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 Jed Hoyer-Jason McLeod era at Clark and Addison. We should know more about Mike Quade and his future in the next couple of days. Let's go.
Jay (Iowa City)
Does Marlon Byrd get traded this offseason?
Bruce Levine (1:01 PM)
Just depends how the new regime will look at a relatively cheap veteran who can back up all three positions. I don't see any reason to move him. You won't get what you want back for him anyway.
Do you expect Epstein to make a move toward signing fielder given his previous experience hiring big hitters like gonzalez and crawford?
Bruce Levine (1:02 PM)
I don't have a feeling for what he's going to do. He will have plenty of money. The Cubs could have $53 million coming off the books. But does Fielder really want to come to Chicago? That might be the question.
What's your prediction on the final compensation to the Red Sox for Epstein and Pads for Hoyer? I suspect it would be 2 AA players to the Red Sox and 2 A players to the Padres.
Bruce Levine (1:03 PM)
I don't think it will necessarily be that much. At one point, the Cubs and Red Sox had decided on Chris Carpenter, before Boston backed out. Might be up to Selig to get it done.
Ben (Champaign, IL)
How realistic is the cubs chance to sign C.J. Wilson or Roy Oswalt?
Bruce Levine (1:04 PM)
If you look at Oswalt's numbers, he's not the pitcher he was. I think the Cubs are going to be smart enough to stay away from retread former superstarts. Wilson's agents are still going to ask over $100 million, and after one 16-win season I'm not sure the Cubs will be interested.
Hey Bruce, what are the chances the Cubs call the Padres about Chase Headley?
Bruce Levine (1:05 PM)
They might like a lot of the Padres players. But what do the Cubs have to trade is a better question. It's going to be interesting to watch Epstein and Co. develop a short-term and long-term theory for competing.
Any inside info on how the meeting went between Epstein, Hoyer, and Quade?
Bruce Levine (1:06 PM)
As reported, it took seven hours. And they're scheduled to talk again. That's all I know.
Will he hear about Quades fate today?
Bruce Levine (1:07 PM)
It's possible, but I don't know if this is the venue to announce whether Mike will be back. This is more for the next executives to have their say with the Chicago media. And for the fans to get to know who their front office executives are.
how do u think the rotation will pan out after all of this? and fielder or pujols?
Bruce Levine (1:08 PM)
Two for sure unless they're traded are Garza and Dempster. I think after that it's anyone's guess. Samardzija would like to be part of the rotation. He'll have to wait and hear their opinion. Wells is still around as is Casey Coleman and Cashner. I would expect them to make some moves to repair their rotation.
Jeff (South Bend)
Does Mike Quade manage next year?
Bruce Levine (1:08 PM)
Have no feel for it. They can use him for one more year or they can bring in the guy they want from somewhere else.
Let me throw a name at you Bruce! Nick Markakis. 27 years old. Disappointed the last couple years with reduced power numbers, but still a very strong OBP guy, good fielder with strong arm you could plug into RF. He's owed $39M over next 3 years so Orioles may be interested in dumping him. based on the criteria seemingly of interest to Theo
Bruce Levine (1:10 PM)
That's an intriguing name. He does fit the criteria for what they need. A good outfielder, young and a left-handed hitter. I hope the Cubs are thinking like you are.
Ryan (Evergreen Park)
Will Ryan Dempster be dealt now that he picked up his option?
Bruce Levine (1:11 PM)
I believe he's a 5-and-10 man now. That means he'll have to OK any trade that's made. So my guess is no.
Michael K. McCarthy (Bartlett, Illinois)
In my not always so humble opinion.... Sean Marshall would be better served in the starting rotation than in the bullpen. Isn't it easier to find a bullpen lefty than a starter ? Not expecting to contend in 2012 the lack of a bonafide lefty in the pen is far from an achilles heel. Marshall was less than solid last time in the rotation but is a much better pitcher now and a cost effective hole filler to boot.
Bruce Levine (1:12 PM)
It's an interesting option. But Marshall has found a home as one of the top left-handed set-up men in the game. Why would you take a strength away from your team in order to fill a weakness? And on top of that, no one knows how deep in a game Marshall can get at this point.
Tyler (Athens, GA)
Where is Aramis Ramirez going to end up?
Bruce Levine (1:13 PM)
Could be South Florida. Could be Boston. Could be Colorado. Or the Angels. All of them need a third baseman like Ramirez.
rlsoldier2 (camp casey s. korea)
do you think hiring of epstien is going to see a brighter future for the cubs
Bruce Levine (1:13 PM)
I think everybody is enthused with the hiring of young, accomplished executives from elsewhere. Now let's see them roll up their sleeves and get to work.
wes (mt. vernon)
please tell me their is no chance Ryno ends up wearing a Cardinal jersey!
Bruce Levine (1:14 PM)
I'm a big supporter of Sandberg and what he's done. But I wouldn't worry about where he's going to end up. Eventually he will get a manager's job. Just might not be in Chicago.
Gerry (Des Plaines)
Although Jeff Samardzija had a great year as a relief pitcher, with the Cubs in need of starting pitching, what are the chances we will see The Shark in the starting line up next year?
Bruce Levine (1:15 PM)
I think the chances are good. He's 26 with a much younger arm due to the fact he played so much football. I really think the sky is the limit for his ability and his chances to start.
Juinor Lake, who is only 21,has been tearing it up in the AZ Fall League, .315 5HR 15RBI and 14SB, How close is he to the Majors and is he someone that the Cubs would give up for Theo? I hope not seems like a 5-tool player to me.
Bruce Levine (1:16 PM)
He is having a good Fall League. And a Cubs scout I talked to is really high on him. But he still has a ways to go before the big leagues. I doubt he'll be given up in compensation. But again, if Selig is involved you never know.
Gerry (Des Plaines)
Bruce, do you think the Cubs will still go after Ramirez for a "long-term" deal (say 3-4 years) at a lower annual price than his option would have been? Or will he be asking for more years and money than the Cubs are willing to spend on him?
Bruce Levine (1:17 PM)
It appears there's a zero chance he'll be returning. From information I gathered, both sides have agreed that it's time for Ramirez to seek a deal somewhere else.
Tyler (San Diego)
Bruce,Who starts in right field... third and first are a big concern, but who are options in right via free agency?
Bruce Levine (1:17 PM)
I'm goign to have to get back to you on this one.
Bruce,If the Ricketts are able to get Wrigley's landmark status removed/changed, what will be the impact on the product we see on the field? I was wondering whether opening up greater revenue streams will translate to even more money for players.
Bruce Levine (1:19 PM)
I believe the Cubs are committed to spending money regardless of whether they have new revenue streams. It just depends how they want to disperse their money baseball wise. That means, do you spend larger portions for scouting and development or do you put more toward your major league roster. All indications are these guys are going to keep building from a base of the amateur draft and international scouting.
Bruce, you mentioned that there might be a hearing to settle the player exchange for Epstein, almost like an arbitration hearing. If that's the case, are the Cubs hamstrung in trading away any players once the offseason hits? I'd imagine they'd want to start things off quickly.
Bruce Levine (1:19 PM)
I think Selig will find out very quickly if the two sides can settle, otherwise I think he'll step in right away and make moves. This situation has lingered for almost 3 weeks.
Kyle (Genoa City (WI))
Will Castro still be in the lead off spot or will he be moved in the lineup. Maybe the three spot.
Bruce Levine (1:20 PM)
You tell me who the other players are on the team and I'll give you a better answer. Right now he's the best 1, 2, 3 and 4 hitters, especially without Ramirez or Pena in the lineup.
Bruce, can you clear up the contract situation for Samardzija? If they declined his option, how come he isn't a free agent? Thanks!
Bruce Levine (1:21 PM)
He signed a major league contract out of college, a four-year deal. But free agency depends on how much service time you have in the majors. He only has a tad over two years. He's not even arbitration eligible. You can have options without a player being a free agent, such is the case with Jeff.
Bruce, Who will be the starting 3rd baseman for the Cubs on opening day ?
Bruce Levine (1:22 PM)
If we're opening today, either Vitters or LeMahieu.
As exciting as the new front office is, they have a long road ahead of them. What are their first steps and what is a reasonable expectation for next season? I assume Quade is launched and Pena is brought back relatively soon.
Bruce Levine (1:23 PM)
I think just addressing the lack of starting pitching is No. 1. If Epstein can make some magic and trade for a young starter like Danks or Shields, that would make them much more competitive immediately. Don't forget the bullpen is pretty solid. So if you get any starting help you should be better.
Enoch (Chicago (West Side))
With all the talk of Epstein letting Quade finish his deal, I think that does a disservice to him if that is not the guy he wants in the long term as manager. I think they should let him go now because if he came back and the players knowing he was a lame duck they would run all over him in some capacity but I don't think they should outright fire him either. Give him another job in the organization. Thoughts?
Bruce Levine (1:24 PM)
I doubt Mike will take another job in the organization. Just knowing him, he would take the challenge of one more year as manager, even though everything you point out is correct. It's not ideal to have a lame-duck manager. My theory is give him another year added to next season or let him go.
mitch (downers grove)
Could the Cubs sign Fielder and Jose Reyes and play Reyes at 2nd?
Bruce Levine (1:25 PM)
Reyes wouldn't go anywhere where he had to play 2nd. And that combination would cost you somewhere around $350M. I don't think that's where the Cubs are going right now.
Larry Schwimmer (San Francisco)
Do you think the CUBS will be in the bidding to sign FIELDER? And, do you think BRIAN LaHAIR is likely to be both an outfield/1st Base option in 2012?
Bruce Levine (1:26 PM)
No feel for how they look at LaHair. Fielder would fit into their idea of going after young, talented players. Just not sure he would want to come here.
Joe (Evergreen Park)
Hi Bruce,Now that Aramis is definitly gone, what are your thoughts on what the Cubs will do? Promote from the minors, move Castro over, or go after someone in FA like David Wright who I hear the Mets might not be able to keep.
Bruce Levine (1:27 PM)
I think they're going to try to use some players they already have. I don't see them having enough to get a player like Wright.
With Tony LaRussa retiring there really seems to be a changing of the guard in the league now as far as leadership goes. If the Cubs seriously want to make anything happen don't they need to part ways with Quade? And besides Ryno or Francona, who are some under the radar candidates that would make sense?
Bruce Levine (1:28 PM)
Padres manager Bud Black would because of his familiarity with Hoyer and McLeod, and also his reputation as a good manager who understands pitching. Alomar is another name.
Chris (Orland Park)
I'm sure you are tired of the Soriano questions, however what teams would need a guy like that in the American League as a DH?
Bruce Levine (1:29 PM)
Start with a team like the Orioles and look at the Red Sox if they're not bringing back Ortiz. Posada is retiring. Those 3 teams are looking for DHes.
Bruce Levine (1:30 PM)
Should be an interesting week, not only with new execs but finding out the fate of Mike Quade. Follow me on ESPNChiCubs on Twitter. And now stay on for Doug Padilla's half hour.
Doug Padilla (1:31 PM)
Time to chat some White Sox.
Jason Frasor? I can't say that I understand why they picked up his option when they have Addison Reed waiting in the wings. Any thoughts?
Doug Padilla (1:32 PM)
Frasor didn't show a whole lot when he came over to the White Sox, but he has the track record of being a solid reliever. For his experience it would be hard to get a reliever at his price tag ($3.75 million). Reed is still projected to be in the bullpen. It won't hurt his chances to contribute.
Alex (Schererville IN)
Why did the White Sox not go after Frank Thomas to be there hitting coach?
Doug Padilla (1:34 PM)
I think they would like him to get in some work as a lower level instructor before giving him a job like that. Plus, KW and Robin Ventura have had their dust ups with him in the past. Not saying they couldn't all work together, but I think they want to avoid potential drama at this point.
What are the chances of La Russa taking a front office job with the White Sox?
Doug Padilla (1:36 PM)
I think if he came to Jerry and asked for an advisor role he'd get it. Not sure he'd want a full-time front office role at this point. I mean, who wouldn't want to work from home and give their opinion every once in a while? I think Tony might want to decompress at this point, but it could happen down the line.
What's your honest projection on Dunn rios and peavy for next year?
Doug Padilla (1:38 PM)
I'm confident both will be better. Dunn couldn't be any worse, right? I think a new hitting coach (and one that stresses the mental side) will be good for Dunn, but if he and Manto don't click early it could spell trouble. Peavy will be that much further from surgery so he should be better, but nagging injuries in other areas could prove to be a major issue.
Vic Fiebig (Springfield, VA)
Doug - Any chance the Sox pursue Jeff Samardzija?
Doug Padilla (1:39 PM)
Don't think the White Sox would give him anything more than a minor-league deal and an invite to big-league spring camp. Guessing he might get a better offer elsewhere.
Fire Manto!! Sorry..just getting ready for the season.
Doug Padilla (1:41 PM)
It's kind of funny, but the reality is that his job probably will be looked at closest after Ventura because of the offensive troubles from last year. It's be interesting to see what kind of start Dunn, Rios and Beckham get off to.
If Dunn, Rios, Beckham, & Pierzinksi get 2000 PAs for the Sox, that's trouble, right?
Doug Padilla (1:43 PM)
Maybe, but maybe not. If AJ gets that much playing time with Flowers breathing down his neck it must mean he's producing. I wonder if Ventura will show the same patience with Dunn and Rios that Ozzie did last season.
Steve B (Northbrook)
Should the Sox take a "flier" on Grady Sizemore?
Doug Padilla (1:44 PM)
They'll take a "flier" on De Aza before they take one on Grady and since De Aza is already in the fold, Sizemore doesn't seem to be a fit here.
Ken (Tinley Park)
Kenny Williams said any moves they make this offseason will be for "the now" and not the future. He isn't investing in prospects, etc. Well, what if the Sox need someone to help them now, ex. a good veteran player, can they afford him? Or does this mean, this is our team and we aren't making any moves till the end of the season 2012?
Doug Padilla (1:46 PM)
I don't think he's talking about veterans making $12 million per season. If he can grab somebody on the cusp of breaking into the league he'd do it. But it would have to be a younger player still under team control or maybe one about to head into his first arb year.
Is there anyone in the Sox system with the potential to push Beckham or allow the Sox the flexibility to move him if the opportunity arose?
Doug Padilla (1:48 PM)
Eduardo Escobar got a look late last season and he could one day take the role, but he's far behind Beckham as far as potential goes. If they had somebody to push Beckham, he would have been playing in early Sept. when Beckham was clearly fried.
Brent Morel stinks (see, OBP .287). Aramis Ramirez is probably not in the Sox's budget. What about Wilson Betemit as an option at 3rd?
Doug Padilla (1:51 PM)
Patrick, you clearly have an issue with Morel judging by the number of questions you submitted on the subject. He wasn't the issue last season and in fact he did everything he was expected to. Better get used to Morel because he's the guy. As far as going for Betemit, you're joking right?
Rick (New Lenox)
Of the 3, who do you most likely see being moved? Danks, Floyd, Quentin? and who might they trade them for?
Doug Padilla (1:53 PM)
Quentin seems the most likely to go with Viciedo needing a spot to play. If they can land a left fielder who can lead off that would be their ideal. That would allow De Aza to be the fourth outfielder. Not sure that kind of guy out there, because he would also have to fit into the budget.
Bill Wiggins (Rockville, VA)
Any chance of the Sox trading for Brett Gardner?
Doug Padilla (1:54 PM)
He certainly fits multiple needs. See previous answer.
Are the Sox actually content with Rios' defense? It seems that any mention of De Aza entering the starting line-up is with him playing LF.
Doug Padilla (1:55 PM)
Rios' defense is obviously below average. His reads in CF are awful. He's probably more suited for RF but they have a logjam there. At his price tag, though, he has to play. That's a lot of money, not to mention potential (albeit untapped in recent years) that would be riding the bench.
brian estrada (los angeles )
Chances of getting Juan Pierre back? And off topic, La Russa out who coaches the All Star game next year?Thanks!
Doug Padilla (1:57 PM)
Pierre is not coming back. All indications are that KW wanted to dump him at midseason and Ozzie stepped up for his left fielder. Pierre then got hot in a hurry if you remember. As for the NL manager, the league still has to decide. Might be the guy who takes over in STL, but nothing has been decided.
Was the Ventura hire - at least in some small part - Kenny trying to show us how smart he is again and looking for someone that won't argue with him like Ozzie did?
Doug Padilla (1:59 PM)
Look, they were going to go with an up-and-coming type at manager. They always do. KW presented the idea to Jerry, who, by all reports, loved the outside-the-box thinking. The only person KW has to get excited, when it comes down to it, is his boss, and he seem to do that with this decision.
Greg (Oak Lawn)
If this is our team for the 2012 season, minus Buehrle, will the Sox be better or worse than the 2011 season?
Doug Padilla (2:02 PM)
Great question. Gonna guess that preseason predictions won't have them as high as they were before the 2011 year started. But as Konerko said after Ventura was hired, the White Sox do much better when they are expected to finish back in the pack. They were picked 3rd in the division by most in 2005. Remember that year?
Steve B (Northbrook)
Does "up and coming type" mean a manager who'd come cheap?
Doug Padilla (2:04 PM)
Yeah, pretty much. But you and me would be even cheaper and I didn't get a call. The guy has to have some pedigree. The spin that tends to be put on a hire like this is that they want somebody who can grow into his job and be a member of the family for a long time. Essentially a guy that comes in without fanfare and does a good enough job to stick around a decade or so. Hard to do.
George (Carol Stream)
If the Sox have a horrible 2012 season, who's fault is it? KW or Ventura?
Doug Padilla (2:05 PM)
Can't pin that on a first-year guy who was thrown into the fire with a club that has its flaws. It's all on KW.
Doug Padilla (2:06 PM)
Good stuff. Sorry I couldn't get to them all. Resend them in next week. Talk to you then and there is also Twitter: @ESPNChiSox. Thanks.