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 world of Chicago baseball where one team has no GM and one has no manager. It's going to be an interesting offseason for both teams. Welcome to the last chat of the regular season.
Is there any truth to the Cubs being interested in Ryne Sandberg as the manager next year?
Bruce Levine (1:02 PM)
How would we know that if they don't have a GM yet? The GM picks the manager. Ricketts will not have the final say, but he will have final veto power. The last thing Ricketts is going to do is hire a manager and then hire a GM. If the GM thinks Sandberg is the best candidate then Ricketts will welcome him.
Mark (Pasadena, CA)
Does the collapse of the Red Sox make it more likely that Theo Epstein would bolt to the Cubs? How much of Z's contract will the Cubs have to eat if they can deal him to the Marlins to join Ozzie?
Bruce Levine (1:04 PM)
I doubt that Epstein will come to the Cubs either way. I don't understand the premise of if he loses this year they will let him go. The reaqson they are struggling is because their pitchers have been hurt and ineffective. I doubt thathe will come to the Cubs.
Greg M (Chicago)
Any truth to Zambrano to the Marlins?
Bruce Levine (1:05 PM)
That's just people like me writing it right now. The reason is it makes a lot of sense with the relationship between Guillen and Zambrano. It would be a wild time in South Florida with those two.
Erik (Bloomington, IL)
Bruce, you mentioned a trade for J.A. Happ in your hit on Waddle and Silvy. Is this a trade that's actually been discussed in the Cubs' organization? Or was it just speculation on your part?
Bruce Levine (1:07 PM)
It's speculation based on need. If you notice, Happ is a left-handed pitcher who had a bad year up until the last six weeks. But he can be a quality starting pitcher again if they decided to trade for him. It's the same scenario with John Danks. Again, just me talking. I've run it by a couple of baseball people, and that's it.
I understand the Quade is trying to win as many games as possible but doesnt the fact that he didnt play the "kids" as much as he should kind of hint that even he knows his days are number? If he felt like he was going to be back he wouldnt he want to see who can play?
Bruce Levine (1:08 PM)
That's a possibility. I think you're right about that. Also there is no direction in the organization for Quade. There is no top baseball guy telling him what the plan is for next year. When you're out there on an island like Quade is, you just try to win every game.
John S. (St. Louis)
How big of a role does Ari Kaplan, the stats guru, have in the Cubs organization right now? I am guessing it is more than most casual fans would realize.
Bruce Levine (1:10 PM)
Ari is a trusted employee of Ricketts. He's also a very bright guy with statistical analysis. As far as choosing the next GM, I doubt that he has real input other than when Ricketts would occasionally ask him.
Senator Levine, give me the 3 most likely pitching trade targets for the cubs, a la Matt Garza last year.
Bruce Levine (1:11 PM)
Like I said, Danks, Happ and Brandon McCarthy could be targets. Those are my guesses.
Playing 3B for the Chicago Cubs in 2012 will be....
Bruce Levine (1:12 PM)
Someone other than Ramirez. I don't believe it will be anyone in the organization right now.
Greg M (Chicago)
Let's say the Cubs have Castro bulk up this offseason and learn to play 3B. Can he replace Aram's power numbers, and is there a decent option to play SS that will improve the defense at that position (not hard to do) while still batting for a high average. Both in the Cubs system on the on the FA market.
Bruce Levine (1:14 PM)
You don't want a 21-year-old kid in the weight room. He's a naturally strong kid, and his time to lift weights is not right now. I don't think they want him to bulk up. He just needs to continue to build his cardio and take care of himself.
Bruce! Any indication as to whether or not Ricketts would spend big on players who would be a good fit, or does Ricketts think an $80mm payroll is possible and the way to go?
Bruce Levine (1:17 PM)
I don't think you will see them drop that low. But I do feel the new GM will have a game plan that will include a budgetary approach to the roster now and over the next five years. We've seen that just throwing money at free agents over and over again is not the way to win without young players either being developed or traded for. Right now the Cubs are caught in the middle. They don't have enough young talent and they have aging veterans who are making too much money. It will be interesting to see how they try to solve that problem. For instance, would they release Zambrano and Soriano if they can't trade them?
What do scouts think about Tony Campana possibly becoming an everyday player? He is quite a weapon when he can get himself on base.
Bruce Levine (1:20 PM)
Campana told me Monday that he is going to Arizona on Nov. 1 to work with strength and conditioning coach Tim Buss for the fall and winter. His goal is to get stronger and be more prepared to impact games with his bat other than just his speed and bunting skills. I think the proper thing for Campana, Barney and Castro would be to have a small man's camp during the fall and winter where they are tutored by an expert such as Davey Lopes or Brett Butler on the finer points of getting on base, stealing a base and the mental approach you need with the pitcher and defense. That's just me with Corey Patterson. He worked with Butler about eight years ago and neither Butler or Patterson felt it was worth while.
Erik (Bloomington, IL)
Bruce, if you haven't already seen it, are you planning on watching the Bartman doc tonight? And though I believe most Cubs have fans have forgiven Bartman at this point, do you believe Moises would have made that catch?
Bruce Levine (1:21 PM)
If he made the catch it would have cost him his arm. Watching the angle in how his body was coming down, he would have smashed his elbow and upper arm on the box seat wall. And no, I'm not watching that, and i'm also waiting for Moneyball to come out on DVD.
Has LaHair earned a roster spot for next year? He plays like a Red Sox player with all the pitches he takes.
Bruce Levine (1:23 PM)
I wouldn't be ready to compare him to Big Papi quite yet but he does seem to have a good approach at the plate. If you notice though the teams that bother to scout at this time of year -- which aren't many -- have started to pitch him up and in. Advance scouting makes a huge difference. That's why they always say don't evaluate players in September.
Dan (Mount Prospect)
Is Sean Marshall on the Cubs 25 man roster next year? It may sound crazy, but why not trade a guy with tremendous value when the Cubs likely won't compete next year anyway?
Bruce Levine (1:27 PM)
I guess you could be creative and trade a pitcher but you better get some in return. Marshall has turned into the top 2-3 left-handed setup men in the game. He's probably the most valuable pitcher in the Cubs bullpen especially with the season Marmol has had. But you're right in one area -- you can only have certain players to trade who will bring a lot back and Marshall would be one of them. Here's hoping they don't make him a starter.
Will Brett Jackson be on the opening day roster next year?
Bruce Levine (1:32 PM)
There's no question that he will compete for an OF spot. Under the Hendry Cubs, Jackson would have been ticketed for CF out of spring training and Byrd would either have been in LF or RF or been a super sub. But since Hendry is gone we don't know the thinking of the next GM on Jackson. It will be interesting to see if the Cubs are a development organization for the next year and how that will affect their tickets and marketing.
Bruce Levine (1:33 PM)
It appears the Cubs are starting to pick up their pace at talking to GM candidates. The consensus is they will really pick it up in early October and try to get this done by the end of the month. It should keep all of us busy. Also for Sox fans, Kenny Williams will be on Talking Baseball on Saturday morning.
Doug Padilla (1:34 PM)
Hello and welcome to the last White Sox chat of the regular season. Lots to get to with the big Ozzie news yesterday.
Hey Doug,Sad to see Ozzie go, but are there early candidates for the managerial job. Like former White Sox player and bench coach for the Tampa Bay Rays Dave Martinez
Doug Padilla (1:35 PM)
I have heard Martinez's name mentioned. The favorites, though are Buddy Bell and AAA manager Joe McEwing. Sandy Alomar Jr., now a coach with the Indians, would be an interesting candidate. Expect the new manager to be named possibly within a week if not sooner.
Doug (South Side)
Does Kenny bring Sandberg in for interview or have any interest in him as next coach?
Doug Padilla (1:36 PM)
If there is interest, he'd be among their second tier of candidates. But that's where Ozzie was when he was hired before the 2004 season.
Bill Wiggins (Rockville, VA)
Doug, I sure hope that someone outside the organization is our starting centerfielder, what do you think? We need a great defender.
Doug Padilla (1:38 PM)
I think everybody feels that way, including White Sox management at this point. But they are locked in to Rios at this point and have to get something/anything out of him. He appears to be more suited to being a right fielder, but that's Viciedo's spot of Quentin is moved this offseason.
What was the truth behind the Logan Morrison for Ozzie proposal last year? Was that discussed this year?
Doug Padilla (1:40 PM)
There are reports that say there was an Ozzie/Morrison trade in place and an Ozzie/Mike Stanton deal being talked about. Most reports say the Stanton deal was more accurate. Whatever it was J. Reinsdorf didn't like it at the time and didn't make the move.
firstname.lastname@example.org (Chicago )
You are Kenny Williams. The club has a mix of young talent/bad contracts/decent vets. Do you rebuild? Or mix n match for one more run?
Doug Padilla (1:42 PM)
You might be stuck in between. Dunn and Rios can't be moved. Does Konerko agree to a deal? A.J. would have to agree to one too. You might have kids surrounding the core of high-paid players. Not ideal for the now or the later.
Cheese (Washington, D.C.)
Obviously Tony LaRussa is the big name out there being tossed around to replace Ozzie. Other than LaRussa, who else is on the radar? I'm not sure how LaRussa would fit with this team, since he's notorious about his dislike for young players. If the Sox are going to be contenders, they will need production from young players like Viciedo, Morel, Sale, Danks, Humber, Beckham, Flowers, and maybe some others in the minors right now.
Doug Padilla (1:43 PM)
Hearing that the La Russa thing isn't the most likely. Reinsdorf loves both Ozzie and La Russa, but if he didn't want to pay Ozzie, would he agree to pay La Russa?
Lar (Las Vegas)
Would the Sox be willing to trade Dunn to the Cubs for Soriano? Similiar contracts fresh start for both.
Doug Padilla (1:45 PM)
Disappointment for disappointment isn't the best scenario for a deal. Making it even worse is a trade among teams in the same town. No GM wants to be the guy who trades his disappointment to the team in its own town only to watch him flourish in his new seting. Not good for job security or ticket sales.
Doug, in your opinion do you think they made the right move by getting rid of Ozzie and not Kenny?
Doug Padilla (1:47 PM)
If Jerry got his way, both would be back next season. He's loyal to the deals he gives out. But Ozzie appeared to run his course. All parties knew it was time. ozzie could have stayed though if he didn't make waves. Kenny's time could come too if he doesn't figure out a way to fix the mess that was 2011.
Any word on who we got for Ozzie.
Doug Padilla (1:49 PM)
Infielder Osvaldo Martinez and a minor-league pitcher not named. Martinez is a SS who has hit about .250 in around 34 big-league games over the past two seasons. He's a former 11th round pick in 2006.
Doug, is Tony LaRussa in the Sox plans? What about looking into Joey Cora as a possible replacement for Ozzie?
Doug Padilla (1:50 PM)
We just discussed La Russa. Cora was never in the plans to replace Ozzie. He is too loyal to Ozzie to ever take his job no matter the circumstance. Cora is expected to go to Florida.
bob (kirksville, mo)
who goes danks or floyd
Doug Padilla (1:53 PM)
Tough call, but yes, it seems possible that one of them goes in a winter trade. Danks might actually yield a better return and he would cost more to retain. But the White Sox aren't in any hurry to give up on a talent like that despite his disappointing 2011.
Phil (Champaign, IL)
Any chance that Kenny's job is still in jeopardy or perhaps changing his role and making Rick Hahn the GM?
Doug Padilla (1:54 PM)
It will be interesting to see if a team, say the Cubs, is serious about hiring Hahn. At that point it's possible that Williams could be moved to a president role and Hahn takes the GM role in order to keep him in the fold. But is Hahn really the GM in that scenario?
Bill Wiggins (Rockville, VA)
Either Viciedo or Rios could play left, there is nothing wrong with a leftfielder having a good arm. The Sox can't win with Rios in center!
Doug Padilla (1:56 PM)
Don't think Viciedo makes yet another position change next year. Rios to LF isn't impossible but seems to be a long shot. But yes, his defense, especially the routes he takes on fly balls, doesn't instill much confidence.
Do you feel if the Sox are back in this same position next year, that Kenny will be gone?
Doug Padilla (1:58 PM)
The spotlight is entirely on Kenny now. Can't blame a new manager so easily if it fails once again. Yes, his hot seat becomes even hotter in 2012.
Whats the 5 man pitching rotation next season? And do you expect peavy to bounce back?
Doug Padilla (2:00 PM)
Assuming Buehrle is gone it looks like Danks, Humber, Floyd, Peavy and Sale. Zach Stewart is the long man out of the pen. The winter of rest should help Peavy. He won't be Cy Young Peavy that we knew from before, but if he gets crafty and competitive he can still be a productive starter. He's getting a lot of $$$ to be a "productive starter" though.
John (Cincinnati, OH)
Still on board for Sale in rotation next year? Or with the struggles late in season by Santos keep him in the pen?
Doug Padilla (2:02 PM)
It will be interesting to see how the spring plays out. Sale would seem to have more value as a starter, but not at the expense of a closer. My take is that Santos' issues are mental. I think Ozzie lost him when he let Sale take some save chances in the 2nd half. Santos was still rolling then and all of a sudden the struggles started. Santos might need the offseason to decompress as much as Dunn and Rios at this point. The kid needs a break.
Doug (Des Plaines, IL)
Do you believe Dunn comeback and hit his weight next year?
Doug Padilla (2:04 PM)
Can't see Dunn being worse, but even a slight improvement does nothing. The strikeouts will always be there, but the power has to show up. Dunn was swinging and missing by a mile at times. He needs to do more than just work on his swing mechanics.
Doug Padilla (2:06 PM)
Good stuff folks. Should be an interesting last few days and a intriguing offseason. Buehrle's start tonight should be emotional.