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June 15, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Bruce Levine

Bruce Levine
  (2:02 PM)

Welcome to the land of under .500 baseball. The Sox have a nice opportunity playing NL teams to get well over the next week. The Cubs have their hands full with the AL West leaders. Welcome ...

Mike ( Chicago)

Bruce, if Wells fumbles in his next start, is there any chance we see Jay Jackson or Cashner replace him in the rotation and see wells put into the bullpen? I think Wells would be better served in the bullpen.

Bruce Levine
  (2:04 PM)

I don't think they are ready to puth Cashner in the rotation. At this point the Cubs, over the next few weeks, have to figure out if they are going to be in the race or not. Once July 1 comes, the Cubs will have a better idea. Cashner, Jackson and other young players could be promoted early if the Cubs decided to be sellers rather than buyers.

Alex Walsh (Boston, MA)

Would any teams pick up Kosuke Fukudome if he were simply put on waivers?

Bruce Levine
  (2:05 PM)

Fukudome has another $12 million that the team has to pay. There's no team that is going to take him just off waivers and pay his salary. The Cubs would have to trade him and eat portions of his salary.

Brian (Lindenhurst)

Does Putz or Jenks really have any trade value on the market?

Bruce Levine
  (2:06 PM)

They have a lot of trade value. Right now they have more value to the Sox. There are at least 7 or 8 teams that would like to talk about Putz and 2 or 3 about Jenks. Philly has been the msot aggressive team as far as looking at Sox relievers.

Paul (Denver)

Most analysts seem to agree that Colvin is only a 4th outfielder based on his minor league stats. What's your take on his potential?

Bruce Levine
  (2:08 PM)

I think potential is potential. You let the player go out and prove to you what he is. Don't go by what analysts say. Every analyst last year had Colvin as just an extra man with no power. I think projections are different as they look at the player now. Colvin does have one facet of his game that is a concern: he strikes out a lot. But that is probably just getting used to big-league pitching. I think he will get better at that.

Matt (Chicago)

Is actually serious about giving the catching job to Hill? With the team's offensive struggles, I don't understand why Soto sits, given his solid OPS number. I realize Hill is the better defender but he isnt a viable starter. If theyve soured on Soto, there is no better way to devalue him than playing someone like Hill ahead of him.

Bruce Levine
  (2:10 PM)

The one constant for Piniella this year has been changing his mind on players over and over again. Because of his teams' offensive struggles it's almost impossible to predict what type of lineup he will go with. Soto's offense is better than Hill's but he hasn't produced many runs. If there is such a thing as taking too many walks, Soto may be guilty of that.

Jason (Madison)

Castro is slowly going down hill at the plate and has some tagging issues. Should I be worried?

Bruce Levine
  (2:11 PM)

He's 20. There are going to be growing pains with a young SS. This is a kid who has only played 75 games above Single-A. He's just learning how to be a professional player. He will eventually be a very good player for the Cubs and he will hit. But it's a work in progress.

Devon Applegate,Minford,Ohio [via mobile]

Who do you think has a better chance to make the playoffs. Cubs or the White Sox?

Bruce Levine
  (2:13 PM)

I believe the Yankees have a great chance of making the playoffs. Until either one of these teams gets to .500 there is nothing to talk about. Both teams need streaks of seven out of nine or eight out of 11 to get back to mediocrity. You have to be mediocre before you can be good.

Laimonas (Chicago)

How close did the sox really get to trading AJ? Did it not happen bec of lack of interest? Not enough offered in return? KW still believes? Or is it because Flowers turned cold at the plate so couldn't replace AJ?

Bruce Levine
  (2:16 PM)

It has nothing to do with any of that. The Sox still may trade A.J., and at the proper time they will come to him and ask for his permission. The Rangers would have traded for him a month ago if they didn't have financial constraints. It's not about the Sox wanting to trade him. Here are the facts: First, he's a free agent after 2010. Second, they have a young catcher in Flowers who they feel will eventualyl be a starter in the majors. And finally, if the Sox are not going to contend for the division, he, along with some of the other veterans, can bring you back other young players who can help you in the future if you make a good trade. As Michael Corleone said in Godfather," "It's not personal, just business."

David (Mt Vernon, IL)

It looks like changes are going to be coming for the Cubs. They have to look to the future even if it means annoying a few fans this year. Lilly is looking like the best asset that they have control of and can trade. Who do you think would be interested in him and what type of prospects might the return on him be?

Bruce Levine
  (2:18 PM)

It's a little too early for that, although I have written about that issue the past week. Lilly has been their best pitcher over the past four years. That said, as a veteran pitcher, the Cubs should go wither one of two directions with him: a two-year extension or trade him before the deadline. The Yankees and Dodgers would be interested, among many others.

Jon (Genoa)

How much of a dent in Minnesota's AL Central lead will the Sox have to make over the next few weeks in order for them to be buyers, or at least not sellers? If they could take on additional talent, what area(s) would you address?

Bruce Levine
  (2:20 PM)

The Sox need a left-handed bat that can drive in runs. They also need a third baseman. Teahen would be a nice complementary player on this team, moving from position to position. They need to be close to or at .500 when they return to Chicago on June 22 in order for management not to make trades for the future.

Sean (Gurnee)

After a great start Andruw Jones has gone in the tank, any chance we see him released anytime soon? Maybe time to call up Danks?

Bruce Levine
  (2:22 PM)

That's a possible scenario sometime in July. But the Sox would like to be able to trade Jones if they are able to. Jones had the same season with Texas last year: very strong two months and then back to an indifferent performer.

Enrique (Chicago)

Who's in a better situation for the future, Cubs or Sox? I've have to lean towards the cubs because of their farm system. I mean yeah they have Soriano and Zs contract in the books but that Sox lineup was composed by trading away all their prospects that are worth something. I mean if KW could do it now, i highly doubt he still trade Ely for Pierre, especially with the way the young kid is pitching.

Bruce Levine
  (2:26 PM)

It all depends on what young players are obtained in deals made by the GMs this summer. Baseball America ranks the Cubs higher than the Sox. But projecting big-time major-league contributors for either team is a difficult process. The Sox have Brett Morell, a third baseman, who they feel will playi n the majors, and of course Daniel Hudson a RHP. The Cubs appear to have a few more players like Brett Jackson and two or three middle infielders they feel will play in the majors. Both teams have done a poor job of developing position players over the past 15 years.

Brad (Canton,MI)

Bruce-If the White Sox turn around doesn't happen this year,but he still gets one more year from management,do we see a possibility in a change of the staff? Would Walker and Cooper lose their job or would Ozzie fight to keep them on the staff for next year?

Bruce Levine
  (2:28 PM)

I think you look at Ozzie's situatuion first. The sox are in the process of finishing below .500 for the third year out of the last four. I wouldn't worry about the coaching staff. I'd be more worried whether Ozzie wants to stay with it and whether the management staff still believes Ozzie is right for the job.

AP (Chicago)

IF DLee and Nady get dealt, who takes over at 1B? Do we start to see the Soriano 1B era??? Yikes. Seriously, who plays there?

Bruce Levine
  (2:30 PM)

I've kidded about that a few times. First base is not the easiest position to play unless you have really soft hands and cant scoop the ball. Soriano having been a former infielder, should be able to do that but it's still going to be a far cry from what Lee brings to the table. Making your OF defense better and your infield defense worse doesn't solve a lot of problems.

Andrew (Chicago)

Bruce, what do you think seems to be the problem with Beckham at the plate this year? Have you or anyone else you know noticed anything particularly different about his approach at the plate? Or is it just a sophmore slump?

Bruce Levine
  (2:32 PM)

According to the hitting experts that I've talked to, Beckham has been in between in his swing all year. That means he's indecisive and worried about the breaking ball which inhibts him from reacting to the fastball. Like all good hitters, Beckham is a fastball hitter and he has not been able to make the adjustment. I still believe a week or 10 days of confidence-building in the minors will be good for him.

Larry (Waukegan)

How do you think KW will take Peavy's remarks about trade requests?

Bruce Levine
  (2:33 PM)

I don't know how Williams will take it but I like t he idea of a guy who says he's here to win. Keep in mind, Peavy left a situation in San Diego where they were rebuilding. I don't mind honesty from a player even if it sounds a bit selfish.

Chad (Iowa)

Can we give Larry R. some love? Everyone thought the Cubs pitching will be the biggest weekness but yet they have been solid once again.

Bruce Levine
  (2:35 PM)

Larry is one of the best in baseball and he has been for 15 years. Just the way that he has helped rebuild Carlos Silva's game is proof of that. One thing he can't do is go out there and pitch for some of these young relief guys who haven't gotten it done this year. That's a matter of ability and experience.

Dave (Madison)

Who got the better trade...Dodgers for getting Ely or Cubs for getting Sliva and getting rid of Bradley?

Bruce Levine
  (2:37 PM)

I always say judge a trade after one or two years not after a few months. Silva may not be the same pitcher the rest of the year and Juan Pierre may still be a vital part of the Sox's push toward credibility. But I like the trade for the Dodgers. Ely looks like a keeper.

Paul (St. Louis)

Bruce, I hear some Cubs fans clamoring for a rebuild, but I don't believe Chicago should need to go through such a thing. Additionally, with all their debt, do you think the Rickett's could afford a few down years to rebuild? I think Cub fan have too short of memories on what bad team really look like.

Bruce Levine
  (2:39 PM)

Replacing 10 players every year is a difficult process. Whe nyou don't have your famr system contributing you run the risk of too many free-agent malfunctions. It's time the Cubs bit the bullet and took a couple of losing seasons to play their farm system guys and trade for other people's young players. The guts of every championship team usually comes from the farm system. If you need an example look at the Yankees since 1994.

Mr. Cox (Greenville, NC)

A lot has been said of Cashner and Jackson as future starters for the Cubs. What about Thomas Diamond? He's a former first round pick and he continues to excel at AAA.

Bruce Levine
  (2:41 PM)

He's been a nice surprise. The Cubs had no idea when they signed him that he was going to be as good of a plaeyr as he's been. Taking a chance on other people's No. 1 picks is always a good idea. Look what Kenny Williams has done picking up Gavin Floyd, John Danks and Carlos Quentin, all former No. 1 picks that didn't pan out with the team that signed them.

Enrique (Chicago)

If the cubs become sellers, are they just going to rely on their farm system and bring up their young players or will they go hard at Free Agency this offseason. I know you're not a big fan but i would like the cubs to after Prince Fielder as their 1st baseman of the future.

Bruce Levine
  (2:42 PM)

Fielder would be a great sign but you better be prepared to pay him $20 million a year for the next five years. Also, because of his body type, you may have the possibility of wear and tear and attrition if you decide to make that move.

Rob (Chicago)

As much as I like Buerhle, wouldn't it make sense to deal him now to a team like the Cards and promote Hudson?

Bruce Levine
  (2:44 PM)

It depends where you feel your team is going. Also the Cardinals have to be prepared to take on the $14 million owed to Buehrle next year. Buehrle is one guy that may veto any trade except to the Cardinals when he gets his 10 and 5 rights on July 6.

Daver (Chicago)

All the trade talk today seems to be focused on Fukudome but, as you point out, his contract makes him very difficult to move. What about trading Marlon Byrd? His trade value must be through the roof right now because of his great numbers and his contract is much more palatable. The Cubs could then start Colvin in centerfield and let Kosuke's contract play out a little more.

Bruce Levine
  (2:45 PM)

How does that make you a better team? You're still palying a subpar outfielder in Fukudome. I think the Cubs will listen to any trade talk but trading your best hitter would be a bad message to the rest of the team at this point.

Disgruntled Fantasy Owner (A bar stool)

What are the whispers on Aramis Ramirez? Is this all injury (thumb or still shoulder), is he finished, or is this an outlier with vintage stats coming in 2011?

Bruce Levine
  (2:47 PM)

I don't think it's injury. The thumb injury has only really contributed to his poor play over the last two weeks. It's a confidence issue, something that he has never had to deal with in the past. After he comes back from the DL, he's a good enough player to get it all back. The one strange element of his play has been his below-average defense. His overall game has just fallen off the cliff for some reason.

Chris I. (Chicago)

Bruce, If Paul Konerko does get traded for some odd reason...who will play first? Also, when can we finally start to see some young talent that the SOX have in their farm system...Rutherford, Viciedo, Danks....

Bruce Levine
  (2:50 PM)

The Sox are still behind as far as the farm system goes. One of the major reasons is that they have done a lousy job in Latin America. That's the new job of Jerry Krause, to make the White Sox more viable with international scouting. No teams can surivive without a good influx of Latin American players.

Bruce Levine
  (2:53 PM)

It appears the interest in both Chicago teams is waning. Have faith and try to enjoy the last 100 games of the season. Just make sure you dont' put any cash down on either team. Talk to you next week.