Chat with Bruce Levine
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! Baseball beat 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 (12:59 PM)
Welcome to one of the biggest days in recent Cubs history: finding out whether they will continue to train at Mesa, Ariz. , in the future. the city of Mesa will decide that today in a special vote. On the White Sox side, as I reported earlier in the week, is it the beginning of the end for Paul Konerko's run with the White Sox. Welcome ...
Joe (Chicago: Pilsen Area)
Bruce, Ive read that the Cubs will go after Dunn, but might not have enogh money to get him. If so then who else will they target to play 1st next year.
Bruce Levine (1:02 PM)
The easy solution is Tyler Colvin which would leave them vulnerable in the outfield. The Cubs will do their best to trade Fukudome and listen to offers for Zambrano even though Zambrano has said he will not waive his no-trade clause. Otherwise there is 6-7 first baseman out there who will get less money than Dunn as free agents. The other wild card is a possible trade of Adrian Gonzalez, and the Cubs would certainly have interest there although he is only one year from free agency.
Bruce any chance the Soxs trade Floyd or Jackson to get a hitter? maybe a Kemp or BJ Upton?
Bruce Levine (1:03 PM)
Jackson is a free agent after one more year. He's making $8 million. Floyd would be a more realistic trade but would leave the Six staff vulnerable. Remember after 2011 Buehrle is a free agent along with Jackson and the unknown status of Peavy makes a strong-looking pitching staff look a bit questionable.
Bruce, do any of these names interest the Cubs? Wood, Putz, Frank Francisco, Chad Qualls, Grant Balfour, Chad Durbin, Jason Frasor, or Matt Guerrier,
Bruce Levine (1:05 PM)
Yes to most of those. I would say the Cubs would be interested in wood coming back if the Yankees don't make him a great offer. Money is going to be the key to the Cubs. It appears for the third year in a row, Hendry will not have much flexibility in his payroll unless he makes some trades and dumps a big salary.
Will the Sox resign Konerko?
Bruce Levine (1:08 PM)
It doesn't appear to be the case. As I wrote last week, it appears Arizona may be the front-runner for Konerko. Being a hometown boy and Scottsdale resident, makes him an appealing player for the Diamondbacks. I think Konerko is resigned to the fact that he may be moving on by some of his late-season comments. As I reported last week, the Sox and Konerko never had any discussions on an extension last season.
Bruce, who ends up at 1st for my Soxs? Konerko, Dunn, Pena, V-Mart, or do they trade for Loney?
Bruce Levine (1:10 PM)
The Loney part of your question is intriguing. However he is going to make between $6-7 million in arbitration this year. The Sox have had good success trading with the Dodgers if you call Manny and Juan Pierre a success. The Dodgers appear to be in a mode of trading some of their previously untouchable players.
Jeremy T (mesa,az)
what about the konerko to the cubs?
Bruce Levine (1:11 PM)
Doesn't fit. The Cubs aren't going in the direction of adding a 35-year-old high-priced salary regardless of how productive he is. Actually they just traded a 35-year-old first baseman who was making $13 million. The Cubs would like to have Dunn but it doesn't appear they will have the money to pay him.
Hugo (Oak Lawn)
Bruce can the Cubs trade Grabow or Russell and 2 decent prospects to the Red Soxs for Jacony Ellsbury? or who would it take to get him?
Bruce Levine (1:12 PM)
I don't know if Ellsbury is going to be that difficult to get. But I don't think the two guys you mentioned would get it done. I'm with you on a lead-off man and centerfielder but they think they have that coming soon in Brett Jackson.
I feel like a Zito for Soriano trade would be mutually beneficial. Though my stomach turns by the idea of Zito at Wrigley when the wind is blowing out, it will open up the OF for Colvin and get rid of the headache that is Soriano.
Bruce Levine (1:14 PM)
Why would San Francisco want Soriano? They're already resigned to the fact that they have to pay Zito. Adding Soriano would just be laboring the same issue and throwing a problem toward an area they need to add some offense for next year. Why don't you say Zito for Zambrano? That's a team neither team would like as well.
Bruce, will Orlando Hudson, Freddy Sanchez, Clint Barmes, Urbie, or Bill Hall be on the Cubs radar to platoon with DeWitt at 2nd, and back up at SS?
Bruce Levine (1:15 PM)
I like Hudson even though he's injury-prone. He brings a lot of leadership qualities the Cubs have lacked. Mike Quade is going to have a good coaching staff but he could use some more players with leadership ability.
Kevin (Rogers Park)
Where does Cliff Lee go? When will we know? and is there a chance in hades that it will be the White Sox?
Bruce Levine (1:17 PM)
Defintiely not the White Sox. They don't have the $17-20 million to pay Lee. In fact very few teams have it. Which is why he is being speculated that he will sign with the Yankees, although Mrs. Lee might have something to say about that. Still $20 million is a nice apology to anybody.
Do the Cubs have any interest in Jorge Cantu?
Bruce Levine (1:19 PM)
The Cubs have interest in a lot of players. The key will be to find out how much money they have on their payroll. Ricketts has said that he will have a slight deduction from last year's payroll. But with escalating salaries and arbitration, the Cubs already somewhere between $125-$130 million committed to next year. That won't leave too much to add players.
Will Ryno be in the big leagues next year?
Bruce Levine (1:20 PM)
Depends if another team's coaching staff needs to be filled. Sandberg originally came from the Phillies organization where Ruben Amaro, the assistant GM now, had some ties to the Cubs when he was a young player coming up. Phillies first base coach Davey Lopes has resigned. That may be a possible destination for Sandberg.
George (LaGrange Park)
Is there really any team interested in Fukudome at his salary level?
Bruce Levine (1:21 PM)
Not at his salary level but maybe for $5-6 million. The Cubs are going to have to eat $6-7 million just to be able to interest other teams in Fukudome. He'll be making $13 million next year.
Greg (San Rafael, CA)
Bruce, with Thome as a free agent, any chance he spurns the twin cities and makes a retrun to the south side? Also, do you see Sergio Santos as the closer in 2011?
Bruce Levine (1:23 PM)
Santos took some nice strides toward the back end of the bullpen but I don't think anybody feels he's a closer yet. I don't see Thome returning to the Sox. Minnesota is more likely considering the unknown status of Morneau, who was out with concussion syndrome since July.
Bruce,It seems like the Cubs will have to be creative to make any substantial changes to the roster. Do you think there would be any possibility of the Cubs moving Carlos Marmol or Geo Soto. Both would clear some salary and should bring back some young major league ready talent.
Bruce Levine (1:25 PM)
The Cubs have some depth at catcher. Chirinos and Castro are two good-looking young catchers but neither are slam dunks as starters at this point. Soto will take a big jump in salary because of arbitration. Marmol would be too risky to deal. The Cubs are very close to getting their bullpen right where they want it with the ascention of Cashner and Russell to the already veteran mix of Marshall and Marmol.
Brian (Lake Forest)
Any interest in brining Andruw Jones or Manny back next year?
Bruce Levine (1:27 PM)
Manny would make a wonderful 3B coach for anybody. Ramirez is through. His lower body is not a part of his hitting approach any longer, meaning he's a singles hitter. Jones still has talent but becomes disinterested rather easily. I don't see him back on the South Side.
Mr. Funkalicious (Bloomingdale)
Hey Bruce,Who do you tihnk will be at the corners for the Sox in 2011?
Bruce Levine (1:28 PM)
My guess now is Morel at third and Viciedo at first. The Sox are committed to Morel but adding a left-handed bat at first would probably be a good idea.
You seem convinced the Cubs going to acquire a SP. Do you see that happening via trade or FA ? Also,what caliber of a guy do you think we're talkin about?
Bruce Levine (1:30 PM)
I'm not convinced they will acquire a starting pitcher but that is on their wish list. Again, I hate to keep going back to money, but that seems to be the prevailing theme for what type of flexibility Hendry will have. The best choice might be Chris Archer. He may have a chance to make the team out of spring training. Archer was 15-4 in two minor-league stops last season.
Bruce we discussed a couple weeks ago where Jared Mitchell would fit for the White Sox. You said you would look into it and come back later. Any thought????
Bruce Levine (1:31 PM)
Mitchell has lost a step after breaking an ankle last year and missing the entire season. He still has a lot of skills and the White Sox feel he is a legitimate prospect to make their big-league team in the next couple of seasons.
why did Ryno not get the bench coaching job?
Bruce Levine (1:33 PM)
It never made sense for the Cubs. Same thing if Sandberg got the managing job; Quade would be out. You can't do that to Quade, having a guy who is a Cubs icon sitting on his coaching staff waiting for the other guy to fail. It just doesn't work.
Brendon (Madison WI)
With Jenks likely not returning, do you see Thornton as the likely closer in 2011, or will they continue to use him as the 8th inning guy and convert Chris Sale to the full-time closer?
Bruce Levine (1:35 PM)
No, Sale is ticketed to being a starter. But Thornton's injury last year also made the Sox realize that he can be vulnerable because he's had a lot of innings pitched the past few years. I'm not sure who the closer will be but it most likely won't be Jenks, who could earn as much as $9 million in arbitration this year.
IS there any value that the Cubs can get in return for Jeff Samardzija, or does he go in the "held onto way too long and gave way too much money" pile with Felix Pie and Corey Patterson?
Bruce Levine (1:36 PM)
Samardzija is out of minor-league options. That means he either makes the 25-man roster or could be lost in a waiver claim. He made some nice strides last year but hasn't impressed enough to be included in the rotation mix for next season.
Bruce, any chance that the Sox make a strong push for Prince Fielder or is he going to be way out of the Sox price range.
Bruce Levine (1:38 PM)
Never underestimate Kenny Williams and his desire to get better. Same could be said for Reinsdorf, who has committed big money to players when it was thought he had none to spend. Fielder could be traded this offseason but his agent Scott Boras and the Sox never see eye to eye on salaries.
What type of salary do you see Kerry Wood earning next year and would the Cubs be willing to pay it?
Bruce Levine (1:40 PM)
That's a good question. He's just coming off making $10 million the last two years. But no one is looking at him as a closer in Chicago or New York. I would say somewhere between $3-5 million as a setup man with the Yankees having the upper hand. However don't underestimate Wood's desire to return to the Cubs. His leadership ability has been missed recently in the clubhouse.
Trading Fukudome would be nice. Trading Ramirez would be better. This team is going nowhere. It's time to shed as much as you can, right? Will the Cubs at least try to move him or will his contract and option make it impossible?
Bruce Levine (1:42 PM)
He has a contract, he has an option and he has a no-trade. All make it very difficult to think about trading him. Plus somebody is going to have to drive in a run on the Cubs next year.
What's the latest on jordan danks? Seems like his stock has fallen. Also, does Da Aza have a chance to make the club next year and will Vizquel be back?
Bruce Levine (1:44 PM)
DeAza has an excellent chance to make the team. Good outfielder and good baserunner as well. Danks had some injury problems last year and he didn't hit as well as the organization thought he would. Defensively, a Sox official told me he is the best OF in the organization.
How about a Teahen for Fernando Rodney trade? Bad trade for bad trade
Bruce Levine (1:45 PM)
The White Sox could use a pitcher like Rodney but I don't see that deal being made. Teahen doesn't being a lot to the party at this point.
kevin (the Heights)
Who are the Cubs top 5 prospects? Are J. Vitters and B. Jackson a year or two away?
Bruce Levine (1:47 PM)
Vitter is starting to hit the ball well in the Arizona Fall League. He had a hand injury at the beginning of last season. Jackson with a strong spring training could make it to the majors by May or June. Chris Archer is their No. 1 pitching prospect.
Tim Bell (Burbank, IL)
Where ever D. Lee plays next season, he will take a large pay cut. Would D. Lee take Xavier Nady type money (A one year deal at half his 2010 salary) to play in 2011 for the Cubs? Right now the Cubs only have Colvin or Hoffpauir at first for 2011. Lee is a better option then either of those two, and arguably, at the 'right' salary, better then bringing X Nady back.
Bruce Levine (1:50 PM)
I don't think you will see either option. Nady never showed that he had regained his power stroke and Lee has lost his along the way. Time to move on to a left-handed hitting variety. There are a lot of free-agent choices: Berkman, Pena, Overbay, LaRoche, Dunn.
Jerry (South Bend, IN)
Hey Bruce, do you think Viciedo has what it takes to play first base? I haven't seen enough of his defense last year.
Bruce Levine (1:50 PM)
He has good hands, his feet aren't bad. I think he could be at least an average first baseman.
Bruce, Pitching or hitting, what really tops the Sox wish list this off season?
Bruce Levine (1:52 PM)
I think bullpen. They had one of the strongest until the last three weeks of the season. Injuries to Putz and Thornton pretty much killed their chances. Bringing Putz back should be a priority for the Sox.
How does the addtion of Listach help Starlin Castro? I assume he'll be the middle infeild coach...correct?
Bruce Levine (1:53 PM)
That appears to be the case, that's his background. He was the Rookie of the Year as a SS in 1992. He also managed in the Cubs organization for three years. He along with Ivan DeJesus will work with the infielders.
Any thoughts on Rameriez playing first and bringing in another thrid baseman?
Bruce Levine (1:53 PM)
I asked him about that in September and he almost bit my head off. I think Ramirez will stay as a third baseman even though he had a way below average defensive season.
Brendon (Madison WI)
How much will it cost to retain Paul Konerko? Is it likely that he ends up somewhere else?
Bruce Levine (1:56 PM)
It is likely he will end up somewhere else. He was making $13 million for arguably his best season. He had career highs in OPS so it's hard to imagine him taking much of a pay cut. I don't think he wants more than a couple years. Two years and an option would be more than enough for Konerko, who at age 35, has a good sense of his own future.
Ryan (Lake Villa)
What can we really expect from Morel? Will Beckham return to his rookie form?
Bruce Levine (1:57 PM)
The second half is a good indication that Beckham was better. He made the year into at least an average year after a horrendous start. There is a little hitch in his swing that concerns the Sox. But he is a gritty type of player who expects nothing but greatness from himself.
Bruce Levine (1:59 PM)
Check out the blogs here for the results of the Cubs' spring training facility vote and expect the Cubs to officially announce Listach as their new bench coach on Wednesday. An adminsitrative coach will also be named, most likely someone from the organization. The Sox should hear whether Joey Cora will return as their bench coach or become the manager of the Brewers this week. Kenny Williams will be looking to make some trades here so expect him to be active. See you next week ...