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 (1:02 PM)
Welcome to Week 2 of the GM search. Tom Ricketts has not asked for permission to talk to any candidates yet. That might not come until October. Welcome ...
Greg Shriver (Winchester)
What do you see as the Cubs' best option for third base next year, assuming Ramirez is gone?
Bruce Levine (1:04 PM)
Let's think outside the box. You have an All-Star player who might be a 30 home run hitter at SS. Maybe you go get another SS or second baseman and move Castro to third. Castro is a talented SS but you save the $16 million on Ramirez and you might be able to put it toward another solid defensive SS or 2B. Just thinking out loud.
Do you think Soriano will be with the Cubs next year?
Bruce Levine (1:05 PM)
I don't but there are $54 million reasons why he will. The new GM that Ricketts hires will have a great opportunity to ask Tom to eat a good portion of Soriano's contract so that they can trade him. Soriano is still possibly a 30-80 guy so he might have some viability as a DH. That's the direction the Cubs need to go with Soriano, who wants to be a DH and have less stress on his legs.
Jason (Crystal Lake)
I don't know understand why the Cubs didn't try to let Pena go to the Yankees. This would give the Cubs an opportunity to see if Bryan LaHair is a late bloomer, or just a 4A player. If he's a 4A player than we can try to re-sign Pena back in the offseason. What am I missing?
Bruce Levine (1:08 PM)
You're missing that once you tell a player he is a part of another organization he puts you out of his mind. The Cubs will have five weeks of exclusive negotiating rights with Pena after the season before free agency begins. If he was a Yankee player they would not have that leg up on other teams. Playing LaHair in Sept. will not give you any real answers about whether he can be a real ML player. Remember Hoffpauir put up the same numbers in Triple-A three years ago and now he is a moderately successful player in Japan.
Albert (Los Angeles)
Hi Bruce, With Andre Either wanting out of Los Angeles, do the Cubs have any interest in pursuing a trade with the Dodgers? Thank you.
Bruce Levine (1:09 PM)
I'm sure they would. Ethier is a good player and left-handed bat. But again, timeline. You'll have to see when he becomes a free agent. And are you going to throw money at 30-year-old free agents again?
Castro at 30 hr? Kind of a stretch considering he only has 8 this year.
Bruce Levine (1:10 PM)
Take a look at Hanley Ramirez's record then tell me where the 30 home runs came from. Most scouts feel the ball jumps off Castro's bat and it's just a matter of time until he hits 25-30 home runs. I'll bet you a Starbucks it's within two years.
Davis (Des Plaines)
Fill in the blank: If the Cubs strike out on Fielder and Pujols, the 2012 first baseman is Carlos Pena or.....?
Bruce Levine (1:11 PM)
Any chance we see Brett Jackson and Ryan Flaherty this Sept?
Bruce Levine (1:12 PM)
There is a question of adding them to the 40-man roster and starting their major league clock ticking. That means you have to take someone off the 40-man roster which makes them vulnerable to waivers. Ricketts however might insist that the fans need to look at the supposed star of the future in Jackson.
Bobby B (Newport Beach)
Why is Reed Johnson playing????? Quades not keeping his job nor did we ever have a chance of catching the Brewers
Bruce Levine (1:13 PM)
Who would you rather see play? As long as he is not taking Colvin's time there is really not another young developing OF on the 25-man right now. Unless you would rather see Baker out there. Keep in mind though that Quade is still managing to keep his job, and Johnson has hit .340 most of the year.
What happens to the Tim Wilkens of the world with Hendry's dismissal? It seems as though the Cubs have some of the more respected scouts/player development guys in all of baseball. I would hate to lose them.
Bruce Levine (1:15 PM)
Eleven top baseball people in the organization have contracts for 2012. Wilken is one of them. Rickett's timeline for a new GM may cause the Cubs to lose some people due to the fact that Cubs organization contracts are up Oct. 31.
Sam (Schaumburg, IL)
I was thinking out loud a few weeks ago about possibly moving Castro to 3rd base if the Cubs don't try to bring Aramis back. Besides the obvious overpaying of Jose Reyes, who else could they bring in for SS or 2nd base?
Bruce Levine (1:17 PM)
Nothing wrong with Barney and LeMahieu at second and short with Fielder and Castro at first and third. Then give me a CJ Wilson and I'll give you a competitive team.
Craig (Seattle, WA)
Bruce, what kind of player could you see the Cubs receiving if they trade Soriano? Seems like some of the bad contracts out there are Adam Dunn, Vernon Wells, Chone Figgins, and AJ Burnett.
Bruce Levine (1:18 PM)
You don't want to trade your exit contract for someone else's. You saw how well that worked with Bradley for Silva. Just get a prospect and ask a team to eat $10 million. That's the best road to travel for the Cubs.
Justin (Winfield, IL)
How is Josh Vitters doing in the minors? I remember hearing good things about him years ago, but it seems as if the buzz surrounding him has died down. Is he in the cubs future as a 3B?
Bruce Levine (1:18 PM)
He's hitting .283 and is starting to be a more consistent hitter but that is not the concern. The question is whether first base is his final destination. He still probably needs another year at Triple-A.
Have you heard any rumblings on Ryno being a target for manager lately?
Bruce Levine (1:19 PM)
The next manager will be determined by the next GM. The last thing the Ricketts will do is insist on Sandberg as the manager. I think the Cubs want to have a good relationship with Sandberg. The best way to do that is not to hire him.
J.R. Van Houghton (Chicago)
Do you think its wise to pitch Cashner this year?
Bruce Levine (1:21 PM)
They are going to use him in the bullpen. He was awesome last night. He struck out three in one inning. He will pitch out of the pen at Iowa and then at Wrigley toward the end of the first week of Sept. The next plan is for him to pitch in the Arizona Fall League. He will be a starter in spring training.
In your opinon is Randy Wells going to be part of the rotation next year?
Bruce Levine (1:22 PM)
As much as he's struggled, he's looked like the Wells of 2009 over his last four starts. He admitted last week that the arm strength in his forearm really wasn't there until recently. My long-winded answer is yes. You always need a fifth starter candidate.
Albert (Los Angeles)
Dear Bruce, Gauge the Cubs interest in signing Yu Darvish. Will they be in on the bidding if he's posted? Thank you.
Bruce Levine (1:23 PM)
They have looked at him. The Cubs are very strong in international scouting. Again the new GM will determine how much money to throw his way.
What are the chances that Tyler Colvin is the cubs opening day right fielder in 2012? Is in just a horrible sophmore slump? Or, is this the real Colvin?
Bruce Levine (1:24 PM)
It's hard to say what type of player he is. When he makes contact the ball seems to fly. The problem is, does he make contact enough? Left-handed hitting is king in baseball so you really have to give him another extended look. To answer your question, I don't know.
Jim (Chicago (the loop))
Bruuuuuce! Haven't heard much about Zambrano recently. What's the status on his grievance and when will that be resolved so the team can make a decision to cut or trade him?
Bruce Levine (1:26 PM)
I talked to Ozzie yesterday and he said he has talked to Zambrano. He thinks he will be pitching for the Cubs next year. Zambrano will mostl likely be traded in the offseason. The Cubs will pay a good portion of his contract to get that done.
From your previous answers, it looks like you see next year's rotation consisting of Dempster, Garza, Cashner (barring setback) and Wells meaning we'd have to go find one arm to make up for little Z. Is that about right?
Bruce Levine (1:27 PM)
I would say that is correct but that arm should be like a CJ Wilson or another stud like Garza. So Trey McNutt might be on the cusp of moving toward the major leagues early next season.
When is Castro going to get an extension? And how many years and how much money will the deal be worth? Thanks!
Bruce Levine (1:29 PM)
The Cubs would be smart to sign him to a long-term contract ala Evan Longoria right away. He is represented by Paul Kinzer who also has Ramirez, Soto, Marmol and a number of Cubs minor leaguers. The Cubs need to be proactive and save themselves some money down the road. A six- or seven-year deal would be smart.
Phil (Buffalo Grove)
How can the Cubs be so certain that Bryan LaHair isn't the next Casey Mcgehee? If his AAA line is so unimportant why is Brett Jackson's line so impressive? It's the same old same old with the Cubs every year. They seem to do an awful job developing and evaluating their own talent.
Bruce Levine (1:31 PM)
LaHair has been around and that's where the term 4A player comes from. That's not to diminish what he has done at Triple-A; he's had a great year. But I don't see a lot of teams approaching the Cubs about a trade for him.
Bruce Levine (1:32 PM)
Only a month to go in this disappointing baseball season. Look forward to call-ups in the first week of September. Quade said he would talk with Bush about who they might bring up on Friday. I think the minor league season ends Sept. 6. See you next week.
Doug Padilla (1:33 PM)
Hi all. Sorry I missed out on last week's chat while I was flying to Southern California. Let's talk White Sox.
Does D. Viciedo play RF for the Sox next year? If so, what do the sox do with CQ? Id love to see what this kid can do.
Doug Padilla (1:35 PM)
It'll be interesting to see what happens. I do think Viciedo will be in RF next year. Quentin is arb eligible so the White Sox can keep him. But the Phillies were very interested in him at the trade deadline. He could be dealt to add other pieces they need. Ozzie would certainly love a leadoff man.
When CQ comes off the DL, does that mean Rios finally meets the same fate as Dunn and grabs some bench for the reast of the year
Doug Padilla (1:37 PM)
Not quite. I think De Aza and Rios platoon out there with De Aza facing right-handers and Rios getting lefties. It still gives De Aza more time there until the end of the year. He's been a spark for sure and they definitely need that.
Could De Aza not be our lead-off man of the future?
Doug Padilla (1:39 PM)
He's not the ideal leadoff type but he's the best the White Sox have once Pierre is gone next year. Still not sure they see him as an everyday player though. I think they still view him as a fourth OF. He has a month to change their minds.
Doug, as far as you know have the Sox made any attempts to sign MB to a 2 year extension this season?
Doug Padilla (1:41 PM)
Nothing that I've heard. Buehrle is pretty open about that stuff and he hasn't given anybody a clue as to whether or not talks are happening. The years make sense. If it does happen, and it still seems like a long shot, I see it for two or three years.
Doug, is Addison Reed's future as a closer or in the rotation?
Doug Padilla (1:42 PM)
Paul, are you the one who asks about Reed every week? Talked to Kenny about him yesterday and the plan is to bring Reed up in September if the White Sox still have a chance. He might not come up Sept. 1, but maybe a week from now. Guess it depends on how the DET series goes.
Jeff Z (Schererville)
Are Rios' days batting cleanup numbered? i hope so..
Doug Padilla (1:44 PM)
Yeah, it's not the ideal lineup, but it's either him or Beckham unless Ozzie gets bold and lets Viciedo hit there. I know what the fans would vote for.
With the surprising play by Tyler Flowers, where does he fit in for the plans for 2012 with AJ still under contract?
Doug Padilla (1:45 PM)
Flowers looks like the backup next season but a backup with a ton of playing time. Remember AJ will make most of his $8 million next season so he's probably gonna have to play a lot.
Jon D. (Chicago)
Peavy - $16,000,000Rios - $12,500,000Dunn - $12,000,000Does anyone else lose sleep at night thinking of who else we could have had with this money?!?!
Doug Padilla (1:47 PM)
You mean besides Kenny and Jerry and the season ticket holders who are paying for it? Gonna make it hard to get the pieces you need next season. It might mean that Quentin gets traded. Not to give you more reasons to lose sleep.
The youth on the team seems to have invigorated this mini streak they are on (albeit a small sample size). This should give them much more flexibility in the off season to somehow move Rios, Dunn and CQ. Also might give them the flexibility to keep Buhrle. Future looks brighter than 2 months ago, and i am even wearing shades.
Doug Padilla (1:50 PM)
Nobody is taking Rios or Dunn, unless the White Sox take the money and that isn't happening. That's why a Quentin deal seems to be a strong possibility.It's nice to see Team Charlotte getting it done, but those guys will have thier rough patches too. Enjoy it while you can right now.
If the White Sox and Ozzie do decide to part ways after this season, which I hope they don't, who would be on the Sox radar to replace him? It wouldn't be an in-house fix of Joey Cora would it? Would it be someone with plenty of experience (Tony LaRussa?)
Doug Padilla (1:51 PM)
There certainly has been a lotof talk about La Russa. Don't look for Cora to do it. He's too loyal to Ozzie to take his job. Ozzie would really have to beg him to do something like that and I still don't think Cora will do it.
Gut feeling, how do you see this division finishing up?
Doug Padilla (1:53 PM)
Tigers win it by about the same amount of games they lead by now.I think the White Sox can push them, but they probably won't. They are just consistently inconsistent.
Even if team Charlotte hits a rough patch, it will be an improvement, since Rios and Dunn set the bar so low for what's acceptable
Doug Padilla (1:54 PM)
Can't argue with that. Talking to some fans last night we joked that we will always remember 2005 and 2011, the latter because it was the year when the White Sox had not one, but two players in a historically bad season and were still only 5 out with a month to play.
Rios for Soriano, would either team do it?
Doug Padilla (1:57 PM)
Not a lot of teams deal with the club in their own market. The Dodgers and Angels haven't made a significant deal in decades. The idea seems to be that there is nothing worse than dealing a guy you lost hope in only to watch him flourish on the other side of town. Seems like a funny way of doing business, though.
With so much inconsistency by the Sox offense this year, not to mention the horrid averages of Dunn and Rios, does Greg Walker get invited back next year?
Doug Padilla (1:59 PM)
These issues aren't being pinned on Walker. He gets more recognition from the club for what Konerko is doing instead of what Dunn isn't doing. But Walker might make the decision for them. He's been toying with a plan to move on to other things. He'll probably get to thinking about it when the season ends.
Will Thornton be traded in the offseason?
Doug Padilla (1:59 PM)
Not if Sale goes to the rotation next year, which seems very likely.
Any chances of Frank Thomas becoming a hitting coach if Walker gets the axe?
Doug Padilla (2:00 PM)
He's going to have to try it somewhere first, like as a roving instructor for the organization. But he sure was talking like a hitting coach when he was in town for his statue ceremony.
If Sale is successfully converted to a starter, he's the #_ starter?
Doug Padilla (2:01 PM)
4 or 5. They'll take it slow at first. No reason to make expectations so high.
Scott (Rockford, IL)
I want to see all the Sox fans come out for Tigers series at the Cell, 9/12-14. We still got this!!!
Doug Padilla (2:02 PM)
Fine intentions Scott, but I think the standings will determine what the attendance will be that series. It's been that way all year and it doesn't figure to change now.
What do you think our starting 5 looks like next year?
Doug Padilla (2:03 PM)
Peavy, Danks, Floyd, Humber, Sale. Not bad, but certainly strange/sad to see a White Sox rotation without Buehrle.
Doug Padilla (2:05 PM)
Great stuff as always (I mean the questions, not the answers). See y'all next week from Minnesota. Same place, same time. I'm sure to be groggy after the doubleheader. Follow the action on Twitter as well @ESPNChiSox.