Chat with Bruce Levine
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Bruce Levine (11:35 AM)
Welcome to the second week of the offseason. Cubs fans should be paying close attention to the next manager possibly being hired soon. We'll have it all here for you on ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000. White Sox fans should keep their eyes on the Konerko and A.J. situations. Will they stay or will they go? Welcome ..
Chris Oscarson (Oxford, OH)
The Cubs cannot hire the Indian's manager. With a record like the Indians, hiring Eric Wedge would be a mistake.
Bruce Levine (11:36 AM)
He appears to be one of three in the final process. He has great credentials and is probably up for the job in Pittsburgh or Toronto as well. Don't fear the unknown.
Ryan (Darien, IL )
I know the Cubs have an opening at first base, but are they looking to do anything with second base, or are they sticking with DeWitt and Barney?
Bruce Levine (11:37 AM)
For now I would say second base will remain the same. First base might be a "Dunn" deal at some point.
Is there any particular reason why Alan Tammell has never been considered a managerial candidate for the Cubs?
Bruce Levine (11:38 AM)
Cubs management deemed him an oustanding coach when he was hired to be Piniella's bench coach, and they still think he's an oustanding coach. Not a manager in their eyes. He will most likely be moving on.
Johnny Blaze (Morgan Park)
Does Bobby Jenks have any trade value?
Bruce Levine (11:39 AM)
He should. He's still relatively young although his arbitration figure works against him. You have to remember that he earned that money by being an effective closer. Most teams will wait for him to be non-tendered instead of trade for him.
Kevin G (San Diego)
Bruce, if we do trade Marmol do you think Cashner could close or are the cubs set on making him a starter.
Bruce Levine (11:41 AM)
The Marmol trade is something that I look at in a futuristic way. It's nothing that the Cubs are talking about. I just feel it's a practical function of adding good players to your team without spending a lot of money. Yes, he would bring back a lot.
Archer with a impressive outing against the Cubans. Any chance he could find his way into the starting rotation coming out of spring training?
Bruce Levine (11:42 AM)
Highly doubtful. But an early spring or mid-summer promotion wouldn't be a great surprise. The kid still needs some experience. The makeup and the stuff seem to be major-league ready.
Carlos Quentin was very inconsistent last year, despite the inconsistency he put up solid power numbers. Are there any better options to replace him? Crawford would probably cost too much for an already pricy outfield.
Bruce Levine (11:45 AM)
The word on Jordan Danks is that offensively he's not ready. Defensively they think he's as good as anybody in the system. They'd have to listen to other teams about Quentin. In the past he has given them a difficult time about signing him to a long-term contract. Those type of offers I don't belive will be there now.
Bruuuuuce! Speculate on the 2011 Cubs rotation for me. Who will we see on opening day... and then the following 4? Thanks!
Bruce Levine (11:46 AM)
Zambrano, Dempster, Wells, Gorzelanny and ? Will Hendry be able to trade for or be able to sign a free-agent pitcher. If not, it could be a battle between Casey Coleman, Jeff Samardzija and Jay Jackson.
What would a package of Quentin and Jenks bring? Would it be enough to pry Corey Hart away from Milwaukee?
Bruce Levine (11:47 AM)
They could have had Hart last year for nothing so he is a good name. Milwaukee needs a closer but not one making $9 million. That would probably be overpaying for Hart with Jenks and Quentin.
What are the Cubs plans for a consistent lead-off man? I sure hope they don't plan to use Starlin Castro as a lead-off man. Also, what do they plan to do with first and second base in the upcoming year? Thanks.
Bruce Levine (11:49 AM)
First base, Adam Dunn is most likely a high priority for them. Orlando Hudson once again is a free agent. He's a good name, a good player, but he gets hurt too much. Right now I believe it will be DeWitt with the Cubs' resources going to other areas of need. Lead-off man continues to be a problem. Haven't heard any names for that spot yet.
What is a realistic time frame for the Cubs to contend again. I think we are in this nether-world region right now. Are we re-building or taking a win now attitude?
Bruce Levine (11:51 AM)
As a big market team you can never tell your fan base that you are not going to contend the next season. But the Cubs certainly seem to be taking a different approach now that they have a few viable players coming through their system. I think a Dunn signing would be a statement to Cubs fans that they are trying to compete and win.
Since you seem sold on Dunn @ 1st what kind of contract is he going to get? This does not seem like it will end well. On a side note - where do you think Derek Lee ends up?
Bruce Levine (11:54 AM)
I'm not sold on Dunn. I'm just telling you I hear he is high on their priority list. Dun's defense is a big minus for me. It's tough to add a poor defensive player to a team that made 125 errors. If you believe that defense and pityching win games. Nonetheless he satisfies the need for a big bat in the middle of the order for the offense to function around. I'm not sure Lee is going to play again. He did have a little resurgence in Atlanta but his power numbers are down. I'm not sure at 35, with the injuries he's sustained, if he still wants to do that every day, the drudgery of getting ready.
Dan (Orland Park)
I've read several times your proposed trade for Gardner and Joba. I don't get it. Where would Garner play? Marmol had All-Star numbers last year. How would that be replaced. If anything maybe Ellsbury and Papelbon for Marmol and Fukudome.
Bruce Levine (11:56 AM)
Your proposal is almost as silly as mine. But Ellsbury is somebody I'm sure the Cubs would like to acquire. Gardner has good speed and is an outstanding defensive player, two areas the Cubs are going to have to get better at if the Cubs are going to contend.
Who will be the Sox starting catcher in 2011?
Bruce Levine (11:57 AM)
It won't be Raul Castro. Signing A.J. to a one-year extension with an option would make sense for him and the White Sox. I don't think they are sure what direction they are going right now.
Hi Bruce, would the cubs consider making a run at James Loney who is rumored to be available this off-season? He is affordable at 4.9 mil next year and is a better player than he showed this past season.
Bruce Levine (11:59 AM)
I like Loney, a .300-type hitter, good RBI guy. Again, slow without a lot of power although I think he hit a big homer against Ryan Dempster in the 2008 playoffs. The Dodgers will make some of their players available. Like Russell Martin. Maybe the White Sox like him.
With Soriano's declining numbers how many years do you think he has left before the Cubs bite the bullet and let him walk with his money?
Bruce Levine (12:00 PM)
Hard to say. It would be tough if I were Ricketts to write a check for $72 million. That's roughly what he has left on the remaining four years. Even one year at $18 million is a ridiculous check to write.
What are the plans for Wrigley Field? Video board? Are they going to gut it and play elsewhere for a season (63 at US Cellular Field, 18 in Milwaukee)?
Bruce Levine (12:02 PM)
The Wrigley 2014 plan seems to be somewhat on hold right now. I think dwindling turnstile in 2010 has had the Cubs hesitate to throw a big contruction project out there at this point. The Ricketts' plan is to eventually do all the things they had on the docket but now it might take a longer period of time to get it all done.
Paul (St. Louis)
Bruce, has Melvin be eliminated? Is it down to Wedge, Ryno and Quade? Also, any other teams seeking permission to talk to Quade?
Bruce Levine (12:03 PM)
Melvin hasn't been officially eliminated. Although it's unclear whether he will talk to Ricketts or not. One team asked the Cubs informally whether Quade was going to be available to interview elsewhere. For a team to interview another team's employee that has to go through a written form that goes through major league baseball. That hasn't happened.
Mark (Oglesby, IL)
Bruce, any word on the Brewers managerial outlook and the future of Prince Fielder
Bruce Levine (12:05 PM)
Fielder has one year remaining on his contract. A trade is a possibility in the offseason. Fielder's agent, Scott Boras, is going to be looking for somnewhere between $18-20 million a year for the Brewer's power hitter. I'm hearing that Ted Simmons and Willie Randolph will most likely get interviews. Haven't heard the same about Bob Brenly as of now.
The Mets are asking about Hahn and Seatle is looking at Cora. Will there be a noticable change if both of them leave?
Bruce Levine (12:06 PM)
Seattle has not asked to interview Cora so part of your equation is eliminated. Hahn is an integral part of the White Sox management hierarchy and would create a hole in their tightly-knit organization. He's the only VP/assistant GM that I know of. He certainly is on the fast track to be a GM.
Does there seem to be anyone in Cubs upper level management who seems to prefer skipping on Dunn and trying to obtain Adrian Gonzalez, either through trade now or free agency after next season? Gonzalez is a vastly better player than Dunn, and his value would only increase moving from Petco to Wrigley.
Bruce Levine (12:08 PM)
You have to address 2010 before you can look at 2011. There is also the possiblity that Tyler Colvin could be playing first base and the team goes after an outfielder. Gonzalez would be a longshot to wait for as a free agent. My guess is they are not going to trade two or three of their top prospects for a one-year shot at Gonzalez.
Brett Davis (Hot Springs, AR)
Bruce, any updates on the offseason plan for the White Sox? You've previously stated that you don't know if they will have any money to spend on the market. If they do, are Adam Dunn and Rafael Soriano possibilities?
Bruce Levine (12:09 PM)
They have money coming back from the contracts of Konerko, Pierzynski and Jenks possibly. That's close to $30 million. So if you assume none of those guys come back I think your idea of spending some omney on the bullpen and a left-handed bat would make sense.
Would Cliff Lee even be an option for any of the teams in Chicago?
Bruce Levine (12:11 PM)
Anytime you have an ace out there you have to pay attention. I think the Sox have plenty of money invested in their rotation so another four-year, $60 million deal is not on their radar. The Cubs do not appear to have the payroll to get an impact hitter and impact pitcher through free agency.
Paul (St. Louis)
Bruce, if Archer develops into an Ace with the Cubs, will they start serving crow at Wrigley for all the Derosa trade bashers?
Bruce Levine (12:12 PM)
Good call on your part. If you remember the papers and radio were full of the "Cubs having given DeRosa away for nothing." The other two guys aren't awful either and still have a chance to contribute.
Would you prefer Dunn next year, or waiting one more year for Adrian Gonzalez?
Bruce Levine (12:13 PM)
You can't pass up a whole season waiting for one guy, who you may not get.
Could Konerko be a possibility on the North side or would he be too expensive?
Bruce Levine (12:14 PM)
I'm hearing Arizona as a possible destination for Konerko. The D'backs are looking to get better and have some internal leadership. Who better than Scottsdale resident Konerko?
Where Does Pujols end up next year?
Bruce Levine (12:15 PM)
Can't really see him leaving St. Louis. That would be devastating to the marketing of the team. In a baseball-crazy town like St. Louis, it's hard to imagine management letting the best player in the game go elsewhere.
Realistically, the Cubs manager race is down to Quade, and Sandberg, who has the inside track?
Bruce Levine (12:17 PM)
Depends on whether the GM and the owner agree on the semantics around the hiring. Ricketts is on record as saying that Hendry will be hiring the next manager. Tom seems to be a man of his word. You can make good cases for both candidates. How about hiring both as an updated version of the Cubs' College of Coaches?
Phil (Chicago )
What becomes of Carlos Silva and that salary? Long reliever? Released?
Bruce Levine (12:17 PM)
It depends on what type of condition he shows up in next February in Mesa. He was the best pitcher for the Cubs the first 2.5 months of the season. No reason to think he can't help somewhat again next season.
Hey Bruce, hope all is well with you. What is the chances Vitters will be ready in the next couple of years or would the Cubs need to dish out more money for a aging Ramirez? Also, is Soto the catcher of the future since he just doesn't seem to be the same player that he showed us his rookie year.
Bruce Levine (12:19 PM)
Well, Soto wasn't bad last year -- his second half was closer to what he did in 2008. No one knows if Vitters is the 3B of the future, or not. His play last season was somewhat stagnent. He might end up being a first baseman.
If given a choice, I'd prefer an impact pitcherLee) to an impact bat(Dunn), do the Cubs disagree?
Bruce Levine (12:21 PM)
That's on the assumption that Lee wants to come and play for the Cubs. If you miss out, then you may miss out on both. The Cubs are in deparate need of a big bat in the lineup -- someone to help Ramirez drive in runs -- so while I like your original premise, the Cubs need an RBI man in that lineup.
Kev G (San Diego)
Do you actually think the Cubs can compete by adding one or two pieces?
Bruce Levine (12:22 PM)
It's not really what I think. It's what Jim Hendry and his people think. Although I'm accused of being consulted forCubs and Sox moves by management, that's not the case -- at least according to my sources.
Rick (Downers Grove)
Is there any trade market for Fukodome?
Bruce Levine (12:24 PM)
We'll find out. The Cubs will certainly investigate that. He's been a failure as far as what was expected of him when he signed a 4-year, $48 million deal. That said, for $5-6M/year, he might be a viable player for someone else, at least as a platoon guy.
When do you see Brett Jackson in the Majors? Or any other prospects coming up soon?
Bruce Levine (12:25 PM)
I think Jackson is on the fast track. He has a good shot to come up sometime early in 2011. Out of spring traing may be a little too soon. If you look at the track that Starlin Castro was on last year, that might be a similar course for Jackson next year.
What are the options for the Sox rotation if Peavy does not get back to his form pre-injury? it still seems pretty good. If Peavy does return to form, is Floyd or Danks trade bait?
Bruce Levine (12:26 PM)
they won't now anything about Peavy until Spring training, at the earliest, so trading a rotation pitcher would be dangerous unless you're getting a rotation pitcher in return. Also keep in mind that Buehrle's career appears to be winding down. He's talked a lot about 2011 possibly be his last in the big leagues despite being in his early 30s.
1B, 3B, RF, LF..these are all vital positions that the Cubs are completely unprepared to fill..doesn't SOMEONE have to answer for that??
Bruce Levine (12:27 PM)
Ultimately it's Jim Hendry's role to answer. If the Cubs have a poor season in 2011, I'm sure he will have to answer for that. Jim has two more years left on his contract.
Why on Earth are the Ricketts raising tickets prices (only some tix, but still), while cutting payroll? The Cubs "surged" to fourth place and are already among the highest ticket prices in the game.
Bruce Levine (12:29 PM)
Fair question, but they point out that have also dicounted upwards of 250,000 tickets for next season, but not for the season ticket holders, who will pay 3% higher prices. The best Cubs seats have gone up 47% since 2007. It's all about supply and demand.
Matt B (Bloomington)
Bruce, are there any tangible reasons to believe Randy Wells can bounce back next season? Is he going to have to re-earn his starting rotation spot in spring training, or is he a lock?
Bruce Levine (12:30 PM)
He told me at that end of the season that his commitment to being a better pitcher is a priority for him. I think you saw better results from him in four of his last six starts.
Chris (Naperville, IL)
I've read a few places that Ryan Theriot won't be returning to the Dodgers. Also, Kerry Wood is a free agent. Any chance either of them returns to the Cubs? I know we don't really need Theriot, but with the uncertainty of the bullpen after Marmol and Marshall, couldn't Wood add some stability? Just look at his numbers for the Yankees, he's pitched great as of late.
Bruce Levine (12:32 PM)
Wood is always a welcome idea at Wrigley Field. Jim Hendry and Wood have a personal and professional friendship and, realistically, he was the seventh-inning setup guy who was missing from the Cubs' equation last year -- at least somebody like him. I'd be shocked if the Yankees don't offer him a new contract, but Kerry probably would like to end his career with the Cubs, especially if he wins a world championship this year.
Bruce Levine (12:34 PM)
Okay, that's it for me. It should be a busy week with regards to the Cubs' managerial search -- it could happen soon. White Sox news centers around whether they lose Assistant GM Rick Hahn to the Mets, which would be a big loss for the Sox. Check us out right here and on Talkin' Baseball on ESPN 1000 from 9am-Noon on Saturday.