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 trade deadline chat room. We're here for anything Sox and Cubs related.
Robert (Omaha, NE)
Given the numbers that C. Pena has posted this year (.203 with runners on base, .183 with runners in scoring position and .148 with runners in scoring position and 2 outs) why are the Cubs even considering bringing him back next year?
Bruce Levine (1:04 PM)
If you look around at the 1B available after Fielder and Pujols there is nothing there. Unless you are comfortable with Bryan LaHair or Tyler Colvin as your first baseman, it may be prudent to being him back. Pena is going to end up with 30 homers and 90 RBIs, pretty much what the Cubs thought he would be. Defensively he has saved them tons of errors even though recently he has made a few himself.
Are you aware of Hendry being close to any deals?
Bruce Levine (1:05 PM)
ESPNChicago.com has been reporting for the last 10 days the Cubs are close to dealing Fukudome. The principal team appears to be the Indians although there are 2-3 others which have interest.
Carlos Marmol or Sean Marshall...whose the closer?
Bruce Levine (1:06 PM)
It's hard to say at this point although they lined up with Marshall as the setup man and Marmol as the closer on Sunday. I think Marshall has too much value in the setup role to make him your closer.
Justin (Winfield, IL)
Is Bob Brenly a candidate for the next manager of the Cubs? He seems like a no-nonsense manager who will not be afraid to get on ANY of his players (regardless of contract or veteran status) if they are not performing up to his expectations. It seems pointless for Quade to call out Castro time and time again for mental mistakes while Ramirez and Soriano jog out fly balls and infield grounders.
Bruce Levine (1:07 PM)
I didn't know there was a list for the next manager. Quade has a contract through 2012. Bob is an excellent baseball man. But this offseason he did not get an interview on the jobs that were open.
Even if Soriano isnt traded this season or off season do you feel that this is his last year with the Cubs?
Bruce Levine (1:09 PM)
That's a decision that Ricketts is going to have to make. Soriano needs to be in the AL where his legs can be saved. Playing the OF just takes too much out of him at 35.
Who do you think will be the Cubs 1B August 1?
Bruce Levine (1:11 PM)
I still think it will be Carlos Pena. A lot of scouts have mixed thoughts on Pena because there is a lot of non-contact time in his at-bats. He strikes out a lot, and he walks a lot. One out of every 15 at-bats he will run into a home run. But there is not much in between. For a contender they might be looking for a more consistent hitter. I know the Pirates have been interested but they think they have enough left-handed hitting.
Cheesehead Sports Nut (Chicago, IL)
Unfortunately Prince Fielder winning the All-Star MVP will just give Scott Boras one more thing to cite when trying to drive a hard bargain this off-season. I now think there is a 1% chance that Prince Fielder plays for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2012. What percent would you put on Fielder playing for the Brewers in 2012?
Bruce Levine (1:13 PM)
Ownership will have to decide how much he means to that team after this season. If they go to the World Series the ownership group might be more inclined and offer extra years on the contract.
Cowboy (Lincoln Park)
Any updates on Andrew Cashner? My big fear is that he comes back and they find he needs surgery that will put him on track for a return in 2013.
Bruce Levine (1:14 PM)
They are being cautious with Cashner. He hasn't begun to pitch yet. The question is whether when he begins to throw if he is a bullpen guy or starter this season. My guess is they still feel he is a starter candidate in 2012. But the injury in the same place, two times in a row, is always a concern.
What do you think the chances are that Ricketts brings in a "baseball man" (Gillick or someone else) this offseason? Seems like Cub ownership needs to do something to appease fans, especially if Hendry stays.
Bruce Levine (1:16 PM)
I think he would like to talk to some baseball people like Gillick, maybe a Bobby Cox or Jon Schuerholz, but Ricketts is on record saying he does not want to hire a consultant to advise to hire other consultants on top of that. Gillick has said he wants to be a president or at the very least top baseball exec. I'm not sure if Ricketts is ready to turn that over to him.
Lots of empty seats at Wrigley again on Sunday. Have the Cubs expressed any concern publically or privately about this growing trend?
Bruce Levine (1:18 PM)
They are concerned about no-shows. They did sell 38,000 seats. A lot of the no-shows have been heat-related rather than bad baseball-related. But the no-show factor is a big concern for the Cubs. It costs them about $50 for every person that doesn't show up.
andy (des moines)
could we see angel guzman come up to the majors this year? I saw he has some pretty impressive stats in the minors.
Bruce Levine (1:18 PM)
Maybe a September callup. Right now he is not on the 40-man roster so the Cubs would have to drop someone.
Tom Cricketts (chicago)
With Ramirez on the way out after this year, who is the Cubs 3rd baseman next year? Please don't say Geoff Baker!
Bruce Levine (1:19 PM)
Are you sure Ramirez is on the way out? I think it's more likely the Cubs tear up his 2012 contract and offer a two-year deal and maybe an option.
Ed (Phoenix, AZ)
Any chance Aramis Ramirez waves his no-trade and if so, any potential takers?
Bruce Levine (1:21 PM)
After conversation with Cubs management a week ago, it appears Ramirez is not going anywhere. He told them he wanted to stay and they said that was fine with them and the y will move on.
Mike (Ingleside )
if Fukudome gets moved will we see brett jackson in the bigs?
Bruce Levine (1:22 PM)
More likely Tyler Colvin. Jackson was in a 1 for 25 slump at Triple-A until hitting a home run on Sunday. He doesn't appear ready yet. Colvin is the first callup if an outfielder is traded.
Bruce, is Jim Hendry (finally) learning his lesson about the pitfalls of no-trade clauses?
Bruce Levine (1:24 PM)
I think he was aware of those when he signed those players to contracts. However in the case of Ramirez and Zambrano, they were dealbreakers. I don't believe anyone complained about those contracts when they were signed. The last years of long-term contracts are most of the time a bummer for the player and team especially as players advance into their middle 30s. That's why ESPNChicago has me on a one-year deal.
Mel (Oak Park)
And a Cub question - since I gotta be fair for both sides of town - since it appears Kerry Wood will remain here, do you see any possiblity of Marmol being moved, provided he has a good week?
Bruce Levine (1:25 PM)
Doubt it. You're not going to get maximum value for him right now. And he has been among the best relief pitchers in baseball since 2007. But it looks like he is getting his slider back. Every reliever goes through a bad period.
Do you think the Castro/Barney double-play combo has the talent to help bring winning baseball back to Wrigley for years to come? (Really enjoy watching Barney play the game, but have heard detractors critique his athleticism.)
Bruce Levine (1:27 PM)
You would hope so. There are still areas of their game that have to improve. Barney is a more finished product due to the fact that he is four years older than Castro. Castro's upside seems endless. I think he can be as good as he wants to be. At 21 he needs to be rested more often and my reason is that he can get mentally fatigued, not physically. One day off every two weeks is a good idea for a kid like this.
Cowboy (Lincoln Park)
About a year ago you reported that the Cubs hired Ari Kaplan to be their "stat man". Recently Baseball Prospectus listed him as a "top 10" candidate for a GM spot. How much is he involved in the Cubs organization and do you get much access to pick his brain?
Bruce Levine (1:30 PM)
Since Ari became a Cubs employee his access to the media has been limited. I can tell you he is a brilliant baseball analyst and he has some unique programs that transcends statistical data. An example is that each player on the Cubs is presented with a book on opposing players for the next series. The book has 25-30 pages in it. Ari is a brilliant guy and maybe will be a GM at some point. The problem with a person like Ari is that he is looked at as a stats guru but he also has practical scouting as a part of his background. The non-Billy Beane world still is not very accepting of guys who are numbers experts.
Bruce Levine (1:32 PM)
We should be very busy over the next week. Hendry will be in St. Louis with some of his top advisors beginning Friday as the trading deadline approaches Sunday at 3 p.m. CT. Talk to you next week.
WE WANT DOUG!
Doug Padilla (1:33 PM)
You got it. Let's go with White Sox talk.
danks to Yankees, Quentin to Phils, MB to Cards, maybe find taker for Jackson. If done right i would think that could build your farm system in a big hurry. But you still then have a group of guys with big contracts under performing. If Kenny goes young, do you think it would be time for Ozzie to move on?
Doug Padilla (1:34 PM)
Good take Paul. I'm sure all those teams would be interested in those players. What you get back is key, but you never know. Remember, Tyler Flowers was supposed to be the starting catcher by now. But often the risk is worth the reward. The White Sox are playing better now, though, so the fire sale option is hanging on by a thread. And I don't think going young necessarily means Ozzie is gone.
Chuck (Chicago, IL)
Kenny refuted the Colby Rasmus rumors. Is he just trying to keep it private or is there really nothing there?
Doug Padilla (1:35 PM)
Look at how he refuted the rumor. He didn't say it wasn't true, he just said it did exist in the fashion it was reported. Led me to believe he is definitely interested just not for Jackson or Thornton and a prospect. Something is definitely there.
Matt (St. Joe, MI)
What is Kenny's timeframe for deciding if the Sox are buyers or sellers? My biggest fear is the Sox are in no man's land. Still in the race but have not shown they can win consistently.
Doug Padilla (1:38 PM)
Matt that is exactly the problem. It's serious no-man's land with a talented team that is under-performing in a weak division. If they win these next two vs. Detroit the fire sale is definitely off. Even if they split them there is a good chance the White Sox don't go young.
Terry (South Side)
I think we should trade paul konerko if a team happens to overwhelm us
Doug Padilla (1:39 PM)
Kenny would not be opposed to that. He said he is always willing to listen if a team wants to hand him the moon. But remember, Konerko has a no-trade clause and he probably won't be headed East. It'd have to be a West Coast to overwhelm the White Sox.
No chance we eat salary to move Rios? Or Dunn?
Doug Padilla (1:40 PM)
It's just too much salary to eat. The chances of them being traded are super slim. The chances of them being available on waivers after the deadline is pretty much a certainty, however.
Frknuts (Appuhl, IL)
What is with Ozzie keeping in the 8th inning guy to start the 9th? It's killing my fantasy numbers with Santos.
Doug Padilla (1:43 PM)
The late innings do have a different feel now, don't they? It's purely a matchup thing. Take this weekend in Cleveland. Oz wanted the lefty to face Hafner before beinning in Santos. If a lefty hitter starts the inning then Sale or Thornton will probably be in there for him before giving way to Santos.
Jared (Matteson, IL)
Do you think Quentin's recent surge has anything to do with a) the chatter of bringing up Viciedo b) he's up for arbitration next year or c) this is his typical streak and we should be prepared for a slump.
Doug Padilla (1:45 PM)
I'm going with option C on this one Jared. Quentin has the biggest peaks and valleys of anybody in baseball. This is one of the peaks. If he lays off bad pitches he gets hot. When he starts fishing, get him out of your fantasy lineup that week. It's really that simple. Pitch selection.
why is greg walker still the hitting coach? Dont u think a new pair of eyes would be a good idea. White sox hitting hasn't shown much in the last 3 or 4 years to justify his job.
Doug Padilla (1:47 PM)
Walker works as had as anybody on that staff. And he gets Konerko and Quentin going. How much is Walker and how much is the player failing to use good information? I'm gonna have to put 90 percent on the player. But yes, sometimes a new voice saying basically the same thing has been known to work. It'd be a shame to see Walker pay for people not using good advice.
Is Viciedos thumb injury something to worry about?
Doug Padilla (1:48 PM)
I haven't heard an update since the day after he was removed from the game. He was said to be dealing with soreness for a week and it just kept getting worse. From what I understand it isn't expected to be anything serious.
Mel (Oak Park)
Doug, if the Sox are able to add to the payroll - they must be successful on the field this week IMO to do so - do you think it'll be a pitcher (maybe someone for long relief) or another bat (maybe a lefty for pop off the bench)?
Doug Padilla (1:50 PM)
The are going to have to get creative to add an impact player. Basically they will have to trade salary for salary. There is no wiggle room to add to the budget. A right-handed reliever is being looked at. Adding a hitter would get complicated, but they haven't ruled that out as the Rasmus rumors suggest.
are they gonna change the road greys jerseys back to the way they were? the new logo on the sleeve looks awful
Doug Padilla (1:51 PM)
You're stuck with these for two years. All changes must last two years minimum. Sorry.
Does Teahen have any value in the Market. I would like to be able to package Edwin and Teahen in a deal that would open up the door to bring up Viciedo.
Doug Padilla (1:52 PM)
Teahen does have a little bit of value, but the White Sox would probably have to eat some salary. And it wouldn't help the Viciedo situation. He doesn't play 3B anymore. Viciedo would only be used in RF and at DH and must play every day if he comes up. It's a serious riddle to solve.
Bill (Naperville, IL)
Where has Lillibridge disappeared to? I can recall him striking out 4 times in one game a while back and he hasn't played consistently since. Seems like he should be playing more often with Rios' struggles.
Doug Padilla (1:53 PM)
Lillibridge is dealing with some struggles at the plate. But the only way to break out of them is to play. He's only being used for late inning defense because of those plate issues.
Chuck (Tribune Tower)
Do most teams have only one bonafide lead-off hitter? Seems like whenever Pierre slumps we have no one else to step in to give him a couple days off.
Doug Padilla (1:54 PM)
You are correct Chuck. Pierre is the only one. Ozzie said he put together some mock lineups in the event Viciedo came up and on the days Pierre sat, he went with Alexei in the leadoff spot. Not idea but the next best option.
How can anyone look at the Sox and say they are a contending team with Dunn hitting .159, Rios hitting .208, ...and only Konerko hitting over .300. Don't you think we need to dump salaries while we can and go young?
Doug Padilla (1:56 PM)
They aren't a title contender, but they can play in this up-and-down division even with those anchors pulling them down. If they even get slightly better, watch out. But we've been waiting a long time for that.
Why does it look like Adam Dunn just doesn't care? Konerko will strike out and look like he's going to go kick a dog, Dunn strikes out and it seems like he's just counting benjamins on the way back?
Doug Padilla (1:58 PM)
Trust me, he cares. He just doesn't throw massive fits. Konerko doesn't either. Talk to them afterward, though, and you know it's not easy. Dunn said he tries to keep it at the ballpark, but it's hard. His family is affected by it and anybody would care when it gets to that level.
Chuck (Chicago, IL)
Seems like Beckham has figured out his hitting. Will Ozzie put him back in his original spot and hit him in the two hole and move Alexei down to 6 or do they not want to mess with where he is at right now?
Doug Padilla (1:59 PM)
I don't think they mess with that. If Beckham got back on track at the bottom of the order he should probably stay there. Best to not give him added responsibility.
Is Mark Buehrle a member of the White Sox in 2012?
Doug Padilla (2:00 PM)
At this point I would say no. But it would be hard to say goodbye to a guy like that. And I think Buehrle would find it hard to leave.That one will be interesting to watch this offseason. I think the White Sox make an offer, but nowhere near as lucrative as the one he has now.
I keep hearing how good Rick Hahn is. Is there worry about losing him this offseason?
Doug Padilla (2:02 PM)
Not only is there fear of losing him, the Cubs could come calling. Jerry Reinsdorf wouldn't like it, but he respects Hahn enough to wish him well.
Chuck (Chicago, IL)
Looks like Ozzie made a good move sitting Morel for the most part for the past few weeks. He went 3 for 4 last night with a run scored. Will that trend continue. His defense at the hot corner I think is just as important as his hitting.
Doug Padilla (2:04 PM)
It almost appears as if this served two functions. Teahen got playing time and teams could watch him to see if they were interested (a few teams out there are looking for a 3B). And it gave Morel a chance to sit back and recharge. Both players have handled it well.
Will we get to see an ASG at the Cell anytime soon? It's a beautiful stadium and that home run derby would be fun to watch!
Doug Padilla (2:04 PM)
It was just there this past decade, so you're gonna have to wait a while.
Doug Padilla (2:05 PM)
That's it White Sox fans. Very good stuff. See you all next week.