Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

October 5, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Bruce Levine

Bruce Levine
  (1:01 PM)

Welcome to the postseason. I'm entertaining questions on White Sox offseason moves and Cubs manager and offseason moves. Don't be shy, ask about other teams and what they're trying to do as well.

Cheese (Washington, DC)

Since the White Sox came up short, I know it's unlikely that Paulie has a realistic chance at winning MVP, but given the season he had this year, shouldn't he at least be in the top 5? Yet, I've barely seen much talk of even including him in the discussion for MVP. Keith Law here on ESPN has 2 pitchers in his top 10 and Shin-Soo Choo for crying out loud, but no Paulie in his top 10 MVP list. What gives? On the other hand, maybe this bodes well for Paulie to be overlooked in the FA market and return to finish his career with the White Sox??

Bruce Levine
  (1:05 PM)

Don't be naive to think other baseball people don't know how good Konerko is or the type of season he had. Konerko brings a lot more to the party than lofty home run and RBI numbers. He's a natural leader and a community relations dream. Konerko is in the top 2 in the conversation. To me, it's Hamilton and Konerko, and Paulie played all the games. Hamilton didn't. Obviously Robinson Cano will get a lot votes.

Joe (Chicago)

What is the one biggest name rumored to be on his way to the northside and the one biggest name who appears to be on his way out? I've been hearing about Adam Dunn and Koske Fukudome in eash respective regard...

Bruce Levine
  (1:06 PM)

Dunn is certainly on their hit list, although regardless of the offense he brings to the team, his defense is horrendous. How do you add a bad defensive player to the second-worst defensive tema in baseball? I wouldn't call Fukudome a big name, but they will do what they can to move him and part of his salary.

Kevin G (San Diego)

Do you think Marmol would be worth Montero to the Yankees?

Bruce Levine
  (1:07 PM)

It would be a lot more than Montero if you're going to trade Marmol. Throw in Chamberlain and Gardner and you've got a deal.

Matt (Columbus, OH)

Could you foresee a scenario in which Quade is Sandberg's bench coach? Is that feasible, or would that create too much second guessing if Sandberg's record doesn't compare to what Quade did during his interim role?

Bruce Levine
  (1:09 PM)

My inclination is that if Quade is the manager, Sandberg is not on the coaching staff - no way, no how - and vice versa. Now, if Eric Wedge is the manager, I think Quade has a chance to stay. In this day and age, hiring of coaches is a combined effort between the new manager and the general manager.

Brandon (South Dakota)

When do you expect a new manager to be hired and in place?

Bruce Levine
  (1:09 PM)

Probably by the third week of October. Hendry is going to bring his last two or three candidates to talk to Tom Ricketts before making the decision.

Chris (Channahon)

What about Adam LaRoche? I think he could be a good fit, better options than I've heard already. Do you think the Cubs could pursue him?

Bruce Levine
  (1:11 PM)

LaRoche is a left-handed pull hitter, which would negate osome of his power at Wrigley. IN order to be a prolific home run hitter at the left side you have to be able to hit the ball out to center and left. LaRoche is a good defensive first baseman, so I like that part of it, but he's moved around quite a bit. Questions about attitude. He's one of the four or five they're looking at?

Brock (Indiana)

Padres have said they will listen to offers for A-Gon. Is Jim Hendry salivating?

Bruce Levine
  (1:13 PM)

First and foremost, he has one year left on his contract. You can't trade your top young people,unless you have a trade and sign agreement. At this point, Gonzalez probalby is going to balk at anything like that. One year away from free agency, this is a $15-17M a year player, so he and his agent will make sure they max out.

The Sane Madman (Cubs Nation) [via mobile]

I don't have anything to say besides thanks for the chats. I'm ready for the 2012 season and hoping Hendry doesn't mess up one last time before he's gone.

Bruce Levine
  (1:14 PM)

Thanks for being a chat All-Star.

Johnny Blaze (Morgan Park)

Ive read you saying that the Cubs should think about tarding Marmol to the Yanks for Joba and bret gardner. Could the white sox make the same trade using Jenks?

Bruce Levine
  (1:15 PM)

No, because Jenks is not of the caliber of Carlos Marmol at this point. Jenks also is in the $9M category as far as arbitration. Marmol is making $2M, and probably $4M next year.

Rigo Contreras (Aurora, IL)

Bruce,Why does Quade get all the credit for the young guys playing well? Who managed these guys in the minors? Who had a talking to with Zambrano before he came back from his anger break? Ryne Sandberg did and that is why he should be your next Chicago Cubs manager.

Bruce Levine
  (1:17 PM)

Your points are well taken. Some of these kids came up and certainly benefitted from having Sandberg as their manager. A mistake we make in the media, and I include myself, is that we ask players what they think of the managers. And they always say nice things. So if one didn't like Sandberg or Quade, they're not going to tell us. IT's kind of a joke, and I fall into the same habit. Quade had the dubious distinction of helping them continue their growth as players and win at the big league level, something he did better than any manager in the NL except Charlie Manual, the last 37 games of the season.

Troy (Champaign, IL)

Bruce -Thinking about some trade pieces that might be available this offseason, how does a Cubs-Dbacks swap sound? Kelly Johnson and Mark Reynolds for a package of MLB ready players and prospects. We could get rid of Randy Wells, Casey Coleman, Blake DeWitt, and a few minor leaguers. Dbacks aren't competing anytime soon and those players are pretty cost-effective. Reynolds has power and had a low BABIP last year. Johnson could answer our 2b issues. Thoughts?

Bruce Levine
  (1:19 PM)

Where are you putting Reynolds? You already have a third baseman, and his name is Ramirez. My assumption is you're moving to first. I don't think 211 strikeouts, and a batting average right at .200 is going to cut it.

Adam (Chicago)

Bruce - in your blog, you mentioned Colvin in the "what's gone right" group for Cub outfielders. I agree. Why does he get talked about frequently as a fourth outfielder-type or someone that is expendable? 20 homers as a rookie sharing time is nothing to sneeze at. He had comparable numbers to Hayward in 160 less AB's.

Bruce Levine
  (1:21 PM)

I believe Colvin will be a starting OF or 1B for the Cubs in 2011. The Cubs could decide to go after an OF rather than a 1B and switch Colvin to the position he played first couple of years in college.

Brett Davis (Hot Springs, AR)

Bruce, how do you rank this season's team compared to other seasons in the last 10 years? I think 88 wins was pretty good, and with a couple of less blown saves, we'd have 90. I thought in March that 90 would get it done in this division, so we cannot be really disappointed can we?

Bruce Levine
  (1:22 PM)

The pitching failed for 10 days due to injury and overuse. I don't believe you point a finger of blame on that. I think Thornton and Putz going down with injuries doomed their season. I thought it was an excellent year, and Ozzie's theory on the offense proved right. The White Sox were 5th in HRs and 2nd in stolen bases. They also out-homered Jim Thome and the Twins.

Randy (Minneapolis)

What's your feeling on the managerial search? Do the Twins end up helping the Cubs if they beat the Yankees and Girardi isn't brought back to New York?

Bruce Levine
  (1:24 PM)

That's an interesting scenario, because the timing of that would allow Girardi's agent Steve Mandell to have some leverage seeking the next contract for Girardi with the Yankees. Whether Girardi would leave for the Cubs still is a big question mark. But he already has one championship in the bank, his next contract he's goign to be looking to hit a home run. He's already making $2.5M.

Africa (SoCal)

In your opinion, why don't more top-line free agents want to sign with the Cubs and be the player that brought a World Series to the North Side?

Bruce Levine
  (1:25 PM)

Too much baggage. Players are not interested in hearing about or dealing with 102 years of failure on their watch. It's an overrated statement to say everyone wants to play at Wrigley Field. The truth of the matter is the different starting times is something players talk about all the time as a negative.

Adam (Chicago)

Bruce - the Cubs did not have a season to remember, but there is still October baseball to consume. I don't think anyone can get past that starting rotation in Philly. Who do you like to win it all?

Bruce Levine
  (1:26 PM)

They are my choice. And the reason is not because Halladay, Oswalt and Hamels. Certainly you start with them, but Lidge has had a good year, and the key to the playoffs always is how your bullpen pitches.

Mike (Illinois State University)

Hey Bruce, who do you think would be a realistic right field target for the White Sox? We can't have Quentin out there anymore

Bruce Levine
  (1:28 PM)

My choice from last spring training on was Luke Scott of the Orioles. You would have to acquire him in a trade, but he brings 30-home run potential and solves some of your LH power needs, and he won't cost you $10M a year. Remains to be seen what the Sox are going to be doing as far as spending money in 2011.

Ben (Winnetka)

Given his stellar Aug/Sept, Carlos Zambrano's trade value is higher than its been in a while. Why would the Cubs not move him this offseason?

Bruce Levine
  (1:28 PM)

Zambrano has a complete no-trade. He told me on Thursday that his goal is to stay with the Cubs for the next two years and win a World Series, and he won't leave until that is accomplished. End of story.

Kevin G (San Diego)

What is Byrds trade value? Do you think the Rays would be interested in him?

Bruce Levine
  (1:30 PM)

It's a funny situation with Byrd. He gave them a really good season, but his run production was down from when he played with the Rangers. A lot had to do with hitters not doing their job around him. And Piniella moving him between first and fifth all season long. On a great team, Byrd is your everyday left or right fielder. It's hard to fault Byrd, but the Soriano situation remains a tough one.

Mike Sage (Chicago)

Will the Cubs make a run at Carl Crawford, or is there no way he leaves the AL East?

Bruce Levine
  (1:31 PM)

I don't see the Cubs having enough money to pay for Crawford. He's a nice player, but he's going to be asking for $15-17M per year, and he might not be able to be a speed player for the duration of the contract. Remember Soriano was a speed player when they signed him at the same age. You hate to see deja vu all over again.

Tom (Buffalo Grove)

Hi BruceIs Ryno still in the mix here? Or do you believe Jim has decided on Quade?

Bruce Levine
  (1:32 PM)

I don't think Jim is going to decide on one manager until they have a chance to sit down with Tom Ricketts, and Jim has a chance to discuss the candidates with Tom. But I think he is down to three: Sandberg, Quade and Wedge.

Dean (Grayslake)

Agree on Dunn. Defense has to be addressed on North Side. Do you think Cubs will address and if so, how?

Bruce Levine
  (1:34 PM)

It's going to be difficult. Colvin is an average OF. Byrd is a tad above average, and Soriano is below average. Ramirez was miserable at third until last 2 months. Castro's errors should be down next season, and DeWitt should be a solid if not spectacular defender at second. First base is really so important defensively, and Cubs fans were spoiled by Lee and Nady, who did a surprisingly excellent job in place of Lee. You can't have a bad first baseman and have a good infield.

Corey B (Brookfield)

Odds on Morel starting at 3B for the Sox coming out of spring training?

Bruce Levine
  (1:35 PM)

I think real good. I would say 80 percent. He's a real good looking defensive player already, and he hit a lot in the minors. A lot of people are drawing the comparison to Crede, however I don't know if Morel has Crede's power.

Tom L (Edison Park)

If Dunn is so bad at 1b, wouldnt Pena be a better move?

Bruce Levine
  (1:35 PM)

Yeah, if you could accept his .199 batting average. That's .199 and 160 strikeouts. If you like his 25 homers, 80 RBIs and excellent defensive player, you'll have to ignore the other two aspects.

Gym (Boston)

Assuming Brett Jackson performs well this fall and next spring, do you believe he will be given a legitimate shot at CF next year for the Cubs. It would require Byrd be traded, but they should be able to get a solid prospect in return, right?

Bruce Levine
  (1:37 PM)

I don't believe Jackson is ready by spring training, but he could be on the same fast track that brought Castro to the team in early May. I've talked to some Cubs officials about that possibility, and they said they certainly would be open to that. Let's see how he does in the Arizona Fall League.

Suman (Barrington)

Hey Bruce...enjoy your columns and blogs. Wanted to have your take on if who would be better going after? Cliff Lee or Adam Dunn? We have no viable 1B in the system, but we do have depth in the minors in pitching. Also if the estimated payroll including arbitration eligible players is 120-123M? And if we don't resign Baker and eat most of the Fukudome contract, I can't see why we can't get a marquee free agent, which will put the payroll under $140M. Unless the Ricketts want to spend the money on improving Wrigley or feeding better food to players, I don't know why this isn't possible. Thanks!

Bruce Levine
  (1:38 PM)

We don't know what Tom Ricketts' payroll number is right now. When Hendry gets that nubmer, which is relatively soon, he'll be able to make his game plan. He already has his ducks in line, as far as having scouted the potential free agents and arbitration-eligible players, now he'll have to decide whether he revamps his team through trade or free agency.

E (The World) [via mobile]

Marmol for Montero, Chamberlain, and Gardner? Shoot throw Gardner back and someone else and that's a great dang deal! But I don't think the Yanks would do that. I'm actually wondering if you have any thought of who will eventually be the next manager. I'm leaning towards Ricketts being more hands on with this decision and bringing in Sandberg. Hendry has messed up more than enough and can't be trusted.

Bruce Levine
  (1:40 PM)

I guess Hendry's fate will be decided on 2011. If Ricketts didn't trust him, he would have removed him already. Couple million dollars isn't the reason he kept Hendry. The ascension of good players to the majors and the way the organization is run were the deciding factors for Ricketts to hold onto Jim.

Tom L (Edison Park)

Do you think Hendry will look into a Ramirez to Boston option to trim payroll? or is there any other possible move he can make to free up a spot for Brett Jackson?

Bruce Levine
  (1:42 PM)

Trading Ramirez doens't really free up a spot for Jackson. I was told there's no deal being considered with Boston. Though I reported last week that the Red Sox were watchign him, which they were. However we know very well that if Boston doesn't re-sign Beltre, theyr'e going to need a 3B. Nuff said.

Brett Davis (Hot Springs, AR)

Will Bobby Jenks or JJ Putz return?

Bruce Levine
  (1:42 PM)

Good question. Putz really enjoyed his time on the south side, but it's going to be about money and years. There's no way the Sox are going to pay Jenks $9M, so he's either traded or non-tendered.

Mike (Waco, TX)

If the Sox can't resign Konerko, what do you think of Carlos Pena, assuming the Rays can't or won't bring him back?

Bruce Levine
  (1:44 PM)

He might be a better fit for the Sox than the Cubs. But the .199 average is really daunting. I know program directors who can hit more than .199. It's hard for me to get past that, especially for an aging player.

Phil (Chicago)

If Sandberg doesn't get the job, where does he go from here? Back to the minors isn't likely and aside from rumors about Seattle and Toronto, there hasn't been much conversation about him and other jobs. Does he become a bench coach somewhere?

Bruce Levine
  (1:45 PM)

The Cubs have not been asked for permission to talk to Sandberg as of Sunday. However, it's up to Sandberg to decide if he doesn't get the manager's job, would he accept a 3B coach job or bench coach job. In many people's mind, that would complete his resume.

Alan (Chicago)

Seriously Bruce? An arbitration eligible closer in Marmol for one of the best prospects in all baseball (Montero) + more? Get a clue about surplus value.

Bruce Levine
  (1:46 PM)

Get a clue about the fact that your closer has had it. Four blown saves in September. It's been years when Rivera hasn't blown four saves. Time to wake up and smell the coffee, my friend, unless you believe Joba is your next closer.

eric(cedar rapids,iowa) [via mobile]

Who do you think should manage the Cubs next year?

Bruce Levine
  (1:48 PM)

I think the best candidate should manage. I'm certainly unqualified to be GM, but if you had my back against the wall, I'd have to say Quade has probably earned the job.

Ike (St Louis)

How about Bobby Jenks for Carlos Beltran (assuming Beltran's knee is OK)?

Bruce Levine
  (1:49 PM)

Not bad. K-Rod's future is up in the air, due to the legal mess he's in. Not sure about whether the Sox want to add an OF or Jordan Danks gets a shot next year.

Bernard (Chicago)

There has been plenty of talk(nonsense) about how the next manager of the Cubs needs to understand the culture and environment of the team. Isn't the environment that Ryno played in and the current situation drastically different? Aside from playing the same ballpark, the fans and media scrutiny is night and day from what it was pre 2003.

Bruce Levine
  (1:52 PM)

I agree 100 percent. The continuity of Sandberg and Quade having dealt with some of the minor league players is somethign to consider, but not the deciding factor. Wedge has a terrific resume, and most likely will be managing somehwere in 2011. I think our conversation about a manager is a little overrated. I always say tell me who the players are going to be, and then I'll tell you how effective the manager will be. Understading the culture is not overrated. It took Piniella to the 3rd year of managing to understand Cubs culture, which is what can go wrong, will go wrong. The media scrutiny is much more intense now.

Larry Schwimmer (San Francisco)

Do you believe that Hendry will try to work a deal with the Padres for Gonzalez? Or, is that not likely to happen until Gonzalez becomes a free agent?

Bruce Levine
  (1:53 PM)

Are you goign to trade your farm system for a plyer who's going to be a free agent? Honestly, you'll have to give up 3 outstanding yougn players for Gonzalez. Are you willing to give up Cashner, Jackson and maybe Archer for Gonzalez? That's who San Diego would ask for. You make the call.

Johnny Blaze (Morgan Park)

What, if anything, could the sox get for jenks?

Bruce Levine
  (1:53 PM)

Tough to say. Most teams will wait till he becomes a free agent before making him offers. Trading him means you'll automatically accept giving him a $9M contrat in 2011. That will be his arbitration number.

Charlie (Chicago)

What LH bats do you see Kenny Williams pursuing?

Bruce Levine
  (1:54 PM)

Not sure because I don't know if he'll have money to spend. Will his cash go to Konerko and Pierzynski? Or will they retool and let Flowers and Viciedo play? Questions I don't have answers to right now.

Brian (Orlando)

Hi Bruce, do you think that if Ryno is not offered the Cubs job or manager of another MLB team that he will still be inclined to return to Des Moines? Would he accept a coaching position with another big league club or a minor league manging job with another organization?

Bruce Levine
  (1:56 PM)

My guess is his days of managing in the minors are over. He's accomplished a lot, and he should be given enormous credit for doing something that other HOFs have rarely done. He was manager of the year in the PCL. He did his due diligence. It's either time for hiim to be Cubs manager in the big leagues or a coach in the big leagues.

Adam (Chicago)

Brenly asked out of the Cubs interview process but is considered a favorite for the Brewers gig (again). Did he just not want to interview for a job he won't get or does he think the team here is that bad?

Bruce Levine
  (1:57 PM)

Might be a combination of the two. But he wasn't really going to be at the top of any list for the consideration in Chicago. I'm not sure he's a favorite for the Brewers job, but he has a shot. Padres coach Ted Simmons, may be a favorite for that position.

Tom (Crystal Lake, Illinois)

Hi, Bruce: When you consider Quade's minor league resume even before his impressive, albeit brief, major league managerial run, what compelling reason, other than an ill advised marketing one, can anyone reasonably offer that Sandberg should be selected over Quade? Thank you.

Bruce Levine
  (1:58 PM)

Well, as a previous chat room visitor mentioned, a lot of the young players came through Sandberg-managed teams. He has to be given some credit for that. So this isn't about saying Sandberg or Quade isn't good. The choice is who is better equipped to run the team right now. That's what Hendry has to figure out. As far as experience, Wedge is above both.

Matt Brose (Bloomington)

Bruce, am I the only Cubs fan who sees throwing tons of moola at Dunn as another Hendry disaster waiting to happen? To me, the addition of a past-his-prime Dunn (a career .250 hitter) isn't the difference between this year's team, and a playoff contender. He's going to get at least 3 years on this contract, not to mention sucking up most of the team's off-season spending money.

Bruce Levine
  (1:59 PM)

Some good points, excellent points I believe. Nonetheless, you can't get around the fact the Cubs need a LH bat to put in the mix along with Byrd and Ramirez and to drive in Colvin and Castro. But your points are well-taken.

Charlie (Chicago)

If Morel is at 3B, Teahan becomes a super-utility guy. Any chance the Sox could put a package together for Matt Kemp or is he untouchable?

Bruce Levine
  (2:01 PM)

I think that's a good call. I believe the Dodgers are fed up with an underachieving year by Kemp, and the Dodgers and White Sox have a very good trading history of getting deals done, ie Juan Pierre and Manny Ramirez.

Bruce Levine
  (2:02 PM)

To me, the best season next to the regular season is the offseason. In touch with a lot of scouts and front office people about managerial moves, both in Chicago and outside. Will update my blog every day and be sure to listen to Talkin Baseball every Saturday from 9-12.