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 (1:00 PM)
Both general managers and presidents are sitting in their MLB "Batcaves" contemplating their next big deal. It's wall-to-wall action from here until the 31st. Welcome!
Tim bridgview [via mobile]
What can't the sox see what everyone else can see easily? That Phil Humber is not a major league pitcher. Texas might get ten in one inning this weekend against him.
Bruce Levine (1:01 PM)
It has been pretty frustrating for the White Sox to watch Humber pitch, especially after he threw a perfect game in April. The White Sox definitely need to add on if they can get a top quality starter -- not a marginal one.
Ross, Wahoo NE [via mobile]
Is A. Sancez and O. Infante better than Garza and Barney? It would have been nice getting Turner in return.
Bruce Levine (1:03 PM)
Turner was talked about but not for Garza and Barney -- you need a lot more in return for that. Garza is one of the top 10 pitchers in baseball right now, stuff-wise. The Cubs were looking to get Smyly, Castallanos and Turner in that deal.
Bruce, is Kenny bringing us Greinke? I sure hope so!
Bruce Levine (1:04 PM)
He fits the criteria of what Kenny's looking for. Kenny wants a guy that is proven in the AL, and not afraid to pitch in a big city like Chicago. That part of the equation we don't know about since Greinke has only pitched in KC and Milwaukee. But when on top of his game Greinke is a dominant pitcher.
so with possibly 3/5 of starting rotation maybe getting traded, what do you see as the cubs rotation on aug 1? shark, wood, then what and what can you see the cubs record like then? playing for 1st pick next year?
Bruce Levine (1:05 PM)
There's always Coleman, Rodrigo Lopez and Chris Rusin -- those are some of the candidates. Someone from the pen could get stretched out too. We all know it's not about 2012 anyway.
Is anyone talking about DeJesus? Seems like a good option for teams with subpar leadoff hitters - Cincy? Pitt? Thanks!
Bruce Levine (1:06 PM)
He does run as well as a lot of leadoff men. He's not a top of the order hitter for a contender. He's a good player, don't get me wrong, but just not a difference maker.
Ryan (Cedar Rapids)
Will interested teams make Garza make another start before they will make a trade? This is assuming his injury wont send him to the DL.
Bruce Levine (1:07 PM)
If they're smart they will make him start again. You don't want to trade some of your top players for someone that is hurt. I think Garza will definitely make one more start before he's traded. The medicals only tell you so much. You need to see him make 100 pitches in a game.
Is the Dempster deal straight up for Delgado and cash or are there more pieces involved?
Bruce Levine (1:09 PM)
Don't know for sure. But I would assume that the Cubs will eat some of the money left on Dempster. There's roughly about $6 million left for 2012. Unlike some people, I only report what I know, and not afraid to say I don't. The only parts to the deal I know about are Delgado and Dempster. I know the teams agreed to those two names.
After another sub-par season will the Cubs bring back Soto for the 2013 season or trade him during the off season ?.
Bruce Levine (1:10 PM)
They would trade him now if they got the right deal. He's had two sub-par years in a row, however, he's one of the few catchers in either league that hits for powers. I do know the Angels were watching him over the last week.
If the Tigers are done trading how do you think they stack up with the Sox?
Bruce Levine (1:11 PM)
They got themselves another quality starter in Sanchez. But like Kenny Williams says, sometimes the NL pitchers do not perform in the AL. He may be as good a pitcher as Humber and a lesser pitcher than Floyd. So if you're comparing apples and apples, we'll have to see how he fares in the AL.
Sam (Lincoln Park)
Hi Bruce, lots of trade talk about Dempster and Garza, do you think we will move Brian LaHair and Reed Johnson?
Bruce Levine (1:13 PM)
I think Johnson will be moved. He's a valuable extra player for somebody, and the same thing applies to Jeff Baker, who is a quality hitter against lefties. The Cubs are much better off holding on to LaHair because he is a left-handed power bat that can play 1B and OF. What if there is an injury to Rizzo down the line? You'd like to have a strong backup and LaHair's contract is the major league minimum.
On a scale of 1-10, how PO'd was the shark about not going out for the 9th?
Bruce Levine (1:14 PM)
I'll have to ask Doug Padilla, who was at the game. But Samardzija is on board with these guys as far as how he is being handled. He believes in pitching coach Chris Bosio and Sveum's plan for him.
Joe B (Oxford, CT)
Bruce, Is yesterday's events with Dempster simply a case of him getting annoyed because the trade details got out before he was formally notified? Hasn't he initimated he would be agreeable to going to Atlanta? Doesn't Sveum look foolish for calling this a total fabrication if/when it goes down?
Bruce Levine (1:16 PM)
I still don't understand the 'fabrication' line. Everyone knows there was a deal on the table, and neither side denied it. Maybe Dale was alluding to the fact that a deal was done, which it couldn't be until Dempster agreed. I believe Dempster was upset because he was hit with a barrage of media people before he had time to decide whether or not he would accept the trade. In other words, to Dempster something wasn't right about it.
Aaron (Cincinnati, OH)
Any chance on Jurgens coming with Delgado for Dempster?
Bruce Levine (1:18 PM)
I sure hope not because he's not very good, and hasn't been for some time. I don't think Epstein and Hoyer are just interested in getting bodies. For example, Delgado is a high-quality prospect. He has above-average stuff. Just learning to command his pitches will determine if he will be a quality pitcher in the major leagues. Those are the types of players the Cubs are looking for in trades.
C. Williamson (Robinson, IL)
Any takers on Marmol or Soriano?
Bruce Levine (1:20 PM)
Not at this point. I think one team called with peripheral interest in Soriano last week, but was not interested in eating a bunch of the money he's owed.
Mikey (The loop )
With the Shark and Travis Wood looking like solid 2-3 guys in the rotation, what do we do about getting a Number 1?
Bruce Levine (1:22 PM)
Number will have to come in the trade for Garza. That will be the goal for Epstein and Hoyer as they peruse offers for him. Garza is a top of the rotation pitcher. The Cubs will demand a top of the rotation prospect and at least two other prospects for Garza. Baseball is a supply and demand type of business. There is not a lot of teams trading quality starting pitching. And the Cubs have tow of the possibly 5 that are out there.
Kris (Grand rapids)
What is your take on prospects Randall Delgado and Zach Lee?
Bruce Levine (1:23 PM)
Lee is the top young pitcher in the Dodgers organization. The Cubs would probably not make a deal with LA without getting him in return. The tricky part for the Cubs is trying to project someone being as good as Garza down the road. They are in a great position because they do not have to trade Garza. They can hold on to him for now and trade him next year.
Robert (Madison, WI)
While the White Sox were in Boston, I noticed one of the Boston writers made light of the fact that the team was regularly taking infield before games (he indicated he hadn't seen a major league team do this in 20+ years). Given how consistent the defense and fundamentals have been this season, could this coaching staff be onto something?
Bruce Levine (1:25 PM)
Yes--they have control of their team. That means they don't take any BS about having to rest for two hours before the game starts. When you're the home team I think taking infield is a must. It gets you prepared to play and go out there on defense, which is the first thing that you do. Hats off to Ventura and his coaches for sticking to some of the principles of baseball history.
Jason M (Chicago)
Everything I have heard about Delgado is that he projects as a number 3 starter and a 2 if the planets align perfectly. All the Atlanta fans seem pretty happy to get rid of him. Do you feel good about this trade or do you think we should have looked for two or three less established prospects in return?
Bruce Levine (1:27 PM)
I'm not sure that it's straight-up Delgado for Dempster. And I don't know if that's changed in the last 24 hours while Dempster decides if he should approve the deal or not. Delgado has a great arm -- that I can tell you. Fortunately I don't get paid to project whether he will be a top pitcher on the Cubs or not. That's the job for Epstein and Hoyer.
Doug H (Gilbert, AZ)
Does Jed Hoyer get annoyed with the media continually referencing Theo as the one making the moves? The GM is the one making trades, right?
Bruce Levine (1:29 PM)
When I reference Epstein I always reference Hoyer, because they are a tandem. And along with the rest of their office, they work together. Although Epstein may have veto power, Hoyer has plenty of autonomy as the team's GM.
Steve (Merrillville) [via mobile]
Any chance a other team comes sweeping outta nowhere for Dempster at the last minute?
Bruce Levine (1:30 PM)
The Dodgers are still there. They would still like to acquire Dempster if the deal is right for them. I can't tell you if the Dodgers have adjusted their offer or not.
Matt C. (Naperville)
Bruce, What about Ventura getting ripped recently about the bullpen management - Will the addition of Myers stabilize this young pen?
Bruce Levine (1:31 PM)
You would hope so. The only criticism I have is that they have left Peavy in games too long this year. Cooper and Ventura can't pitch for their bullpen they can only make the moves they feel are functional at that time and watch like everyone else. I think overall they've done a great job, especially considering all the rookies on the staff.
Paul (St. Louis)
Bruce, saw Hendry was scouting the Cubs for the Yanks this past week, any idea who on the team they may be targeting?
Bruce Levine (1:34 PM)
I think he like a lot of teams are probably looking at both Garza and Dempster and last night Liriano. That's what the top talent evaluators do when the best pitchers are pitching near the trading deadline.
Bruce - do you sense whether Ricketts is concerned at all with the appearances of payroll continuing to decrease while ticket prices remain flat or increase slightly? Do you think there is a number that Ricketts would be uncomfortable letting major league payroll go below (ie - $80M)?
Bruce Levine (1:37 PM)
I don't believe that Tom is looking at how low they can go in payroll, but it certainly appears that they will be down to $80-85 million next year. Dempster's contract alone would take them down to about $89 million. I think it's just the process of getting younger. Ticket prices are definitely a concern. It's difficult to ask $100 per ticket with a sub-par product. Especially with no promise of the team contending soon.
Phil. la [via mobile]
what are the chances the twins would part with willingham? he's 33 and seems to be a good fit on the South Side.
Bruce Levine (1:38 PM)
I don't think hitting is what the White Sox are after. They feel they have enough, even during the slump. They are after a quality starting pitcher at this point. You'd have to tell me where Willingham would play on the White Sox.
Do you think Theo would consider bypassing current minor league talent for draft picks instead? Seems like the new bargaining agreement might drive this type of trade in the future.
Bruce Levine (1:40 PM)
You can trade positions of draft order but you can't actually trade players that you draft.
Kevin H (Chicago)
Paul Maholm has been possibly mentioned as moving before the deadline, possibly back to Pittsburgh. Any truth to this, and what would the cubs look for in return for him?
Bruce Levine (1:42 PM)
Pittsburgh is one of the teams and Kansas City is another that has been another on Maholm. They want young pitching back because that is what they are looking for. They want young pitching because they feel they have very little in their system. Epstein and Hoyer have been very upfront about that.
Hey Bruce,What are the chances Robin moves Beckham to the 8-hole? He's struggled in the 9-spot and mentioned it "brings back bad memories," and was more effective in other spots in the order
Bruce Levine (1:43 PM)
You're right about one thing: he's in a horrendous slump right now, I think 3 for his last 28. I'm not sure switching his spot in the order would help right now. He needs to rediscover his right-center field stroke.
bruuuuuce, why haven't we heard talk about teams wanting to trade for tony campana? if i was a team looking to go to the play-offs i would love to have him as my lead-off man or at the least pinch-runner late in games.
Bruce Levine (1:44 PM)
There is a big difference between being a leadoff man and being a pinch runner, especially in what you'd trade for him. I think he is a weapon though that could help you win games. Nobody is making that a priority at the deadline. Trades like that are made through waivers after August 1st.
Eric (Arlington, VA)
Ahh, so now it starts. Detroit just reloaded and is getting ready to make a push now that the White Sox are showing some cracks. Does KW answer back, or is the trade for Brett Myers all that we can expect at this point?
C. Williamson (Robinson, IL)
Would Delgado move into the Cubs rotation right away or do you think the Cubs would send him down to AAA to improve his pitching?
Bruce Levine (1:46 PM)
They're looking for a top-quality starting pitcher and believe the rest of their team is as good as it needs to be. I personally like the White Sox' chances. They have young bullpen arms that are still strong and have Myers and Crain back, two veterans to help up set up along with Thornton.
Bruce Levine (1:47 PM)
On Delgado, there's not reason not to have him at the major elague level. Bosio can work some of his magic on him when he comes to the Cubs and he already has big league experience.
Kevin H (Chicago)
Bruce, did you make up with Ozzie?
Bruce Levine (1:48 PM)
Ozzie was very professional in the way that he spoke to me and the rest of the media. I don't think it's necessary for us to discuss our personal relationship as long as professionally we get our jobs done.
Ken Rosenthal just reported that Demp now doesn't want to go to ATL, only wants LA. Says if Demp rejects the ATL deal Cubs lose leverage in trade with LA. He told the Cubs he liked ATL, why is he changing his mind now?
Bruce Levine (1:50 PM)
It's his right to change his mind. He didn't say he would go to Atlanta -- he said there were a number of teams he would consider going to. There's a big difference. This is his right with his 10-5 veto powers. Remember Derrek Lee used them twice before accepting a trade to Atlanta two years ago.
Do you think Castro is stuggling because they are try to change his swing and making him take more pitches?
Bruce Levine (1:51 PM)
I don't know, but since Jaramillo left his average has dropped. I don't blame batting instructors. I think there are some adjustments he's just not making right now.
Nizzi (Des Moines)
Any chance that the Cubs look at Hanley Ramirez? He would solve our 3B concern and we could get him at a discount.
Bruce Levine (1:52 PM)
Hanley Ramirez is not the type of player the Cubs are looking for right now. They are looking for younger players that can be developed. He's still young, but making a ton of money.
Jeff (Fort Wayne)
Theo and Co. have continually said that it is about 2014. I find it hard to believe that many of these prospects that they are acquiring will be ready in less than 2 years. I know player development isn't your specialty, but realist would have to say not likely, correct?
Bruce Levine (1:53 PM)
I've never heard them put the exact year on when they will be ready to compete. You'd have to show where that is documented. I think people like myself guess for 2014 or 2015, but I've never heard them put an exact date on it.
Bruce, what assets do the Sox have in their farm that would be a hot commodity for other teams pitching?
Bruce Levine (1:55 PM)
They have Nestor Molina, but they don't want to deal him. I'm also told they have quality arms at Class A too.
Bruce Levine (1:57 PM)
Should be a tremendously active week. My gut feeling is that Dempster ends up with Dodgers, and Garza goes to the AL East or West and Kenny Williams will shock the world with acquiring a top starting pitcher. Follow me on Twitter @ESPNBruceLevine and follow Doug Padilla @ESPNChiCubs.