirez for young talent?
Bruce Levine (1:20 PM)
We'll find out sometime in July if the Cubs don't improve. Whoever takes on contracts like Ramirez, they are also taking on a $2 million buyout if they don't want him for the next season. The Cubs tried to trade Derrek Lee to the Angels last July and he turned them down. He turned down another trade to Washington as well before accepting a trade to Atlanta in August. Hendry might be budy but it will depend on the cooperation of the players.
Do you think Soriano will actually play 3 more years beyond the current season? With his leg issues, I can see him being someone unable to play a position other than DH. He won't be moved because of his horrible contract, but I'm wondering if he'll even be ABLE to play outfield.
Bruce Levine (1:21 PM)
It's a fair question, but it's one that ownership will have to address, if they want to eat the last three years of his contract. That's a lot of Bud Lights.
Mr. Cox (Greenville, NC)
Bruce, with all of the pitching woes the Cubs have had, who looks like the most likely prospect to come in and fill a spot or two by the end of the season? Do you think the Cubs will focus on pitching in the draft?
Bruce Levine (1:25 PM)
Best athlete. Wilken has always gone after the player he felt has the best upside to be a major leaguer, whether it's a pitcher or position player. I think when you get to the later rounds you may go after a need more. Alberto Cabrera, who was just promoted from Double-A to Triple-A, is on the fast track.
Average Cubs Fan (Anytown, USA)
Bruce,Is it time to go with the standard, "There's always next year...", or can something be salvaged this year yet. I am just want to know if I need to switch my focus from "standings wacthing mode" to "young talent development mode/who cares about wins or losses"
Bruce Levine (1:27 PM)
If it wasn't the NL I would say you should focus on the future. But the Cubs players to a man feel they are better than how they have played. Obviously the proof will be on the field. The team's biggest and maybe final test for 2011 is their next road trip where they play St. Louis, Cincinnati and Philadelphia for 10 games.
nick (reynolds, il)
so where are all of these fundamentals Quade was supposed to bring to the team and help develop young players? Its been a total fail so far. Hindsight is 20/20 but why spurn Sandberg when he coached these young players in the minors? Do you think Quade will turn it around or is it more the players?
Bruce Levine (1:28 PM)
What you see is what yout get. When you play infielders in left field the ball is going to find them eventually and something ugly is bound to happen. That's not a second-guess that's just practical baseball 101. To Quade's credit, he has already lost four outfidlers, three with injury and one to the minors.
Bruce Levine (1:30 PM)
Look forward to some better baseball. These next couple of weeks will determine which direction Hendry will go with his team. If they end up 10 games out by late June it's going to be time to make some changes.
Doug Padilla (1:32 PM)
Hello from Boston. White Sox on fire at Fenway having won five in a row here.
Is it time to move Danks to the bullpen? Or will we see a 6 man rotation through June?
Doug Padilla (1:34 PM)
The six-man experiment will end after Thursday's off day. Danks makes sense because he's not performing as well as everybody else, but the W. Sox hardly need another lefty in the pen, they need a righty. Tough decision coming up this week. Humber was supposed to be the guy, even as late as last week, but how do you do that to your best starter?
Blair (Green Bay, WI)
Do you have any insight on the progress of Dayan Viciedo? Hard to believe Morel/Macpherson can be a viable option as a 3b combo for the Sox all year
Doug Padilla (1:35 PM)
Viciedo is doing great, but people still don't realize hat Viciedo is no longer being used at third. He's an outfielder now and is being targeted to make the Opening Day roster in the OF next season. If Quentin goes down at any point, then he'd come up this year. Viciedo has to play every day if he comes up.
William T (Norfolk va)
Whats wrong with Dunn, i cant fathom a guy who hits 38+ every year play this badly this long.
Doug Padilla (1:37 PM)
It has looked to be mental, and Dunn has confirmed as much. Trying to do too much for a new team. He says he feels fine and is seeing the ball well (thus his 4-walk game the other day) but is fouling off pitches he normally crushes. He's made tons of changes and just seems to be fishing for an answer. Not good.
William T (Norfolk va)
I keep hearing that danks is the odd man out in the rotation, i know he is 0-8 but i think he has pitched better then that and would wrather see jackson out of the rotation, what are your thoughts?
Doug Padilla (1:39 PM)
Yes Danks has pitched well witout getting wins. His last one was brutal though. I might go with Jackson in the pen too if they have to put somebody there. That's a nice arsenal of pitches coming out of relief. Tough call.
John (Chesterton, IN)
What do you make of Ozzie's latest outburst? Do you think he really was ranting about fans in the heat of the moment, then backtracked? Or do you think he honestly was talking about the media? Calling out the fans is a one-way ticket out in any organization.
Doug Padilla (1:41 PM)
I honestly think he's talking about the media. But I was confused upon hearing it the first couple of times. He uses a lot of pronouns, but never does say fans. A lot of the stuf he says earns him the right to get ripped. This one gets a pass, from me at least.
Jordan Danks has been tearing it up in the minors lately. What's his future with the Sox look like?
Doug Padilla (1:44 PM)
Jordan Danks is doing better after a brutal start , but there is no rush. Alex Rios isn't going to be in center forever and Pierre won't be around for much longer. I think Viciedo becomes a regular in the White Sox OF first and then Danks in another year, year and a half.
Is Kenny Williams really that good a GM? I'm not sure he really knows how to put a team together.
Doug Padilla (1:46 PM)
He's a risk taker, that's for sure. When it works it's a thing of beauty (2005) and when it doesn't it can get ugly. Not all movs work, but he puts himself out there. Gotta respect that.I liked this team when it was put together so I guess that makes me a bad judge of talent too. But that's probably always been the case.
Bill Wiggins (Rockville, VA)
Does our outfield rate about last in their ability to track down balls. There is some stat that does this and we seem to rarely get a good jump.
Doug Padilla (1:48 PM)
If this is a White Sox question, you are absolutely correct. OF play, especially the routes they take, is not good. A scout told me earlier this year it's going to cost them and a few days later Pierre started juggling like a circus clown out there. It has improved a bit, but outfielders on other teams clearly get better jumps than the White Sox outfielders.
Jim (Grand Rapids, MI)
I feel like we've seen enough of Beckham to make a projection saying, yeah, he's a solid player, great on defense, but he's not going to be the wonderboy we thought he might be in his rookie season. Thoughts?
Doug Padilla (1:51 PM)
Yes, also heard from a scout who said he doesn't see Beckham becoming that annual All-Star the White Sox had projected. Doesn't mean he can't be a very good player though. You can't have All-Stars at very position. Beckham has a chance to make a handful of All-Star appearances and have a long career if he learns to limit the rough stretches.
What ever happened to the new Go-Go White Sox, or Ozzie Ball brand of baseball? Feels like we've slowly been returning to the slow thumpers over the years that clog base paths or strikeout. And whatever happened to speed doesn't go into a slump. Somehow, Ozzie seems to have lost a philosophical approach to what type of players he wants.
Doug Padilla (1:52 PM)
Ozzie clearly got the team he wanted last year. Adding Dunn, who has power and Ks a lot, looked like it was Kenny's turn to get the team he truly wanted.
Since Sale wasn't able to win the closer's job, and seems to be improving as of late, where do you think he eventually sticks? Middle relief or starter?
Doug Padilla (1:53 PM)
He'll stay a reliever this season. He'll be groomed back into a starter next spring.
What is the trade market for Dunn? Would the Yankees take him?
Doug Padilla (1:55 PM)
No market for him. Don't know why the Yanx would want him if he's hitting like this.
Why not Danks to the Bullpen and Sale to Triple A to get some starts? That still leaves 3 lefties in the pen and gives Sale a chance to develop in his long term role with this ballclub.
Doug Padilla (1:56 PM)
I'm sure that idea has been tossed around. Sale is improving though. Not the worst idea I've heard, but I'd be surprised if Sale went back down. Also, you have to find out if relief suits Danks before you commit to something like that.
Are you as amazed as I am about Konerko's continued success as he gets older? What are your thoughts on the rest of his contract?
Doug Padilla (1:58 PM)
It's impressive. He was cold the last week to 10 days, but really seems to be on the ball now. Limiting the slumps is how to do it. If Beckham can learn it he'd be pretty darn good. So much of this game is mental and Konerko just powers through.
Bill Wiggins (Rockville, VA)
Next year, if we have an outfield of Viciedo, Quinten, and Rios, we won't have a great pitching staff because we won't have 1 good fielder. Don't you agree?
Doug Padilla (1:59 PM)
That's a good way to look at it. But how good were they in April and May with Pierre, Rios and Quentin. Sometimes you have to make compromises.
How's the clam chowder?
Doug Padilla (2:00 PM)
Went to Legal Seafoods just now but had the fish sandwich. Nice day. Didn't want to warm it up with the chowdah.
Doug Padilla (2:01 PM)
Thank's again for the questions. I'm still trying to keep it moving faster. Talk to you next week from home.