Chat with Bruce Levine
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! Want to know what's happening with your favorite Chicago baseball team?
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 p.m. ET!
Bruce Levine (1:02 PM)
Greetings Hawks fans. It's almost time for Sox vs. Cubs, which sounds about as exciting as Sox vs. Kansas City right now. Let's try to make the most of the next 2/3 of the season, after all we're all baseball fans, right?
Biggy (Washington, NC)
When do we start to retool for the 2012-2013 run for the series?
Bruce Levine (1:04 PM)
Let's take one at a time. The Sox's run for the series probably will begin next week. If someone is traded by the middle of June, I'll be surprised. As far as the Cubs go, you already have two pieces of the puzzle working toward credibility in Castro and Colvin. By 2012, you can expect Vitters and Brett Jackson to be part of the lineup.
Bruce Levine (1:05 PM)
Rebuilding doesn't mean not competing. And using farm system guys is not a negative, just look at Minnesota and Atlanta for the last 15 years.
First Sandy, Roberto, Lofton, Thome, Vizquel, is it safe to believe this offseason Kenny will sign Manny Ramierez?
Bruce Levine (1:05 PM)
I don't know how to answer that other than to say, if you're a masochistic White Sox fan like you are, I guess you can say yes.
Bruce, do you see a little bit of Greg Maddux in Mike Leake? or will he get beat when teams see him a 2nd or 3rd time?
Bruce Levine (1:07 PM)
That's exactly what a couple of scouts and I were talking about over the weekend, that Leake has four quality pitches and doesn't depend on a big, overpowering fastball to be good. There's no reason to think he won't continue to be a good pitcher. Comparisons to Maddux are a bit of a stretch, but the kid looks like a very good pitcher.
Jack (Topeka KS.)
Who has been the White Sox most consistant starter?
Bruce Levine (1:07 PM)
That's easy, Freddy Garcia is the ace of the staff. That's why you're team is 8 1/2 out.
What do you think of the Cubs 1st round pick yesterday? Is it a signability pick? Will they go overslot for a bunch of guys today?
Bruce Levine (1:08 PM)
Wasn't thrille with the pick, yes to the second question, probably not for no. 3. Never question Tim Wilken's baseball acumen. He's the guy who gave you Tyler Colvin, when nobody had heard of him. However, signability seems to be one of the major reasons why they went for this pick.
Bruce do the umpires get thier eyes check every offseason? Because this year they have blown alot of calls.
Bruce Levine (1:09 PM)
I don't think there have been any more blown calls than in the past, but I think since the 2009 playoffs, people are really looking hard at the umpires and how they do their jobs. The Joyce call was an aberration. He's considered one of the best umpires in baseball.
JT (Hot Springs, SD)
Bruce, I'm still waiting for the Cubs to put together a six or seven game winning streak, but my question is, does this team really have the pieces for that?
Bruce Levine (1:10 PM)
It doesn't appear to be that way. And although the Cubs' starting pitching has been better than average, I wouldn't necessarily think it's going to stay that way. It appears the Cubs will be making some decisions by July 1 whether to add or subtract. That may be the magic date for 2010.
Reds Fan (Detriot)
Everyone said two years ago, that the Rays will come back to normal and they almost went all the way. Can we say the Reds are this years Rays?
Bruce Levine (1:12 PM)
I picked the Reds to be the surprise tema this year based on the fact they have a really good, athletic young team. I didn't think Leake would be the rookie of the year candidate he's turning out to be. The Reds are supposed to get Volquez back by mid-late summer, which would be like acquiring a solid pitcher from another team in a trade. I think they're there for the season.
A player barely ranked in the top 200 wouldn't have been there a few rounds later? If the guys broadcasting the draft have to Google the guy you just took in the first round, well, you might have reached a tad.What were the Cubs thinking?
Bruce Levine (1:13 PM)
Tyler Colvin! He was 170th in the 2006 draft. I'm not saying he's the next Ted Williams, but nobody seems to be upset at that pick right now.
Joe (Pilsen Area: Chicago)
Bruce, will Adam Dunn be at 1st base next year for the Whitesox, Cubs, or neither?
Bruce Levine (1:15 PM)
First of all, he's a $10M player. Is that really what the Cubs or Sox want to do with their money. Yes, they both need left-handed power hitting badly, but maybe that's not the direction these teams are going to go in the future. More likely Viciedo will be playing first and Soriano or Vitters will be there for the Cubs.
Bruce how about this trade? Bobby Jenks to the Mets since they need bullpen help n K-Rod is a free agent next year for Fernando Martinez n a decent minor leaguer?
Bruce Levine (1:16 PM)
Martinez is still considered their top, young prospect. I kind of like the trade. The Sox need to get a pitcher back. My guess is Jenks might be dealt to the Phillies before that.
Mr. Cox (Greenville, NC)
Do the Cubs have any prospects in their system that would be able to provide the Cubs with any 3,4 hitters in the future assuming Ramirez and Lee are gone?
Bruce Levine (1:17 PM)
Depending how Brett Jackson and Vitters turn out, they may be part of your middle of the order in the future. Jackson may be top of the order guy, or then again a No. 3 hitter. Vitters is going to hit, but the question is what position will he play.
Bruce, Any chance the White Sox make a trade for Prince Fielder JR?
Bruce Levine (1:20 PM)
Assuming Fielder is a free agent after this season, neither team would seem to have $20 M a year that he'll be looking for in free agency. Also scouts will tell you that he's a future DH with concerns about his knees and ankles because of the pounding he takes.
Bruce, With Peavy struggling so much with location and velocity, do you think it is a mental thing, or he is still having issues from when he was injured?
Bruce Levine (1:22 PM)
I don't think he's the same pitcher he was before 2008. He's just had a number of physical issues. After the game he's a walking ice box. They put more ice on him than anyone on the team. He's a great competitor, but his stuff is a little short.
Do yo think lou piniella and ozzie guillen will both be in Chicago next season?
Bruce Levine (1:23 PM)
Interesting question. Maybe to visit. Lou's not interested in talking about next year at this point. Ozzie is a favorite of owner Jerry Reinsdorf. But both Kenny and Ozzie will have to answer for a team that most likely will finish under .500 for the third time in four seasons.
Bruce, are the Cubs just a smidgen better than the Astros and Pirates, because we can't seem to beat them? Also, Carlos Silva should be the ONLY Cubs All-Star rep if he continues to pitch well. What say you? I can't believe I said that about Silva.
Bruce Levine (1:24 PM)
Marmol will be there. I believe a record indicates what a team is, and at this point the record is no better than the Astros' or Pirates'.
Bruce, sounds like the Sox are willing to move AJ, Andruw, Paulie, and Putz, but not the big lefty. Seems like a lefty who could close would bring real value back. If you were Kenny would you be willing to move Matt?
Bruce Levine (1:26 PM)
If you've noticed, Thornton has not pitched well lately. That's because he is hurt. The question is if he's going to continue to pitch his much, will he stay hurt. If the answer is yes, then you might be willing to deal him. It depends on what I would get back. There are no untouchables on the Sox, and that includes Gordon Beckham.
Is Carlos Silva going to get 15 wins?
Bruce Levine (1:26 PM)
If you want to include 2011, most likely. Not in the predicting business, but you have to assume that the league may catch up to him at some point. That's not to take any credit from Silva, who's pitched outstanding.
I hope that Hayden Simpson shocks the world, but come on. How can you waste a first round selection on a 4th round talent who's best hope is to be a #5 major league starter? Does Jim Hendry want to get fired?
Bruce Levine (1:28 PM)
Jim Hendry doesn't make the selection. They rely on Tim Wilken and his staff to pick the right, young players. Wilken is pretty sharp. Does the name Doc Holliday ring a familiar note?
What do you think of Starlin Castro's play right now? I kind of get upset that he cant hit in the clutch, but he is 20 and I liken his play to football where the defense is always ahead of your offense early on.
Bruce Levine (1:29 PM)
He still has a long way to go defensively. He can make the spectacular play as well as anybody. But on one play last week, he made 3 different mistakes. He wasn't on the bad for a throw from 2nd, the ball went into CF, instead of pretending he had the ball, he looked toward center, allowing the runner to get up automatically and run to third. On the next play, a sac fly to LF, he was not in position at third for a cut-off throw from Ramirez that would have retired the side. I like the kid as much as anybody, but he's learning how to play big-leauge shortstop with AA experience.
is sandberg a lock (or as close as you can get) for the next cubs manager? sure seems like they are grooming him for that role
Bruce Levine (1:31 PM)
There's an assumption out there that the Ricketts family likes Ryne Sandberg and would probably want him as the next manager. I contend that if you still have a veteran team, that's not necessarily what you want to do with Sandberg. The ascension of the farm kids to the majors would bode well for Sandberg and the continuity of their progression to the majors.
dylan jones (bristol indiana)
Any chance Derek Lee ends up with another club before the season ends???(like the angles)
Bruce Levine (1:32 PM)
Lee pretty much told the beat reporters over the weekend that he's not interested in being traded. However, players' minds are changed when they see the result of an underachieving team. Lee could change his mind as the summer progresses.
mik (the chi)
bruce, you said above that vitters will hit...what do you mean by that? we keep hearing great things about this guy but what type of hitting tools does he have? does he have huge power?
Bruce Levine (1:33 PM)
Not that I'm aware of. But the scouts that I've talked to said he'll be an extra-base hitting guy. Big power I don't know about.
How much longer will Carlos Quentin be with the White Sox?
Bruce Levine (1:34 PM)
I don't know where he would be going. I don't think his trade value is very high. His main value is still to the White Sox. He's on pace for over 90 RBIs, even with a lousy average. That tells you he is a run producer.
Bruce, what is wrong with Matt Thornton if you say he's hurt? Is it his forearm that he hurt a couple of weeks ago?
Bruce Levine (1:34 PM)
I'm not 100 percent sure and the Sox aren't always forthcoming with information on injuries. I need to do more work on that.
Bruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuce.....what position do you expect the cubs to go afte rin the next few rounds of the draft? I read that Tim Wilkens likes to draft for top talent...and not position need
Bruce Levine (1:35 PM)
Not quite sure where they're going. Wilken's not afraid to draft high school kids. Best talent is usually where he goes.
Phil (Chicago )
You mentioned Vitters and Soriano as 1B options next year. Do you (a) think Vitters will be ready in 2011 to play in the majors and (b) can Soriano really play 1B full time?
Bruce Levine (1:36 PM)
A - They think he might be. B - As far as Soriano, I'm half kidding about that. But he's not going to be an outfielder for the next four years.
Mr. Cox (Greenville, NC)
Is there an individual hitter that Rudy Jaramillo spending the bulk of his time with? With as many slumping hitters on the Cubs right now, he's got plenty to choose from.
Bruce Levine (1:38 PM)
Rudy is not that forthcoming with who he's spending time with. Needless to say, he's a tireless worker who is always available to the hitters before, during and after games. The Rudy factor may not take place for the Cubs for a while. He doens't force his theories on people.
Since D. Lee does not appear to have any interest in being traded to a contender, what kind of Draft compensation would the Cubs get if he leaves after the season?
Bruce Levine (1:38 PM)
A first-round pick, most likely, but possibly a Grade B depending on the year Lee has.
will (boynton beach, fl)
what is the possibility that lebron might go to chicago
Bruce Levine (1:39 PM)
I think he's been here more than once. I think he really likes the city. I don't think he's going to play here, though.
Soriano would benefit from being a DH...darn, there's no DH's in the National League except for interleague play...someone, oh someone from the American League please take Soriano from us for a bag o' balls.
Bruce Levine (1:40 PM)
Is this Jim Hendry?
the cubs opening day infield in 2012 will be....
Bruce Levine (1:41 PM)
not very good.
hey bruce id like to add to your response about sandberg. arent the cubs building for the future right now? it seems like we have 4 or 5 position players of the future a couple years away and a couple already here, we have SP for the future on the way and we have late game bull pen guys close. wouldnt bring in a vet manager just to bridge the gap for a year or two basically be saying we dont care about these next couple of years until these guys are all ready. because as a fan thats how i would look at it and that could potentially be a frustrating (even more so then now)
Bruce Levine (1:43 PM)
I could be wrong about the whole hypothesis. However you're going to continue to have contracts for Ramirez, Soriano and Zambrano for whatever manager comes in after Lou. That can be a tough clubhouse for any manager, let alone a rookie MLB manager. But don't let me undersell Sandberg, I think he's going to be good, and he has paid his dues.
Could there be any worse timing for the BP Crosstown Cup to debut?
Bruce Levine (1:44 PM)
There's some symmetry to the whole thing. Considering neither BP or the teams were interseted in contributing anything to the Chicago charities. That's very unlike the Sox and Cubs, who are usually generous to a fault as far as contributing money to worth charities.
Mr. Chicago (Kansas)
Are u a big fan of Ken harrelson's sayings.
Bruce Levine (1:45 PM)
I'm a big fan of the Hawk, who is a Chicago icon. He and Stone make Sox baseball interesting to listen to, even when the team is below par. My favorite is "dadgumit."
Bruce, how do you feel about the Cubs going on a second half run to make the wild card? And what's going on with Lou's lack of shaving these days?
Bruce Levine (1:47 PM)
Lou gets into the bunker mode when he starts looking like a WWII submarine commander. It's kind of amusing, really, and as my girlfriend Judy says, it makes him look like a hobo. But Lou turned the Cubs around in '07 with a team that was 7 or 8 games behind Milwaukee at this time. He's looking for the same type of magic now with Colvin, Cashner now contributing.
Is this game going to happen tonight? I'm leaving work early for the Sox and I want to know if I should go or not?
Bruce Levine (1:48 PM)
Let me put my Tommy Skillet hat on. Bring an umbrella, and get your behind out there.
Do Cashner and Jackson project as top of the line rotation guys in the very near future?
Bruce Levine (1:49 PM)
They could be bullpen guys or starters, but the Cubs better keep some of these guys in the rotation. Lilly is a free agent, Zambrano is an unknown quantity at this point. And Wells has looked more and more like an average pitcher this year.
But if Colvin would have been available in round 2-10 wouldn't it have been an awesome pick? I mean your first round picks should produce, you don't get kudos for that.
Bruce Levine (1:50 PM)
You get kudos for drafting the player you think will be most impactful. That's what a scouting director does. Wilken wasn't going to take the chance of someone else drafting him before they got to him. That's what a good scouting director does.
Bruce,Besides stocking up on pitchers, what else are the Sox looking for if they trade away veteran players?
Bruce Levine (1:51 PM)
Everything. Power hitters, left-handers especially. If you watch Chicago baseball, you'll notice the Cubs and Sox both lack RBI producers from the left side. You don't win too many championships without hitting balance.
brian (chicago )
cubs seem to have a bright farm system from what i have read, but we all know what good young talent can do for us (patterson, prior, pie, etc). does the group of kids we have now look to be like players that well actually produce once they get here? the killer C's (castro, colvin, and cashner) look pretty good on a small sample
Bruce Levine (1:53 PM)
It's hard to tell. Highly touted young players are just that, ie Gordon Beckham. But factually, Gordon should still be a very good player. But you find fewer people willing to predict how good he'll be.
Would the Sox be able to get Chris David in return from a Pierzynski trade?
Bruce Levine (1:54 PM)
Chris Davis? They're going to try to get a good player like that. Texas makes the most sense, if and when Pierzynski gets traded.
dylan jones (bristol indiana)
Do you think the cubs will be buyers or sellers once ethe deadline hits???and also any names out there
Bruce Levine (1:55 PM)
Keep your eye on July 1, that's probably the drop-dead date for Hendry going to Ricketts and saying time to add or subtract.
Matt J. (Dubuque, IA)
Any chance we see Darwin Barney on the Cubs roster this year and why don't the Cubs send Aramis Ramirez to Triple A Iowa and call up Chad Tracy...Tracy is killing the ball
Bruce Levine (1:56 PM)
Chad Tracy is Chad Tracy. He's not going to come up here and supplant Aramis Ramirez as your 3B. If he does, with all respect to tracy, this team will continue to be bad. Piniella talks about Barney from time to time. IF the Cubs do trade Theriot, you could see Barney come up.
Gordon Beckham is not untouchable?!?!? You'll have to explain that one to me please..
Bruce Levine (1:58 PM)
Gordon would go in the right trade. I'm not saying they're going to shop him. But by his performance, what makes you believe he's untouchable. His two radio shows are impressive, however.
You terrified me to my very core when you casually suggested that Beckham is no longer untouchable. You don't really expect that the Sox would ship him do you? I know he has struggled this year, but his is so young and talented.
Bruce Levine (1:59 PM)
What would be wrong getting someone else young and talented? I like Gordon personally as much as any player in the leauge, but if I can get back another really good player in a trade, I have to listen.
What 40 year old washed up player could Beckham and 4 pitchers command in a trade?
Bruce Levine (2:00 PM)
How about Carlos Silva.
Bruce Levine (2:01 PM)
Sorry to be in such a mean mood to all of you Gordo lovers out there. Just waiting for him to get an extra-base hit sometime soon. Don't let your personal feelings about a player cloud your baseball acumen. I'm excited about the weekend, as I can get guarantee you Chicago victories on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Talkin' Baseball live from Wrigley from 9-12. Don't miss it.