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 the post-Convention chat room. The cubs are moving forward on their quest for Cuban players while still trying to decide what to do with Garza. Welcome ...
If by some miracle the Cubs are able to unload Soriano, who do you see playing left field/replacing his "production?"
Bruce Levine (1:03 PM)
Right now it depends on if they feel Brett Jackson will make the team out of sprign training. If they think he is ready then Byrd can be moved around if he isn't traded. The Cubs may have their eyes on someone via trade that we don't know about at this point.
Damien (Tinley Park)
what are the chances of the cubs or whitesox getting Yoenes Cespedes or the other 19 yr old cuban prospect, and if Hanley gets traded could the Cubs be suitors
Bruce Levine (1:06 PM)
The Cubs and Sox are extremely interested in Cespedes. See my blog later today on their interest. Cespedes is on record saying the cubs have been proactive with him, more than anyone else. Soler is more of a long-term project, a couple of years away. But the VP of scouting and player developmenet Jason McLeod told me that Soler has a chance to be a big-time power hitter.
Mike (Belvidere, IL)
Your prediction on Garza: (1) traded before season, (2) traded before trade deadline, (3) Cub for the entire 2012 season?
Bruce Levine (1:07 PM)
Hoe about 4, Signed and then traded? This Cubs management group hasn't given complete no-trade clauses to any contracts they have signed players to. They could always sign Garza and trade him at some point. Epstein said they are in the stage of exploring the possibility of signing him to a long-term deal.
What do you make of the recent report from Cespedes that the Cubs have shown the most interest? How soon could he sign?
Bruce Levine (1:09 PM)
First and foremost he is not a citizen of the Dominican yet. As soon as he becomes a citizen and both him and Soler are going through the process, it will then take upwards of two weeks for MLB to confirm their free agency in the United States. We are still a ways away.
Is Epstein content with Barney at 2B for 2012?
Bruce Levine (1:11 PM)
I'm not sure of that. But he may have another idea up his sleeve with a possible trade before Opening Day. I think the consensus may be that Barney could be a terrific backup at SS and 2B. Barney wouldn't like to hear that because he has worked hard on his strength and conditioning to play 150 games this season, but he did wear down the last two months of 2011.
Bruce, what's your sense on whether or not the Cubs will make any more trades? I'm particularly curious about guys like Garza, Dempster, Marmol, Soto, Byrd, and Soriano.
Bruce Levine (1:13 PM)
I think this management team would trade anybody other than Castro. They have no personal or professional allegiances to any of these players. At the same time they know they are quality major league players and will not give them away. But any or all of them could be traded. In Dempster's and Soriano's cases, it would take their permission because they are both 10-and-5 men.
Bruce, do you see the Cubs offseason fine tuning close to finished? Or do you see them moving Marlon Byrd after Cepedes signs with a team?
Bruce Levine (1:14 PM)
It's hard to say. I think you are going to have to keep a veteran or two and they have Johnson. If they can move Soriano I would say there is a chance Byrd stays, but they have been shopping him all winter.
Randy Wells - is he the odd man out of the rotation at this point?
Bruce Levine (1:15 PM)
Not necessarily. We don't know if Garza will be there. And the first thing Epstein and Hoyer said when they came in was that they wanted to build pitching depth in the starting rotation.
Steve (Kenosha, WI)
Would it be possible to swap Soriano for another player with a similar contract like we did with Milton Bradley? Carlos Silva worked out pretty well for us.
Bruce Levine (1:17 PM)
This group doesn't really want to trade bad contracts so when you hear Brian Roberts or Adam Dunn rumors, those are mostly fan-driven. I don't think the Cubs want to get involved in that. Besides, Soriano put up 26 homers and 88 RBIs last season.
Vince (Highlands Ranch, CO)
I just watched the movie "Money Ball" last night. Considering the fact that the Boston Red Sox?s successfully adopted this philosophy, are Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer implementing this type of strategy with the Cubs?
Bruce Levine (1:20 PM)
Part of their philopshopy has always been to find position players who have high on-base percentages as part of their skill set. Their main objective is to get more left-handed both with pitching and hitting. And you would have to say they have accomplished that with some of the moves they have made already. They have acquired three left-handed hitters and two starting pitchers.
What do you guys think about the Rizzo deal?
Bruce Levine (1:21 PM)
We don't know. Cashner is a power arm and a young pitcher, who I think they hesitated to trade. Rizzo has some big upside as a left-handed power hitter. There is a little gamble involved. Rizzo could be up as early as May or June depending on his progress and what LaHair does.
Dontrelle (Rogers Park)
How do you feel about the Budweiser patio. Will it be that much of a change. Its the LED scoreboard that gets me
Bruce Levine (1:23 PM)
Meaning that you don't like decorations on your outfield wall? The OF experience is just taking a bit of a skybox experience and putting it in the bleachers. The Cubs may rent this area out for groups. They still haven't made a decision on that or the price range. It's just another marketing concept. Here's the best marketing concept: Try to win 95 games.
Bruce,Been trying to get this question answered last 2 chats. The Cubs have NO left handed run producer. Prince Fielder is 27 years old and just entering his prime. He is one of the most feared left hander batters in the league. He could probably be signed to a 6-7 year contract. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, the Cubs need not surrender any young talent to sign him. This is a "no-brainer" for Theo, right?
Bruce Levine (1:25 PM)
It's a no-brainer if you're willing to commit the $25 million a year. I've said all along I thought the Cubs were in and should be in on Fielder for the reasons you point out. He's young and is someone they can build around. We shall see if the Cubs can pull this off. Their always reluctant to let any media people know what they are doing. However the way Epstein swooped in and got Crawford last year is an indication you can never count him out on a big signing.
Hi Bruce,Do the Cubs have interest in signing Roy Oswalt on a 1 year deal purely for flipping him to a contender in exchange for prospects in July? That type of move would seem to fit Theo's "creating an asset" theme.
Bruce Levine (1:27 PM)
I think that Billy Beane philosophy with Oswalt might be used somewhere else rather than here. The Cubs have seven pitchers right now and I don't think they are looking at acquiring another veteran.
Brock (NW Indiana)
Bruce, they took Castro off the pocket schedules. You think Theo's opinion of the kid has changed? If he's no longer the face of this franchise, who is?
Bruce Levine (1:28 PM)
He is the face of the franchise but for this year Epstein, Hoyer and McLeod are. They are the ones who have the Cubs future in their hands. Castro is still the best player and the guy they can build around.
Is Josh Vitters still in the Cubs plans? I read that he is no longer considered a third baseman possibly being moved to left field. I know he is still young but im starting to think this guy is draft bust.
Bruce Levine (1:29 PM)
He hit .283 at Double-A. That's probably not enough. You have to have a breakout year. But he is only 21,22 so high school players sometimes take a little bit longer.
Why are we not hearing about Dempster being traded? He has value, and clearly not part of the future.
Bruce Levine (1:30 PM)
Dempster would have to OK a trade. And other teams might not be that excited by him considering he is coming off one of his worst years. Maybe that's a topic that is best between Dempster and Epstein at spring training.
Bruce Levine (1:31 PM)
Keep following Cubs news on ESPNChiCubs and only 32 days until spring training opens. ... Here's Doug ...
Doug Padilla (1:33 PM)
Time to talk some White Sox.
Doug, what does your gut tell you on Floyd, do you think he will be moved before the start of the season?
Doug Padilla (1:34 PM)
My "gut" says a lot of things. Many of them are not good. But it also says that Gavin will be in the starting rotation come Opening Day. The White Sox appear to be done with bigger moves and will add bits and pieces here and there to fill out the roster.
Mike Alioto (Oak Forest )
If the White soxs don't win this year what are the chance that they would the same thing the Cubs are doing right know? Rebuliding
Doug Padilla (1:36 PM)
If they don't win, and the odds are saying it's going to be tough, then yes they do tweak some more. But Rios and Dunn are still on the books past this year. Peavy comes off at the end of the year. It still won't be a classic rebuild.
Paul (Clarendon Hills)
Dougy Fresh. I was surprised to hear about Santos getting traded, and to hear that Addison Reed is the closer of the future. What can you tell us about Reed? Does he have the stuff to be one of the better closers?
Doug Padilla (1:39 PM)
Haven't heard Fresh in a while. Thanks for bringing it back. Reed could be a year away (or less if somebody doesn't grab onto the closer role). Good makeup, nice fastball and changes speeds well. Good size and a fluid throwing motion that suggests durability. He's a quiet guy but he seems to be all guts on the inside. He could be a really good one.
Shawna (Gold Coast)
Doug, #23 has said he hasn't been pushing Adam Dunn yet to step up his training game. Do you think that will change come ST in just a few short weeks?
Doug Padilla (1:41 PM)
It's an interesting situation. If Dunn can get it going, that could be what defines Ventura's early tenure as manager, even if Dunn's rebound was his doing or not. For now Robin wants to be a player's manager so he will give Dunn space. I think once they are working together that will change and Ventura will be able to push him.
Do the Sox have the assets to make a move at one of the Cubans about to come on the market?
Doug Padilla (1:43 PM)
They reduced a lot of payroll in the Quentin move and the Santos deal, but they needed it just to operate this year. Indications are that they are still interested. I think they do have the cash to make a move like that and with Alexei and Viciedo on board it can only help toward being an attractive destination.
Felipe (Collierville, TN)
The White Sox have the 5th largest payroll in baseball. I play fantasy baseball its not hard drafting good players with that kind of payroll. It's not hard to be a GM, you write checks to the best players on the market. Kenny Williams destroying this organization and I think Ozzie had to deal with the underachieving players this year. Ozzie should still be the White Sox manager.
Doug Padilla (1:45 PM)
I'm not saying your opinion is wrong, many people have it. But thinking that you know how to run a big-league team because you play fantasy baseball is a little scary. Doesn't quite work like that, unless baseball wants to make all of its players available and have teams select new rosters.
Any truth to the rumored slogan, "Appreciate the Game?"
Doug Padilla (1:46 PM)
Haven't heard. Doesn't exactly give you goose bumps, does it? It's probably a tough year to pick a slogan, but I'm sure people will come up with some if they get of to another slow start.
Don (Los Angeles)
How much will the Sox miss Ozzie next season?
Doug Padilla (1:48 PM)
It really depends on what Ventura's style is and how it's different than Ozzie. But they players knew where they stood with Ozzie. If that continues then it should be a good clubhouse. Joey Cora knew the AL inside and out, though, and it will be interesting to see if this staff knows the league that well.
What do you expect from Axelrod this year?
Doug Padilla (1:50 PM)
A lot of strikes, that's for sure. He doesn't overpower people and doesn't knock your socks off when watching him. A good spring will go a long way. Doesn't seem to have enough to crack the rotation, but could be vying for a long man spot.
I am a long time Sox fan. What do I have to make me want to spend money to see the games?
Doug Padilla (1:52 PM)
I don't know what your motivation is for buying tickets. I don't work for the White Sox so if you don't want to go, don't go. But teams deserve the following from fans in good times and in bad. If you want to help the club and it's finances down the road get out to some games this summer if only for the dog and a brew. Maybe Viciedo makes them fun to watch. We shall see.
Can the Sox win the division? We know what needs to happen, but can they truthfully be a contender?
Doug Padilla (1:53 PM)
I'm not convinced. I'm not sure anybody is, even Kenny, but I doubt he will say that he expects to finish third. The Tigers still have more talent, the Indians could get better and the Royals surely will get better. Can't see the Twins/Mauer continue to strugle. It's going to be tough. I'd pick them to finish third and I'm never right.
Cheese (Washington, DC)
I have no idea what to expect from the Sox this upcoming season. I'm hoping for at least something to be upbeat about, whether that's a rebounding Rios or Dunn, Alexei taking the next step, Beckham righting his ship, Morel figuring it out, Dayan exploding on the scene, Flowers taking playing time from AJ, Danks filling Buehrle's shoes, or Paulie just continuing to be a consummate pro, something has to work. Right?
Doug Padilla (1:55 PM)
There's always something to be interested in even if the winning doesn't come as people hope. I'm interested in seeing how Dunn handles a second year in the AL and how Viciedo takes to his new role. Reporters will be talking to Viciedo later today. It'll be interesting to hear what he says about the season.
Felipe (Collierville, TN)
Hey Doug it's me again. Can you ask Kenny Williams to watch the movie Moneyball. Thanks buddy!
Doug Padilla (1:57 PM)
Um, Moneyball doesn't exactly work like it did in the early 2000s. Everybody uses some version of that philosophy now. And remember the movie was mostly about the 2002 season. The Angels won the World Series that year. The White Sox won it three years later.
Outside of making the playoffs this year, what defines Ventura's first year as manager as a success?
Doug Padilla (1:59 PM)
I don't think the White Sox have a playoff squad. If he gets them close that would be saying something. But if they aren't good it's hard to call him a bust after one season. It's not like he has been given the best club in the league.
who will have the better year between Morel and Beckam? Are we going to be satisfied with their performances?
Doug Padilla (2:00 PM)
You have to go with Beckham just based on experience. I think a new coaching staff will help. Not saying they will have anything different to say to him than Walker provided, but sometimes a different person saying the same things makes a difference.
Is Alexi the best SS in the AL? I love Alexi, but that's a sad commentary on AL shortstops, no?
Doug Padilla (2:02 PM)
Nobody's calling him a Hall of Famer just yet, but he stacks up well against the current crop of AL shortstops. He does a lot of things well. He didn't look to take another step forward last season so it will be interesting to see how he handles 2012. Exceptional defense will realy help this year's club.
Scott (Posen, IL)
Hey Doug, what have you heard about what the Sox are going to do with Peavy? Is he going to be a fixture in the rotation? Is there a possibility that he might close? The money he is making would for the most mean he is going to start to get some type of return on the investment, but cdo you think his arm can really handle the work load anymore? I feel like it may not hurt to have him close use his skills in a limited capaticy to reduce stress or wear and tear. What are your thoughts?
Doug Padilla (2:05 PM)
The plan for now is to have him start. He is another year removed from surgery and it should help. But indicati0ns are that he has asked others around the league about being a closer and what it takes to do that job. Not sure if the rumor is true, though.
Felipe (Collierville, TN)
When will Adam Dunn, Jake Peavy & Alex Rios be traded? They are a product of Kenny Williams trades and signings. They are hurting our ball club. This all stems from the upper management. If the Sox are trying to rebuild they need to start from the GM position.
Doug Padilla (2:06 PM)
They can't be traded. They make too much money. Nobody wants to take on those contracts and the White Sox aren't interested in paying them big bucks to play for somebody else. Get used to them.
With all the talk of dumping salary and rebuilding, does anyone in the NL have desire to talk about Dunn? If not, any talk about trading Paulie for arms and prospects?
Doug Padilla (2:07 PM)
Dunn doesn't have much trade value and would have to build that up this year. Konerko wants to finish the final two years of his contract with the White Sox but has said he would be open to being moved if it was the right situation for him and the team.
Doug Padilla (2:08 PM)
Thanks for the questions. Look for a Viciedo update later today on ESPNChicago.com. And as always, follow on Twitter: @ESPNChiSox.