Chat with Bruce Levine
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox 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 (1:01 PM)
Welcome to spring training in sunny Arizona. Watching BP right now as I'm chatting with you. Only 4 major league position players in so far. We'll be at White Sox camp in a few days. Welcome.
Kenny (lafayette) [via mobile]
Hi Bruce do you see the cubs trading carlos marmol to detroit for rick porcello? Detroit could use a veteran arm in the bullpen
Bruce Levine (1:02 PM)
From what I understand there have not been any conversations with those two players. Detroit seems content to go with a young reliever there, but that could all change once spring training games start.
Gill (Mpls, MN)
Is Konerko healthy? Not his "I'm fine" healthy but really healthy?
Bruce Levine (1:03 PM)
I guess we won't find out until we watch him swing in spring training. He told me at Sox Fest that he's been hitting for quite awhile now. He does have a batting cage built under his house.
C.Williamson [via mobile]
Bruce, how confident are you that Matt Garza will be ready for Opening Day?
Bruce Levine (1:05 PM)
I saw him throw yesterday and the ball was really coming out of his hand well. He seems enthused and so were the coaches that watched him throw. Pitching coach Chris Bosio told me that Garza's ahead of schedule more than he was last year at this time.
Jake K. (Highland Park)
The sox have two lefty issues. Too many left handed starters and not enough lefty bats. Are the sox looking to make a move on a right handed starter or lefty bat? Maybe trading Beckham since he is the only player who seems to be tradable and has value?
Bruce Levine (1:06 PM)
If the White Sox make a deal it will probably involve them moving a pitcher. As you stated, they seem well-stocked in starting pitching. Once they're comfortable with where John Danks is at, I'm sure they'll consider a trade or two.
Why is everyone in love with Campana? He is fast and that is it. Not even close to an everyday player.
Bruce Levine (1:07 PM)
I don't know if everyone is in love with the guy, but he has one tool you can't teach. And it's a tool that is probably better than 99% than every player in baseball. I think he's a good 25th man on a good team.
Joe (BLOOMINGDALE, IL)
Hey do the Sox make a trade before the season or is this it? Rick Hahn said this was not a finished product. I hope he is right.
Bruce Levine (1:09 PM)
The White Sox have always looked at their team that way, ever since Kenny Williams took over as GM, and now with Hahn in that role. They definitely need a left-handed hitter to balance out their lineup, but not just any lefty. Someone that is better than one of the righties they have now.
Do you see Stewart getting the nod at 3rd to open the season or will someone else sneak in and be the starter?
Bruce Levine (1:10 PM)
I think it's open but the assumption is that if Stewart is healthy he will be the starter on opening day. Valbuena will also be in the mix.
Hey Bruce, long time reader, first time posting. I believe with all the new outfield help we've picked up so far this off season Soriano should not be traded, unless it's for a couple good prospects and a platoon guy who could come in and play if needed. I think he has a good attitude and is a leader in the clubhouse. Plus the HRs and RBIs will be tough to recover. I guess it comes down to if we have a couple of unexpected hot bats? Have a good one !
Bruce Levine (1:12 PM)
For me the only concern is Soriano's age and his history of leg injuries over the past six years or so. He basically played on one leg the first part of last season and did extremely well. But at some point, age and attrition will take its toll.
Not Jaypers (Not Liinois)
How does CF play out in the Future, Jared Mitchell, Jordan Danks or "other"
Bruce Levine (1:13 PM)
Trayce Thompson is someone to keep your eye on. White Sox have high hopes for him if he can cut down on his strikeouts.
do you see travis wood having a good chance at making the rotation or is he likely to start as a long reliever in the bullpen?
Bruce Levine (1:14 PM)
I don't think the Cubs are interested in putting him in the pen. To me he's a starting pitcher. He made some nice strides last year under the tutelage of pitching coach Chris Bosio.
Bruce, who gets the next statue at US Cellular Field, Ozzie or Ventura or Konerko?
Bruce Levine (1:16 PM)
I think at some point it should be Ozzie's time. I'd say another year or so the Sox will be considering that option. First thing will be to retire his number.
Do you still think that Marmol will get traded prior to opening day?
Bruce Levine (1:17 PM)
My gut feeling is yes. It will probably be to a team that loses an important closer during the spring. To me, Marmol has tons of value out there.
Paul (Denver, CO)
Do you see Clevenger making the team the back up First Baseman?
Bruce Levine (1:18 PM)
I don't think you can have a backup first baseman that hits lefty like Rizzo does. My guess is someone like Scott Hairston will take ground balls there during spring training. I would not be shocked if Stewart took some grounders there too.
Would Scott Rolen be interested in a 3B platoon role with the Cubs? The Cubs could pay him more and offer more starts than the Reds.
Bruce Levine (1:19 PM)
At this point in time I don't know what Rolen would bring to the Cubs other than great professionalism. To me, he's pretty much done. But the quality of the player is something some teams should be interested in.
Is there any reason to be excited for the White Sox this season? You know, besides Jeff Keppinger?
Bruce Levine (1:20 PM)
I think that the continued development of the young pitching staff is something to be excited about. With Sale, Quintana and Addison Reed, you have three of the better looking young pitchers in the game. To me that's something to hang your hat on.
Do you see Ryno taking over as manager of the Phils next season? Huge Ryno fan, wish we could have kept him in our organization.
Bruce Levine (1:21 PM)
I think the plan is that when Manuel is done with the Phillies that Sandberg will get an opportunity. But that's not a guarantee. You have to give Sandberg a tremendous amount of credit for doing everything to get prepared for this opportunity. Very few Hall of Famers would put in the work that he has.
What kind of return can the Cubs expect for Marmol? I liked the idea of getting Haren. Is there another player of his caliber you could see a team willing to deal for Carlos?
Bruce Levine (1:22 PM)
I think the Cubs need to get young pitching talent and some left-handed bullpen help, if they can get back what they want for Marmol.
Do you think the bullpen is settled now with Lindstrom onboard?
Bruce Levine (1:24 PM)
They feel good about where they're at. They have a nice combination of vets and young pitchers there. Don't forget about the ascension of Donald Veal last year. Lefties hit less than .100 against him. The key to the Sox bullpen is keeping some of their veterans from having to many appearances.
If the trade market for Garza isn't to the Cubs liking, will that prompt them to sign him long term, assuming he starts the year with no health problems?
Bruce Levine (1:25 PM)
It could. I think the first few months will determine if the Cubs want to sign him to a long-term deal or move him. Also, Garza and his agent need to be amenable to a long-term deal knowing he could opt for free agency after the season.
KEN AKERS (FANCY GAP VA)
With all the talk of pitchers being tired in the last months of the season why dont teams go with a six man rotation all year to keep from wearing down the pitching staff, saving them for the playoff run?
Bruce Levine (1:26 PM)
Because the routine of having five days off is too much for a starting pitcher. It also creates a situation where you would only have six pitchers in your bullpen. Teams can't afford to have less than seven these days.
Tarus Bulba (Chicago )
Bruce was re-signing Stewart a way to save face for one of the all time bad deals in Cub history?
Bruce Levine (1:27 PM)
Not necessarily save face, but admit that they weren't able to obtain a young third baseman in the offseason. The Cubs worked long and hard in trying to get either Lonnie Chisenhall from the Indians or Mike Olt from Texas. Neither team was interested in moving their top young prospects at this point.
Bruuuuce! I see these other teams signing some decent arms to come out of the pen, ex. Lindstrom, Lyons, etc. The cubs main weakness this year is going to be bridging the gap to get to Marmol, is there a reason why we didn't go after these guys and do you see us adding to our bullpen at all?
Bruce Levine (1:29 PM)
I wouldn't necessarily make Marmol a lock at closer. Remember the team did sign Fujikawa, who has plenty of closing experience in Japan. Russell and Camp were two of the more underrated relievers in the NL last year because they played on a 101-loss team. I think the Cubs have a chance to have a good bullpen.
I saw recently that Mark Prior was talking to Cubs prospects, any chance the Cubs might think about giving him a minor league deal? He wasn't all that bad in the minors last years and the Cubs have given players like Scott Baker and Manny Corpas another chance after arm injuries.
Bruce Levine (1:30 PM)
VP of Scouting and Player Development Jason McLeod said the Cubs were not sure if they were going to go down that route. If they did, of course it would be a minor-league deal.
If the Cubs were to select Appel with the 2nd pick in the draft, how long do you think it would take before he would be pitching at Wrigley?
Bruce Levine (1:31 PM)
Well if you sign a college kid like Appel, you expect he would be in the majors in two years. One year of minor league seasoning and in the major league rotation the next.
Max (Oak Forest)
Who is going odd man out for starting SP for the Cubs?
Bruce Levine (1:33 PM)
There are likely seven candidates for five jobs. However Baker coming back from Tommy John surgery may take a little bit longer to get ready. Cubs seems well-fortified in that department going into spring training. I don't think there is an odd man out right now.
Bruce. I have a hard time understanding why the Cubs would want to trade Garza when they basically signed a very similar pitcher in Edwin Jackson. The only difference to me would be their health. Why spend the money on a guy like Jackson when you may have an equal or better starter in Garza who analysts believe will be traded away?
Bruce Levine (1:35 PM)
The Cubs need to identify pitchers that can throw 200 innings. Thus they had to overpay for Jackson. Garza will be looking for five years and $17-$20 million per year if he has a quality 2013 season. His upside is much higher than Jackson's, but previous injuries are a concern.
Bruce, do you ever do a "Where are they now" piece about former Cubs? I'm always wondering what happened to Mike Harkey, Jeff Pico, Domingo Ramos, and other non-star players.
Bruce Levine (1:36 PM)
I can tell you that Mike Harkey is the bullpen coach for the Yankees. He's been a long-time friend and associate of Joe Girardi. I believe Pico is a minor league pitching instructor but not sure where. I'll work on finding out about Domingo Ramos. As much as I like nostalgia, my bosses like me to stay with current baseball news.
What do you like about the signing of Lars Anderson? Should Sox have considered a veteran like Adam Kennedy who is a left-handed hitting IF who only made $800k last year?
Bruce Levine (1:38 PM)
I can't tell you exactly what their plans are for Anderson. If the White Sox add a left-handed bat it will probably be an infielder, and that would free Keppinger to play any number of positions, which he is very capable of.
Jim (Westerville, OH)
Gut feeling - how long will the Cubs stay reasonably close in the Central division (within 6 games)? Late June/Late July?
Bruce Levine (1:39 PM)
At least until April 7. I'm not a great prognosticator when it comes to predicting what teams records will be. I can tell you that they are in one of the toughest divisions in baseball. The good news is that they can't finish 6th in their division this year.
DC (Fancy Gap IL)
Why do pitchers take all their warm up pitches if they've run up a high pitch count?
Bruce Levine (1:41 PM)
Most of them don't throw at full speed. They are just getting loose.
Is this a make it or break it year for the White soxs before they think rebuliding? Because there farm systemis one of the worest in baseball!!
Bruce Levine (1:43 PM)
The White Sox never think about just rebuilding. Their goal is always to win. Starting 2014 major league teams will be getting an extra $25 million from the national TV package, that and the Cubs and Sox local TV rates rising will allow the Sox to spend more money even if they are not drawing 2 million fans per year. So the White Sox will continue to compete each season and try to win.
Steven (the ridge) [via mobile]
What's the lastest report on Brett Jackson's swing change? Any chance he has Rizzo like success?
Bruce Levine (1:45 PM)
He's not in camp yet, but probably will be in the next couple days. From what I saw in November, he made a couple subtle changes in lowering his hands. The proof will be in the results against top pitching. He is scheduled to start the season in AAA.
Mordecai (Deerfield, IL)
has max and benny's created a dish in your honor yet?
Bruce Levine (1:46 PM)
If they have I have not met her.
can you explain what "long toss" is? The new coach the Cubs hired from Vanderbilt is a "long toss" guy. Us non-athletes don't know the difference or know why thats important to pitching development...
Bruce Levine (1:47 PM)
Long toss is to stretch out the muscles in your arm and shoulder, and strengthen the arm overall in that manner before you do more strenuous pitching on the mound.
Edmund vancouver washington [via mobile]
Will the sox continue to look for another lead off hitter or stick with deaza and wise
Bruce Levine (1:49 PM)
I have some concerns about their leadoff hitters, but the White Sox are very happy with De Aza. There was a drop off in his production the last month and a half of the season after he sustained some injuries. Overall he did an excellent job. I would prefer to have Michael Bourn, but then the White Sox would have to give up a number 1 pick.
austin (springfield) [via mobile]
Hey Bruce. Barring an awful spring or injury, I have to think wood will make the rotation, being the only lefty. Who will be the other lefty in the pen besides Russell? Thanks.
Bruce Levine (1:50 PM)
Great question. I just asked Chris Bosio that question an hour ago. Chris Rusin is a possibility. Spring training invitee Dontrelle Willis is a long shot.
joey(chicago) [via mobile]
Do you see the sox making anymore moves via free agency or trades?
Bruce Levine (1:51 PM)
I always think the Sox are going to make a trade. But again, I think they will be cautious until they find out more about the health of John Danks in spring training. It seems that they may have a starting pitcher to trade.
Does Rich Hahn understand the frustrations of the White Sox fan when the team is not quite good enough to make the playoffs, but just good enough to not get a high first round draft pick? The team feels like it is stuck in the limbo of the mediocre.
Bruce Levine (1:53 PM)
I think that's a fair question because improving in the draft is difficult when selecting in the bottom 2/3rds of the first round. The Sox would never try to be bad to get high picks though. It goes against the aggressive nature of Jerry Reinsdorf. They are just trying to win.
M. Stephens [via mobile]
Bruce, can comeover and take a picture with you? I'm watching BP too right now.
Bruce Levine (1:54 PM)
I'm always open to saying hello to anybody. Why wouldn't I?
Bruce Levine (1:56 PM)
Look forward to full coverage by the ESPN baseball staff beginning now with myself, Jesse Rogers and Doug Padilla. We'll be reporting throughout spring training. Check us out on Twitter @ESPNBruceLevine, @ESPNChiCubs and @ESPNChiSox!