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

Bruce Levine
  (1:01 PM)

Happy Holidays to Chicago baseball fans. Cubs and Sox will remain active through the holidays, you can bet. Both general managers will be active.

Paul (Longmont, CO)

If they don't sign Webb, what are the chances they trade for Matt Garza?

Bruce Levine
  (1:02 PM)

It's not an either-or. They're not trying to sign Webb first. He's a fall-back. Garza is the guy they're after.

Jason (Salem, IN)

Will the cubs counter the Brewers move of obtaining Greinke and try to obtain a front line starter before Spring Training?? I have been itching to purchase that Garza jersey.....any chance???

Bruce Levine
  (1:02 PM)

Stop itching, and get yourself some lotion. I can guarantee you Hendry is working hard over the holidays to try to obtain Garza or another quality starter.

Sam (Chicago)

Assuming Jake Peavy isn't ready and Chris Sale stays in the bullpen, what is the plan for the no. 5 starter spot?

Bruce Levine
  (1:04 PM)

No. 5 spot right now would probably be somebody like Lucas Harrel. Their plan is still to try to get Sale in the rotation. There's still a closer in San Diego who is going to be traded. So Heath Bell may still be on their radar.

Dave (Decatur, IL)

What cubs prospect should we be looking for next year to make the squad and have an impact?

Bruce Levine
  (1:04 PM)

Outfielder Brett Jackson, pitcher Chris Archer. They could be on the fast track to Wrigley.

Mike (Waco, TX)

How is this for a trade scenario, the White Sox trade Buerhle to the Cardinals for Colby Rasmus and maybe a prospect and then turn around and trade Quentin for bullpen pitching. Fill in the fifth spot with a vet and get some extra salary space. I'm a big Buerhle fan but this sounds promising to me.

Bruce Levine
  (1:05 PM)

Buehrle has a complete no-trade. Rasmus is not being traded. Cards don't have any other left-handed hitting in their lineup.

Brett Favre's Concussion (TCF Stadium)

Bruce, with the Brewers addition of Greinke and the Cards already strong rotation, who are the Cubs going "all out" to pursue now that they saved some cash with signing Kid K? We were all reading their pursuit of Matt Garza, but what's the latest?

Bruce Levine
  (1:06 PM)

Other teams like Texas are interested in Garza, and I wouldn't count out Minnesota from trying to obtain their former pitcher.

Paul (Longmont, CO)

Bruce, how likely is it that the Cubs will sign Brandon Webb?

Bruce Levine
  (1:07 PM)

Webb is a fallback. This is a man who hasn't pitched in two years. His medicals have been checked out by numerous teams, including the Cubs. Texas and Washington appear interested as well.

eric m (burbank il)

do you see us running away with the division this year? i mean i have always felt like we own the tigers and obviously the royals and indians haven't done too much this offseason and the twins are going ridiculously young for there bullpen......

Bruce Levine
  (1:08 PM)

I'm not so sure I agree with you about the bullpen. Nathan should be back by May. And Matt Capp is a very competent soldier. There are still other bullpen guys out there, as far as free agency goes. The Sox will never be able to look past the Twins when it comes to winning the division.

Doug (US)

Bruce, are the Cubs going to make a legitimate play for a front end starter (i.e. Garza, Carmona)? This team might have a chance to compete with another really good arm

Bruce Levine
  (1:10 PM)

The Cubs I'm sure will kick the tires on Carmona, although I'm hearing Cleveland is asking for other teams' top two prospects. Cubs have prospects to trade for a pitcher, but not guys like Jackson or Archer. Garza is the more likely candidate to come to Chicago.

Matt (Chicago)

Do you see the Cubs OF being more of a true 4-man rotation than a situation with 3 clear-cut starters?

Bruce Levine
  (1:11 PM)

Right now you have Fukudome, Colvin, Byrd and Soriano. Knowing the way Quade managed late last season, if somebody is not productive, he'll bench them. That's the big difference between him and Piniella at the end of his run. I don't believe Soriano is guaranteed any time regardless of his salary.

Patrick (Chicago)

Hi Bruce, happy holidays, what are the Cubs options for 2nd base?

Bruce Levine
  (1:12 PM)

It's a 3-headed monster at this point. Blake DeWitt, Darwin Barney and Jeff Baker. I don't see that changing. Cubs will be out of dough by the time they get a starting pitcher.

Brian (Park Ridge)

This may be a fantasy trade, but would either side have any interest in a Zambrano/Aramis for ARod trade? This saves the Cubs $7M this season and the Yankees will only have Rameirez on the books for 1 year. Thoughts?

Bruce Levine
  (1:13 PM)

Everybody you mentioned has a no-trade clause. I'm sure A-Rod would be thrilled to come to the Cubs. That's not going to happen.

Matt (Des Moines, IA)

With the great line-up of prospects we have, is there any reason we don't trade them for some "guaranteed talent". It seems silly to me to hold onto players that "may" be good some day when we can get players that have already proven themselves. Your thoughts?

Bruce Levine
  (1:14 PM)

The Sox and Kenny Williams showed the way as far as trading their young players for other peoples young players. That would be the case here if the Cubs were able to obtain Garza. I can't see them trading for guys over 30 at this point.

Paul (Longmont, CO)

Bruce, what team in the NL Central is the favorite to win the division.

Bruce Levine
  (1:15 PM)

Let's wait until the end of spring training to pick out favorite. Let's put it this way, the Cubs, Pirates and Houston are not favorites.

Dennis (Chicago)

Bruce, do the White Sox have to dump salary at their level or is Jerry ok with the current payroll?

Bruce Levine
  (1:15 PM)

Jerry has taken enormous debt to add payroll, all on his own. I would not be surprised if he continues, if he feels there's a missing piece to the puzzle. As Kenny Williams said after signing Adam Dunn, they are all in.

Dro (Chicago, IL)

Also involving Chris Sale, I know there have been injury concerns due to his size and motion. In your opinion is it more taxing on his arm to pitch every 5th game for about 5 innings or so or every couple games for one inning?

Bruce Levine
  (1:17 PM)

I don't believe in protecting pitchers. The only way to maintain a strong arm is to throw often and consistently. Mechanics are the key to a guy staying healthy, not overuse.

Nick (Connecticut)

Do you think Flowers and Viciedo are the trade bait vs. Quentin for the additional reliever? Shouldn't the Sox have a real closer (Thorton) rather than the committee approach and who would that be?

Bruce Levine
  (1:18 PM)

Kenny has never been afraid to trade young people. I'm not quite sure other teams view Flowers in the same way the Sox do. He hit .220 last season and struck out once in every three at-bats. Minor-league director Buddy Bell said he may not a little more time in the minors.

Gergs (Orland Park)

Who plays baseball on the South Side first... Mitchell or Jo. Danks?

Bruce Levine
  (1:19 PM)

Mitchell has a ways to go. Danks also is coming off a year where he took a step backwards offensively. Danks is a finished product defensively, therefore I'll pick him getting to the majors first.

Jacob (Chicago)

Could the Cubs package Samardzija, Vitters, and Lee to get Garza? I don't see Vitters ever developing into a stud, and Samardjiza is out of options and obviously not being considered as a starter if the Cubs are looking to make moves.

Bruce Levine
  (1:21 PM)

From what I understand, Lee is someone that Tampa will insist upon to be included. Also Robinson Chirinos will most likely be in the deal. The rest of the names I'm pretty sure have not been decided on yet. Tampa already has an All-Star third baseman in Longoria. And Samardzija doesn't excite anyone.

Kevin Hege (South Side)

Who hits 2nd for sox next year- Beckham or Ramirez? And what will middle of lineup look like- Dunn, Pauly, Rios?

Bruce Levine
  (1:22 PM)

Not sure how it's going to shake out at this point. Beckham will have to prove he can make more contact. All kinds of candidates to bat second. My choice at this point might be Rios.

Stan (Northalke)

Bruce, What remains the biggest White Sox need this year? Which rookies do you think will make an impact on the Southside this year?

Bruce Levine
  (1:22 PM)

Biggest needs is bullpen depth. Brett Morel appears to be the popular choice.

Mike (Chicago)

I am really annoyed by the Cubs, Tom Ricketts claims he wants to be like Red Sox, he sure doesn't act like it. The Brewers got Zach Greinke and that is another team is better then the Cubs now. I know the cubs will not be good this year but should I be happy about Kerry Wood going on the disabled again, it seems to me Ricketts isn't serious about winning, he just wanted to own the Cubs and nothing else

Bruce Levine
  (1:24 PM)

I believe Tom Ricketts wants to win. But at this point, he doesn't believe that spending more money on his major-league payroll is necessarily the answer.

mike (oak lawn)

I heard some rumors that the yankees are eyeing sox pitchers. If we can trade jackson for gardner wouldn't the sox take that deal.

Bruce Levine
  (1:24 PM)

I don't believe the Sox have the ability to trade starting pitching depth at this point. Their strength right now appears to be starting pitching. They're not going to win without it.

Orlando (Buffalo Grove, IL)

Hi Bruce...There has been talk that the Sox are listening to offers for Mark Buerhle, is this true?

Bruce Levine
  (1:25 PM)

I would doubt it, and Buehrle has veto power on any trade. Anything not St. Louis-bound most likely would be unacceptable, plus I don't see how the Sox can lose his 200 innings.

D Simon (Chicago)

I love the Crain signing and how the bullpen is shaping up. My question is, don't we need a closer to bring it all together? Thornton and Crain being the primary set up guys, with Santos behind them is very solid. However, we do need a ninth inning guy. It sounds like Sale will be our fifth starter for the first third of the season. So who pitches the ninth? Sounds like free agency is out of the question given our budget.

Bruce Levine
  (1:26 PM)

My choice on the team right now would be Santos. He's got the kind of power arm that could be the answer. The only thing preventing that would be his inexperience.

Jon (AZ)

Is a Garza deal dead, and if so, are the Cubs dead in 2011? How can we be this bad with our payroll...this has to fall on Hendry's shoulders.

Bruce Levine
  (1:27 PM)

Nothing is dead right now. Hendry continues to pursue starting pitching and Garza is still at the top of the list. Don't panic yet. Santa may still add somethign to your stocking.

Will (Lake View)

How can we expect Kenny Williams to handle 3rd base in terms of personel? Will we see the new kid Morel at all? What about Vicedo and Tehan? Or will it be something by committee where it lies in ozzies hands?

Bruce Levine
  (1:28 PM)

Morel already is penciled in as the starting third baseman. Williams and Guillen are on record saying that's the direction they're going.

Greg Shriver (Winchester, Va.)

Where do you see the Cubs' payroll five years down the line.Did the Ricketts really pay nearly a billion dollars for a team with the intention of having a mid-market payroll?

Bruce Levine
  (1:29 PM)

I believe Tom is on record stating the Cubs will always be in the top 5-6 payrolls in baseball. All he wants guaranteed is money is spent judiciously. You can't blame him for that.

Will (Lake View)

What can we expect from the Sox new pick up Crain. What is his stuff like, and can we expect him to preform like he did in Minnesota?

Bruce Levine
  (1:29 PM)

Bulldog type. Good fastball and slider. Somewhat of a flyball pitcher. Will fit nicely into the set-up role.

Damon (Michigan City)

Bruce,I see the Yankees are inviting Prior to camp. How close is he to be a major league pitcher?

Bruce Levine
  (1:30 PM)

Haven't seen Prior pitch or heard about his stuff in years. Wish him nothing but the best, but doubt he'll regain his previous form.

Chris (Downers Grove)

Is the plan for the Sox to have an OF of Quentin, Rios, Pierre? Then having Dunn / Konerko platooning @ 1B & DH? Or is there any talk still out there to try and move Quentin? If so... what rumors are there out there?

Bruce Levine
  (1:31 PM)

Kenny is on record saying they're not trying to trade Quentin. On the other hand, I believe Kenny would trade a blood relative if he knew it would make the team better.

Jay (Chicago)

If Pena bounces back a little in the BA category, how likely that he gets something long-term from the Cubs after 2011?

Bruce Levine
  (1:33 PM)

Doubtful. He'll be 34 and looking for a long-term contract if he has a good year. I doubt the Cubs will commit to him as the first baseman of the future.

Doug (US)

Bruce, your comments today in response to questions about the Cubs seem to indicate something might be on the horizon. Are the Cubs close on anything?

Bruce Levine
  (1:34 PM)

What I tried to inform you is that teams like Cubs, Texas, Minnesota and the Yankees are all kicking the tires on available starting pitchers who can make an impact next year. If the Cubs don't have the money to go after free-agent pitcher Pavano, the others do. As far as trades go, they're all interested in the same guys: Garza and Carmona. It will take a boat load of good, young talent to obtain either one. The Cubs are going to be in it all the way.

Casey (Iowa)

I am a very optimistic Sox fan, but how much have they really improved this year? Konerko had a great year last year, does Dunn and Crain put them over the top?

Bruce Levine
  (1:36 PM)

I wouldn't necessarily say over the top. Detroit has improved and Minnesota is always good. It will be a battle, just like the AL Central always is.

Bruce Levine
  (1:37 PM)

Sorry to cut it short. I'll make it up to you in the future. Have to run. Thanks for all the great questions.