Chat with Bruce Levine
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox reporter Bruce Levine stops by Tuesday to chat.
Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.
Send your questions now and join the chat Tuesday at noon CT/1 p.m. ET!
Bruce Levine (1:03 PM)
Welcome to the 83rd annual All-Star Game in beautiful Kansas City, Missouri. I cannot comment on the BBQ, since I no longer eat meat, but I hear it's great. And welcome to Cubs and White Sox trade talk!
Why can't my Sox get anyone to come to come to games? I come when I can, but I live pretty far away. Is the problem that too few fans live close enough or that they just can't afford it?
Bruce Levine (1:05 PM)
I think it's a city of Chicago problem. I really believe that fans want an entertainment area to go to when they come to the ballpark. People don't like dead-heading from their home to the ballpark. They prefer to stay around the park and eat and drink, and there aren't many places to do that around the Cell.
Hey Bruce! Any new information on a possible Dempster trade now that he's back in rotation?
Bruce Levine (1:06 PM)
It's going to take another outing or two before he gets moved. But he will definitely be traded to the highest bidder, and that's before July 31st. Dempster is in control of his fate, and he has already agreed with the Cubs to be moved.
Eric (Arlington, VA)
What do the White Sox need going forward into the second half of the season to maintain their standing on top of the AL Central? Youklis has been a great pickup to fill the void at 3B, maybe some more relief pitching?
Bruce Levine (1:08 PM)
More relief pitching, tes, and maybe another starter too. The White Sox have 4 decent starters right now, since Floyd has picked up his game. However the fifth starter spot is troublesome at this point. Just imagine if they got a horse like Hamels or Garza to go with what they already have.
What do the Sox do with the rotation once Humber and Danks both come back (or is Danks so far off that it isn't an issue)? I can't see Quintana being the odd man out...
Bruce Levine (1:10 PM)
Counting on Danks is a risky proposition. I don't think you place your playoff hopes on a guy that has been injured for two months. The other problem is that some point Sale will be rested for a long period of time, and someone will have to pitch during that two-week period. That said, they still need to add another starter.
Zack (Valencia, Spain)
Bruce, greetings from across the Atlantic. How are the trade talks progressing for Theo & Company? Are there any other players that realistically might get traded besides Dempster, Garza and LaHair? I don't see any teams being serious about taking Soriano or Marmol. What should we realistically expect to get in return for any of these trades? I think Theo will place a premium on getting pitchers in return, considering our obvious lack of depth there. Love the blog, keep it up!
Bruce Levine (1:12 PM)
There's a good likelihood that Paul Maholm will be traded. Maholm is a very serviceable fourth or fifth starter that has an easy contract for another team to absorb. I believe Maholm's an underrated player as far as trade talk goes. Guys like Reed Johnson and Jeff Baker end up elsewhere too.
Long term...where does Dale Sveum stand? Was he hired to babysit until the team is ready to contend? Or is the plan to keep him around for the long haul?
Bruce Levine (1:14 PM)
Good organizations keep people in their positions for long periods of time. Just look at the Atlanta Braves and the Minnesota Twins who have continuity through good and bad times. Sveum has to avoid the emotional swings of a manager whose team is destined to lose for a couple of years. So far he's done remarkable well with it.
Tyler (South Carolina)
who do you think will win the 2012 al cy young award?
Bruce Levine (1:15 PM)
Well, right now it's a battle between Verlander and Chris Sale. I guess you have to throw Matt Harrison in there as well. I don't know if Sale will pitch enough innings to satisfy the voters at the end.
Jay(Chicago) [via mobile]
Is Garza going to be dealt this year, or next? Also, any news on trade rumors? Who will be dealt first?
Bruce Levine (1:16 PM)
I think Garza will be traded this year. He can bring back the most prospects for the Cubs now, because he's under control for the trading team for two playoff runs, which is very attractive to a GM that has to trade 2 or 3 of his top players to get a starter. Next year his value will be less.
Any chance of seeing Jamie Moyer in a cubs uniform again? If Dempster/Garza/Maholm leave...
Bruce Levine (1:17 PM)
I think if the Cubs plan another old timers day, then maybe Moyer will come back. But I don't see the viability of signing a 50-year-old pitcher right now for the Cubs.
Why is Samardzija never mentioned in tade talks? Is he off limits? If so, why? Personally I love the guy and want him to stay. Just wondering.
Bruce Levine (1:18 PM)
Every team wants to develop their own power arms. Samardzija is 27, but his arm is about 21 or 22 in baseball years. That's because he wasn't abused in high school or college. The Cubs would like to develop him and keep him for a number of years.
Bruce, I know Konerko's numbers were terrific throughout the first half, but i see multiple concerns with him. One, his batting average is declining steadily over the past month or so. Also, his clutch hitting has been poor to say the least. What has been your take on Konerko?
Bruce Levine (1:19 PM)
I think because the fact he uses his emergency swing so often it has impacted his run production. The emergency swing has helped him maintain a high batting average. But some of those singles to right field have not been keeping his slugging percentage where it needs to be.
Zach (Chicago )
Why isn't Campana playing everyday? All this talk about planning for the future, etc, and dejusus is the everyday CF and Jeff Baker starts over Lahair against lefties?
Bruce Levine (1:22 PM)
I don't know what position Campana would be playing for you. They believe that DeJesus is their best outfielder and he has to be in the lineup. Campana is an average outfielder with a below-average arm. They try to develop his hitting, but he still needs a lot of work to be an everyday player.
Tom (Chicago )
Bruce what has Brett Jackson done to his game to cause so many strike outs? Is he swinging for the fences to much? Or is he trying to pull too much? What have you heard from scouts? Thank you so much!
Bruce Levine (1:23 PM)
Some of the guys that he played with at Iowa like Casey Coleman think that he was just going out of his zone and trying to get to the major leagues too quickly. Look for him to maybe be called up in September. I don't see him coming any sooner.
Pete (St. Louis)
Putting aside any discussion of whether the Cubs will be competitive in 2013, is there any word, one way or the other, as to whether Theo will have a restriction of the size of the MLB payroll of any sort?
Bruce Levine (1:25 PM)
I don't believe there will be any restrictions, but I don't see any major increases in 2013. They could be down over $30 million from this year to next considering the subtractions Garza, Dempster, Zambrano and Byrd. Right there you have close to $40 million. Obviously there going to have pay somebody to play. But I see a payroll under $90 million for next year.
Jon (Batavia, IL)
Hey Bruce, looks like Javier Baez is having a decent year in Peoria, do you see him moving to AA and perhaps over to 3rd base as well? Also, where do you see Dan Vogelbach in 2 - 3 years? Looks like this kid can hit and has some power. Thanks!
Bruce Levine (1:28 PM)
Many people believe Baez is the best hitting prospect in their minor league system. They'll be sure to take his development slowly. He could be in AA by next year. Do not know if he will be a 3rd baseman or shortstop at this point.
tom (Gilberts, IL)
Would the Sox consider signing AJ for 2 years at 8 million even though he's getting up there in age? Or would AJ command even more?
Bruce Levine (1:30 PM)
Hard to say about what AJ looks to do. At this point he probably has to take it one year at a time, but he should be getting a nice increase in pay. His average salary over the last two years has been $4 million.
Bruce - how come we never see you on first take debating Skip- any interest?
Bruce Levine (1:30 PM)
There's nothing to debate there -- we all know the answer. Fill in your own blank.
jeff (chgo ridge)
could the whitesox look into reed johnson for outfield held?
Bruce Levine (1:31 PM)
He would be a nice addition. Over the last month he's really been getting a lot of important hits. I know there are a couple teams that have interest in him.
Any chance we see a guy like Hamels, Greinke, or Garza in a Sox uniform? It would put our farm back a bit, but think of the rotation they could have. Who would they have to give up? Just wondering.
Bruce Levine (1:32 PM)
They'd have to give up some of their top class A or AA pitchers. The White Sox have some quality arms down there. Never count Kenny Williams out when it comes to pulling off a big deal.
Timothy (Chicago )
Bruce will the Cubs trade Barney? Or is he considered a building block?
Bruce Levine (1:33 PM)
They will trade Barney if they get a good, young 2nd base prospect back in the deal. Barney can be more help to a contender than he can to a team like the Cubs.
Bruce,What are your thoughts on A. Rizzo so far? And do you see him becoming an All-Star next season?
Bruce Levine (1:35 PM)
He's probably the NL MVP as it stands right now. Just kidding, of course. But from a Cubs fan's perspective it may feel that way. He's been very impressive, especially the way he drives ball to the opposite field against left-handed pitching. If you notice, the Cubs better play as a team corresponds with this call up. They've won their last 9 of 13. He's been a major reason why.
we always hear about the next wave of cubs young position players, who are the next crop of pitchers that we will see come up?
Bruce Levine (1:36 PM)
Haven't heard enough on any real quality guys down there. The emphasis is on starting to develop some of the young players they recently drafted. Also, developing some arms from signing Cuban players like Concepcion.
Are you at all surprised that Theo has taken no heat, at least public, for his first trade? Colvin is showing the great promise he did as a rookie, and Stewart, well...
Bruce Levine (1:38 PM)
Colvin has had a really nice year and is super-hot right now. Stewart has been a major disappointment. Trades are kind of funny -- everyone thought the Travis Wood deal was a bad one a month ago, but now he's been one of the best left-handed starters in the league over the last 7 or 8 starts. You have to wait on trades to fully evaluate them.
Jay(chicago) [via mobile]
Why are the Cubs looking to trade Bryan Lahair? He plays average defense in RF. A lefty with power. Should be in the Cubs lineup for a couple more years. Thoughts?
Bruce Levine (1:39 PM)
They could go either way with LaHair. I agree with you. He's more valuable to the Cubs than the team that will give up a marginal player in return. Now, if someone is willing to overpay, that's another story.
Best guess on where Dempster is traded to?
Bruce Levine (1:40 PM)
Dodgers have been the front-runners all along. Although Atlanta or Cleveland might give up a better package, I'll stick with the Dodgers.
How much of the Sox success this year can be credited to Ventura?
Bruce Levine (1:42 PM)
A great majority of it. Just due to the relaxed, professional environment he's created. The players get the credit though for having the kind of seasons they've had so far. But Robin and his staff have been an important factor.
This may seem obvious, but will Konerko retire as a white sox?
Bruce Levine (1:43 PM)
I don't know if it's obvious. Next year is the last of his current contract. I think that's what he prefers at this point. Remember Frank Thomas played on two other teams after the White Sox, so you never say never.
Mark (Nashville, TN)
Bruce - the Diamondbacks are said to be considering trading Justin Upton. If that's the case, do you think the Cubs will enter the conversation. He's only 24 and has all the tools to be an impact OF for years to come. Just curious - Thanks!
Bruce Levine (1:44 PM)
If a player like that really is available, what do the Cubs have to trade for him? Unless the Diamondbacks are interested in Garza as part of the package, they don't really have much to offer a team.
What is Alex Rios doing differently at the plate lately, because he has been an absolute monster! Can he keep it up the rest of the season?
Bruce Levine (1:46 PM)
The first step was moving him back to right field. He's much more relaxed playing there. Number two is the way he's been handled by the White Sox staff. Alex is a sensitive guy and takes criticism to heart.
Capi (Miami, FL)
Bruce, do you know when and where we should expect Soler and Almora play this year? It would be nice to see both of them in the same OF and develop together.
Bruce Levine (1:47 PM)
Almora might play in the rookie league, which is a short season team. As far as Soler, he has more experience and could start at class A. No determination has been made yet.
Robert (South Carolina)
Do you see anyone making a trade for Soriano? I know we have to eat most of the contract but he has been playing very well. Do you think his trade value high this year?
Bruce Levine (1:48 PM)
No I don't see him being traded. I think the Cubs will have to watch him play here or eventually eat the contract and let him go. There's still close to $50 million left.
bruce - the home run contest has become as boring as the slam dunk contest - why doesn't the leage make the superstars participate and make it fun again - and forget the combination of the first 2 rounds - and if kemp has not played since may he should not be allowed to hit - what are you thoughts
Bruce Levine (1:49 PM)
I agree with you. It bores me to tears. But don't tell our TV network because it's one of the more popular events they produce each year. So don't get me in trouble!
Hey Bruce: How about Nate Jones, Beckham, and Nestor Molina for Darwin Barney and Dempster? Either side interested?
Bruce Levine (1:51 PM)
They would want Dempster but those guys wouldn't get him to the South Side.
Is the new Cubs regime more likely to consider character as well as ability? Please tell me we won't be seeing anymore Bradley or Zambrano types for awhile.
Bruce Levine (1:52 PM)
Character is going to be an important part for this regime. You won't see any long-term deals for players that are not good citizens or don't have good character.
If the Chisox make another move, who do you think will be traded from the current roster? I'd have to say Escobar/Flowers and or Jordan Danks? Those are young guys other teams would be interested in getting back, much like Lillibridge and Stewat were.
Bruce Levine (1:55 PM)
For the White Sox to acquire top pitchers you will have to give up pitching from their class A and AA levels. That would also retard their plans on player development for the future. And they would have to add someone from the major league staff too.
What's the plan for resting Sale in the 2nd half. He's already got 100 innings under his belt and you'd obviously want him to be able to pitch if the Sox reach October?
Bruce Levine (1:56 PM)
He's going to pitch on Sunday. That will have given him about 12 days off. They'll be doing this one more time. Sometime in August or early-September. That's what I've been told.
Bruce Levine (1:58 PM)
Lots of activity here, so keep following my reports on ESPN 1000, on ESPNChicago.com and on Twitter @ESPNBruceLevine.