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 to the dump, as one Chicago newspaper called it. That's an unfair depiction of Wrigley, one of the nicest ballparks when the game starts in baseball. Unfortunately the product isn't that good. let's talk about it ...
Phil (Chicago )
Bruce, how do you feel Quade has handled a couple of the "better" prospects in Castillo and LeMahieu.
Bruce Levine (1:04 PM)
There is no indication that he has mishandled either one. LeMahieu has had only 15 at-bats. He shouldn't even be at this level at this point. He needs a good year or two at Triple-A. Remember some of these guys are playing here because of injuries not because they earned it. Colvin you could say was put in a tough position by Quade in the first week of the season when he had him face left-handed pitching in a platoon with Fukudome. That wasn't fair but the rest is on Colvin. He just has not been the same player as last year.
When is the earliest we can expect Brett Jackson to be playing the outfield at Wrigley?
Bruce Levine (1:06 PM)
My guess would be right after the All-Star break. It could happen before that but after missing a month with a hand injury, he needs extra playing time at the higher minor league level. The key is once he gets here, you want him to play everyday not three times a week. When you do that you want to make sure he is ready, not bouncing back between majors and minors.
is Doug Davis going to be the #5 starter the rest of the way?
Bruce Levine (1:07 PM)
Probably not. Once some of the good Double-A prospects start moving up, the Cubs can start to project one or two of them at the major league level. Davis is not all that great but right now they are not ready to sacrifice a young pitcher who is not quite ready.
Let's presume that the Cubs strike-out on Fielder and Pujols, what is the back-up plan? Do we have a plan B? Or is it a "go-big or go-home" scenario for the Cubs.
Bruce Levine (1:08 PM)
I don't think I would look beyond theur plan. I don't think the cubs are ever going to be Kansas City. Their business plan revolves around tickets sold and they are not going to sell $120 tickets to people to watch young guys develop. So the answer is, I don't know, but I doubt it will be a minor leaguer. Pena would also be another option for another couple years.
Craig ((Seattle, WA))
Bruce, any chance you see Boston reaching out to the Cubs in regards to Soto? Seems like anything we can do to get younger and more talent in the system, the better. And Soto would seemingly be less valuable once he climbs the arbitration ladder.
Bruce Levine (1:10 PM)
I wouldn't be so quick to trade young players that can be around for another 4-5 years. Soto has had a couple of injuries the past two years that have set him back but it's not easy to find a catcher that can hit 20 home runs and drive in 80. I think you hold on to him.
I know Dempster loves Chicago and has 10/5 rights, but do you think he'd waive it? He has been pitching really well and a team like the Yankees needs another starter. I wouldn't trade him unless I got a good return. Do you think he has good value?
Bruce Levine (1:11 PM)
I know he has value. I know there are teams interested but you have tokeep some good players on this team. He has had a slow start but he is a quality pitcher and leader. Unless you could get somebody to overpay and Dempster agrees that it's best for him, I don't see it happening.
Craig (Seattle, WA)
Bruce, do you see Marlon Bryd getting back in time to build his trade value back up? He could be a fit for two of his former teams; the Phils or Rangers
Bruce Levine (1:12 PM)
Agreed and there are teams interested. But until we see him get back in baseball condition there is nothing to talk about. He was even the first to say that he is going to be interested to see how he reacts to the first pitches he sees. Some players never come back from a severe beaning, but knowing Byrd I think he will get over the hump.
Do the Cubs feel that Josh Vitters is still an elite prospect?
Bruce Levine (1:13 PM)
They feel he is going to hit and all the scouts I talk to outside of their organization say he is going to hit. There have been maturity problems as well as defensive problems. The Cubs feel he is improving in both areas.
Bruce, I completely agree with your Prince Fielder blog entry. He is the man for the Cubs because of the reasons you stated. Who else might be on the Cubs' radar and who might they be willing to part with that might surprise fans?
Bruce Levine (1:16 PM)
I can't give you exact names but UI can say the Cubs are interested in trading for other teams' young players, not prospects. Similar to what Kenny Williams has been able to do. In other words, they might trade young players for young players, and Williams has been the best at it of anyone over the past 5-6 years. He makes mistakes like anyone else but they are aggressive mistakes and you've got guys like Danks, Floyd and Quentin because of that.
ESPNChicago (1:20 PM)
Bruce will be back shortly.
Bruce Levine (1:25 PM)
Breaking news: As tipped by one of our readers, I was able to confirm that the Cubs will promote right-handed pitcher Chris Carpenter from the minor leagues. A pitcher will be sent down in a corresponding move.Carpenter has a power arm and will fill the role that Samardzija had been filling before Kerry Wood went on the DL. Samardzija is now the primary right-handed setup man for Marmol.
Scott M. (Iowa) [via mobile]
Who do you think is the best prospect in the triple a for the cubs?
Bruce Levine (1:27 PM)
There aren't any top prospects in Triple-A but you will see a lot more there later this summer.
Kelley (Valparaiso, IN)
Do you think that the Cubs will try to sign Ramirez in the offseason. Ramirez continues to say he wants to remain a Cub. If he is willing to take less money will the Cubs be interested in resigning him?
Bruce Levine (1:28 PM)
They have an option on him for $15 million. Are you asking me whether they let him become a free agent and then re-sign him? I doubt that. If you didn't pick up his contract he would move on somewhere else.
Mr. Cox (Greenville, NC)
When will Andrew Cashner make his next start for the Cubs?
Bruce Levine (1:29 PM)
My guess is 2012. And i'm not even sure it will be a start. After he rehabs again they might decide he goes back to the bullpen. The earliest he will be ready to pitch is sometime in late July and I would really doubt that they would push it with him having two injuries in the same location.
Is Carpenter ready? He started at Triple A, was sent down to Double A, and hasn't pitched all that great there. But he does have a power arm.
Bruce Levine (1:30 PM)
We will soo nfind out. Like if you ask me if LeMahieu is ready. These guys have a way of telling the team if they are ready. I don't blame the cubs for brining youth up. Why not?
Bruce Levine (1:32 PM)
Keep reading ESPNChicago.com for Cubs and Sox news. The Cubs could be doing a transaction a day for the rest of the year. That would not surprise me. Also listen to Talking Baseball this week with guests from the Cubs, Yankees and White Sox.
Doug Padilla (1:33 PM)
Hello from Minneapolis where it is sunny ... for now. Time to switch to White Sox mode.
Bill Wiggins (Rockville, VA)
Doug, I think it's time to bring up Viciedo up. Pierre has killed too many rallies with his poor at bats or his base running. He needs a new home and we need Viciedo's big bat. Ramirez can lead off with Beckham 2nd. What do you think?
Doug Padilla (1:35 PM)
Viciedo has done all he can to earn a promotion. Batting over .300, 10 HRs and leads the team with 45 RBIs. Just needs RF to open for him. Yes, frustration with Pierre has been going on for some time. Alexei in the leadoff spot isn't the worst idea if Pierre is out of action. He has the best OBP of any regular not named Konerko or Quentin.
Ken (Tinley Park)
Doug, obviously any series between a divisional team is big, but do you see the Twins making a comeback if they can get to the Sox this week?
Doug Padilla (1:37 PM)
The Twins have won 9 of 11 so their run has started. White Sox have won 9 of 13 though. Nobody has played less division games than the White Sox. Their 6 division wins are the least in baseball. Good time fo them to get some division games since they are getting better but interleague is about to dominate the schedule
Joe (Oak Brook)
Doug, with the sketchy closing situations lately for the Sox, when will we start to hear about Peavy making a Smoltz type move and heading to the closer role? Is this very far fetched?!
Doug Padilla (1:40 PM)
It wasn't far fetched when he was trying to make a comeback. But he's shown he can still start and be effective for long stretches during games. His injury rate might say otherwise.I think Peavy would do a good job as a closer. Not sure he's ready to make that change just now.
Bill Wiggins (Rockville, VA)
I imagine when Peavy comes back we will go with 6 starters for awhile to see if he can stay healthy then trade Jackson. With Boras as his agent we will never sign him. Also do think we will try to get a closer, 9th innings are scary
Doug Padilla (1:42 PM)
If Jackson can be flipped for a veteran reliever with closing experience, the White Sox probably to that at the trade deadline. But it's gonna be tough to find the right fit. Then there is the worry about Peavy and his health if he's in a 5-man rotation.
Hi Doug, is Lilibridge going to continue to start on a regular basis?
Doug Padilla (1:44 PM)
Not likely. He'll probably get more time than the normal bench guy until his hot streak (offense and defense) runs out. But he's thriving in a backup role. Not sure he stays this hot when he's exposed every day. Ozzie doesn't seem anxious to make him a regular.
Doug, I read an article on the White Sox website saying that they might bring up Dayan Viciedo soon... what does this mean for the "already crazy" lineup card Ozzie puts out every day??
Doug Padilla (1:45 PM)
He's not coming up without a place to play. That place is in RF and the Sox have no issue with Quentin's play right now.
John (Saint Paul, MN)
Doug, I'm wearing my away Pods jersey today at work, and going to the game tonight. I'm talking a lot of smack at work, and I'm really hoping the Sox back it up for me. What's the deal with Pavano lately? It seems like he's been great, and awful this season. What can we expect from him tonight?
Doug Padilla (1:47 PM)
What ever happened to Minnesota nice? Pavano has been an animal over his last two outings. Probably going to be a tough one tonight.
I often look at Daniel Hudson's success in Arizona and think "what if." How would having him on this team rather than Jackson have shaped out for the Sox?
Doug Padilla (1:49 PM)
Tough to say. Instead of paying for Jackson, they might have used that money to get a closer. But that guy could have been Rafael Soriano, now with the Yankees. Based on what he's done this year in NY with struggles and injury, that would have been a disaster.
Will Minnesota contend for the AL Central title when guys like Mauer and Delmon Young are 100%?
Doug Padilla (1:51 PM)
They always contend. Getting those guys will help, especially if they keep playing well while they're out. But they have a big hole they are digging from. The White Sox know all about that.
I hate the Twins. Will Ozzie tip his cap after career minor leaguers and journeymen players like Ben Revere and Nick Blackburn dominate us again?
Doug Padilla (1:52 PM)
He's going to have to if it happens again. The White Sox never play well here. Good thing they didn't come here until now. They might have a chance, but of course the Twins are now playing better too.
Ken (Tinley Park)
If the Sox don't make the playoffs, is Joey Cora our head coach next year?
Doug Padilla (1:53 PM)
No. And he won't be your next manager either. Joey is too loyal to Ozzie to take his spot, even if Ozzie does get fired.
Bill Wiggins (Rockville, VA)
Quentine has played left before and he plays it about as well as he plays right field so there is a spot for both he and Viciedo. We need both or their big bats.
Doug Padilla (1:54 PM)
Yeah, Quentin has played there before. It's not out of the question to see him go back. But an outfield of Quentin, Rios and Viciedo might keep White Sox starting pitchers awake at night.
John (Saint Paul, MN)
Doug, I'm from Chicago, I wasn't raised Minnesota nice. I was raised Chicago tough.
Doug Padilla (1:56 PM)
Yeah, we're not talking about how you were raised, just the guys you work with. Stay with me.
Chris (St Louis)
Any chance John Danks gets moved before the deadline? There has been some "rumors" on this.
Doug Padilla (1:58 PM)
If a pitcher gets moved, Danks, Buehrle or Jackson are the likely guys. At the start of the season, though, it was believed, Danks was going to get Buehrle's money in an eventual extension. That got rearranged a bit when Danks struggled, but he appears to be getting back on track.
Ken (Tinley Park)
Doug is angry today?
Doug Padilla (2:00 PM)
Nah. Just trying to get my game face on early.
Doug Padilla (2:00 PM)
Thanks for the questions. Should be an interesting series with both teams playing better.