Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

April 19, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Bruce Levine, Doug Padilla

Doug Padilla
  (1:58 PM)

In a little bit of a switch I will go first in this week's chat, so we will take White Sox questions now.

Logan (IL)

What is your guys' opinion of Ozzie? As person and as a manager.

Doug Padilla
  (2:01 PM)

Ozzie is about as straightforward as they come which is extremely refreshing. He will try to make fun of you, though. We think of it as being accepted if he gives you a bad time. So if you take yourself too seriously or get your feelings hurt too easily, this isn't a good team to cover. As a manager he knows his stuff. And what he isn't sure of, it doesn't hurt to have Joey Cora at your side.

Ian (Seattle)

Is Jermaine Dye going in a trade 'cause I have heard reports

Doug Padilla
  (2:04 PM)

He officially retired at the end of May. Hasn't played in over a year. Better check your source. Don't worry, I get bad info too at times.

Joe (Iowa City)

Why did Bruce Levine blow us off today? Weather is bad, game probably won't be played tonight and we can't get a chat by 1:00 p.m.? Hope the steak is tasty, Bruce.

Doug Padilla
  (2:05 PM)

Bruce will be here at the bottom of the hour. Relax. He's on assignment, obviously. He loves, loves, loves the web chat. He wouldn't miss it for anything.

BJ (Indiana)

THIS IS BACKWARDS AND CONFUSING

Doug Padilla
  (2:05 PM)

I agree. Sometimes you just gotta go with the flo.

Michael (Chicago)

Is it just me or does Chris Sale have the most talent in the bullpen and should be the closer?

Doug Padilla
  (2:07 PM)

When his stuff is right, Sale does have the best arsenal of any of the White Sox relievers. The problem is that he's been a little off since spring training. It has shown up at times and when he gets consistent again I wouldn't be surprised if he gets closing chances. But he is a young player. Give it time.

Patrick (Chicago)

Do you think Dunn will hit 40+ HR's and have 100 RBI's with the Sox this year?

Doug Padilla
  (2:10 PM)

It's more than reasonable to expect that. He wasn't paid big bucks to go 28 and 90. Heard from a scout, though, who tought he looked rather unfit. He admitted that he didn't see him very much in the NL. I think 40 ad 100 are a minimum expectation of the big man.

Gordan Beckham (Harold's Chicken)

What's up with me? I thought I was going to have a breakout season this year.

Doug Padilla
  (2:11 PM)

You don't look good right now. Totally overmatched. It's a stark contrast from the beginning of the season. The big issue is to not let it last much longer. The positive from last season's early struggles is supposed to be the experience to get out of it when it happens again.

patrick (work)

whos the cy young winner right now? NL and AL

Doug Padilla
  (2:12 PM)

Lincecum has my vote in NL. Weaver and Haren tied in AL.

Dusty (KC)

Do you know how to type Doug?

Doug Padilla
  (2:13 PM)

Not as fast as I need to. Thanks for noticing.

Paul (Chicago)

Doug, if the Sox keep hitting like this and if Peavy is out for the next few months, how long before we could see Kenny look to move assets? I would think the Yanks would love a starting pitcher right now.

Doug Padilla
  (2:15 PM)

There is a lot of money invested on this club to blow it up right now. It's important to be patient. I would expect an addition to protect the investment rather than cutting salary. We shall see closer toward the trade deadline.

Southside Pete (Chicago)

When can we expect to hear next steps for Jake Peavy, and will Humber be considered the long term solution should Jake not return?

Doug Padilla
  (2:16 PM)

Waiting on Peavy's checkup. That's some heavy expectation on Humber, but he's been pretty good so far. Let's find out what the doctor says first.

Mark (Chicago)

What's up with Mark Buehrle haven't heard much about him, so I'm guessing his stuff hasn't been as good as usual or what?

Doug Padilla
  (2:18 PM)

Las start was OK, the lack of run support made it look worse. He was brilliant in the start before that. His first two starts ... not so much. Don't look at wins-losses with Buehrle. Check out the internal numbers to see how he's doing.

Brad (The Sunshine State)

Do you sometimes wish that you can cover another sport?

Doug Padilla
  (2:18 PM)

No, but my wife does.

Vinny (Indianapolis)

Adam Dunn DNP yesterday. Wondering you know if he's not 100% since surgery or if it was a matchup thing or what? Thanks in advance

Doug Padilla
  (2:19 PM)

It was a matchup thing with Price, but it was good timing since he was struggling. Oz insists he's OK. Gonna take time to feel completely healthy.

Sammy Hammy (Chicago)

If Peavy is done, does Sale become a starter? I think you have to

Doug Padilla
  (2:20 PM)

Can't do it this year. Sale would have to go back to the minor leagues to stretch himself out to at least five innings. He can only do two at best right now.

Andy (Peoria)

Do you think Santos gets the next save opportunity for the White Sox?

Doug Padilla
  (2:21 PM)

I would think so. But if lefties are coming up, Oz could still go to Sale. Crain looked pretty good last time out.

Southside Pete (Chicago)

If the Sox continue to have closer problems would the Yankees deal the recently signed Soriano for a proven starter? (this depends a lot on the Peavy news)

Doug Padilla
  (2:22 PM)

Soriano hasn't looked good. Probably better off with what you have, even if the Yanx pick up the cash.

Tim (Lisle)

What's up with Alex Rios? No homers and only four rbi. Do you think he could still pull of another twenty twenty season?

Doug Padilla
  (2:23 PM)

Not sure what's going on with his toe injury. He says he has alwys played with it, but there is a lot of talking about it now. He doesn't look good, that's for sure. He was hitting it hard early but having bad luck. Now he's not hitting it at all.

Dan (work)

Do you see Sale's future as a starter or a closer ?

Doug Padilla
  (2:24 PM)

A starter. The Sox have promised him he will start again at some point down the road. Sale won't say it but it seems as if he prefers that.

Indians (Cleveland)

Can we keep this up?

Doug Padilla
  (2:25 PM)

You have a better chance than KC. If the Indians continue pitch like this they will have staying power.

Corey (Chicago)

Do you think this dreadful Chicago weather is playing a role on this rough start?

Doug Padilla
  (2:26 PM)

No. Tampa, Oakland and the Angels all came in and did just fine in the bad weather. If somebody used that as an excuse that would be terrible. The dome was fine last night and the White Sox didn't score.

Ben (Delaware)

Will the Sox win a game on this road trip?

Doug Padilla
  (2:27 PM)

Relax Ben. Lay off the Dogfish Head.

steve (n.illinois)

How doe's kenny & ozzie, fix the back end of bullpen issues???????

Doug Padilla
  (2:28 PM)

Not a lot of payroll flexibility so they'll try to fix it internally for now. Thornton is better than this, we all know that. But he'll have to show it when the game isn't on the line.

Mikey Jones (Chicago)

Who will replace Walker when the fans finally get their wish and he's fired?

Doug Padilla
  (2:30 PM)

Already Mikey? Why do we have to go through the Walker thing already. Did he forget what he was telling them in the first week of the season?

Doug Padilla
  (2:30 PM)

Gotta run. Off to the ballpark. Bruce is up next.

Mark (Franklin, TN)

Hi Bruce. Starlin Castro is off to an incredible start and doing it from the leadoff spot, no less! What is his contract situation going forward? Have the Cubs given any thought to trying to sign him to a Ryan Bruan- or Evan Langoria-like deal to try to lock him up early? Thanks!

Bruce Levine
  (2:31 PM)

Sorry, I should have said hello. Hello.

Bruce Levine
  (2:32 PM)

First of all, he doesn't yet have a year of MLB service, so the Cubs have him for five more years of service. Therefore, there's really no reason to give him a long-term deal until he's proven himself over a two-year span, or even longer.

Jay (LA)

Bruce, isn't it time to move Geovany Soto up from the 8 spot?

Bruce Levine
  (2:33 PM)

Soto has struggled all year to hit. Mike Quade plays the hot hand like almost every manager, so until he gets a little hotter, he'll continue to bat 6-8.

Brandon Neale (NM)

Hey Bruce, I've been waiting to ask you this question.. What are the cubs going to do with Casey Coleman? He has been outstanding in his last two appearances. Can Q make room for him?

Bruce Levine
  (2:34 PM)

I wouldn't call his first appearance outstanding -- he gave up four runs in five innings, including two LONG home runs to Braun and Fielder. He certianly is a serviceable pitcher, but let's not make him into Greg Maddux quite yer.

Conner (Milan, IL)

Hey Bruce are you as excited as I am that the Cubbies are sticking around .500 and only one game back and the starting pitching hasn't even hit its stride yet?

Bruce Levine
  (2:35 PM)

I think all Cubs fans should be encourage that this team is about the same as 13 or 14 other teams in the league. It can be anywhere from mediocre to outstanding, depending on how many of these players decide to have career years. As you saw with Zambrano last night, some of these guys are as good as they want to be.

Matthew (Des Plaines, IL)

Hey Bruce, love your work! Do you believe the cause for Colvin's early season struggles are because of the inconsistent at bats and him trying to do too much? Is it safe to buy a Colvin jersey? I think he could be a huge part of this teams future in the middle of the line up.

Bruce Levine
  (2:36 PM)

Before I buy a Colvin jersey, I'd invest in a Castro jersey. Colvin has very good potential, but still has a ways to go as far as becoming an everyday player.

David Sapyta (Chicago )

When Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner become healthy and Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster Pitch at there best do you think the Cubs Will be a legit contender in the NL?

Bruce Levine
  (2:37 PM)

Hard to say because we can't predict when they're going to pitch at their best. All we've seen so far is early-season inconsistencies. Potentiall, they can be a good staff.

Bruce Levine
  (2:38 PM)

The Cubs would like to see Garza throw his full variety of pitches, also a trust factor between Garza and his new catchers is evolving as well. everything is new for Garza -- league, pitching coach, cathers -- so there is an adjustment period.

Adam (Chicago)

If Garza is struggling now, what will happen when the weather warms up? He's a high fastball, fly-ball pitcher in Wrigley Field. That generally won't end well. Is that why the Cubs are stressing his off-speed stuff now?

Shane (Indiana)

Hey Bruce, When do you think Wells and Cashner will be back ??

Bruce Levine
  (2:40 PM)

We're expected to hear about Wells today. He already started light throwing with the pitching coach yesterday. I would not be surprised if Well is back within ten days. Cashner will be a couple weeks past that because it's a rotator cuff injury and the team wants to be more cautious.

Mr. Baseball (U of I)

Bruce - Imagine the NL Central race is pretty close come July, with no team having a commanding lead. Do you see the Cubs making a serious move or are most of the farm pieces going to stay put?

Bruce Levine
  (2:41 PM)

I don't see them trading any more of their top farm system players away, however Tom Ricketts is on record saying there could be money there for them to go after a bigger contract if a player like that is avaiable via trade.

Hack Wilson IX (Boulder, CO)

Hey, Bruce. Now that Sam Fuld is leading the American League in hitting, and most of our bench is hitting .130, it seems a good time to reflect a bit more on another side of Jim Hendry's decision-making processes. Enough has been said about the inadequate players and unbalanced teams he has built in the past. But how about all the guys he gave away for nothing? Josh Hamilton and Casey McGehee would probably be the most disturbing mistakes. Fuld didn't make or break the Garza deal. Wouldn't you like to see these three guys on the team right now, ignoring the injuries? And do you and the other writers have a pool going this year for the date of Hendry's firing?

Bruce Levine
  (2:43 PM)

Contrary to your info, Fuld was an important player for the Rays to acquire. They actually insisted on Fuld because they knew they were going to lose Crawford -- they needed to fortify their OF. I'm happy for Sam Fuld, but let's wait a few months before we hand him the batting title.

Biggy (Washington, NC)

Bruceanator, do the Cubs have any contingency plans with Colvin in the case that he continues to hit like Pena? And what's the ETA on Brett Jackson?

Bruce Levine
  (2:44 PM)

Jackson could be the interchangeable part with Colvin if he continues to struggle. He has a ten-game hitting streak in the minor leagues. I don't think the Cubs would hesitate to bring him up in the next month or two if they think he's needed. He definitely on target to be with the Cubs no later than 2012.

Jason (Pittsburgh)

Why do people always point to the Hamilton rule-5 pickup as if the Cubs let him go? We weren't going to take Hamilton anyway, and the Reds simply paid to move up to our spot so they could guarantee they'd get him.

Bruce Levine
  (2:46 PM)

You're right. And the Cubs weren't the only team passing on Hamilton at that time.

Jeff (Toronto)

Hi Bruce,Name one pitcher and one hitter who has really impressed you so far? What about disappointed you so far?Thanks

Bruce Levine
  (2:47 PM)

Obviously Castro is impressing just about everybody, but Barney's approach has been fun to watch as well. He's a winning-type player and always puts the team before himself.

Bruce Levine
  (2:47 PM)

Marcus Mateo has been a little erratic with some of his pitches, but looks like he can develop into a solid bullpen guy.

T-Bone (Belleville, IL)

How long does Quade let Byrd try to hit his way out of this slump? How long before you just give the guy a day off?

Bruce Levine
  (2:48 PM)

Remember that up until friday he was on a nine-game hitting streak. So early season trends are just that. You don't want to overreact to things like that. It's also not like they have a lot of great candidates to hit third.

Bruce Levine
  (2:50 PM)

I do not. I believe that Vitters still has to find his game defensively. I don't see him in the major leagues this year. They'd likely use Baker or Barney instead.

BassmanUW (Chicago)

The Cubs wouldn't bring Brett Jackson up to be a fourth OF, though, would they? It'd be one thing if Kosuke, Byrd or Soriano get hurt or if Kosuke gets traded, but Jackson needs to play every day right now.

Bruce Levine
  (2:50 PM)

Who says he wouldn't play every day if the Cubs brought him up? I don't think Fukudome or Colvin are guaranteed playing time.

Sam M. (Sterling, IL)

Bruce I was at the game last night and it was freezing! What is the forecast for tonight? Can we expect baseball?

Bruce Levine
  (2:51 PM)

37 right now and not raining. The Cubs have contingency plans on a split doubleheader tomorrow if this gets rained out.

Bruce Levine
  (2:51 PM)

37 right now and not raining. The Cubs have contingency plans on a split doubleheader tomorrow if this gets rained out.

Bruce Levine
  (2:51 PM)

37 right now and not raining. The Cubs have contingency plans on a split doubleheader tomorrow if this gets rained out.

Bruce Levine
  (2:51 PM)

37 right now and not raining. The Cubs have contingency plans on a split doubleheader tomorrow if this gets rained out.

Nick (SoDak)

If Ramirez has a career year, the Cubs just pay him next year, right? Would he block Vitters for the next two years?

Bruce Levine
  (2:52 PM)

If he has a great year, you want him back, don't you? Otherwise, you pay him $2M to go away and still have to sign a top run producer. Vitters is just not ready yet.

Mike C (Oak Lawn, IL)

Hey Bruce, was at the game last night in the uppers so didn't get a great a look at Zambrano's stuff last night. Was his stuff that good or was that the result of pitching to a bad lineup in bad weather.

Bruce Levine
  (2:53 PM)

Didn't see the game. I was off for Passover. Not going to make anything up for you. I TiVoed and watched. The fastball was what he threw 75 percent of the time, and he wasn't afraid to bust guys inside either. That's the Z of old.

Sal (New Jersey)

Hi, Bruce! What are the chances of trading Soriano for Michael Young? Would Texas go for that and Soriano waive his no-trade clause?

Bruce Levine
  (2:54 PM)

The Cubs don't have a position at DH, and if Young played, that means Barney wouldn't. Are you good with that?

Tony (St. Louis-Metro East)

I am a Cubs fan in the heart of Cards nation. All the talk down here is of Pujols being a Cub next year. Personally, I think it is a bad move for the Cubs or the Cards to invest that much in a guy that old for that long. What say you?

Bruce Levine
  (2:55 PM)

Anything more than five years is suicidal from a baseball standpoint. Why would anyone think his skills would hold up that long?

Jake (Chicago)

Great on Josh Hamilton...explain Casey McGehee. Especially to a division rival.

Bruce Levine
  (2:56 PM)

McGehee is about 40 pounds heavier than he was then. So you could say the Cubs did not project him well if he was a singles hitter back then. They obviously missed.

john alllen (effingham il)

Hello Bruce Why does every media outlet etc always let Dempster of the hook? He has stunk so far this year!!

Bruce Levine
  (2:57 PM)

If you listen to any of his quotes or read any on ESPNChicago.com, he was the first to tell you how bad he was and how disappointed he is in his pitching so far. His quote was: I've only given the team a chance to win in one of my outings.

Ted (Milwaukee)

While we get ready to roast Hendry for trading Sam Fuld . . . shall we give credit to all these same second guessers who said Hendry should have traded Castro to get Granderson when he was available?

Bruce Levine
  (2:58 PM)

Trading young people is never a good idea if you believe they have a lot of talent. In the cast of Garza, we know that was a calculated risk for a 27-year-old pitcher, so I guess I'm agreeing with you.

Jason (WI)

Any concerns about Garza being hurt. His velo has been down this year and thinking back to last year he had some problems too.

Bruce Levine
  (2:58 PM)

I don't see it right now. He's healthy enough to go out and throw seven innings. Just a command of his pitches is his problem. His arm has looked strong.

Nick (Chicago)

Will Q move Pena out of the 5 hole and put Soriano there? Pena hasnt provided much power yet and Soriano is the only guy who hitting more then 2 HR.

Bruce Levine
  (2:59 PM)

That's not a bad suggestion. Especially against left-handed pitching. Pena has that bruised right thumb he's dealing with.

Michael (Arizona)

Is it just me, or is the big drop-off from the 2008 Cubs to the 2009, 2010, 2011 Cubs the offense? It seems starting with game 1 against the Dodgers, the Cubs completley forgot how to string together hits and still have yet to correct this. Many of the same players form 2008's awesome offense are still there, and they've also brought in new bats but the offense still falters. What happened?

Bruce Levine
  (3:01 PM)

I believe the one-time power hitters on the team no longer consistently hit for power. You have your 3 main sources of power - the 3-4-5 hitters - and have a total of one home run. It's a different type of hitting team. If they get 14-15 hits, then 13-14 might be singles.

greg (ny)

How do you think Q is doing so far?

Bruce Levine
  (3:02 PM)

I really like Quade because he's not afraid to answer hard questions and he always has a good reason why he did something. Many managers balk at talking about strategy that didn't work out. Quade - although not thrilled with having to answer those questions - understands it's part of the job. He's a pro.

Anthony (GA)

Bruce, what are the chances the Cubs move Aramis to first next year?

Bruce Levine
  (3:02 PM)

Ramirez would have to be receptive to it, and both sides have mutual options.

Bruce Levine
  (3:04 PM)

Ok, should be an interesting night tonight. Wear your long johns if you're coming out to Wrigley. If it gets ppd, it most likely will be a split DH tomorrow. Talk to you Saturday on the award-winning and highly acclaimed Talkin' Baseball.