Chat with Bruce Levine
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox reporter Bruce Levine stops by Thursday 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 Thursday at noon CT/1 p.m. ET!
Bruce Levine (12:59 PM)
For a change, I have a question for all of you. How do the White Sox acquire Jason Kubel from the DBacks, and how do the Cubs acquire Justin Upton from the DBacks? Happy Holidays and welcome to the chat!
How big of a dip in attendence is necessary to frighten Cub management in 2013? 2.5 million, 2 million?
Bruce Levine (1:04 PM)
A very good question. It's interesting when a business of a baseball team plays chicken with a fan base. I believe the Cubs are changing some of their philosophy by going after Sanchez and Jackson. There is genuine concern about holding the fan base.
Any Marmol or Soriano rumblings?
Bruce Levine (1:06 PM)
Only among Cubs fans at this point. I think as we get closer to spring training some teams might have a different perspective on both of those players. Realistically they both are functional in the Cubs pursuit of trying to compete early in 2013. In other words, who replaces 35 saves and 100 RBIs? The Cubs have to be concerned with getting worse rather than getting better.
Alex (Normal, IL)
Cubs trade Castro for Upton, White Sox trade Sale for Kubel
Bruce Levine (1:07 PM)
I can almost understand Castro for Upton, but you're not trading a potential 20-game winner for Kubel. Keep sending in the trade possibilities.
The Sox would have to trade Rios and cash for Kubel. Other than magic beans (minor leaguers), that is the best case option for a Kubel trade.
Bruce Levine (1:08 PM)
The DBacks are probably looking for more younger players and bullpen help. In a deal for Upton, they'll probably want 3 top players.
i have a hard time believing the Nate Schierholtz is the guy in right field for the cubs.....who else could the cubbies grab to either start or platoon with him?
Bruce Levine (1:09 PM)
A good place to begin would be Upton. If the Cubs do indeed move Soriano at some point, you're going to have some thunder in the outfield. Brett Jackson appears to be at least 3-6 months away.
Mike (West Hollywood)
What could possibly justify not matching AJ with a one year deal? And who makes up his production because we all know Flowers will not.
Bruce Levine (1:11 PM)
As I explained last week, the White Sox did not have the DH position to offer AJ. That in turn, made the White Sox decision easier. The Rangers will DH Pierzynski about 70-80 games. At this point of his career, DHing him helps project how productive he may be.
Bruuuce! What are the chances of Garza being dealt during spring training?
Bruce Levine (1:13 PM)
The two teams that have always had the most interest in Garza have been Texas and Toronto. Last July those were the two that were most interested before his injury. My sources and instincts would still be very interested in Garza if we was healthy in spring training. They could go as far as having private workouts for teams during the spring.
Brian Dault (Phoenix, AZ)
Please tell me there is some overwhelming logic to th eCubs off-season stategy. We seem to be picking up a lot of inexpensive peices that are more stopgaps, not solutions. Edwin Jackson, Nate Scheirholtz et all .. Not that this is an amazing free agent class but it seems there is/was help available, I want to trust in Theo but I need reassurance.
Bruce Levine (1:15 PM)
I can assure you the Cubs tried to get other free agents and were shut down either because of money, years offered, or the fact that they lost over 100 games last season. Not too many 30-something type players want to be involved in a rebuilding of a team. In the case of Jackson, they overpaid to assure that they had another 200-inning guy in their rotation.
Concerned White Sox Fan (Downtown Chicago)
Kubel hit 30 HRs but is otherwise not a great player. Poor defense, strikes out a lot. Is he really the type of player we should be going for? He is also 30 and will cost $7.5 for the next 2 years. Seems like we should be stockpiling young players rather than sending them away for vets at this point.
Bruce Levine (1:16 PM)
Right now the number one need is a left-handed bat that can drive in runs. At some point the White Sox will have a starting pitcher to trade for that need. Until Danks is deemed healthy for the season, the White Sox may be reluctant to trade Gavin Floyd.
Joey(Chicago) [via mobile]
Do you believe that the sox might make a huge splash and get Justin Upton or Michael Bourn?
Bruce Levine (1:17 PM)
I don't think Bourn. At 31 I think they feel that what agent Scott Boras is asking for is overpriced. If his demand on years drops, then the White Sox might become players. Initially Boras wanted 5 years and $90 million.
De Aza and Nate Jones for Kubel could be a possibility
Bruce Levine (1:19 PM)
That's not an unreasonable deal at all. Jones is someone the White Sox are hoping will solidify their set up spot this season. With Thornton and Crain starting to show some wear and tear it would be difficult to part with Jones. But you are going to have to give up a quality player to get a 30-HR bat.
Scott (Stuck at work too)
Tyler Flowers can be a beast in the league if he can hit a little better. What are the chances he turns into an All-Star catcher in a season or 2?
Bruce Levine (1:20 PM)
White Sox are just hoping that he'll be a solid receiver that can hit .250 or .260. They think if he just makes solid contact he'll hit 15-20 homers.
Mike (Oak Lawn)
Cubs send Matt Garza, Javier Baez, and Brett Jackson for Upton
Bruce Levine (1:22 PM)
That's a little bit of overpaying. Baez won't be going in any deal unless the Cubs management feels that Upton is a guaranteed 30-100 player. Garza is going to have bring back some starting pitching in a trade. But you're starting to get the right idea.
Bruce, why do you think the Cubs pursued Villenueva over Gorzelanny? Is it likely that they see Wood pitching in relief, so they decided to not get another lefty long reliever?
Bruce Levine (1:23 PM)
Right now, they project Wood as a starter. Gorzelanny has never proven to be a typical long reliever, he's more of a 5th starter. They think Villanueva has a huge upside and could be a sleeper as a starter.
Tim (Oakland, CA)
I thought Upton had the Cubs on his no-trade list? How would that work?
Bruce Levine (1:25 PM)
He would just have to waive it. If the Cubs could talk to him, they could convince him to that, as well as convince him that this is a good place for a young superstar. If you recall Marmol had the Angels on his no-trade list, and he waived that. The Cubs young players match up well with Upton at age 25.
The Cubs trade Matt Szczur, Dan Vogelbach, and Junior Lake in exchange for Justin Upton and Gerardo Parra. That way, Parra is a temporary filler in center, Upton is in right, and DeJesus gets shopped.
Bruce Levine (1:26 PM)
Don't think that would be quite enough to get Upton. You'd have to put in another more progressed player. Maybe throw in a catcher and you have a deal.
Jason Fargo ND [via mobile]
How optimistic can we be about Brett Jackson? Great to hear he has shortened his swing!
Bruce Levine (1:28 PM)
I was there for all three days of his minicamp in Mesa. The good news was that he did shorten his swing and hit the ball with more authority. The difficult part to try to determine is that he was hitting exclusively against Dale Sveum, who was throwing about 65-70 MPH. Sveum throws good BP and he was throwing 55 feet, but it's difficult to determine how his change in mechanics will translate in real competition.
I think if the Cubs traded Brett Jackson, Javier Baez, and Carlos Marmol it would get it done. Of course they would pay a lot of Marmol Salary.
Bruce Levine (1:29 PM)
Baez would be difficult for the Cubs to trade, as he is their #1 prospect. But many people also think Upton is a special talent. If I'm either GM I have to consider this deal.
big trade idea of the day: floyd, dunn to bluejays for bueherle and lindcomments?
Bruce Levine (1:30 PM)
There's no going back to Mark Buehrle for the White Sox, and they can't trade their only authentic left-handed power hitter.
Jason [via mobile]
Hi! Any chance the Cubs go after one more starter like Shaun Marcum?
Bruce Levine (1:32 PM)
They may. It depends on whether or not they feel comfortable about Garza's situation. The White Sox and Cubs have similar situations with Garza and his elbow and Danks coming back from shoulder surgery. In a sense, they have to prepare rotations both with and without those guys.
The Cubs have a lot of SS "prospects" behind Castro. They could build a trade for Upton around one of them. I'd still rather see them acquire a true center fielder.
Bruce Levine (1:34 PM)
When you're looking for a possible young superstar, beggars can't be choosers. There's nothing wrong with having a superstar right fielder for the next 7-8 years. Projecting Upton is a little difficult because of the up and down trend he's had in his career. Most people will take a shot considering his age and his five-tool ability.
Alex (Normal, IL)
White Sox would have to trade Alexi Ramirez and some prospects?
Bruce Levine (1:36 PM)
The DBacks have traded two potential shortstops in the last few months in Pennington and Gregorius.
Jason SD [via mobile]
Bruce do you think Garza for Olt and Martin Perez would work? And do you see a package of Soler, Vogelbach and Maple or McNutt could get David Price?
Bruce Levine (1:38 PM)
You can forget about getting David Price. He won't be available. Olt is certainly a consideration. He has nowhere to play right now except the outfield with the Rangers. I'm sure the Cubs would insist on Olt in any deal involving Garza.
Rich (Crestwood, IL)
Bruce do you see the Sox moving someone that we haven't really talked about? Like Alexei, Viciedo, Rios? Even Dunne? I know we need LH help but if they could get blown away with some offer.
Bruce Levine (1:40 PM)
I think Rick Hahn has been on record saying he has no untouchables. However, Viciedo might be coming close to fulfilling his potential and he's still a very young player that could be a perennial 30-100 guy. I don't think the White Sox are interested in trading Rios. They think he has turned the corner in consistency in his game. again, you'd have to get left-handed power back if you were to trade Dunn.
Chris / Chicago [via mobile]
Garza, Barney and Jackson for Upton. Vitters to put the deal over the top.
Bruce Levine (1:41 PM)
Something like that makes some sense. You are going to have to trade some young players and you are going to have to trade someone that will help Arizona win this year. The Cubs are still hoping to get pitching back for Garza, that's one thing the organization is in dire need of.
Sox dont need Kubel period.How about Floyd, and maybe Thornton for Mike Olt? Mean Rangers wiere wiling to trade him for Dickey. a 38 year old with 1 good season. Floyds 30 or 31 if im not mistaken.
Bruce Levine (1:43 PM)
The difference between Floyd and Dickey is considerable. The thing about Dickey is that as a knuckleballer, he could pitch for 5 or 6 years at this level. Just look at Wakefield, Niekro and Charlie Hough. Floyd being a free agent after 2013 and the fact that he had some elbow injuries to deal with cuts down some on his desirability.
I don't understand the Cub fans hand wringing - would you have re-signed Z and Ramierez?
Bruce Levine (1:45 PM)
At the time the Cubs were not interested in signing Ramirez at age 32 to a 3-year deal. Zambrano's career has obviously taken a turn the wrong way. After walking away from the team in August of 2011, I don't think the organization nor the fan base would accept him back.
I would say B.Jackson, Dolis, Underwood, Castillo for Upton.I would say Septimo, Veal for Kubel.However, I would not do either deal. I think the Cubs want their new picks like Soler free to move up quickly to the major league roster.
Bruce Levine (1:46 PM)
Interesting observation. With the names you bring up I agree, I wouldn't make the trade for the Cubs. I don't think that Septimo and Veal would get you Kubel.
Rich (Crestwood, IL)
Bruce,Would you call the Angels and ask if they would take Gavin Floyd for Peter Bourjos and a minor league pitcher (A Ball)? You could move DeAza (hate to see him go) to a team looking for a lead off hitter. I think he could be a healthier Scotty Pods.
Bruce Levine (1:48 PM)
In a trade like that, De Aza would have to go to the Angels. The Angels love Bourjos and think he is the best defensive outfielder in baseball.
Raphl (Las Vegas)
The Angels seemed 'very interested' in Marmol when he was almost dealt for Haren. Do you see the Cubs pursing another trade with the Angels involving Marmol. Possibly for Bourjos?
Bruce Levine (1:49 PM)
Initially I was told the Cubs asked for Bourjos and an infielder and were rejected. That was before the aborted Marmol for Haren deal. Cubs would love to get a player like Bourjos.
nick (oklahoma) [via mobile]
What about marmol, soriano and a ton of cash for rick porcello and 2 b prospects
Bruce Levine (1:50 PM)
I think the Tigers have enough veteran players right now. Remember, Victor Martinez is coming back as their DH this year. Porcello will go in a deal somewhere, likely to bring back some relief pitching.
Dejesus,Vitters,Dolis,Marmol for Upton? If not,who would you trade for Upton?
Bruce Levine (1:52 PM)
I would seriously consider having to trade Baez for Upton if I feel that Upton is the player he was two years ago rather than last year. Upton has superstar potential and if you believe in him, you should not be afraid to trade another potential star in Baez. But I would not give much more than Baez and another young player for him. Arizona would say that Baez is not proven at this point, but everyone loves his potential.
Tom (Chicago )
Does DeJesus finish the year with the Cubs?
Bruce Levine (1:53 PM)
Ideally, no. He's 33 in the last year of his contract. You would hope that maybe Jackson is ready by that time and that DeJesus can bring back a young player or two in a deadline deal.
JT (Alliance, NE) [via mobile]
Please tell me the Cubs wouldn't ship Castro to AZ in a deal for Upton?
Bruce Levine (1:54 PM)
I think they would feel that one step forward would be one back in a deal like that. You're trading a potential offensive superstar for a player that has been inconsistent offensively. If you look at the numbers, Castro outperformed Upton last year, and he'll be just 23 years old this year.
I've heard rumors about Carlos Gonzalez (Rockies) being traded. He'd be a great fit with the Sox obviously. What about a package of Gavin Floyd, Jordan Danks, Viciedo, and maybe Hector Santiago or another young arm for CarGo? (I know Colorado needs young pitching.)
Bruce Levine (1:56 PM)
I like the way you're thinking, and Colorado is desperate for young pitching. The only contentious player in that group is Viciedo for me. But CarGo is an explosive player. I'd have to consider that deal if I was either team.
Leigh (White Sox Fan) (Bolingbrook)
Any new rumors involving the Sox or Cubs that we fans have not heard?
Bruce Levine (1:59 PM)
I know the Diamondbacks are interested in a few of the White Sox' young players, so a Kubel deal could take place. The White Sox outfield is pretty set right now. Kubel doesn't fit anywhere but left field right now with Konerko and Dunn switching off at 1B and DH. He's not a great outfielder, but a good bat and a good guy in the clubhouse. Viciedo's playing time would be impacted by that addition, unless you consider moving Rios back to center field.
Bruce Levine (2:01 PM)
Really enjoyable session today. I thought everyone has some interesting and intriguing deals. We'll do more of these interactive chat sessions from now on. Follow me on Twitter at @ESPNBruceLevine and follow @ESPNChiCubs and @ESPNChiSox. We'll do the chat on Thursday at noon again next week. Thanks for all the questions!