Chat with Bruce Levine
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Bill (Washington, DC)
Let's assume Peavy pitches like he did last night and the Chi-Sox start winning consistently. Whom do you see as a bigger threat for us in the AL-Central: Twins or Tigers?
Bruce Levine: (1:09 PM)
The biggest threat to the White Sox is the White Sox. They have to show their own consistency. If Buherle and Peavy pitch like they are supposed to, the Sox will be there with Detroit and Minnesota at the end of September.
What do you think Soriano's avg/obp will be at the end of the year?
Bruce Levine: (1:12 PM)
I'm not concerned about his average and OBP. What you should be concerned about is his run production. On-base percentage for a player like Soriano is a waste of time. He's nobody's fantasy player unless you're in a home run or RBI league. Soriano is going to hit 30 home runs and drive in somewhere between 80 and 90. If he does that he'll be a productive player for the Cubs this year.
What is wrong with gordon beckham?
Bruce Levine: (1:13 PM)
After talking to him yesterday, Beckham seems to be pressing a little bit. A lot of times good hitters like Beckham start to outthink themselves when they're at the plate. Gordon just needs a good slump buster, to come in one day and take his four at bats and do what comes natural, which is hitting, for a talent like him.
W Addy Matt (Chicago)
How is the shoulder of Teddy Lilly?
Bruce Levine: (1:17 PM)
I think his shoulder is OK. His overall velocity and command isn't quite there yet. The only thing you worry about with Lilly is that he pushes himself too hard too quickly. He is an incessant worker who sometimes can be his own worst enemy because of his work ethic. We won't call him a bulldog, considering I was told recently that bulldogs are relatively passive. Let's just say he works as hard as anybody on the team.
Bruce Levine: (1:18 PM)
The sale of the Rangers is a complicated issue. MLB decided to accept the lowest bid for the team. Tom Hicks, the present owner, and the creditors of the team were looking to get more money out of the deal. MLB is trying to push this thing through, so the situation doesn't end up in court for years.
Mike (Washington DC)
Do you see Ozzie's job in jeopardy if this free fall continues?
Bruce Levine: (1:20 PM)
I don't think Ozzie's job is ever in jeopardy, but I believe the drama that is put out on a daily basis is a little wearing on everyone in the organization, including Ozzie. I've known Ozzie for 25 years, and unfortunately for him, he doesn't know how to pull back. He's a very honest aggressive guy who speaks from the heart. The long-winded answer to your question, Mike, is no, I do not think his job is in jeopardy.
Is ARam secretly hurt or has the demise begun?
Bruce Levine: (1:21 PM)
I think that's a fair question in spite of that it's early in the season. It's not just a slump. He's striking out at a record pace. I believe he's only listed at 30 or 31 years of age. However, a test of his eyes wouldn't be the worst thing to have done at this point.
Eli (North Side)
How long will the Cubs keep BigZ in the bullpen?
Bruce Levine: (1:25 PM)
Right now there is no time table fro Zambrano to leave the pen. It's going to be interesting to watch him compete out of the bullpen. He wants to do well when he pitches, but I think he is afraid of pitching so well in the bullpen that the team leaves him there. I believe Zambrano is a good teammate, but there is no mistaking that his ego tells him that he is still a starting pitcher. Cubs GM Jim Hendry continues his search for bullpen help. Some teams have been interested in other starting pitchers like Tom Gorzelanny, but no GM is in a hurry to trade quality left-handed pitching.
Bruce, when he signed, many people were very skeptical about adding Marlon Byrd. I think he's been the reason the Cubs are still afloat in the NL Central. How soon before Ramirez and Lee start holding up their end of the bargain and powering this Cubs offense along? The Byrd contract wasn't that bad by the way and I know he won't keep it up, but the other 2 need to get going and soon! Thanks.
Bruce Levine: (1:27 PM)
I agree with your premise, Byrd is not a .330 hitter. The rest of the lineup won't hit .300 all year either (the Cubs have seven .300 hitters at this point). Baseball is a game of cycles, so nobody can predict when people are going to hit their normal average. I think with the warm weather coming you'll start to see both Ramirez and Lee be more productive.
Hi Bruce, WHat is the word on Jared Mitchell? How far back will this injury push him? After seeing him in the CWS i thought he would be a five-tool player. Can he still get there?
Bruce Levine: (1:29 PM)
Mitchell hopefully will be ready for spring training next year. But a serious foot injury makes it hard to determine if he will run as well as he did in the past. The Sox still have high hopes from him as a player on the fast track to the majors.
If you could make one realistic move to improve this team, what would it be? Call up Castro now? Trade Gorz for a reliever? Something else?
Bruce Levine: (1:32 PM)
I would make a number of quick decisions including bringing Castro up. I'd be pretty shocked if he is not with the Cubs by sometime in June. Also, deciding on what to Andrew Cashner. Some people in the organization think he will be one of the solutions to the bullpen problem. For now, he is a starting pitcher at the Double-A level. Let's take it one step further, the organization is a little gun shy about promoting high-profile players due to the failures of Corey Patterson and Felix Pie as well as highly-touted infielder Ronnie Cedeno. The Cubs want to make sure they don't rush any of their young talent only because they have a need for them at the Major League level.
Hey Bruce, this is Bruce. My question is what is Paul Konerko eating for breakfast every morning and can he offer some to CQ and Alexi please?
Bruce Levine: (1:33 PM)
KOnerko is just in one of those zones that he gets into. If you look at his career, he is a streaky first or second-half hitter. There are only a few seasons in which he was consistent in both halves. Hopefully this will be one of those years for him and the team.
Rob (Lime Rock, CT)
If the White Sox struggle into June and early July, does Kenny sell off some pieces for prospects?
Bruce Levine: (1:36 PM)
It depends what you mean by selling off pieces. You have two would-be free agents in Konerko and Pierzynski. Konerko already has no-trade rights in his contract. Pierzynski will be a 5-and-10 man on June 14, meaning he'll have control over any trades that the White Sox want to make after that date. Other than those two and Bobby Jenks, it's really hard to see what other players would be available.
Dave (Glendale Heights)
Hey Bruce...have the White Sox mentioned anything or do you believe we will at some point see Sergio Santos as a starting pitcher? With the way he seems to be able to control his fastball, slider and change-up I think he could be an effective starter one day. Any talk of that?
Bruce Levine: (1:37 PM)
I think because of the fact that he is a late developing pitcher, his career will be in the bullpen. My conversations with Santos pretty much indicated that is where he wants to stay. I would say if he continues to develop he will be looked at as a closer for the White Sox.
I interested in some of the Cubs prospects you mentioned last week. I know about Castro, but how is Darby doing this year?
Bruce Levine: (1:42 PM)
I haven't seen Darby's numbers lately, but he would be the team's first call-up when it needs a utility man. There's also up-and-coming infielder Hak-Ju Lee. He is batting .305 at Peoria and the Cubs are very high on him.
I missed the game last night--was Peavy's success a result of increased velocity, better location, or simply because they played the Royals?
Bruce Levine: (1:44 PM)
The big key to his big game was Peavy's command of his slider. His velocity was good, but any time he is going to be successful, he needs to have command of his breaking ball. He did that with ease last night.
Ray A. (San Francisco, CA)
Should the San Francisco Giants sign Jermaine Dye?
Bruce Levine: (1:47 PM)
It remains to be seen how long it will take Dye to get back in shape. At 36, we know that his outfield skills have diminished. I still think he can be productive in a part-time role, once he has gone through two or three weeks of minor-league at-bats.
Do you expect Silva to keep up his solid start to the season? (Minus his last outing) It's pretty odd, but his career record is great in the month of April and pretty awful after. Any ideas of why that is?
Bruce Levine: (1:48 PM)
That's usually an indicator that a pitcher is ahead of the hitters. From May on, you see major league hitters get in their groove. I think the Cubs have gotten more out of Silva than they ever expected when they made that trade for Milton Bradley. Your guess is as good as mine as to what his production level will be like for the rest of the year.
Jordan (Algonquin, IL)
Hey Bruce,Any Chance we see Bryan LaHair on the big league team this year?
Bruce Levine: (1:51 PM)
I don't see LeHair getting called up unless there is an injury. If you notice, the Cubs have five outfielders that Lou Piniella is trying to juggle. All five could be be productive hitters every day. That makes it difficult for any type of minor league player to be promoted this year.
Hey Bruce, if Jaramillo can keep his voo doo magic going with Soriano and Fukadome, what will that mean for Colvin?
Bruce Levine: (1:53 PM)
Colvin will start get plenty of at-bats. The fact that he's a left handed hitter is something you should focus on. The Cubs do not have many left-handed hitters who can produce runs. Colvin and Fukadome are key players who hit left-handed and must produce. Somebody always does get hurt, and though I don't want to jinx Soriano, he's had injuries every year he has been with the Cubs.
Ryan (greenville nc)
Will Jeff Samardija ever be a serviceable pitcher in the bigs?
Bruce Levine: (1:55 PM)
That is something we are all going to have to look in the crystal ball at. He needs more experience. At this point the team needs to leave him as either a bullpen pitcher or starter.
Hey Bruce... What are the chances at some point the Sox go after Gonzalez and if they do does that mean Konerko would be involved in that trade? Why not put Konerko at DH and Gonzalez at 1B?
Bruce Levine: (1:57 PM)
San Diego is only looking for young players who don't make money when it eventually trades Gonzalez. So minor-league prospects and Gordon Beckham would be the players the Padres would be interested. Right now there is no trade to be made with San Diego. They're not trading Gonzalez at this point.
Bruce Levine: (1:58 PM)
For the White Sox, home cooking and warm weather should help the bats continue to stay hot. The Cubs could put a streak together against two of the weaker teams in the division this week. I look forward to joining SportsNation for another chat next Tuesday.
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