Chat with Bruce Levine
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ESPNChicago.com's baseball beat reporter will be here to take your questions about the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox.
Send your questions now and join the chat Tuesday at Noon CT/1:00 p.m. ET!
Moderator (1:01 PM)
Bruce will be joining us shortly from Arizona. Thank you.
Bruce Levine (1:04 PM)
We're only one day away from pitchers and catchers taking the field. Some of the Cubs pitchers have taken it upon themselves to start already. We'll see the Sox on Friday and Saturday, but still plenty to talk about.
Nate (Sout Bend)
Are the Sox even looking at Delgado
Bruce Levine (1:05 PM)
Not to my knowledge. They looked at him during winter ball and deemed him inefficent at first base. The only type of left-handed bat the Sox will bring in is one that could play a position from time to time.
Joe (Chicago: Pilsen Area)
Bruce, who do you think has a leg up to make the team?Chad Tracy because he can play 1st/3rd and is lefty?Kevin Millar because he has experience?or Micah Hoffpauier because the Cubs know what to expect from him?
Bruce Levine (1:06 PM)
It's goign to be an intersting camp to see that play out. They all bring different value to the team. Tracy is not a great defender at first or third. Millar is below-aveage at any position, but his character and being a character are big pluses for him. Hoffpauir may be the man on the bubble, but I only see one of those three making it.
Bruce, love your work. If the Cubs go with 12 pitchers how would you set up the bench? I woyld have it like this:K. Hill CChad Tracy 1st/3rdNady OFFuld OFand finally Font or Balnco
Bruce Levine (1:08 PM)
Most of your picks are probably going to be right, but there are a couple of other dynamics involved here. Piniella is going to have to decide if Fuld is going to be kept as a 5th OF, even though he doesn't hit a lot. Somehow, someway, Hendry, Bush and Piniella are going to have to figure out their bench. Without a solid bench, they're not going to win.
Bruce, now that Feliepe Lopez fired Boras do you think he will accept a minor league deal or 1 million deal with the Cubs?
Bruce Levine (1:09 PM)
That would be an ideal situation for the North Siders, but I've been hearing all along they have some questions about Lopez's character. They're not going to bring in someone who doesn't fit in the clubhouse. You kind of have to ask yourself why a guy with a .365 on-base percentage has slipped through the cracks all the way to Feb. 16.
Jeff (Louisville KY)
Who will help their team more? Juan Pierre or Marlon Byrd.
Bruce Levine (1:11 PM)
I think both will be significant upgrades in the CF or LF position. Pierre is going to be a more consistent base runner than Scotty Pods was, although don't expect him to walk. It's not part of his game. Byrd is a top-flight character person, who hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo sold to the Cubs. I believe both will be important players for their teams this season.
Jim Hendry (Wrigley Field)
My boss, Mr. Ricketts, said before that he thinks we have enough talent on the team to actually compete for the playoffs this year. I think he is off his rocker because I believe our starting pitching to be too weak. Do you think Ricketts actually believes what he is saying publicly?
Bruce Levine (1:13 PM)
That's a very good question. If you check out my blog tomorrow morning, you'll see my opinion on the Cubs' pitching staff. Lot of things have to go right, including Randy Wells, and the 5th starter spot. Somebody will have to step up. Lots of questions. I think Mr. Ricketts stated that when he took the team over, and therefore might not have been educated as to where exactly the team is at what's coming up in the minor leagues. His opinion might be a little different right now, although all the front-office people feel they have a team that can compete.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Do you think that the Chicago Cubs will be good enough in 2010 to make it to the World Series?
Bruce Levine (1:14 PM)
I'm sure they'll be able to make it there. Whether they go as a team that's playing is another question. Seriously, though, they're going to need a little more help in the pen and Lilly will have to come back sooner rather than later.
What are the Cubs' plans for Jeff Gray? He seems to have the two main qualities that Lou likes out of his right-handed relievers: throws hard
Bruce Levine (1:15 PM)
He might be a younger version of Bobby Howry, which wouldn't be all that bad. He was a workhorse for a long time, and regardless of the results, always took the ball. I think he's got a shot.
hey bruce whats the lastest on park to the cubs or any relevers to cubs i whant park because chann can be a long relever if one of there starters go down
Bruce Levine (1:16 PM)
You're very intuitive. That's something the Cubs have continued to investigate over the past three weeks. Keep your eye on the Ryan Theriot arbitration case. Whoever wins that might be an indication of whether the Cubs can go after Park. In other words, they need the money.
Biggy (Washington, NC)
Which would be most damaging to the Cubs' season: Soto playing like last year, Z playing like last year, Nady not playing at all, Soriano hits leadoff, Marmol having a WHIP over 1.50?
Bruce Levine (1:17 PM)
You're scaring me with your scenarios. None of those things would be good for the team, but I'd have to list them as: Zambrano first; Soriano leading off second; Marmol; Soto and Nady.
Should fans of rivals be asked to subsidise a facility that has the ultimate goal of making the Cubs a better team and a more valuable organisation? We have revenue sharing, but the Cubs aren't a struggling small market team.
Bruce Levine (1:20 PM)
The reality of the situation is this: The Cubs are going into their pockets for $35M to develop the land around the ballpark. They also will pay for the entire upkeep of the stadium and whatever bills are incurred during the whole year. This was not a plan by the Cubs, rather a plan by the city of Mesa and state of Arizona. If I'm a fan of the other teams, I agree with you, I'm not excited about that. But all the teams had help from the state of Ariz. before they got these new complexes. Believe it or not, the Cubs' complex is the oldest in the Cactus League. Phoenix and Tempe both had rehabs in recent years.
What will happen first?Daniel Hudson wins 10 games or Starlin Castro scores 40 runs.
Bruce Levine (1:21 PM)
That's as tough a question as I've had in a while. If Garcia fades early, Hudson is the man for the No. 5 spot. The consensus on Castro is he might not be around until the middle of the season or later, or even next year. I don't know.
Will Carlos Zambrano resemble more an elite pitcher or the middling type starter to morphed into last year. Would 18 wins and 200 strikeouts be a reasonable expectation based on his offseason exercise regimen?
Bruce Levine (1:22 PM)
I think at age 29 or 30 going on 32 or 33, 15 or 16 wins would be satisfactory to Zambrano and the team. Quality innings is what they're looking for.
Can the cell help Alex Rios and Mark Tehan increase their power numbers?
Bruce Levine (1:23 PM)
That's the idea. That's how the White Sox look at players before they bring them in. They ahve chartes and projections of balls they hit in their home parks in the past. So you can tack on 4-5 on Teahen and hopefully 7-8 on Rios, if he can get his act together. The Cell is a cheap home run, all you have to do is get the ball up in the air.
If all goes according to plan this year for the Cubs, I.E. very few injuries, players play up to their contracts, Lou doesn't eat someone.....Do you think they have the rotation and everyday line-up to compete with the Cardinals in the NL Central?
Bruce Levine (1:24 PM)
If you're saying they won't have injuries, I'm saying they have a good shot. However we know realistically some people are going to get hurt. Therefore, a strong bench and an even stronger pen are essential.
William Tures (Norfolk va)
I love the white sox pitching staff but where are the runs coming from? Do we have enough offense to win the central?
Bruce Levine (1:26 PM)
From the right side of the plate, you do. From the left side, I have questions. A.J. Pierzynski is the leading run producer from the left side from 2009 statistics with 49 RBIs. Front office is really concerned about left-handed bats and have stated that if they're not getting run production they'll get someone during the season.
Bruce Levine (1:26 PM)
It probably won't be Johnny Damon.
why did the cubs get rid of jake fox? I think it will be something we will regret! I hope the Cubs dont kick the selves in the rear for this one!
Bruce Levine (1:27 PM)
Jake was a popular player and a gutsy guy who would run through a wall for you. However, talent wise, if you look at the last month of the season, you saw a lot of teams getting him out with the breaking ball. That pretty much happens to a lot of young people who come up to the majors initially and pound the fastball. I wish Jake well.
steve (arlington heights, il)
how close is colvin to making the team? how does the byrd signing affect his chances?
Bruce Levine (1:29 PM)
Colvin is not looked at as a starting player for 2010. He has some tools, but he also has work to do. If somebody is injured, he might get the callup because of his left-handed bat.
How are things looking on the White Sox beating out Detroit or Atlanta for Johnny Damon services?
Bruce Levine (1:30 PM)
The Sox are very private about what they do. As a Sox fan, you know that. Still, are indications are that bringing him in is a longshot. There's a certain amount of chicken being played here between the Sox and Detroit. Nobody wants to give the guy 2 years at this point, but the agent - Scott Boras, is a cagey guy. He's not afraid to wait.
Spencer (Montgomery (IL))
Bruce, I have heard very little about the bottom half of the Cubs starting rotation. Who do you see stepping in to take over the fourth and fifth spot? Do the Cubs have anyone in mind or are they just taking a wait and see approach?
Bruce Levine (1:31 PM)
It's a difficult process right now. Nobody knows what veteran Carlos Silva is going to bring to the party. The organization feels Samardzija has learned how to throw a better slider and changeup. Their hope is he's the guy to stand up and take the job. Gorzellany has some quality, but he's been inconsistent throughout his career. I still think the Cubs are looking at Marshall as a long man and more of a bullpen guy.
Do you have the white sox winning the AL Central this year? Their starting pitching staff is one of the leagues best in my opinion.
Bruce Levine (1:33 PM)
If you're going to tell me injuries aren't going to be a problem for Peavy and Quentin, I'm going to tell you the Sox have a great chance. Those are the two keys for me. Detroit has some very solid, young pitching. Minnesota is unknown at this point, because they're playing outdoors for the first time in 30 years, but never count out the Twins. Just ask Ozzie.
Come on Bruce...the other teams in AZ would have lost money if the Cubs, the #1 draw in AZ by far, left for FL. Eveyone wins.
Bruce Levine (1:34 PM)
I agree with you the other teams would be hurt by the Cubs leaving, and the economy would be hurt in Ariz. big time. But it's not to the advantage of those teams to raise doubt about the Cubs. Hopefully the voters of the state of Ariz. will agree with my opinion and yours.
Any thoughts on the Ed Sherman column talking about the Sox potentially anchoring a new FM sports radio channell next year?
Bruce Levine (1:35 PM)
It's been talked about before. I still think it's a risky business when you consider the Bulls did the same thing before coming back to ESPN 1000 radio on a barter basis, meaning the Bulls pay the station a fee to carry the games. It could happen with WSCR, ESPN 1000, or an FM station.
Bruce Levine (1:36 PM)
Looking forward to seeing the pitchers and catchers show up tomorrow. And then finally get on the mound on Thursday. It's an exciting time of the year. Sox fans, Saturday, Feb. 20 is a special day. Your pitchers and catchers report, and I'm a year older.
Moderator (1:37 PM)
We did a shorter chat today, because Bruce will be back Friday for another one. Check out his blogs at ESPNChicago.com this week for daily reports as well as comprehensive breakdowns of the two teams. And go to the site now to catch Bruce on ESPN 1000. Thanks. See you Friday.
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