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July 5, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Bruce Levine, Doug Padilla

ESPNChicago.com
  (12:24 PM)

We're switching the batting order today, having Doug lead off with Sox questions at 12. Bruce is scheduled to land in D.C. shortly after noon, so he'll go from 12:30-1. Thanks.

Doug Padilla
  (1:02 PM)

Welcome. Doing White Sox stuff first today. Hope you're not as confused as me.

Max (Palos Park)

Do you/the White Sox ever see Chris Sale developing into a starter?

Doug Padilla
  (1:03 PM)

Absoutely. Sale seems to be getting the hang of the relief role, but he was drafted as a starter and promised that he would return to being a starter. Wouldn't be surprised if he was turned into a starter as early as next spring. Potential rotation for 2012: Peavy, Danks, Floyd, Humber and Sale.

Rob (Antioch)

The Sox will be a player at the trade deadline but does it make more sense to trade from their stength to build the minor league talent? For example, move Jackson for a couple of prospects especially with his contract running out?

Doug Padilla
  (1:06 PM)

Expect Kenny to search hard at the trade deadline but not for anything that adds to the payroll. Moving EJax is possible, especially if the team they are dealing with takes most or all of the money. Getting prospects would be nice. But all six starters have been needed all year so it would be tough to part with one of them.

Cheese (Washington, D.C.)

Just glad to see you actually showed up this time Doug.

Doug Padilla
  (1:07 PM)

Blaming me for last week's company-wide computer glitch is a compliment.

Gary (Atlanta)

Thoughts on Humber being a bigger snub for the All Star team than Paulie?

Doug Padilla
  (1:09 PM)

You could make an argument for that. Still think it's Konerko though. He's a veteran on a new contract and still giving a top flight performance. And then there's the fact he's from the Phoenix area. What a shame. Maybe they thought he'd be a lock to win the final vote so they put him in there. But Humber deserves to be there too. Caught everybody by surprise this year, I guess.

dan (Chicago, IL)

Hey Doug: Great work all season. Kenny always brings in someone in July for the chance to win it. Viciedo? Andre Ehtier? Who might it be? Thanks,

Doug Padilla
  (1:12 PM)

Posted this mostly because of the compliment. Not gonna be Either. They already have an All-Star RF and everybody's favorite prospect Viciedo as the heir to that throne. Not expecting a major impact guy this year.

Nate (Chicago)

Are we going to see Santos in the closing spot for the rest of the season of is there a chance Thornton can slip back to closer?

Doug Padilla
  (1:13 PM)

Looks like Santos is the man now. Oz likes his mental makeup. Thornton is back doing much better in a setup role. Doesn't make sense to tweak with that now.

Max (Palos Park)

Do you see Buehlre resigning this winter?

Doug Padilla
  (1:16 PM)

I think it's long odds that he either resigns or re-signs. They have rotatin options for next year and are going to want to lower payroll after the gamble they took this year didn't paid immediate rewards.

Erik (Merchandise Mart)

I'm tired of people having such a short leash for Santos. He is the only one in the pen that has the closer "mentality" maybe besides Crain. I think he's done a great job and will only get better. Don't fix what isn't broken, do you agree?

Doug Padilla
  (1:18 PM)

There is a reason why Ozzie went with a veteran in Thornton at closer to start the season. Santos is still learning not only to pitch, but now has the ins and outs of being a closer to deal with. He's doing a tremendous job under the circumstances. There will be some bumps in the road but it should all make him better down the road. He's a great talent.

Eric (Mt Greenwood)

did Dunn turn a corner yesterday?

Doug Padilla
  (1:19 PM)

Gonna need to see more. He does look better. The home run yesterday was basically a big-boy pop up, though. It's getting better, but we've said that before.

Howie (Chicago)

Seriously, will Ozzie be managing the White Sox or Marlins next year? Thanks for the great work!

Doug Padilla
  (1:21 PM)

Oz is definitely aware of his options out there, incluing the Nationals job. He wants some reassurances he's wanted. It will probably get awkward into the winter if he doesn't know his future past 2012.

Jake (Indiana)

I hate to see buehlre go but i think we could get a lot out of him in the trade deadline from an NL team given his good record against the NL.

Doug Padilla
  (1:23 PM)

I hear what you're saying, but you don't send off a guy like that who has meant so much to his organization. He deserves better than that. I expect the Buehrle love fest to grow and grow in the second half. This could be the last time you see him in a White Sox uniform.

David (Yuma,AZ)

If Dunn has turned the corner can you see him reaching 35 home runs by the end of the year?

Doug Padilla
  (1:25 PM)

The White Sox would be happy with 25 after the start he's had. Gonna say 35 is way out of reach.

Nate (Joliet)

I know Morel makes contact, but I would rather see Alexei or Beckham there again, maybe even Pierzynski. Morel makes two many outs and his average will show it.

Doug Padilla
  (1:27 PM)

Yeah, he's still new and that will show at times. But if the others aren't doing the job, why not give the kid a shot in the 2 hole? This experience will only help in the future. Beckham struggled there, Ramirez is being asked to pick up more RBI slack toward the middle of the order and AJ needs to be lower to break up the left-handed hitters.

Patrick (Arlington Heights)

They can not let Buehrle walk. This reminds me of 07 when everyone assumed he was gone and out of nowhere he signed. Let Jackson walk and trade Floyd. Why do you assume Buehrle is the odd man out?

Doug Padilla
  (1:29 PM)

Your scenario is possible. I think Jackson walks no matter what. But Danks still has more prime years remaining. And Buehrle's not gona want to take a giant pay cut to stay. It'd be nice if the White Sox figured out a way to keep Buehrle, but the odds are stacked against it. Too bad.

Freddy (Chicago)

Yes or no, do White Sox come back to win the Central? Thanks!

Doug Padilla
  (1:31 PM)

Nobody expected so many mediocre teams in the division. The Tigers are still the team to beat in my opinion. But the White Sox are still lurking. Division play will decided it. White Sox-Tigers games will be key. And the White Sox are going to have to find a way to beat the Twins.

Steven (Chicago)

What is the financial situation with the White Sox? Do they annually lose money? How long will Reinsdorf continue owning the team?

Bruce Levine
  (1:32 PM)

Welcome to the nation's capital, home of strange baseball, at least for one night.

Northside Doug (North of Wrigley)

Bruce, are you hearing anything about the Cubs top draft picks? None of the top 15 or so of their picks have been announced as signed. Are they all getting over-slot money which needs to be approved by MLB?

Bruce Levine
  (1:33 PM)

Over-slot money is not the issue. Agents' wants and needs are the issue. The Cubs have until Aug. 15 like all teams to sign their picks. Plenty of time to get it done.

Doug Padilla
  (1:33 PM)

The White Sox make money. Reinsdorf is no fool. But they're going to take a money hit this year. They spent the money and the crowds didn't show. I know you have to earn fan support, but it's doubtful they take this chance again based on how everything worked out.

Austin (Springfield)

I read somewhere about the idea of going after jose reyes this offseason instead of the fielder or pujols, then possibly moving castro to 3rd. I personally love this idea, but is there any chance of the cubs looking into it? I think I would be okay with pena for another year.

Doug Padilla
  (1:34 PM)

OK thank's y'all. Talk to you soon.

Bruce Levine
  (1:34 PM)

Keep in mind Reyes has been an injured player the last 3 years. Really want to go through a situation where you get a year or two out of a player and then end up with a Soriano-like contract? The Cubs need to develop their young players and get other teams' young players in deals. Fielder falls into that category.

Dave (Chicago)

Any news on when the Cubs will sign first round pick Javier Baez?

Bruce Levine
  (1:35 PM)

Baez will be signed, just a matter of Scott Boras being his agent. There's usually a time and mechanism for when the agent thinks he's gotten ehough.

greg (ny)

Whose your bet on who gets traded first?

Bruce Levine
  (1:36 PM)

I would say Marlon Byrd is a logical choice. There are 2 or 3 teams that have a need for a right-handed hitting OF, and he makes the most sense.

Will (Chicago)

Will we see Josh Vitters at Wrigley this year?

Bruce Levine
  (1:36 PM)

Only if he's sitting in the stands. There's not any reason to start his major league clock ticking at this point.

Matt (North Side)

Will the Cubs ever win a World Series? Granted they are not in a mess like the Dodgers, but come on, this whole organization just seems like a mess. The only thing it has going for it is Wrigley - can Ricketts and co hide the nostolgia of Wrigley forever?

Bruce Levine
  (1:38 PM)

I think the Ricketts are well aware that people just coming out to the park to see Wrigley is a thing of the past. I'm sure they will be very aggressive in the offseason in the baseball and business sides. A drop in ticket prices would not shock me.

Kevin (In San Diego)

Are the Ricketts and Hendry on the same page? The Ricketts are seem to be want to model after the Red Sox with the majority of the major league team being home grown. While Hendry is more into going FA and emptying the Farm to get Veterans. Can you clear this up?

Bruce Levine
  (1:40 PM)

I don't think most of the Red Sox players are home grown. They have a good variety who are, but some of their key players were free-agent signings or trades. So the implementation of a plan is develop your players, make good trades, sign free agents who make sense for now and the future. Ricketts and the baseball people are one and the same. All moves are communicated.

don (OH)

any team possibly take fukudome off the cubs' hands or is him being a FA after the season a victory enough?

Bruce Levine
  (1:41 PM)

There's a limited no-trade in his contract. But there's still around $7M owed on this year's contract, so if you can get a good player back then you trade him. If you can't, then you keep him and wait till he signs elsewhere and get a draft pick.

Northside Doug (North of Wrigley)

Is there more to Ryan Dempster's health than they're letting on - is it going to be more than just the one start?

Bruce Levine
  (1:42 PM)

Seems to be a bit of a mystery right now. HIPAA rules prohibit teams or trainers to say anything about a player's health unless he signs off on it. SO it's up to Dempster to let the media know what he feels they should know. He told me it was something gastro intestinal on Sunday.

Nizzi (Des Moines)

Does Kerry Wood get signed by the Cubs next year?

Bruce Levine
  (1:43 PM)

Kerry Wood will be in the Cubs organization from now until he doesn't want to be. It appears he doens't have a feel for the ball at this point. He's still recovering from that right index finger infection.

Steve M (Moline, IL)

Do you think Aramis would wave his no-trade clause? If so, what type of talent do you think we can get for him?

Bruce Levine
  (1:44 PM)

At some point he may say yes. He's been pretty adamant that it's not going to be early on. So he could be traded like Derrek Lee was on a waiver deal in early Aug.

Nizzi (Des Moines)

Bruce, Do you see the cubs resigning any of the major free agents next year? Ramirez, Pena, and Fukudome?

Bruce Levine
  (1:46 PM)

Not really. Possibly Pena. If Fielder and Pujols sign elsewhere, then Pena is the most attractive free agent. If he ends up with 30 and 90 with his defense that's a pretty good player.

Trey (Wrigleyville)

Bruce, will we see brett jackson get called up this year? and whats up with josh vitters could he be a possible repalcement for aramis at 3rd next year?

Bruce Levine
  (1:47 PM)

Vitters is an unfinished product. He can hit and they think he'll hit in the majors, but his defense and overall approach is being worked on. Jackson has just started to hit over the last 10 days. He missed a month with a bruised left pinkie and it affected him when he came back. If Byrd is traded, the next move is Jackson coming up.

greg (ny)

I bet they wont trade Demp because hes a "nice guy"

Bruce Levine
  (1:49 PM)

I don't think that has anything to do with it. He's been their most productive and durable pitcher. He's posted 3 years in a row of 200 plus innings. Before that he was their closer. Next year will be his last before his contract expires.

Northside Doug (North of Wrigley)

Bruce, if the Cubs makes some trades here in the next few weeks, should I be expecting solid prospects or just salary relief?

Bruce Levine
  (1:51 PM)

I think they're looking for players who can help them win next year and beyond, not just Class A players. They ahve a lot of good Single-A players of their own. What the Cubs need is pitching help. This year for some reason even their top pitching prospects have been slow to develop. That's what they need and what they should trade for.

Patrick (Wheaton)

With A-Ram most likely leaving, what are our options at third base? Any significant progress on our No.3 pick Josh Vitters?

Bruce Levine
  (1:52 PM)

Vitters is better, I just don't think ready for the majors. As far as next year, it depends on what type of team they put on the field. Young and upcoming Kansas City type? Or will they go into free agency heavily?

don (OH)

cubs have a better chance at getting prince or pujols? also could buehrle come to the north side next season?

Bruce Levine
  (1:53 PM)

Any free agent and their agent is going to look at what type of team you have and how you project yourself as a contender before they say yes. I've never heard this put in any scenario where people bring up those two names. Buehrle could come to the North Side, maybe for lunch.

Gary (Chicago)

Gut feeling....does Quade and or Hendry survive after this years train wreck?

Bruce Levine
  (1:54 PM)

Not for me to decide. Mr. Ricketts and his family will try to figure that out. Keep in mind what Tom looks at is how the organization as a whole is functioning, not just the major-league team. The Cubs' minor league system is producing good prospects and doing well.

Andrew (Chicago)

Although Barney's production is the 2 hole has been nice, Castro has flourished in that spot. Are they going to continue to try and force Castro to be a 3 hitter, or will the Cubs finally realize that, for now, he is just not hitting in that slot?

Bruce Levine
  (1:55 PM)

You'll have to tell me who the No. 3 hitter is on this team. As I said previously, Quade believes you put your best hitter in the 3 hole and nobody will argue that Castro isn't the best hitter on the team.

Mike C (Oak Lawn, IL)

Bruce, why hasn't has anything been said about Aramis being snubbed for the all star team. His offensive numbers far ecliple Polanco or any other NL third basemen.

Bruce Levine
  (1:57 PM)

This happens to be one of those years where third is an empty position in both leagues. Chase Headly of the Padres should be the starter, just from a production standpoint. After that, there's nobody in the NL that has any numbers to substantiate All-Star status. That's why Ramirez at almost .300 looks good. Right now he's a better pick than Polanco. But Polance was chosen. Moot p oint.

John (Baltimore)

Bruce, someone had to have been called out for the way the Cubs finished that game yesterday, right? Letting Werth steal third uncontested was unacceptable in my mind, does Quade have any control over this kind of stuff?

Bruce Levine
  (1:58 PM)

Absolutely he does. He's the last guy to talk to the pitcher when he brings him in from the bullpen. There are plenty of numbers to show you that Werth is a high percentage base stealer from 2nd to 3rd -- career 91 percent. That's on everybody's socuting report. So the pitcher, catcher, pitching coach and manager all have responsiblity in that case. Remember every time there's a man on base, the catcher looks into the dugout for signals from the manager. That's not just for calling pitches. That's for pitchouts, throw overs and step offs.

Ryan (IL)

How much blame does Quade get? I know about the injurys and ect. but he was the guy picked because he does the "little things." However Cubs still can't lay down a bunt, field, and get thrown out at home every other day.

Bruce Levine
  (1:59 PM)

All the product of a team that doesn' score enough runs. Every team has some of these situations occur on a daily basis, but if a crooked numbers goes up, they're all washed away. Reporters don't ask about litte things in blow outs.

Ryan (College Park, MD)

I know Geo is cheap, but he's also one of the best young catchers in the game and the Giants could use a catcher. Plus we have Castillo. Any chance the front office looks into trading Geo?

Bruce Levine
  (2:00 PM)

I think that's a possibility. You're also considering trading him at his very lowest point of value. Still, look what happened for the Dodgers non-tendering Russell Martin, an All-star caliber catcher with the Yankees next year.

Bruce Levine
  (2:00 PM)

I think that's a possibility. You're also considering trading him at his very lowest point of value. Still, look what happened for the Dodgers non-tendering Russell Martin, an All-star caliber catcher with the Yankees next year.

Bruce Levine
  (2:02 PM)

There's not a lot to talk about this month until the trading deadline, except how Jim Hendry and his staff will be able to make some positive moves toward the future. I agree it won't be a firesale. But all the exit doors will be open. I'll have a health update on Marcos Mateo later today. Thanks for the great questions.