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 Ozzie Fest 2012! I'm pretty sure that both Cubs and Sox fans will be interested to hear what he has to say about them. In the meantime, it's trade talks all day, every day until August 1st. Welcome.
Chad Graber (Jacksonville FL)
In your opinion, has the Epstein arrival lived up to the fan fare so far? I haven't seen much in the way of positives, yet I understand this is a long rebuilding process. Is Epstein really worth the hype?
Bruce Levine (1:06 PM)
Only time will tell. Insiders around the club will tell you that the Cubs' turnaround will take a long time. That means that competitively speaking, 2014-2015 will be ready to show what they are all about. Meanwhile they'll be taking their payroll money and spending it elsewhere, like on projects in the Dominican Republic and signing international free agents.
The Cubs are only 12 games out of the wildcard, Can they still compete for the playoffs?
Bruce Levine (1:07 PM)
I think the stuff that you're doing right now might be illegal. Honestly, I know Cubs fans are optimistic, but it's just not where this franchise is going right now. If Dempster and Garza are still with team after August 1st, then maybe your scenario still exists.
Do the White Sox have enough in the farm system to make a trade with Zack Greinke?
Bruce Levine (1:09 PM)
Depends what the Brewers are looking for. If they are looking for players off the major league roster, that might be a bit difficult. Obviously the Sox have good, young arms. You've seen a number of them in their bullpen. But I doubt they would put a guy like Quintana in a trade for a player like Greinke, and that is certainly who the Brewers would ask for. The Sox also have good pitching talent in Class A and AA if the Brewers will wait for them to mature.
Bruce, out of Hamels, Greinke, Garza and Dempster, how many do you think get traded and who gets back the most in return?
Bruce Levine (1:11 PM)
I believe all 4 will be traded. My gut feeling is that Garza will bring back more than the rest. My reasoning is that he will have another year of club control while the others are free agents as of November. For example, if Texas trades for Garza and they know they are getting him for two playoff runs -- this year and next -- in their mind, they are more likely to give up top prospects than for a two-month pitcher.
Why does Robin insist on keeping Youk in the 2 hole ? I still think Beckham is more suited for that spot while Youk should hit 5 or 6 or maybe even 3
Bruce Levine (1:13 PM)
Robin is very stubborn about where he puts a guy, and he doesn't like moving people around in the lineup. I think in his mind he thinks players get comfortable hitting in one spot and they don't have to worry about looking at the lineup card every day. It was a big deal for Robin when he played, and he likes that consistency for his team too.
Brent Lillibridge got DFA'd yesterday. Is he coming back to the Sox? Will that mean the end for O-Dog?
Bruce Levine (1:14 PM)
That's a possible scenario. But the Red Sox have 10 days to trade Lillibridge. Otherwise he goes to waivers. If he's not claimed they can send him to AAA, if he accepts. He probably would be an upgrade over Hudson.
Hey Bruce, how about the sox try and get a package deal of Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers from the Astros?
Bruce Levine (1:15 PM)
Not a bad call. Kenny is not a big believer in pitchers from the National League. He just believes that unless a pitcher has done well in the American League, the competition level is very different. But I believe both guys could help the White Sox.
I'm a long time follower of the White Sox and my question is with DeAza's slump lately why hasnt he tried bunting the ball more and try and bunt for hits it seems like lately he has abandoned the things that got him to his 300 average at 1 time
Bruce Levine (1:16 PM)
Could not agree with you more. I think small-ball approach is a good way to get out of a slump. For some reason these days you see fewer and fewer guys trying to bunt for base hits.
Bruuuuuce, with Lake, Vitters, and Baez all in the minors, and the Cubs rumored to be interested in a 3rd base prospect in trades, they can't all play the infield. Who projects where in the future, and who may be trade chips for starting pitching?
Bruce Levine (1:17 PM)
Vitters would be a nice trade chip if they acquire a 3rd base prospect. Most scouts that I talk to believe that he will be a legit .280-.300 hitter. The problem they have is that they cannot project about what his power numbers will be, and what position will be best for him to play.
Patrick (Hudson, OH)
What are the odds we get a prospect for Dempster who ranks higher than Baez in our system?
Bruce, is the Costellanos kid off the table in talks with the Tigers? What about Dempster and Vitters for Costellanos and Turner? Who says no?
Bruce Levine (1:21 PM)
Not sure if they get a better prospect than Baez, but they can get two pitching prospects for Dempster. I'm sure the Cubs would be satisfied with a couple pitching prospects they can project as major leaguers. The Tigers are more interested in the here and now. I don't believe they are giving up their number one rated minor leaguer for Dempster. There is a possibility if they like Garza that they would.
Is Konerko hurt? For the last 3 weeks he has looked like he is only swinging with his upper body.
Bruce Levine (1:22 PM)
Paulie has had some back problems off and on throughout his career. I agree with you--he doesn't look like himself right now. It's hard to imagine, but Konerko is actually 5th on the Sox in RBIs, which is mind-boggling considering he has been among the league-leaders in hitting all year.
I still dont get why the Cubs want to keep Wrigley Field. The organization could pull in so much more if they built a new state of the art stadium. If you want to still keep the feel just make it a replica of Wrigley. Why don't they just do something along those lines?
Bruce Levine (1:24 PM)
First and foremost you'd have to buy new property, than put about $750,000,000 into the facility itself. I don't know anyone in this economy that has that kind of money, certainly not the city of Chicago, the state of Illinois or the Ricketts family. Although your theory makes sense in general, it's just not going to happen.
Bruce, I am a Cubs fan, and I would not boo Zambrano. He gave us much more good times than bad times. And I could care less about Ozzie. I think the whole thing is overblown. What do you think>?
Bruce Levine (1:26 PM)
I'm with you. At this point Ozzie is the manager of another NL team. Certainly he'll always be remembered as a great White Sox player and head of the world champion Sox team, but that is history at this point. Ozzie has done quite well for himself and should be very happy where he is at. Zambrano was a wonderful pitcher until 2008. After that he was a .500 pitcher with an ERA of about 4.30. So he was really two different types of pitchers from '02-'08 and '08-'11.
Hi Bruce, what can the Cubs realistically expect in a trade involving Matt Garza? He hasn't been truly spectacular this year, and if I were another team's GM, I wouldn't want to give up my top prospects for him.
Bruce Levine (1:28 PM)
There's 2 different theories on Garza. Your theory about his inconsistency. The other is that with more run support he would be one of the top pitchers in baseball. Stuff-wise he hasn't been the pitcher he was last year. Cubs would want at least three top prospects for Garza. Ones that would project to major leaguers in the next 2-3 years.
Erik (Gilberts, IL)
Do you know how Bobby Jenks is doing after being released from the Red Sox? White Sox have given second chances before on low risk pickups. Any interest in Bobby or is he done? Just wondering...
Bruce Levine (1:29 PM)
I think Bobby has run out of chances with the White Sox. They went above and beyond with Bobby. Otherwise, I don't know if he is physically able to pitch at the major league level again, and I don't have any update on his health status.
Erik (Gilberts, IL)
Bruce, aside from the big name starters out there (Dempster, Garza, Greinke), do you know of any other off the radar starting pitchers the White Sox might have interest in? I know years ago, they loved Jon Lannon from Washington. Thanks!
Bruce Levine (1:30 PM)
Lannan is short when it comes to his stuff, he's not the pitcher he was 2 or 3 years ago. Liriano of the Twins has been mentioned by scouting sources of mine as a player the White Sox might be interested in.
With Grenke and Hamils on the trade market, would it be smart for the Cubs to trade for either with the intentions to sign them to a long term deal?
Bruce Levine (1:31 PM)
Not on the Cubs radar. The type of money they want is something that the Cubs won't be spending until 2015 and 2016. They won't be going long-term with any player until they have their system built up.
Any more on Detroit's interest in Darwin Barney? Is there a chance he gets moved to make way for Cardenas?
Bruce Levine (1:33 PM)
That would not be the reason they trade Barney. The reason they would trade him would be if they received a couple of good, young players from another organization. They are not trying to trade Barney but will listen to offers.
I'm hearing rumors about Cubs looking for third base prospects; why would this be if Vitters is the future 3B for The Cubbies? And any chance of Cubs being involved in Justin Upton sweeps??
Bruce Levine (1:35 PM)
Doubtful on Justin Upton, very doubtful. The Cubs are not sure if Vitters is the 3rd baseman of the future. I think they will be looking at any good third base prospect that hits for power.
What are the chances Dempster gets traded, plays the remainder of his contract out with his new team, and re-signs with the Cubs next year?
Bruce Levine (1:42 PM)
I think both the Cubs and Dempster feel that from watching these things from the past that they rarely do happen. What normally happens is the guy doesn't want to leave and is afraid to go. But when he gets in a new, winning situation he's happy to stay there. That happened with Ted Lilly a few years ago.
Dan (Mt. Prospect )
I've been trying to ask for five weeks where Daniel Vogelbach is playing but my question hasn't been posted. Please, end my suspense!
Bruce Levine (1:44 PM)
Vogelbach is playing in the Arizona Rookie League and had home runs in three straight games last week. He's hitting .358 there.
Troy (indianapolis, in)
What prospects (Vitters, Jackson, Lake etc) do you see the Cubs calling up in the 2nd half of the season?
Bruce Levine (1:45 PM)
None of them. The only one that is close to ready is Vitters and he also fits their criteria of having at least 500 at-bats in the minor leagues. Maybe Vitters, but not the other two.
Do you think the Sox will bring in any bullpen help before the trade deadline?
Bruce Levine (1:46 PM)
They need to. Unfortunately there are 15 teams looking for the same relief pitchers. But the White Sox desperately need a quality set-up man. Hoping that Crain comes back healthy is too big of a risk.
Dannon (Thomson, IL)
With Ozzie coming to town can you please explain what was the big deal with him and Bryce Harper. It seemed to me like Ozzie blew the whole situation out of proportion...
Bruce Levine (1:47 PM)
I'll have to ask Ozzie what his point was today. But it appears he was saying that the hype surrounding Harper is more than he deserves.
It's hot now. Real hot outside. Where is Alexei Ramirez' power? Has the AL caught up to him or is he in one of those year-long power funks?
Bruce Levine (1:48 PM)
It's kind of shocking because he's averaged 15 home runs a year. Maybe he'll get really hot the last two months and end up with 12 or so. He just hasn't driven the ball this season.
Andy (Lindenhurst) [via mobile]
Do you expect Baez, Soler, and Almora do come through the minors together or is Soler farther ahead?
Bruce Levine (1:49 PM)
I think Baez is ahead of Soler at this point, but we'll find out when we see where the Cubs place Soler next month. It's possible he'll go to Peoria Class A right away. Almora is the real deal talent-wise according to scouts I've talked to, but he's just 18 years old.
Why wouldn't they be on Justin Upton? Even if it does cost prospects, at 24 years old Upton the type of player the Cubs should be targeting. Justin Upton for the next 6-7 years is far more valuable I think than hoping 3-4 prospects pan out, wouldn't you agree?
Bruce Levine (1:51 PM)
I would agree but I don't think they have the prospects to acquire him. Who exactly in the Cubs organization do you think would be a match for acquiring Upton? There is also some concern as to why he has underachieved up to this point. We know he has great talent, but the question is why hasn't he shown it more consistently.
Is there any chance the White Sox trade Beckham? If so, who could we get for him?
Bruce Levine (1:54 PM)
Why would they want to trade Beckham at this point? He's the best defensive second baseman in the AL this side of Robinson Cano. So offensively he has improved. Will he ever hit .300 and 25 homers? Can't answer that. But there is no reason the Sox would be interested in trading him at this point.
I would pay serious money to see a post-season TV booth of Hawk Harrelson and Ozzie Guillen. Wouldn't matter what teams were playing. Wouldn't you?
Bruce Levine (1:55 PM)
Both are highly-opinionated, so I don't know if either one would be listening to what the other had to say. Besides I don't know if Ozzie knows who Yaz is.
Bruce Levine (1:57 PM)
Should be an interesting week here. Sadly, no baseball in Chicago at all this weekend -- can you believe it? We'll be covering the Santo induction over the weekend in Cooperstown. Follow me on Twitter @ESPNBruceLevine and Doug Padilla @ESPNChiCubs for all the latest on Sox and Cubs news and trade talks.