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November 16, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Bruce Levine

Bruce Levine
  (1:00 PM)

Welcome to the chat room live from Orlando and the general manager meetings. Ready to take any and all quaestions. I may have a few answers as well.

Marc (Lakeview)

Bruce, how realistic is Kerry Wood's return? Are there any bitter feelings about the way the Cubs refused to offer him any chance of returning after 2008?

Bruce Levine
  (1:01 PM)

No one is ever bitter when someone offered you $20 million to leave. The Cubs didn't have that kind of money to put toward a closer and the Indians did. The relationship between Hendry and Wood is solid. Neither side would have any problems having Wood return.

Jeremy (Deerfield)

Hey bruce, what are the chances that the cubs swing some kind of deal for an adrian gonzalez or possibly a leadoff hitter like elsbury at the meetings?

Bruce Levine
  (1:03 PM)

I think these meetings are a prelude to trades that will be made in the next couple weeks. The winter meetings are only three weeks away. Normally these GM meetings are a week earlier. Gonzalez will only be traded when the Padres decide it's time to let him go. They haven't mader that decision yet. Boston will be the lead team in obtaining Gonzalez when he becomes available. No word on any deal between the Cubs and Red Sox for Ellsbury.

Jamaal (Carbondale)

If the Sox are able to re-sign Konerko and/or Pierzynski do you see them going after a left-handed hitter like Brad Hawpe or Johnny Damon?

Bruce Levine
  (1:05 PM)

If they sign both back they won't have much money to go after any other free agents. Hawpe is a lower level free agent and they might have money for him if they are interested, but he's not the left-handed RBI bat they are looking for.

jackson (arizona)

what do think dayan vicedo numbers could look like in the future. Can he hit 30 HR and drive in 100 RBI?

Bruce Levine
  (1:06 PM)

It remains to be seen if he has the stamina for everyday, 150-games plus. Yeah, he has big-time power and he has shown some ability to hit major-league pitching last year.

Eric (Chicago)

Bruce, you're Jim Hendry, your 1st call has to be to the A's about Rajai Davis (leadoff hitter w/speed) and your 2nd call is to the Royals regarding Billy Butler and of course doing your due diligence on Greinke. Davis and Butler would be good additions for the Cubs, yes or no and why?

Bruce Levine
  (1:08 PM)

Davis yes. You don't have enough prospects to obtain Butler or Greinke. You'd have to trade your whole farm system to acquire both those guys. On top of that the Cubs don't have the money for Greinke's contract at this point. He'll be making $13 million this year and the Cubs have $5-$7 million to play with. Good thoughts though.

Brian (Chicago)

Bruce,How secure is Randy Wells' spot in the rotation? Is he in danger of losing his spot to a younger guy like Cashner or Archer?

Bruce Levine
  (1:09 PM)

Yes and yes. Wells will have to pitch his butt of from spring training on. The Cubs are thinking about switching Cashner from the pen to the rotation and Archer may be ready by midseason.

Scott (Chicago)

Bruce, Morel shows signs of a Robin Ventura type of 3rd baseman, good power, great range and glove. Do you see anyone else besides Morel playing 3rd for the Sox when spring training breaks?

Bruce Levine
  (1:10 PM)

No, he is going to get the first shot and a good long shot. The Sox are committed to him for 2011.

Craig (Seattle)

Hey Bruce, any chance you could see the Cubs make another trade with the Mariners...maybe Fukodome for Figgins? The M's could use a OF and the Cubs would solve their 2b/leadoff issue

Bruce Levine
  (1:16 PM)

From what we saw of Figgins last year, that would be a gamble. But I think there is only going to be one Japanese player playing right field for the Mariners. He gets 200 hits every year.

Ryan (Darien, IL)

I know a lot of people would love Dunn's bat on the North Side, but why don't we hear more about Victor Martinez? He's hits around .300, is a switch-hitter with power, he could be an emergency catcher, and would look nice at first base for the Cubs. He's not going to hit 40 home runs, but he will have about 150 fewer strikeouts then Dunn, will drive in 100 runs, and I don't see him costing as much. Am I missing something here?

Bruce Levine
  (1:17 PM)

Martinez wants to catch and the Cubs have a catcher. Plus, Martinez is being looked at by 5-6 other teams and the Cubs don't have the money for his contract which will be in the seven digits.

Dave (Belvidere)

Bruce, will Big Z be traded or stay

Bruce Levine
  (1:22 PM)

He will stay because of the $36 million he's owed and the no-trade clause.

Bruce Levine
  (1:22 PM)

He will stay because of the $36 million he's owed and the no-trade clause.

Bruce Levine
  (1:22 PM)

He will stay because of the $36 million he's owed and the no-trade clause.

brett (vermont)

Do the Cubs have any interest in Jason Werth? He's a solid OF and can handle the stick. I know that the Cubs don't have much payroll flexiblity but if they free up some space why not spend it on Werth rather than Dunn.

Bruce Levine
  (1:24 PM)

Everybody likes Werth. He's worth more than the Cubs have to spend. He's going to get seven figures times three or four.

Brett Davis (Hot Springs, AR)

Any news on Konerko coming back or leaving?

Bruce Levine
  (1:25 PM)

The consensus is that he's going. The Sox are approaching the offseason with that in mind and are looking at free agents like Adam Dunn.

Dave (NY)

Do you think the Cubs will try and deal Aramis Ramiarez this offseason? He struggled all year and it would make more sense than buying him out for 2 million next year.

Bruce Levine
  (1:26 PM)

Highly doubftul. Somebody is going to have to drive in runs. If the Cubs are out of it in midsummer that would remain a more feasible idea. Remember he also has a no-trade clause.

David (Chicago)

Carlos Quentin and Jordan Danks for Andre Eithier?

Bruce Levine
  (1:27 PM)

I just saw Dodgers GM Ned Colletti three minutes ago. I'll run that by him, but in order for him to move in a trade like that for Ethier, the Danks who will have to be traded is John not Jordan.

David (Chicago)

Bruce, do the sox have what it would take to go get a James Loney? How long does the situation with Konerko play out before they move on?

Bruce Levine
  (1:28 PM)

They do but it appears the Dodgers aren't trading him at this point. I'm sure the Cubs would be interested as well.

Brad (Minnesota)

Did Ricketts come out and explain why he is reducing the payroll? I know you can't throw money at your problems but most of the time it seems to work in this league

Bruce Levine
  (1:29 PM)

He said the money would be allocated to the amateur draft as well as free-agent signings in Latin America and the Pacific Rim. Ricketts believes the future of the Cubs must be built through the minor leagues.

Jay (Iowa City)

Does Darwin Barney have a legitimate shot at the 2nd base job or is he viewed as a utility player only.

Bruce Levine
  (1:30 PM)

Utility. He's kind of like the way Theriot was viewed in 2007. If somebody went down with an injury he would most likely have to start.

Brett Davis (Hot Springs, AR)

Are the Sox looking at John Buck or another solid catch and throw guy? Or do they want to bring back Pierzynski?

Bruce Levine
  (1:31 PM)

It could be neither. They may be talking themselves into believing that Tyler Flowers is ready to compete at the major-league level. If that's the case Castro will be there to back him up.

dre (south side)

Is Matt Kemp on the market and if so.. do the sox have any interest?

Bruce Levine
  (1:32 PM)

There's been rumors since last fall that Kemp will be on the market. I'm not sure the Sox have a match with the Dodgers although they would like to add another solide pitcher meaning either Floyd or Danks would go in that deal. That would leave the Sox a little thin in the rotation though.

Bill (Chicago)

Realistically what can the Cubs do about the Soriano contract? Will they really be trotting him out there every day for the next 4 years if his production drops below what other players can contribute on a day-to-day basis?

Bruce Levine
  (1:33 PM)

I doubt that you will see him out there in four years. That's just the reality of a long-term contract when you sign a 30-year-old guy to an eight-year deal. I think the Cubs would be happy to get two average to above-average years out of him.

Bill (Chicago)

If Jackson is a legitimate major league outfielder by May and the Cubs bring him up to play, who sits?

Bruce Levine
  (1:35 PM)

Depends what the rest of the OF looks like after spring training. Colvin, Byrd, Soriano could be in a three-way platoon at some point. The Cubs are all about trying to get run production in their outfield. They really haven't had it since Moises Alou left.

Iain (Cambridge, MA)

Bruce, I still really want Adam Dunn in blue pinstripes. I know the Cubs don't have the cash, but can you devise a scenario where he's a Cubs? Maybe if someone takes on half of the fukudome contract?

Bruce Levine
  (1:36 PM)

That would be the only way and it would have to happen quickly because Dunn is being shopped right now and Washington wants him back very badly. It might take a four-year commitment to get him signed and I don't know if Hendry could get the confirmation of money spent toward the future on Dunn from Ricketts.

bolkE (chicago)

Assuming Peavy is back by opening day, do you see the Sox trading any of their stacked starting pitching? I find it hard to believe that they will go into the 2011 season with Edwin as their potential 5th starter.

Bruce Levine
  (1:38 PM)

Peavy is certainly no slam dunk to come back. The Sox have to be extremely cautious about trading starting pitching. Some people think Peavy will have a difficult time coming back from the freak injury that he incurred. What appears to be a strength for the Sox could be a weakness with just one trade or an injury.

Doug (Missouri)

Any chance the Cubs trade Byrd to free up salary and a space to play Jackson?

Bruce Levine
  (1:39 PM)

They are not sure that Jackson is ready to play yet. Would they consider trading Byrd? Yes, if they felt they could get back another outfielder who get produce runs either as a top of the order hitter or an RBI man.

Matt (Bloomington)

Where does Chris Archer project in the starting rotation? Frontend or middle of the rotation?

Bruce Levine
  (1:40 PM)

They think front end. He has electric stuff as far as they are concerned. They like his makeup as well. They are not going to rush him though I don't believe. He probably needs a good solid year of Double-A and/or Triple-A.

Doug (Malin, OR)

What does Jeff Samardzija have to do to be the elite pitcher we all want him to be?

Bruce Levine
  (1:42 PM)

Just be more consistent with his pitches. Jeff has had a problem commanding his fastball on a regular basis. He has the physical tools to get it down but he just hasn't honed his skills at this point.

Eric (Chicago)

Is this the year that the Cubs finally sign Orlando Hudson to play 2nd base? They should have signed him about 2-3 years ago.

Bruce Levine
  (1:43 PM)

I agree with you. He's a winning-type player and a solid clubhouse presence. He does have a tendency to get hurt. The Cubs probably still won't have enough money to sign him.

Bob (Chicago)

Do you see any potenital surprise moves that Kenny Williams will make? Meaning signing or trading for a player that nobody would have though i.e. Swisher deal a few years ago?

Bruce Levine
  (1:44 PM)

You always have to watch out for that with Kenny. He could make a blockbuster trade with Danks or Floyd involved and it would not be shocking. I would say more likely Floyd than Danks considering it's hard to find left-handed pitchers with power arms.

Bob (Chicago)

Is Rafael Soriano a target for the Sox and how good of a chance do they have of getting him?

Bruce Levine
  (1:48 PM)

The Sox are going to have to add to their bullpen. There are a lot of good-looking bullpen pitchers out there. That's really the strength of this free-agent market. Once they non-tender Jenks they will be able to put that money toward another reliever. Soriano, Putz are just a couple of guys out there the Sox would like. No one has told me they are after Soriano however.

Bill (Chicago)

Couldn't the Cubs force Zambrano's hand on agreeing to trade but telling him he's in the bullpen if isn't effective as a starter?

Bruce Levine
  (1:49 PM)

What's the point of that? That plan blew up in their face last year. You made a commitment to the guy. Who are you going to be punishing: yourself, the player of the team? In Z's mind he is a starter. That's something that whoever has him should be cognizant of.

Matt (Mt Greenwood)

Bruce, there's been alot of talk regarding Eduardo Escobar's performance in the AFL. Do the Sox view him as a top talent or is he just having a hot streak at the right time? If he is a top prospect, how far away is he from the big leagues?

Bruce Levine
  (1:50 PM)

They look at him as a nice-looking middle infielder in the future. Right now they are pretty well set at second and short.

Adam (Chicago)

Will Ricketts get his way (and his $200,000,000)?

Bruce Levine
  (1:52 PM)

It's hard to project. The mayor and the governor are against it. However the Ricketts family is making a good case for themselves in reference to how much revenue and how many jobs will be created through this expansion.

Osasze (So Cal)

Is Gordon Beckham safe and will he be the future of this organization?

Bruce Levine
  (1:53 PM)

In the world of Kenny Williams, anyone is tradeable. If Adrian Gonzalez became available today Beckham might have to be involved. For now he is the White Sox second baseman.

Gray (Chicago)

If the Cubs signed Kerry Wood, would they consider dealing Carlos Marmol....please.

Bruce Levine
  (1:54 PM)

No, definitely not. Wood would be the setup man from the right side and a backup closer if Marmol is hurt or unavailable.

Max (Peoria)

Have you ever seen a year with such a glut of starting quality first baseman on the market? Where do you think D-Lee ends up. Shame for him 2009 wasn't his contract year or he'd be in pole position with Konerko on market.

Bruce Levine
  (1:56 PM)

Lee had an injury-prone below average season. At 35, and having just had surgery on his thumb he may be signed later in the free agent market in January or February. There are a lot of first baseman but I don't agree that they are all quality players. A lot of them have had their best years already.

Reid (Chicago)

What level do you think Hak-Ju Lee will start at next season, High-A or Double-A? And do you think it's possible he could be ready for the majors by 2012?

Bruce Levine
  (1:57 PM)

Hard for me to project but they feel that he is on the fast track to the majors. I think he will start at high-A and quickly progress to Double-A if he does well.

Tom (Chicago)

Do the Cubs really think Silva will be a good enough pitcher to be a part of the starting rotation two years in a row ? I tend to think Silva will not even come close to the 10 wins he came up with last season, what is the contingency plan when Silva fails ?

Bruce Levine
  (1:58 PM)

I don't believe anyone in the organization is really counting on Silva. However if he reports to camp in shape he will have a great opportunity to win a spot in a very average-looking rotation.

Bruce Levine
  (1:59 PM)

We'll be at these meetings for the next two days. I'll be blogging on the Sox, Cubs and everything baseball. Also listen to my hits on "Waddle & Silvy" and "The Afternoon Saloon" this week.