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November 9, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Bruce Levine

Bruce Levine
  (1:07 PM)

Welcome to full-blown free agency for the Cubs and Sox. The chat room is now open. Welcome.

CubsFan (San Diego)

Do the Cubs have any interest in Dan Uggla?

Bruce Levine
  (1:08 PM)

Another bad defensive player, who can't run? I think the answer is no. Plus he just strangley turned down a four-year, $48 million deal with Florida. Home runs are nice, but c'mon.

John (Chicago, IL)

Other than Fukudome, which high payroll guys could the Cubs realistically trade this offseason?

Bruce Levine
  (1:08 PM)

Realistically? Probably nobody else. Zambrano, Soriano .. their contracts are untradeable. Ramirez is a tradeable contract.

Michael (Orlando, FL)

Who is a left handed bat that's available that the Sox desperately need?

Bruce Levine
  (1:09 PM)

Adam. Dunn.

Jeff (Oak Lawn)

Does Chris Sale make the White Sox starting pitching rotation this year?

Bruce Levine
  (1:09 PM)

Depends on what happens with the rest of the 'pen. If Jenks is gone, and Putz isn't re-signed, they need to keep him in the bullpen.

John (Chicago, IL)

Is Russell Branyan on the radar for the Cubs at 1B? Seems like he would be an affordable, short-term power guy who could put up some RBI at Wrigley.

Bruce Levine
  (1:10 PM)

Haven't heard his name. If the Cubs are going after anything left-handed, it might be Gonzalez first if he's available via trade. Followed by Pena, who's a free agent.

Alex (Chicago)

Bruce, do you think it's worth it to give up 2-3 top prospects AND a huge contract extension to trade for Gonzalez?

Bruce Levine
  (1:11 PM)

Answer your own question. He's 29 and one of the top power hitters in the game. He'd be a 35-45 HR hitter outside of Petco. You tell me what that's worth.

Bill (Chicago)

Was Barry Zito even in the locker room for the World Series celebration? Just wondering...

Bruce Levine
  (1:11 PM)

Somebody had to be there to open the champagne bottle.

Matt (Chicago)

Would the Cubs consider giving Hoffpaur a shot instead of giving away some of their top young talent or signing other subpar guys like Berkman??

Bruce Levine
  (1:12 PM)

If they do, with all due respect to Micah, it doesn't look good for what type of offense they might have this year. Here's the plan on Hoffpauir, if the Cubs sign or trade for a 1b, Hoffpauir has a chance to sign a multiyear deal in Japan, where he can make some real money. At 31, that's the right move for the veteran minor-leaguer.

Wes (Minooka)

Bruce, I look forward to your chat each week. I keep reading about the Cubs trading Big Z and my question for you is what could they possibly get in return? What type of player would he fetch in the trade market? Or am I looking at this the wrong way. Is it more of a salary/attitude dump rather that a way to make the team better through the addition of the new player? Thanks!

Bruce Levine
  (1:13 PM)

Everyone has it backward. Zambrano is in total control of his fate, and he says he's staying with the Cubs. He has a full no-trade clause.

Bruce Levine
  (1:14 PM)

Besides that, knowing his history, what team is going to commit $36 million toward hiim for the next two years.

Erik (Chicago)

What are your thoughts on Carlos Quentin's future with the Pale Hose? It seems like the organization is getting a little tired of his poor batting average and defense. Would they be able to get anything to replace him from a trade?

Bruce Levine
  (1:15 PM)

I think you have to be careful trying to replace a 25-HR, 90-100 RBI type OF. Just when you gotten rid of him, you're lookign for someone to replace those RBI. He didn't have a great year, but I'm not so sure they'll be trading him in the offseason.

Riley Hege (St Charles)

Who in your eyes is most likely to be traded from the Sox this offseason? And any targets that have yet to be mentioned yet?

Bruce Levine
  (1:16 PM)

They'll try to trade Jenks, but he's more likely a non-tender. Teams have to offer contracts to players before Dec. 1, so if Jenks will get traded it will have to happen soon. His arbitration figure is $9. That's a ton for a guy who had a so-so 2010.

Juan Garcia (alsip )

What are the chnaces the cubs get adum dunn and could the cubs land one of the big hitter from agency or trade

Bruce Levine
  (1:17 PM)

I'm not sure the Cubs have the money. According to the people I talk to, they still don't have their payroll number. But it's probably going to be in the 130s. The Cubs have a lot of money committed to the payroll for next season, which means a big-ticket free agent is probably out of the question: ie Cliff Lee and Adam Dunn.

Bill (Chicago)

Now that the Cubs are trying to build from within are they really likely to trade 3-4 top prospects for a guy (Adrian Gonzales) who might only play one year at Wrigley? If so, which prospects would it take to get him here?

Bruce Levine
  (1:19 PM)

First of all, if they trade for him, they would have to have a long-term deal in place. Secondly, Gonzalez is a young talent. He's 29 and just going into prime years. But whether it's likely that San Diego trades him to the Cubs is another matter. The Red Sox have been all over Gonzalez for the last two years. They may have better talent that they're willing to part ways with in a deal.

AJ (Belvidere)

If Konerko goes elsewhere, what are the likely options for 1B. Hopefully nobody thinks that Viciedo could handle the position full time. Berkman??..Pena??

Bruce Levine
  (1:20 PM)

How about Dunn? Never underestimate the Sox going after a big-time free agent or a guy making a lot of money. Dunn is who they wanted in July. He's probably who they want now. The price will be somewhere in the are of 3 years, $40M.

Todd Ricketts' discarded hot dogs (Chicago)

Bruuuuce!The Cubs are looking to add another starting pitcher. That could run upards of about $20-30mm/year over 2-3 years (ie. De La Rosa, Garland). I would rather see them add 2 quality relievers for about the same amount of money & give Marshall and Cashner a shot at SP. Id rather have two setup men (ie. Downs, Balfour, Crain) than one #3 tier starter. Your thoughts?

Bruce Levine
  (1:21 PM)

I like the way you're thinking. A strong bullpen is always a key to the success of a team. But I don't think they're moving Marshall and Cashner out of the 'pen. Think mid-range free agents like Jake Westbrook. That's more in the line of what the Cubs would be looking for.

Dan (Texas)

Hi Bruce, who do you think the Cubs will package to acquire Adrian Gonzalez. If I read correctly, the Cubs' salary will be the same, so if they acquire him, how will they drop the necessary payroll to comply with Mr. Rickett's budget?

Bruce Levine
  (1:23 PM)

At this point, A-Gon is making $6.2M. That's easily manageable for 2011. Also remember Ramirez's contract comes off the book sin 2012, unless a team picks up his option. So there's money that can be moved around. Don't expect Jackson or Castro to be among the players traded.

Mike (Chicago)

I know you probably get this a lot but so you think the Ricketts are being cheap or do you really think they have a plan, my view would of been to fire Hendry for putting the cubs in this mess of bad contracts and bad players and getting somebody like Andrew Friedman or Theo Epstein, what do you think?

Bruce Levine
  (1:25 PM)

Those are good names, but to answer your question, I think Ricketts believes the minor-league system is where the future strengths of the Cubs lie. His theory is to try to field a good team every year, not just in 2011.

Justen (Houston)

What kind of factor will Colvin be this year? Im hoping for a full season of .270 AVG .330OBP .500 SLG....or is that too optimistic?

Bruce Levine
  (1:26 PM)

It's hard to tell what type of player Colvin is going to be. I believe at some point you can expect him to start playing a little 1B to add to his versatility. He could have 500 abs playing an OF position and 1b.

Darshan Patel (Mount Laurel, NJ)

Money issues aside, do the Cubs have what it would take to pull off a trade for Adrian Gonzalez? It seems if Dunn is going to cost $13-15 million per yer, it would make sense to trade for Gonzalez at $6 million in 2011, then with Fukudome off the books next year, the bigger payday for Gonzalez might be more manageable?

Bruce Levine
  (1:27 PM)

That's correct, as well as Ramirez's contract. And maybe Vitters at that time is ready to play 3B. The Cubs believe in their minor-league system. And they believe Jackson and Vitters will eventually be impact players on the major-leauge team.

Jac (Casale)

To me, Shawn Marshall is a good starter in a lot of other teams' eyes. I think he's great in the setup role, but with Cashner and crew up and coming, could we package Shawn and say Fukudome (of course taking on a big chunk of his salary) for a decent #3 SP? Then go after Dunn?

Bruce Levine
  (1:29 PM)

Never undervalue a LHP who gets people out. Marshall is as valuable to the team in some ways as Marmol is. I know that's a strong statement, but in order to get to Marmol, you have to have contributions from Marshall, Cashner and whoever else they bring in for the set up role. Marshall told me he's not sure he wants to be a starter.

Jim (Chicago)

Bruce, Do you think the Sox will offer salary arbratration to Konerko, Putz and AJ?

Bruce Levine
  (1:30 PM)

It's a good question. I was just talking to some of their baseball people about that. Arizona is hot to trot for Konerko. A.J. might be looked at by Texas. And probably 10-12 teams would like Putz. But to answer your question, I think they offer arbitration to A.J. and Paulie with an outside chance of offering it to Putz as well.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Will the City of Chicago ever have a World Series Champion in this Decade?

Bruce Levine
  (1:31 PM)

Yes, I believe the Giants come to town next August to play the Cubs.

Joe P. (Las Vegas, NV)

I can appreciate the Ricketts family wanting to model the Cubs after the Red Sox and build from within our farm system to create a sustainable contender. I'm all for it. But lowering the payroll is not something I think they should be doing because it just handcuffs the team. Maintaining the same payroll would be fine but don't lower it.

Bruce Levine
  (1:32 PM)

Mr. Ricketts did say the payroll would be flat. However, the Major League payroll might be down while they spend more money on free agents, Latin America and the Pacific Rim, part of the process of building a strong team for the future.

Zack B (East Lansing)

Bruce,With the Cubs looking for a quality 1st basemen but with a limited budget it would seem that Adam Dunn and Adrian Gonzalez are long shots. With this in mind who do you believe would be the best fit at Wrigley of the remaining available players: Pena, Overbay, Johnson, LaRoche? What do you think?

Bruce Levine
  (1:34 PM)

Pena is probably the guy they'll look at. His .199 average is a little scary, but his power numbers are still good. The consensus in the Cubs is he'd hit .250, bring a great glove to 1B and be a solid force in the locker room. He's known as a great teammate with leadership abilities. That might be the direction they go.

Drew (Phoenix, AZ)

If Konerko is going to leave - doesn't going to the north side make a lot of sense? Its not like the Cubs would be acquiring AJ or anything.

Bruce Levine
  (1:35 PM)

I don't think the Cubs would have any problems acquiring A.J. either. Everybody wants to acquire good players. Konerko doesn't fit for the Cubs. They just unloaded a 35 yo 1B of their own last July. If Konerko stays in Chicago, it will be on the South Side.

Scott (Vernon Hills)

Where do you see the Cubs going in the starting pitching realm of their off-season?

Bruce Levine
  (1:35 PM)

Middle range veteran pitchers. The aforementioned Jake Westbrook. Garland is a possibility. Pitchers of that ilk.

Nicholas (Kenosha)

Any chance the Cub's go after Rafael Soriano, I know we already have one of those on our team, but this guy would surely help the bullpen out?

Bruce Levine
  (1:37 PM)

His money probably would be prohibitive. Think more along the lines of Kerry Wood. I don't think Kerry would mind ending his career pitching for the Cubs, and it would give them a legit closer in case something happened to Marmol.

John (Chicago)

Bruce, How can you justify wasting money on a below average Jake Westbrook instead of giving an opportunity to Chris Carpenter, Jay Jackson, Andrew Cashner etc.?

Bruce Levine
  (1:37 PM)

Opportunities are one thing, but competing to win a division is another. If you want to just throw it open to the young guys, then maybe you should think of trading the other veteran pitchers on your staff. I think there will be plenty of opportunities for the young guys to compete. We saw that last year with the Cubs.

Jim (Schaumburg)

Bruce,I love talking baseball on saturdays, keep it going. You have put my mind at ease by saying Dunn is too expensive for cubs. Signing ths guy would be HUGE step backwards. Are you just speculating that they don't have enough money, and do you have inside source that you told so ? I hope its the latter.

Bruce Levine
  (1:39 PM)

I'm hoping you don't waste your time in a chat room where somebody makes things up. Thanks for the compliment.

Paul (Chicago)

Bruce, please list your three (3) most likely starting first basemen for the Cubs in 2011.

Bruce Levine
  (1:40 PM)

Colvin, Pena and Gonzalez.

Sean (Lake Forest)

Any chance the Sox go after Beltre to play 3rd?

Bruce Levine
  (1:42 PM)

Doubtful. Try Morel. He's ticketed to play there this year.

Jonathan (DC)

Bruce, Please tell me the Cubs arent going to be dumb enough to keep Cashner as a reliever when he has proven he can start and be very effective

Bruce Levine
  (1:42 PM)

Maybe he's proven it in your mind, I'm not sure he's done that with the Cubs. His success in the bullpen pretty much convinces the team he should stay there for the present time. However there are members of the organization who would like hiim to start.

Jeff B. (Chicago)

Any news on a Soriano/Zito swap? Makes perfect sense to me: 2 massive deals for overrated players. Cubs need pitching, Giants need hitting. Granted they're WS champs, but winning games with 3 runs wont win it everytime.

Bruce Levine
  (1:43 PM)

Doesn't make sense for either team. Neither is improved by swapping players whose best years are behind them.

Paul (Chicago)

Hey Bruce, this is probably a long shot, but what are the chances the Cubs inquire with Japan about Yu Darvish? His representatives have said he plans to leave Japan by 2012. (at least thats speculation.) Would the Cubs be bidders?

Bruce Levine
  (1:44 PM)

I'd have to check on his availability before I answer your question.

Bruce Levine
  (1:44 PM)

I'd have to check on his availability before I answer your question.

Kevin (Chicago)

The Sox have Buerhle, Danks, Floyd, Peavy, and Jackson as starters for next year. Does this leave Freddy and Sale out or do you see one of the established guys getting traded?

Bruce Levine
  (1:45 PM)

The Sox feel they have enough veteran pitching to win the division next year. Sale will be part of the mix if they can solve some bullpen issues. Otherwise they'll have to return to the bullpen as previously stated.

Mo (Chicago)

Bruce, from what you've heard/seen, will Hak-Ju Lee play in a Cubs uniform anytime soon? Can he hit leadoff at the ML-level? Thanks!

Bruce Levine
  (1:45 PM)

Defensively they love Lee. But if the Cubs make a big trade for somebody like Gonzalez, you can bet a talent like Lee will be considered.

Jim (Schaumburg)

Bruce, Do you think Brandon Guyer fits into their plans ? (probably would be 2012)

Bruce Levine
  (1:47 PM)

He was the minor-league player of the year, but he needs another year in the minors. The Cubs have to find a way of getting some RBI punch into the OF or 1B. That means trading 1, 2 or 3 existing players.

Nick Theodoratos (Crown Point, Indiana)

Do you know of any teams that are showing interest in Fukudome? And if we could get him traded, could we potentially have enough money to afford Dunn?

Bruce Levine
  (1:48 PM)

The Cubs are out there talking to teams. The thing about Fukudome is he is a left-handed hitter, something the Cubs are trying to obtain. They would trade him if they knew they already had another left-handed bat.

Matt (Chicago)

Will the South side be seeing andruw jones next year?

Bruce Levine
  (1:49 PM)

Doubt it. Jones has proved over the last couple yeras that he's a 6-week player.

Jeff (Oak Lawn)

Do you think Jared Mitchell will make it to the big league this year?

Bruce Levine
  (1:49 PM)

Probably needs at least a year at Triple-A. Appears to have lost a step due to a broken leg. The Sox feel he has a bright future.

Mo (Chicago)

Bruce, if the Cubs make an offer for AGonz, Marmol probably has to be a part of it, correct?

Bruce Levine
  (1:50 PM)

Incorrect, the Padres have plenty of bullpen pitching, and they're going to trade a guy who's their closer. They don't want another guy in the bullpen who's going to make $5 million.

Mike (Dayton)

If AJ doesnt come back who is the Sox starting catcher? Is Flowers big league ready?

Bruce Levine
  (1:51 PM)

Same thing was asked about Posey last May. I'm not saying Flowers has the talent of Posey, but there were a lot of unknowns when they brough him up to catch. At some point the Sox will have to move on from the A.J. era, the question is whether it's this year.

Tyler (Harrisburg)

Why are you considering Cashner for the pen...It seems early to give up on a kid with his potential as a front of the line starter. With the emergence of Carpenter and others in the system, Cashner should be stetched out in AAA and be waiting for the call up....Thoughts?

Bruce Levine
  (1:53 PM)

I don't necessarily disagree with you, but his second and third pitchers are still being developed. Do they want to do that in the bullpen or with him as a starter. That's something we'll find out when spring training rolls around. When I talked to Cashner in late Sept., he told me he's fine in eithe role. He also said his second and third pitches are plenty good enough to be a starter.

Dennis (Chicago)

Possible the Sox pass on Konerko and AJ and use that money to go after Crawford?

Bruce Levine
  (1:54 PM)

Always a possibility. More likely they go after an RBI bat and Dunn would be more of a sure thing. I don['t think they want to pay $20M for Crawford.

Jeff (Oak Lawn)

So where do the Sox stand on re-signing Freddy Garcia?

Bruce Levine
  (1:55 PM)

I think they would consider bring him back. But he's probably going to want more than the 1M he made last year.

John (Frankfort)

Hey Bruce, do you think that the Cubs would go after a guy like Willie Harris for a bench option? He provide some speed AND he can play all of the positions except pitcher, cathcer, and first base. He would also be a cheap option.

Bruce Levine
  (1:55 PM)

I like the way you're thinking, but I'm not sure it's Willie Harris. The Cubs definitely need to upgrade their bench. Without a versatile bench, it's very hard to win. Economics may dictate what bench they end up with.

Mo (Chicago)

Do the Cubs have enough faith in their system catchers to put Soto on the table? I'm still trying to figure out what they could offer San Diego to make them jump....

Bruce Levine
  (1:57 PM)

You can start by asking them what they want. Archer is going to be No. 1 or 1A on their list. I'm sure the Cubs are going to balk at dealing eithe Archer or Jackson. But you must be realistic about trading talent for talent. You're going to be getting a premier player, and you have to give up something good.

Jon (Indianapolis)

With a lot of attention going to Archer this season, what is the possibility of seeing McNutt in at Wrigley this season?

Bruce Levine
  (1:58 PM)

He made some nice progress last year. You're right in the thinking they might be coming right behind Archer and Carpenter. Carpenter is an interesting pitcher.

Bruce Levine
  (1:59 PM)

Ok everyone, thanks again for the great questions. Stay tuned for more free-agent news.