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)
Now that Ricketts is going to announce his plans for the future it will be time for you to let me know what the Cubs should do to improve the team. I'm listening ...
Greg M (Chicago, IL)
Any thoughts on Hollandsworth's view the Aram's laziness is affecting Castro and Barney's development? To me Aram is having a pretty good year, and if jogging to first from time to time keeps him healthy all year it may be worth it.
Bruce Levine (1:03 PM)
Could not disagree with Todd more. Except for an occasional situation of mental exhaustion, both Castro and Barney have busted their butts all year. I think Todd is confused with some mental fatigue which occurs in young players who are trying to establish themselves over a 162-game schedule. Maybe Ramirez doesn't give you 100 percent all the time but he has not impacted these two players.
Greg M (Chicago, IL)
When September call-ups happen do you expect Quade to play the youngsters, which is the best thing for the team long-term, or play his best players which is the best thing for Quade's employment status?
Bruce Levine (1:04 PM)
That's a great question because nobody seems to know that answer right now. Quade does believe in player development. He's also managing to retain his own job. That can only usually be quantified in wins. Time will tell as to how he will decide playing time for vets and young players.
Greg M (Chicago, IL)
Assuming Big-Z parts ways with the Cubs before next season, that leaves them with Garza and Dempster and a lot of uncertainty in the rotation. Do you see the Cubs signing 2 FA's and hope that Cashner is finally healthy, or will we be treated to another season of Randy Wells, Rodrigo Lopez, and another washed up player to be named later?
Bruce Levine (1:07 PM)
Pitching is the key for the Cubs rebounding next season. The free agent market is not great so Hendry or whoever is in charge will have to make trades. The Cubs have a nice group of catchers to interest other teams. They should look at the same model Kenny Williams used: trade his young prospects for other teams' young prospects (Quentin, Floyd, Danks, etc.).
Greg M (Chicago, Il)
Bruce, are the Cubs sold on Darwin Barney as a long term solution at 2B? While I love his defense, he's a singles hitter with just above average speed (essentially Ryan Theriot 2.0). Are there going to be any good 2B options on the FA market with some power if the Cubs were to trade Barney?
Bruce Levine (1:09 PM)
Cano is not going anywhere. But I don't disagree with your analysis. The Cubs are going to have to get some more offensive pop somewhere in their lineup.
the ox (northwest side of chicago)
bruce how comee quade gets off the hook for leaving zambrano in after five home runs? anybody could see he was done favoerites like dempster would have never been left in thanx.
Bruce Levine (1:10 PM)
I disagree. The bullpen is toast due to the fact that the starters haven't been able to get past five innings. That's one of the reasons they had to promote Scott Maine for two games. Once in awhile you have to take one for the team as a starter and eat some innings. Zambrano just flat out quit on the mound.
Greg M (Chicago, IL)
What are the chances Aramis comes back next year? He's having a solid season and as far as I know there's no one in the Cubs system that projects anywhere near his production. Do they overpay a little for another year of Aram, or cut bait and find a stop gap for 3B for the next year or two?
Bruce Levine (1:11 PM)
The 3B market is pretty bare at this point. One more year of Ramirez wouldn't be the worst thing. He might be one of the few veterans left on the team because I don't expect Zambrano or Soriano to be with the Cubs.
Bryan (Hammond, IN)
Is there anyway the Cubs can release Big Z for the reason of "conduct detrimental to the team," or something to that effect, that would terminate the existing contract? I'm sure if they could have, they would have by now. I'm curious though.
Bruce Levine (1:13 PM)
That is not a simple matter. Although they can show a trumped up case against Zambrano for previous transgressions, players associations lawyers will fight to protect his contract.
Jake Galik (Hammond, IN)
Bruce,Any clues as to what Rickett's direction will be in his upcoming state of the franchise conference?
Bruce Levine (1:14 PM)
I will be writing a piece on that this afternoon for ESPNChicago.com. In the meantime Hendry's future with the team and the Cubs' business focus will probably be broached when Ricketts speaks.
any chance on moving Soto for some pitching help? wellington castillo seems ready for the bigs and cubs can save $$ on soto contract next year. Giants need catching help with Posey out and have pitching.
Bruce Levine (1:16 PM)
The Giants are just one of many teams that need catchers. It would be a bit of a gamble to trade Soto but they could also trade Castillo with Steve Clevenger moving his way up in the organization.
Bruce, Logan Morrison seems to have worn out his welcome in Florida. With a need at 1B in the offseason (MiLB position) and a healthy trade history between the Cubs and Marlins, is he somebody they may pursue?
Bruce Levine (1:18 PM)
Morrison is a tremendously gifted player. I don't know if the Cubs have enough to pursue him. But he would look good on either side of town. He's a player the Sox wanted for Ozzie Guillen's services. And besides the Cubs are used to unruly players.
josh (chandler, az)
Brett Jackson is showing signs of figuring it out in AAA after a slow start. But it sounds like he may not get called up. What gives? Wouldn't it be beneficial to see these kids play? (i.e. Colvin, both Jacksons, etc.)
Bruce Levine (1:20 PM)
The 40-man roster is a consideration. They would have to move someone else off to move him on. Ownership might demand Jackson come up since he is the one bright star who appears to be approaching his time. But he also has strike zone discipline problems to solve. But he's tremendously talented.
Larry (Skokie, IL)
Would keeping Quade as a manager be a good move next year considering the state of the team and the fact there might not be any good choices in the offseason
Bruce Levine (1:22 PM)
I don't think you hold on to a manager unless you think he is helping you grow as an organization. Quade does have a good record of player development, but it's hard to say if he is going to manage a team that may have a losing record once again.
bruce, whats the first thing you would do, to turn around this franchise?
Bruce Levine (1:23 PM)
I would hire Pat Gillick, Bobby Cox or Terry Ryan to oversee the entire baseball department. Hendry could work well with any of those guys and none of them want to be a GM anymore. You couldn't find three better guys to begin with.
Nizzi (Des Moines)
Bruce, will Carlos Pena be the Cubs 1st baseman next year? It seems like he is a great clubhouse guy, and he would come a lot cheaper than Prince or Albert.
Bruce Levine (1:25 PM)
He has performed up to expectations and maybe even surpassed it if you consider he didn't hit a homer until May 3. If you don't get Fielder or Pujols, Pena would be a nice guy to hold on to.
Why isn't LeHair up yet? I know he's old for a prospect, but Pena is not the future and isn't playing great. Plus the season is over. Give the kid a shot. He's dominating AAA.
Bruce Levine (1:27 PM)
I think he might be brought up. But Pena is still going to get all the playing time. Although LaHair has had great numbers in the minors, no one is predicting him as the next Cubs first baseman.
Me being a Sox fan, I'm absolutely terrified that Ozzie has a great relationship with Z. Please re-assure he will NOT be in a Sox uniform anytime soon??? Thanks.
Bruce Levine (1:28 PM)
Ozzie or Zambrano? I don't know if the Sox are interested in Zambrano, although they were a couple of years ago. But I'm also not sure they are interested in Ozzie anymore. If that is the case, Ozzie might take Zambrano with him. Remember most of the money owed to Zambrano will end up being paid by the Cubs.
Any ideas about Zambrano's lack of velocity? Effort? Injury? His sinker is consistently 87-90 whereas it used to be 91-95 thus leading to more missed bats, ground balls, and a perennial stingy home run pitcher. It seems that he only throws mid 90's when he is trying to hit someone. I would love closure on this!
Bruce Levine (1:30 PM)
It's basically attrition. Cumulative wear and tear over a 14-year pitching career. Although he is listed as age 30, baseball people think he is at least a couple of years older.
Bruce Levine (1:31 PM)
It's always an interesting time around the Cubs whether it's Zambrano going off or the Cubs playing good baseball. Now we'll wait for Ricketts to tell us where this all leads. Talk to you next week.
Doug Padilla (1:32 PM)
Time for some White Sox talk. Here we go.
Dave (The Loop)
Do Kenny and Ozzie have complete job security, even if the season ends badly?
Doug Padilla (1:33 PM)
They have better job security than most people in their jobs. There is the Reinsdorf loyalty that helps them, but there is more. Should Ozzie get the blame for the Rios and Dunn struggles? Should Kenny take the fall when Jerry agreed to those moves? The White Sox win and lose as a family but those family ties are strained more than ever these days.
What is the reasoning behind putting Stewart in the pen while letting Humber start? It seems Stewart would be the 4th lefty in the pen and Humber seems to be wearing down as of late.
Doug Padilla (1:36 PM)
Ozzie is sticking with a guy that has delivered most of the season so he will stay with Humber. Humber is still getting his ground balls so it isn't like he is completely lost. Stewart will have to fall in line with the pecking order, but he won't be too far away that it can't change. Humber deserves that respect after the season he's delivered.
Ken (Tinley Park)
Doug, how often do we see Dunn forth remainder of the season? Always sitting against lefties, PH role? etc.? Thanks.
Doug Padilla (1:38 PM)
He's been much lower in the order (6th or 7th)over the past week and a half. Lillibridge's production of late should give him a chance to play more. Once September comes, there will be even more options at 1B like perhaps Viciedo.
Kenny (Lake Shore Drive)
Any chance Adam Dunn is sent down to AAA?
Doug Padilla (1:39 PM)
Doug, lets talk waivers. What are you hearing and do you think Kenny will make any moves?
Doug Padilla (1:41 PM)
Not hearing a lot of White Sox chatter on the waiver wire. This might be the team they have to win with.
Frank (Cal City)
It appears Viciedo has been playing some more first base lately. Is there a possibility of him coming up, playing 1st and letting Konerko remain the DH. It seems that this would only happen if Paulie's leg continues to bother him.
Doug Padilla (1:43 PM)
Yeah, he could get time there. But there is a about two weeks until September callups so it doesn't seem like we will see Viciedo until then. Konerko is hurt, but he can still hit as he has shown, so a DL stint for him isn't a good idea. Perhaps Konerko is at Dh all season and Viciedo, Lillibridge and Dunn share time at 1B in September.
Dan (Long Grove)
What are the odds Buerhle is back in a Sox uniform?
Doug Padilla (1:45 PM)
Doesn't look good. The White Sox will be cutting costs this offseason and Sale can be converted into a starter to cover Buehrle's spot. It will be a sad farewell. Right now the odds don't look good, but I believe that was the talk when he ended up signing his last contract. Miracles happen.
Everyone is always saying how bad adam dunn has been this year, however peavy has been just as worse... Who do you think the White Sox need to step up more at this point in the year?
Doug Padilla (1:47 PM)
Better check the numbers again Ricky. Peavy has had his rough spots but showed flashes of his prior self even early in his injury comeback. Over the last three starts he's been pretty good. I have no issue with what Peavy has delivered, especially of late, but I guess not everybody shares that sentiment.
Any chance that Addison Reed is a September call up?
Doug Padilla (1:48 PM)
Gotta get him on the 40-man to do that and I believe there still is some space. He's been doing good things. Seems to improve monthly. Wouldn't be a bad decision.
Chris (Kansas City)
Doug, so with the recent push from the Sox, there won't be any movement in waivers for the rest of the year right? (Basically, Quentin won't be placed on waivers?)
Doug Padilla (1:51 PM)
Chris, pretty much everybody goes on waivers in September. I'd be shocked if Quentin wasn't put through. If he's claimed the White Sox can work out a trade with that team or just pull him back. If nobody claims him he can be traded to anybody. But teams always try it becaus ein the end you can always pull that player back. Philly wanted him badly at the July 31 deadline. Wonder if they're still as interested.
I understand that Konerko is still hitting right now and that the sox are still only 3.5 out of first place, but aren't there good reasons to think long term?...as in late september (possibly october) when we will really need him? Is this a type of injury that won't get better or worse if he plays or doesn't play? I'm just worried that he'll eventually go down for the remainder of the season and really hurt this team down the stretch.
Doug Padilla (1:53 PM)
Konerko has been told he can't make his injury any worse. He said at one point he had fears that some of his nerve damage was permanent. He was told nerve damage just takes longer to heal. But day games after night games are probably out from now on. He was in some pretty serious pain after his 3-hit game Sunday.
Erik (The Mart)
People seem to forget that Peavy wasn't expected to be anywhere near 100% until about right now. With the experimental surgery and his work ethic, I think he's done a great job getting back. What are your expectations for him for the remainder of the year and next?
Doug Padilla (2:07 PM)
Great observation Erik. I expect him to keep getting stronger and be a big contributor. I expect even more next season when he is even that much stronger and that much further away from surgery. Maybe not what he used to be but a consistently productive pitcher.
Doug Padilla (2:07 PM)
Sorry for the delay there. System crash. Had to reboot.
Is Alexei in line for a Gold Glove award this year? He seems to be playing great defense.
Doug Padilla (2:08 PM)
Probably won't win it because of his slow start defensively but in the second half he has been as good as anybody. His day will come.
If the White Sox can't retain Buehrle for next year, who will become the team's Ace. I think Danks could do it.
Doug Padilla (2:09 PM)
I was telling everybody he could do it this year. Goes to show what I know. They might not have a true ace but a healthy Peavy and an improved Danks will go a long way. And who knows what Sale can do if he gets to finally start.
Seems like Ozzie has renewed confidence in Sale. Considering how well he's pitched lately, won't it be difficult for them to convert him into a starter?
Doug Padilla (2:10 PM)
It will be tough to take him out of his current role. But if he can deliver six or seven innings at the level he is delivering now, the sky's the limit.
Doug Padilla (2:10 PM)
OK, thanks for the questions. Big series starts tonight vs. Cleveland. As always follow me on Twitter @ESPNChiSox.