Chat with Bruce Levine, Doug Padilla
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! Baseball beat reporters Bruce Levine and Doug Padilla stop by Tuesday to chat.
Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000. Padilla covers the White Sox for ESPNChicago.com and 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 the Queen City. The Cubs will try to improve on their 7-20 intradivision record as Doug Davis faces Edinson Volquez. We're hoping we still have your attention.
Am I crazy or should the Cubs replace Hendry before the trading deadline so the new GM (Bowden?) can come in and shape his own team?
Bruce Levine (1:03 PM)
Let's say the premise is correct and Hendry will be replaced, you're assuming that the new guy already knows what the team has in his own organization and what the needs are. It's obvious what they want to trade. It's another question if a new guy would know they have to replace a CF down the line or if Brett Jackson is going to fill the bill. Changing in the middle of the year is a panic move that rarely works out.
Why is Mark R being ripped on as bad as Larry R use to be? I am the only one whos noticed that the Yankees roatation has been better than we thought while the Cubs have been alot worse....and dont say because of injurys
Bruce Levine (1:05 PM)
Riggins like all pitching coaches have to bear the reponsibility of poor pitching when they don't do their jobs. Rothschild had a lot of success with the Cubs, but too many people only remember the Wood and Prior arm problems during his reign. Riggins will be as good as Garza, Dempster, Zambrano and Wells pitch. He is a solid baseball man.
How long until Colvin is sent back down to really figure things out and build up his confidence? He looks lost.
Bruce Levine (1:07 PM)
He really only had 12 games in the minors when they sent him back the first time. He was .260 at the time. That was not an indication that he had really gotten his act together offensively. For lack of a better term, he seems to be feeling for the ball and has taken a lot of weak swings since his return. Another trip to the minors might be warranted.
shawn (Chicago, Ilinois)
what will the cubs do with all the infield prsopects and players they have? with Barney, Castro, lemahieu, vitters, javier baez,and Flaherty will they move them around to play other positons that are much more needed like Left field?
Bruce Levine (1:09 PM)
You've actually hit on something. Part of the minor league process set by Oneri Fleita, the director of minor leagues and player personnel, is that players learn numerous positions in the minors. Fleita's believes if you are a good baseball athlete you should be able to learn 2-3 positions so when the major league team moves you up they have some flexibility. This is not a new theory. The Dodgers, under Branch Rickey, who created the farm system idea, did this in the 1940s and 50s.
Lets just assume Hendry is fired after this pathetic year... who are the names out there who could possibly be hired to right the ship in Chicago? Also, will Wilken leave with Hendry? Should Cubs fans care if Wilken Leaves?
Bruce Levine (1:11 PM)
There's always names out there. Jim Bowden is always looking for his next GM job. There are some within the organization who would be looked at. The question is how does the Ricketts family find the right guy if they decide the change. Maybe they hire a baseball consultant.
Davis (Chicago, IL)
Hey Bruce, do you see Ryan Flaherty as the starting 3B next year? If not, then who? Really been impressed with Flaherty's bat this year!
Bruce Levine (1:17 PM)
Flaherty is an exciting young player. He can also play multiple positions as well. On the other hand, Vitters continues to struggle so I wouldn't project him as the 3B in 2012. I'm not sure how quickly they want to bring Flaherty to the majors. I would say the next young player of importance to come up is Brett Jackson.
Phil (Chicago )
If Ramirez is traded, does his option automatically kick in for next year? If that is the case, he would seem to be untradeable. Not that a lot of teams would seem to be after him anyway at this rate....
Bruce Levine (1:18 PM)
I believe that is true but I will double check with his agent. There is a $2 million buyout on next year's contract.
I know Brett Jackson isnt on fire in the Minors but is it almost time to bring him up? Colvin is lost, Fukudome is Fukudome, and DeWitt is not an OF.
Bruce Levine (1:20 PM)
I think that's where you have to rely on your player development people. Hendry and Randy Bush watched Castro the first month of the season in the minors last year to determine whether he was ready. That was a big risk at the time. He was 19 with very little experience. The same thing should be said for Jackson. They want to make sure they don't hinder his development by rushing him just because there is a need there. A lot of young prospects have been ruined by being brought up too early.
JACK (OAK LAWN)
WITH THE 5,000 PER GAME DROP IN ATTENDANCE FOR EACH GAME, WHAT CHANGES HAVE TO BE MADE TO STOP THESLIDE IN THE CUB FAN BASE?
Bruce Levine (1:22 PM)
The fan base will take care of itself. The disinterest in the team and the ticket price problem has been conviluted by the Stub Hub deal with MLB. Stub Hub has the ability to sell season ticketholders tickets for any price. This is a flawed situation. Ticket prices should never be sold for less than face value in order to keep the integrity of the ticket market.
Dave (Downers Grove)
Just curious, but in what capacity will Andrew Cashner be used when/if he DOES come back this season? Starter? Bullpen? what...
Bruce Levine (1:25 PM)
I think he might not return this year. I have not been told that, but this is a quality arm for the future and after two injuries in the same area, I would not doubt the Cubs are going to be extremely cautious in deciding how to use him when he's healthy. The Cubs have said it will take another eight weeks after the re-injury. That could run you into August.
Angel (Miami, FL)
Fukudome had a 3-hit game and its June! Perhaps this year he can produce more consistently until the end...Are any teams looking at him?
Bruce Levine (1:26 PM)
I'm sure they are but he's a singles hitter and he doesn't have a lot of speed so it would have to be the right fit for a team. There is still about $8 million-plus owed this year. A nice platoon player but how much is he going to bring back?
Ken (Tinley Park)
Honestly, is there ANY chance Pujols would even consider the Cubs after this emabarassing season?
Bruce Levine (1:27 PM)
I don't see any reason why he wouldn't. I still think Chicagop is the best baseball city in the world. And playing at Wrigley would be enticing to anyone. I think Pujols will have a sign hanging on him that says "Open for business .. show me the money."
Dave (South Bend, IN)
Bruce, why do they keep running Doug Davis out to the mound over a young starter like Casey Coleman who they sent back to the minors? Davis is not a long term solution and you could see if Coleman could be in the rotation for a few years and be a solid starter.
Bruce Levine (1:29 PM)
Coleman is where he belongs right now, trying to get better command. His last outing in Iowa was encouraging. Everybody likes Coleman but as Darrin Jackson is always saying, "He has some work to do."
Do you see the cubs trading Kerry Wood? Or Marlon Byrd?
Bruce Levine (1:30 PM)
I think if Byrd comes back healthy a lot of teams would ber interested. I think he is a winning player who also brings a clubhouse presence. I believe Wood is a Cub lifer for the rest of his career.
Bruce Levine (1:31 PM)
There are positive things in the future for the Cubs. I try to be even with my reporting. You do have a right to be upset with the Cubs right now. Have a good week. Don't miss Talking Baseball on Saturday. We are Sox and Cubs fans friendly.
Doug Padilla (1:32 PM)
Good victory for the White Sox last night. Let's get into the questions.
Rob (Dallas, TX)
Do you think we'll see more of Dunn at 1B in order to get him going? Clearly he is having issues with converting to DH role.
Doug Padilla (1:35 PM)
Dunn has been playing a little more 1B. Hasn't done much. Other than a good showing on the West Coast swing last month it's been horrible. Now he's fishing for answers and tinkering. Not good. It's a lot of money to be sitting on the bench but I suspect he'll get a break soon similar to what Rios is going through right now.
Ken (Tinley Park)
Doug, let me get this strait. Because of Dunn's failure to produce, Konerko and Q have to split time in the batters box? Don't get me wrong, I think Lil Crusher should stay in the line-up, but I don't think it's fair to punish the other two for Dunn's "slump"
Doug Padilla (1:37 PM)
Nobody is trying to punish Konerko or Quentin. PK had a wrist issue that allowed Quentin to DH and Lillibridge to play right over the weekend. Now Lillibridge is replacing Rios for a few days.
Kristy (Orland Park)
Hi Douggie, what's your take on the draft yesterday? How'd we do?
Doug Padilla (1:40 PM)
Douggie? The White Sox went with an athletic outfielder with their first pick. Makes me wonder if they think about Mitchell and his progression from his injury issue. Lots of teams went with pitching in a pitching heavy draft. White Sox hope some of that pitching talent remains. They plan to target an arm next.
Doug Padilla (1:41 PM)
Sorry for the delay. Also workng on getting Danks on ESPN 1000 right now. You can listen to that and do th web chat at the same time. Tune in. Let's see if he calls the show.
Dominic (Tinley Park)
Is it a possibility Jared Mitchell is the Sox starting LF next year?
Doug Padilla (1:42 PM)
A lot depends on what kind of year he has. He wasn't invited to big league camp this spring, but my guess is that changes next spring. He was a major part of thier plans before his ankle injury, but has fallen off a bit following the injury.
Doug, the division seems to be tightening up just as everyone predicted. How do you see the Sox and Tigers playing out when they both catch the Tribe?
Doug Padilla (1:45 PM)
The Tigers are almost there now. Beckham saying last night there still isn't any reaspn to panic as White Sox creep closer. A game every two weeks is fine. Good way to look at it. Nobody wants to start pressing. If they get there sooner that's a bonus.
Jim (Oak Brook)
Hey Doug, I know it gets old when people look back to the "05" club...but what happened? It looks like the receipe for success is "Ozzie Ball" and they've gone away from that years ago. Instead they built this softball team. Why the change?
Doug Padilla (1:47 PM)
They had that kind of team last year and it appears they wanted to try a different tactic. There was an obvious void from the left side of the plate. Dunn seened like a good addition. Nobody predicted he would have the worst two months of his baseball life. Tough to have it both ways. This year they went with a slower power team that has the potential to K a lot. Risk not paying off so far.
Pander (Champaign IL)
Likelihood of Peavy making/skipping his next start? It seems like every time he's brought back from any sort of injury he immediately picks up a worse injury.
Doug Padilla (1:48 PM)
I certainly wouldn't call this worse. The MRI revealed a mild gron strain so there is some good news in that. Jake is gamer, but he obviously seems to be pushing himself too hard. Better for a pitcher to have something like this than something with his arm.
Sale is obviously improved over the course of the season, but do you really think he's ready to take the starter mantle as soon as next year?
Doug Padilla (1:49 PM)
That still seems to be the plan. I'd be surprised if he isn't starting in Arizona next spring.
teach me how to dougie!
Doug Padilla (1:50 PM)
It's on my to-do list to learn. Seems like I should be able to pick it up automatically with the name and all.
Mark B (Chicago)
Hasn't Lillabridge earned the right to play every day? I keep hearing people say, "you don't want to give this guy 400+ at bats, or he can't be an everyday player." Rios would not make that play in center field he made yesterday. Also, he is hitting the ball much better than rios or pierre. Why can't lillibridge play everyday?
Doug Padilla (1:52 PM)
Part time guys can get exposed when they are in there too long. Not saying all, but some. Look at what happened to Lillibridge at the end of last season when he got more playing time. Not good. I like that Ozzie is riding out Lillibridge's current hot streak. That's what he has shown he can do best, jump in the lineup and ad a quick spark after some downtime.
So where do you see Buehrle in the next couple years? St. Louis, retired...still with the Sox?
Doug Padilla (1:54 PM)
Tough call. The White Sox certainly aren't going to pay him what he's getting now. Not sure he's going to like taking a major pay cut to stay. I do see him pitching next season and for somebody in the Midwest. I'll give it a 25 percent chance he returns to the White Sox and maybe a 35 percent chance he ends up in STL.
Hillerich N. Bradsby (Chicago)
Forget replacing Hendry - When is JR going to replace KW & Guillen?
Doug Padilla (1:56 PM)
You the doom and gloom guy with the smile faces on your posts? Is that ironic? Replacing those guys doesn't happen this year, and probably not next year either. Sorry to break it to you.
Ken (Tinley Park)
Once A.J. is gone...will we Boo him like every other city in the MLB?
Doug Padilla (1:57 PM)
How could you not? It's AJ? I think a mix of boos and cheers would be appropriate.
Dominic (Tinley Park)
Do you see the Sox trading away one of their 6 starters before the deadline or in the off-season?
Doug Padilla (1:58 PM)
Not before the deadline. Peavy is still an injury concern, obviously. If you trade a guy away and he goes down again, nobody is there to provide a safety net.
Twins have won 5 in a row. Seems like they catch fire this time of year every year and take the division. Any reason to watch out for them?
Doug Padilla (1:59 PM)
Buehrle says he's scared of them until they are eliminated. Even if they are 20 back with 21 to play.
At what point does Ozzie just put Dunn on the bench when there is a lefty on the hill?
Doug Padilla (2:00 PM)
It's been happening more. Not sure he's going to do it every time though.
When will DV get the call up?
Doug Padilla (2:01 PM)
Viciedo comes up only if Quentin gets hurt. Or maybe if Dunn or Konerko go down for a while allowing Quentin to move to DH. He's a right fielder now.
Max (Chicago, IL)
Do you have any explanation for Thornton's struggles this year? He's been dominant almost every year, but totally hittable this year...
Doug Padilla (2:03 PM)
It's been mostly fastballs and not an explosive one at that. Control has been an issue too. Confidence has taken a hit, not that he would (or should) admit to that. It's been shocking to see.
bill (new buffalo)
who in charlotte will be in chicago first ....flowers,viveido,milliedge,danks, ???
Doug Padilla (2:05 PM)
Good question. It's going to take an injury and you can't predict those. Not sure what they told Milledge when he went down, but he might have a promise to come back when they have an opening.
Doug Padilla (2:06 PM)
Looks like I was so into it that we went over the time slot. Thanks for participating.
Doug Padilla (2:06 PM)
And I missed Danks on the radio because of it. Hope he was good. I would suspect he was.