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 (1:01 PM)
Welcome to spring training 2011. It's all Cubs until Thursday when the White Sox start. Welcome ...
Where do you see Starlin Castro batting in the lineup?
Bruce Levine (1:02 PM)
If he saw more pitches he might be the right guy to lead off, but for now second, seventh or eighth.
Ed (Mt. Prospect)
Will michael young get traded to the cubs for fonsi?
Bruce Levine (1:03 PM)
No, Soriano is pitching for the Yankees. Seriously, with all due respect, why would the Rangers be looking at a trade like that?
Joe (Chicago Pilsen)
Bruce, I see Looper, Silva and Wellemyer fighting for the long relief roe....Who has the advantage in the last relief role Guzman, Russell, Caridad, Stevens, Berg, or a young arm?
Bruce Levine (1:05 PM)
I think we're getting ahead of ourselves. There are seven candidates for the starting rotation and the bullpen is already full when you consider Marmol, Wood, Marshall, and Grabow. That really oly gives you three bullpen spots and two rotation spots to fill.
Can Cubs get Ty Colvin 500 AB this year? Should they?
Bruce Levine (1:07 PM)
I think that is a very good question and it appears that he will have to take playing time away from someone like Soriano or Byrd to get there. Fukudome is going to get consideration as the leadoff man against right-handed pitching. It doesn't appear this OF mix is any different for Quade as it was for Piniella last year. Same questions to answer.
SteveFitz (Chicago, IL)
In your opinion, do the Cards and Pujols get something done by tomorrow?
Bruce Levine (1:08 PM)
Don't really have enough information to give you an answer. If Pujols is looking for 10 years I doubt that it gets done tomorrow.
Mike Quade (Mesa, AZ)
Bruce, which pitcher should I choose to start Opening Day?
Bruce Levine (1:09 PM)
Ryan Dempster. He's earned it with three straight seasons of 200 innings-plus.
Chris (Kansas City)
Chances of Peavy being back in his starting role by the beginning of the season? Or when does it look like he'll be back in that role?
Bruce Levine (1:10 PM)
I think May or sometime when the weather heats up would be a more realistic time for him to be back. Some Sox officials have gone as far as saying June but certainly not on the record.
with the cubs getting Pena for just 1 year, does that mean they are waiting for the Pujols and and fielder sweepstakes?are we gonna land one of those guys based on if they are available?
Bruce Levine (1:11 PM)
Don't think that Pena won't be involved in that mix as well. If he has a good season he will have to be in the mix although after the two guys get paid the money you pay him will certainly be inflated.
Bruce, I know the Sox are saying the 3B battle between Morel and Teahen is open, but how much of an edge does Morel have?
Bruce Levine (1:12 PM)
I think he has quite a bit. I believe politically they had to say Teahen is in the mix just so they don't disrespect a vet. Clearly Morel has a great chance to win the job.
Mike (Chicago )
How likely is it that Casey Coleman gets a shot at the 4th-5th spot? Also, what's Looper looking like velocity and stuff wise after not pitching all of last year?
Bruce Levine (1:13 PM)
I just saw Looper for the first time today. Can't give you velocity. Coleman has an even playing ground with the other six pitchers looking to be the fourth or fifth starter. One of his biggest supporters is Cubs advisor Greg Maddux.
Bruce, congrats on the 20th year of Talkin' Baseball. Are the Cubs a match with Texas for a bad contract swap involving Michael Young, presuming he could still play second?
Bruce Levine (1:14 PM)
At this juncture the answer is no. The Cubs have really no money to spend, their payroll is $11 million less than last year. Unless Texas decides to eat a huge amount of the contract it's unlikely the Cubs can be involved.
Bruce, should I be concerned with the Cubs' tendency to backload so many contracts? Seems like everyone had it done that way - Soriano, Fukudome, Lilly, Dempster, Grabow, Pena, Marmol, even Jacque Jones and Jason Marquis. I just feel like it perpetually puts the team in a bind when it comes to adding future pieces and I don't enjoy hearing about offseasons with little wiggle room to improve the team
Bruce Levine (1:16 PM)
You're gripe should be with ownership not the front office. They are the ones that present the payroll. Backloading is a way of surviving for the 2011 season. In the case of Marmol it's not backloading; this was just a very good signing by the Cubs done with a player who was not greedy.
john (princeton, nj) [via mobile]
Who bounces back in a bigger way, Quentin or Beckham?
Bruce Levine (1:17 PM)
I think the Sox feel both have to if they are going to win the division. You're talking ideally about your No. 2 and No. 5 hitter. Those are huge offensive positions. Both need to perform well.
Do you think Starlin Castro will be a big impact in the league in the next few years?
Bruce Levine (1:18 PM)
There's no reason to think not although the sophomore jinx is out there. The only thing standing in the way if him being successful is complacency which I don't think will happen.
Since this will be Chris Sale's first full season, would it not be prudent to have him be in the bullpen just to build him up mentally and physically?
Bruce Levine (1:19 PM)
Not necessarily. That type of procedure can shorten a guy's arm. A young pitcher is someone you want to stretch out and get used to the inning load. Just look what the Tigers did with Verlander and how they brought him along. His first year they held down his innings as they got into September.
Did Carlos Silva report in decent shape? (aside from his flu symptoms) does he appear to have taken the offseason seriously as far as conditioning?
Bruce Levine (1:20 PM)
It's hard to really say. No one cared about his weight when he won eight out of first 11 starts last year. As David Wells used to say, you can't pull fat.
I can't get anyone to address this. What about Michael Young for BIg Z. Contracts are similar, we need second, they need pitching
Bruce Levine (1:21 PM)
So by your question I assume the Cubs don't need pitching? Young is a good player but starting pitching is much more important than a position player.
Who wins the final 2 starting spots?
Bruce Levine (1:23 PM)
I don't have a crystal ball. I do have a receding hairline though. There's no telling. The Cubs would love Cashner to take one spot and Russell the other. It's probably not going to happen though.
With it in mind that Jeff Samardjiza is out of options, do you feel he'll break camp with the Cubs?
Bruce Levine (1:24 PM)
He is almost guaranteed a spot in the bullpen due to the fact that he is out of options. Most likely what he learned in the minors last year will help him be a better bullpen pitcher this time around.
BigSkinny (Hoffman Estates)
Hi Bruce,Larry Rothschild was a great pitching coach!!! How do you think Riggins will fare in that role???
Bruce Levine (1:25 PM)
Difficult to say. He does have a leg up considering a lot of the young pitchers have worked with him in the past.
With the White Sox Pay Roll the highest its ever been Do you see Kenny Williams folding mid-season if we are well behind Minnesota and Detroit? It could be Mark's last year pitching period, I think if the Cardinal's need an arm and are in the hunt for a world series this is a potential move Kenny could make. On top of trying to unload other larger contracts.
Bruce Levine (1:26 PM)
That's an interesting observation. I think if the White Sox are not competitive they will be pretty shocked. Howeever your scenario is a possible one if they struggle.
With a mentor like Pierre, do you think Lastings Milledge can begin to realize the enormous potential everyone thought he had?
Bruce Levine (1:27 PM)
Two different players. Milledge is not a 60-70 stole base guy. Milledge is an extra man not a perceived starter.
Perez or Johnson who makes the roster?
Bruce Levine (1:28 PM)
That will be the battle for the 25th spot in the team. Bot have outstanding makeup but if Quade and Hendry decide they need a speed player, Perez could edge Johnson out.
I read where Quade failed to let Colvin know that he would need to take reps at 1B. Didn't he play some winter ball to work on his skills there? Or did he not get any in because of the stabbing injury?
Bruce Levine (1:29 PM)
Colvin did not play Winter Ball. He enjoyed a nice honeymoon and the headed toward Mesa. It is odd that they didn't tell him earlier in the offseason that he would be a backup first baseman. Both he and Baker will get time behind Pena.
Bruce Levine (1:31 PM)
We will see you on Thursday. Remember my teammate Doug Padilla will be chatting that day as well so you will be able to hear from us Tuesdays and Thursday during spring training. Also keep tuned in to ESPN 1000 for my daily hits on "Waddle & Silvy" and "The Afternoon Saloon." This has been a paid political announcement.