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September 21, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Bruce Levine

Bruce Levine
  (1:01 PM)

As I promised you the White Sox still had a chance to win their division last Tuesday. Unfortunately their pitching didn't cooperate. So it's wait til next year on both sides of town. I expect lots of manager questions from Sox and Cubs fans.

Robert (Madison, WI)

What do you see the Sox doing with Manny Ramirez the last 2 weeks? At this point I'd rather see the team start 1 of the younger guys (Viciedo, Flowers, etc.). Does the fact that the team is still playing him mean they are considering bringing him back next year?

Bruce Levine
  (1:02 PM)

I don't think one thing has anything to do with the other. I don't think Ozzie has accepted losing yet. Maybe when they are eliminated you will see a different lineup. But who are they kidding at tthis point?

Matt (Chicago)

With a couple of more decent starts, does Samardizja become a favorite for the back-end of the rotation next spring? I still think he & Cashner should switch roles.

Bruce Levine
  (1:04 PM)

Samardzija still needs to hone his skills. The command of the fastball is something he needs to work on. There's a lot of rumblings that Cashner will be a starter next year. Personally I would leave him where he's at.

Jack (Oak Lawn)

Having seen Barney play at shortstop, I think he maybe better defensively than Castro. Would the Cubs consider moving Castroto another position?

Bruce Levine
  (1:05 PM)

No. Big-time no. Lots of outstanding young shortstops made multiple errors early in their careers. Castro is going to be one of the better shortstops in the league. All he needs to do is play.

Ryan (Zion,IL)

Hey Bruce, in your mind who will be the next Cubs 1st baseman? Dunn looks like he could resign with the Nats..Would Carlos Pena be a fit?

Bruce Levine
  (1:07 PM)

The Cubs have scouts looking at all the big-time free agents like Dunn, Pena and Victor Martinez. I don't see Dunn signing with Washington and I believe he's the Cubs' No. 1 priority. With that said, Pena is a much better defender. Martinez is a good hiter who has had a down season.

Tim (Arlington Hts)

Should we be overly concern with Gavin's shoulder? I mean, it can't be a good thing.

Bruce Levine
  (1:11 PM)

Don't know enough about it to tell you right now. I can tell you he has had two underachieving seasons in a row even though in the middle of the year he was one of the best pitchers in baseball. He doesn't have the wins to show for it.

Scott (Ann Arbor, MI)

Contract aside, does Zambrano's recent resurgence prompt the Cubs to try and shop him or will they get roped in once more?

Bruce Levine
  (1:12 PM)

I say a trade is the more likely way they will go. There have been too many ups and downs with him. One more down would bury Hendry and whoever the manager is.

Brett (Chicago, IL)

Do you think Brett Jackson plays for the Cubs in 2011?

Bruce Levine
  (1:13 PM)

I believe he is going to be on the same track that Castro was in 2010. He's playing in the Arizona Fall League. He will have his first invite to major league spring training and he could ascend to the Cubs by May or June.

tom (denver)

Can the cubs unload fukudome this off season by trade or buy-out? I want colvin in the outfield and a chance to see hoff/lahair at first for a year. Hire Ryno and let the kids he knows as well as anyone play.

Bruce Levine
  (1:15 PM)

The first part of your hypothesis I can see happening. If Hoffpauir and LaHair are at first the Cubs will be vying for fourth or fifth place again next year. Look for Hoffpauir to help one of those good Japanese League teams next year.

The Sane Madman (Cubs Nation) [via mobile]

What are you thoughts regarding the maple bat dilemma coming off of that bizarre and scary incident involving Tyler Colvin? Were you there for that game?

Bruce Levine
  (1:16 PM)

I would ban them even though that predominant wood out there. It's just too dangerous. Bats are not supposed to be flying projectiles. The maple bats are just too dangerous.

Tim (Northbrook)

Grettings Bruce, Don't you think the Sox would be crazy not to resign Paulie, as long as he isn't looking for a long term deal?

Bruce Levine
  (1:17 PM)

So far they haven't made a move to talk to him or his agent which makes Konerko think that he might be playing elsewhere next season. I talked to him about it on Sunday, and he is philosophical about it. He said his No. 1 goal is to play 10 years with the same team and he's already accomplished that.

David (Chicago )

I dont know about you, but I am about done with this Carlos Quentin Experiment! Do you think Mitchell could be ready to come up and take over right field for the Sox next year?

Bruce Levine
  (1:19 PM)

Mitchell is going to play some form of winter ball. He really hasn't had much experience due to missing the whole season with an injury. However, Beckham and Sale didn't have all that much experience either. Quentin's year has been somewhat bizarre. I think his below-average OF play has been the most surprising element of a down season for him.

Pete (Chicago)

How good a prospect do you feel Brent Morel is?

Bruce Levine
  (1:20 PM)

I think he's pretty good. I don't know if you can project how much power he's going to have. But he looks like a player. Nothing wrong with a .290 hitter with 40 doubles if that's the type of player he is. He looks good at third. I give him a better shot than Viciedo of playing there.

Pavan (Atlanta)

Josh Vitters has had a down year in the minors from what I have read. Will he be able to help out the big league club anytime soon?

Bruce Levine
  (1:21 PM)

Not planning that for him at this point. He was shut down this summer. Look for him to play some winter ball and be ready for major league camp in spring training.

Harrison (Evanston, IL)

I know 1B is a hole for the Cubs, but why rush to sign a free agent? The team is more than one or two pieces away from serious contention, so it seems the best thing to do is to use next season as development, see which prospects can play, then make some moves. Signing the free agents first always seems to put the Cubs in a bind.

Bruce Levine
  (1:23 PM)

That would be a nice move for a small market team. But the Cubs have to put fannies in those seats. And that means they need a big-time draw in the middle of their lineup. I know you don't like the way that sounds, but that's a big-market dilemma. You must put an attractive team out there if you want to charge $112 for a box seat.

Matt (Chicago)

how does chris archer for the 5th starter sound next year

Bruce Levine
  (1:24 PM)

He's certainly on the fast track. He, like Jackson, will be invited to big-league camp in spring training. My guess is he needs a little more seasoning but could be on the major-league roster at some point in 2011.

Dan (South Bend)

What are the chances the Cubs bring back Nady to play 1st? Since DLee left, Nady has filled in and has done a pretty good job defensivly and his bat is looking good.

Bruce Levine
  (1:25 PM)

Too big of a risk for 2011. A one-time power hitter, Nady hasn't hit for enough power yet. But other teams are projecting him and scouting him for 2011.

leo (laporte,in)

i read recently were KC might think of making Greinke available,do you think the cubs could get him or do you think he is the kind of #1 starter the cubs need? thank you.

Bruce Levine
  (1:26 PM)

Anybody could use a Greinke. What would you propose they trade for him? Would you give up Archer and Jackson? That's what the Royals will ask for. I don't see it happening.

Kelly (Florida)

Who is Jim's choice today to mange the Cubs? and will he give Quade, Eric Wedge, and Bob Brenly a chance to mange the Cubs?

Bruce Levine
  (1:29 PM)

I think all of his A-list guys have a chance to manage the team although I think Quade has taken a huge jump up into the top couple of guys he will consider. Sandberg will get his interview in the next two days. My guy feeling is it will be either Quade or Sandberg.

Dan (South Bend)

Do you believe it is Manager or nothing for Sandberg next year? Or do you think he would be open to being bench coach? If he is not selected, rumor has it he is gone. What do you think?

Bruce Levine
  (1:30 PM)

Depends on what other opportunities there are. Is he really being considered for the Mariners job? I don't know that at this point. I think if he is not chosen as manager that he will probably leave the organization. In his mind he has done as much as he can do to be ready to be the Cubs manager.

Bill (Chicago)

Based on the players you've talked to pre and post Colvin incident, do a majority support a ban?

Bruce Levine
  (1:32 PM)

I don't think so. A lot of them favor the maple. They think the ball jumps off there a little better than the ash. But MLB is going to have to do something here.

Paul (St. Louis)

Hi Bruce, what is your gut instinct on who will be the Cubs manager next year?

Bruce Levine
  (1:33 PM)

I can't tell you definitively, but I think Quade has taken a giant leap up in the Cubs' estimation and will get strong consideration.

Peter (Atlanta, GA)

What do you make of Carlos Zambrano's retirement plans?

Bruce Levine
  (1:34 PM)

Depends on which week it is. Last week he's getting ready to retired, this week he might be looking for an extension. Sometimes we put too much credence into what athletes say, rather than just watching their performance. Zambrnao is older than 29, I will guarantee you that, so two more years might be realistic as far as retirement.

Dan (South Bend)

With the new ownership...Have we seen the last of the "Not Trade Clause?" PLEASE NO MORE!

Bruce Levine
  (1:35 PM)

A no-trade clause for a top free agent is not something Jim Hendry invented. However that's something new ownership will definitely question in future contracts.

Matt (Chicago)

Why didn't Marquez Smith get a Sept. call-up?

Bruce Levine
  (1:36 PM)

They like Smith, but they have plenty of outfielders. I don't think they believe he's anything more than an extra man in the majors, however they've been wrong before.

Mike (Chicago)

When you say Floyd has had 2 underachieving seasons in a row -- what exactly do you expect him to be?

Bruce Levine
  (1:37 PM)

At least a 15-game winner. Eleven wins doesn't get it done, especially with a good bullpen. Although I will say he had a lot of no-decisions early that could have been wins.

Troy (Champaign, IL)

Bruce -Given the impatience of Cubs fans and the current state of the team, in your opinion what route should management take next year? Many feel it will be a rebuilding season, but a few signings here and there at 1B and for relief (Adam Dunn?, Aubrey Huff?, Frank Francisco? Jesse Crain?) combined with the recent performance of the team (Zambrano, Ramirez) may at least bring a glimmer of hope for next season. Thoughts?

Bruce Levine
  (1:38 PM)

I would prefer having a $100M payroll and lowering ticket prices by about 15 percent. That would solve two problems at the same time, one you can see if you can develop the young players you have now, and two it would send a message to the fan base that they're part of the equation as far as ownership's commitment in the future.

Pavan (Atlanta)

Zambrano has pitched like an ace the last month or so, what are the Cubs going to do with him now?

Bruce Levine
  (1:39 PM)

Hope that he stays on the same training program he has over the last 2 months and trade him. $36M is a big investment, but the better he pitches the rest of the season the more likely it is someone will take a majority of his salary to trade for him.

Mike (Chicago)

Any chance we see Jim Aducci make it to the majors?

Bruce Levine
  (1:39 PM)

I don't think so at this point, but he does have a nice swing, like his father did.

David (Chicago)

Will Ozzie and or Kenny be back next Year?

Bruce Levine
  (1:40 PM)

At least one will be. But I wouldn't be shocked if Ozzie ends up in Florida. They want him there. Unless they Sox make a long-term commitment, he would probably ask to be let go. Sox still have a year and an option left on his contract. And the second year would have been vested if the Sox won the division this season.

Dave (Chicago IL)

After this season how much of the payroll is coming off the books, and what type of signings do you see the White Sox making in the offseason to improve the team?

Bruce Levine
  (1:42 PM)

You have Konerko, Pierzynski and most likely Jenks with a combined $27M in payroll possibly coming off the books. Although the Sox have control of Jenks' contract, the assumption is they can't trade him, he will be non-tendered. His arbitration figure will be around $9M.

Dan (Chicago)

If Ozzie did get canned, would he ever consider managing the Cubs or is there too much hate there?

Bruce Levine
  (1:43 PM)

He wouldn't fit on the North Side. He has too much White Sox in him. But he's certainly a good enough manager to be in the mix. It's not going to happen, though.

Dan (South Bend)

What do you think of Welington Castillo?

Bruce Levine
  (1:44 PM)

They're not sure what type of game Castillo calls. One pitch he called in S.F. for Justin Berg cost them a ballgame. It was a curve that they served up to Pat Burrell. They kind of held that against him. They have others in the mionors who probably will pass Castillo.

Mark (Aurora)

Bruce, I have heard chatter of the Cubs playing Colvin at first base next year. Would they rather develop him into an everyday first baseman, or bring in Adam Dunn who has experience with the position as well as a great left handed bat?

Bruce Levine
  (1:45 PM)

You need more left-handed hitting than just Colvin. I would think they'd leave Colvin in the OF and try to sign Dunn, Carlos Pena or Victor Martinez.

Bill (Deerfield)

Congrats to the Smokies on a great season! Outside of Jackson and Archer, who on the Smokies do you hear most about from scouts?

Bruce Levine
  (1:46 PM)

Those are the two main guys. Robinson Chirinos the catcher was in between Double-A and Triple-A is a top hitting prospect in their minds.

Paul (Fatzinger)

With Ramirez most likely picking up his option, and probably playing in Chicago for a few more years. What are the chances that the Cubs change Josh Vitters position to 1B, or a COF spot?

Bruce Levine
  (1:47 PM)

They're hoping Vitters is a little more dedicated in the future. They certainly like his bat. It's major-league caliber, but his approach is being questioned. And his defense is a question mark.

Mike (Joliet)

A got a trade for the Sox this offseason, Why not trade Jenks to the Mets for Beltran and money? He can be used the way Ozzie wanted to use is DH. Beltran can play OF or DH and he can bat lefty to. perfect trade?

Bruce Levine
  (1:48 PM)

I don't mind it. The Mets probably need another closer with the ugly K-Rod situation going on. Not a bad call.

Jimmy (Norwalk)

Let's assume Dunn remains with Nationals. Where does this leave the Cubs? With Carlos Pena? Has to be a left handed bat, doesn't it?

Bruce Levine
  (1:49 PM)

Has to be someone who can hit. His average is close to .200 this season, although his power numbers aren't bad. Defensively, he's one of the better first basemen in either league. Just depends on how long of a commitment.

Jon (Chicago)

First Geo went thru his sophmore slump then Randy Wells, and Beckham this year, any chances it happens to Starlin and Colvin next year?

Bruce Levine
  (1:50 PM)

Absolutely it could. I wouldn't call Colvin's season a guarantee of an outstanding major-league career. If you subtract the home runs, the production compared to the strikes is average. Sophomore slump for anybody is possible these days.

Randy (Des Moines)

The biggest deficiency in the Cubs lineup has been the lack of a true leadoff man? Koskue has a high OBP, but has been limited to a platoon player. Do you see Hendry finally addressing this and if so, would 2nd base the position to find the leadoff man?

Bruce Levine
  (1:51 PM)

Can you say Orlando Hudson, although his OBP isn't always very good. But he would be the type of player you would be looking for. The problem with Hudson is he has trouble staying healthy and he's really not that fast. Orlando Cabrera, althoug long of tooth, continues to be a pretty good player. A short-term contract wouldn't be a bad call. Not a speed guy, but a good OBP.

LL (VA)

Bruce,How does the Manny"s trade look now for the sox?It appears to me that the team has gotten worse!!!

Bruce Levine
  (1:53 PM)

It certainly hasn't worked out. Manny continues to be what he is now, a singles hitter with no speed, very little RBI ability. It was worth a gamble in my opinion. But what the Sox ended up needing was more bullpen help.

David (Denver)

What's the scout's take on Trey Mcnutt? Is he a potential front line starter?

Bruce Levine
  (1:54 PM)

He's really moved up quickly. Saw him pitch in Peoria earlier in the year, and they feel he's on his way to a big-league career.

Mac (Philly)

Orlando Cabrera is one of the worst hitters in baseball. A .310 OBP is pretty far away from good.

Bruce Levine
  (1:55 PM)

Well check out the teams he's played for, and let me know if any of them have gone to the playoffs recently.

Bill (Pensacola)

Is Sale the closer the rest of the year or will one of the other guys step in?

Bruce Levine
  (1:55 PM)

I would back off on Sale. You don't want to put too many innnings under his belt. And now they have to decide whether he'll be starter or reliever. From what I'm hearing, they're going to turn him back into a starter.

Khyle (Skokie)

I think the Cubs should trade Marmol and Colvin (too many K's) to get a better left-handed hitter. Thoughts?

Bruce Levine
  (1:56 PM)

If you're going to trade pitching, you need to get pitching back. I've said all along the Yankees would be an ideal team to trade Marmol to, in order to get some of their young pitching and OF back. They're going to have to replace Rivera at some point.

Steve (Chicago)

How concerned are you with Castro's lack of walks? It seems like it could be another Felix Pie, Corey Patterson recipe for disaster.

Bruce Levine
  (1:58 PM)

Unfortunately, none of the kids in the Cubs organization walk much. I'd be more concerned with their plate discipline, rather than they're walking. Two different things. If you could work a count and be in a hitter's count more often, the walks can be overrated. I'll take a guy who hits .300 over a guy who hits .250 and walks a lot.

skip (aurora)

If Ozzie were to leave, would Joey Cora get a serious look for the job and will he be considered for other manager openings?

Bruce Levine
  (1:58 PM)

No and yes. Joey's too connected with Ozzie to get a shot with the Sox, but he definitely is being considered elsewhere, and Seattle will interview him.

Donny (Chicago, IL)

Should the Cubs wait until the 2011 offseason to pick up a first baseman? Thats when Howard, Gonzalez, and Fielder are available.

Bruce Levine
  (1:59 PM)

Sounds good to me. If you're willing to deal with a mediocre offense next season.

Tim (Arlington Hts)

Cutler or Rodgers?

Bruce Levine
  (2:00 PM)

35-17 Bears.

Bruce Levine
  (2:02 PM)

It should get interesting over the next two weeks watching the managers on both sides of town. Both teams could have new managers next season. That's not just a media rumor. Guillen will sit down with owner Jerry Reinsdorf after the season and discuss his future. Have a great week. Enjoy the races in the NL East and West.