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September 20, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Bruce Levine, Doug Padilla

Bruce levine
  (1:01 PM)

Welcome to the last week of the baseball season. Mercifully it will end for both Chicago teams. But the chat goes forward. Let's go.

Andy M. (Iowa)

Bruuuce!! I read a story on ESPN.COM yesterday that Walt Jocketty is a candidate for the Cubs GM job. Please tell me that you have heard this and it is a possibility!!!

Bruce levine
  (1:02 PM)

Jocketty is in an option year with the Reds, their option. His name is out there because he's really good at what he does and it supplies some leverage when he negotiates his new deal. The Reds won't let him go.

Bobby B (Newport Beach, CA)

Bruce & DougHow about Byrd and Ramirez for Beckham and Danks?

Bruce Levine
  (1:03 PM)

Ramirez has the ability to walk away from his deal. He can't be traded.

J.R. Van Houghton (Chicago)

Yes or no.....Is Ramirez back next year?

Bruce Levine
  (1:03 PM)

If the Cubs offer more than the option year, there's at least a point where they can begin talking. Ramirez is going to be looking for a 3-year deal.

Beto Alvarez jr (Streamwood IL)

So when can the Cubs start looking for a new Gm after the season or after the world Series ? Whos the front runner for the job right now ?

Bruce Levine
  (1:05 PM)

Just like Santa Claus, Tom Ricketts is making a list and checking it twice before he goes out and interviews. There's a perception they'll start interviewing in early to mid Oct. and do a concentrated process with 8-10 candidates. At this time there is no front-runner due to fact one of the top candidates is under contract - Epstein, and 2 others - Friedman and Cashman don't seem feasible.

Dan (Lincoln Park)

BruceThere doesnt seem to be alot of front of the rotation free agents outside of CJ Wilson & though I like him as well, Id hate to see the Cubs do a 5 yr/$90mm contract on a 31 year old. Do you see a scenario where the Cubs fill one of their 2012 rotation spots with an arbitration eligible guy from a team that is looking to dump salary ala the Garza trade (ie. Anibal Sanchez, Matt Cain)?

Bruce Levine
  (1:07 PM)

Cain is not going anywhere. Why would the Giants want to trade him. More likely scenario is the Cubs look to trade for a John Danks or JA Haap. Two lefties who have underachieves and have big upsides.

Tim (Mokena)

What will the Cubs do at first base next year. Is LaHair a possibility?

Bruce Levine
  (1:09 PM)

He has not been scouting by major league scouts at this point. I'm told it's the high fastball that will get him out. You're not going to see that in Sept because nobody cares. They always tell you looking at guys in Sept. and spring training are bad times to evaluate.

paul (Indy)

how valid is the rumor of the Reds "listening" to Votto trades in your opinion? and would the Cubs consider this over Pujols and Fielder ..i know they dont have a GM yet

Bruce Levine
  (1:09 PM)

If they can get some butt-kicking pitching in return for Votto, they would listen. It would be a hugely unpopular trade in Cinci. The Cubs do not have the pitching that they need, let alone what Cinci would want.

Russell (Iowa)

Bruce, if you had to guess right now ... who will be the 1B and 3B for the Cubs next year ... and who will manage them?

Bruce Levine
  (1:10 PM)

I can't tell you about the manager but I would guess Pena and Ramirez again. If the Cubs can solve their pitching woes, they're still going to need someone to drive in runs and they don't have that guy in the organization unless Brett Jackson is the rookie of the year.

jm (st. petersburg florida)

my biggest question is why is Quade playing anyone other than the callups? Baker, Dewitt, johnson, sorriano, they should all be on the bench. we know what they can do....

Bruce Levine
  (1:11 PM)

Although most people like you think Quade will be gone, he doesn't look at his job that way. His perception is he's had guys bust their tails all year long, and although the results weren't there, they deserve to have a chance to put up their final numbers. I know it's an unsatisfactory answer, but it's the real one.

Greg M (Chicago)

I know there's a long way to go until Spring Training, but do the Cubs know if Cashner will be a starter next year, or be in the bullpen?

Bruce Levine
  (1:13 PM)

Cashner is going to Ariz Fall League and will pitch 5-6 times supposedly as a starter. The idea is to get him a little stretched out before he comes back in 2012 to reclaim his rotation spot.

Luis (Ares)

Who are the leading candidates for the Cubs GM job?

Bruce Levine
  (1:14 PM)

Friedman, Epstein and Cashman would be the top picks on anybody's list, including the Cubs, but whether they can pry one loose remains to be seen. It seems unlikely. Therefore the second-tier names of Rick Hahn and Boston asst. Ben Cherington seem like viable top candidates. There are always the Shapiro and Beane factions out there.

Patrick (Lake Geneva)

When will we see Ryne Sandberg in the cubs dugout?

Bruce Levine
  (1:15 PM)

When the Phillies come to town in 2012 he'll be on their coaching staff. That's what I'm hearing.

paul (Indy)

do you think Ricketts will pony up the big bucks to make Soriano & Zambrano go away via buyouts of paying 80-90% of their salary to play for someone else?

Bruce Levine
  (1:16 PM)

I believe Tom will first hire a GM and then they'll come to a decision on what to do with the big-salary guys. They're going to try to trade both and they'll have to eat a lot of money to try to do it.

Patrick (Lake Geneva)

Is Kerry Wood a hall of fame pitcher?

Bruce Levine
  (1:16 PM)

He's a Chicago Hall of Fame pitcher. Obviously he doesn't have the numbers to go into the HOF.

Jamie (Indiana)

I see Kerry Wood is shut down for the year. Are the Cubs interested in bringing him back? Kerry was quoted as saying it's the Cubs or retirement.

Bruce Levine
  (1:17 PM)

Again, it's a GM's decision. But Ricketts might be forceful in asking the GM to keep him on. Wood has been promised a job with the organization after he retires.

Tom (Edison Park)

Bruce any scenario you see where Crane Kenney is no longer president?

Bruce Levine
  (1:18 PM)

There's a lot of blogging going on in that direction. Tom Ricketts is fully supportive of Kenney.

Bob (Chicago)

With a new GM and Quade one step out the door, what is the chance Ryno re-joins the North Side as skipper?

Bruce Levine
  (1:19 PM)

Not sure it would be a wise move at this point for him, even if it's offered. Might be a couple rebuilding years for the Cubs. Watch out what you wish for.

ESPNChicago.com
  (1:19 PM)

Bruce had to take a call. Brb.

Greg (DFW)

Bruce,Who do consider the frontrunners for Cy Young and MVP in AL/NL this year? If you have a vote (not sure if you do).

Bruce Levine
  (1:27 PM)

Verlander should be both in AL. Rarely has there been a more dominant pitcher in the last 25 years. NL Cy Young should be Kershaw and MVP should go to Braun.

Eric (Chicago)

Bruce, let's turn the tables here for a moment...let's say Ryno was hired instead of Quade...Cubs have the same record, same players are playing...is the crowd booing Ryno and the Cubs the same way they are booing Quade and the Cubs right now? Probably best Ryno wasn't hired, huh?

Bruce Levine
  (1:28 PM)

Ryno doesn't get a pass because he's a HOFer, so if the team is doing poorly, he would have to share with his part of the deal. He also would have been the guy Hendry hired. So I don't see he'd be viewed any differently but the record might be better. You never know.

Chris (DC)

Bruce: Who do you think the Cubs go after other than Happ/Danks in FA? We need another lefty reliever, at least 2 starting pitchers, and more power/RBIs

Bruce Levine
  (1:29 PM)

Payroll constraints and how creatively a new GM can moves a Soriano or Z contract will dictate what they have left to get new players. They don't have much to trade I can tell you that much.

Phil (Chicago)

With people like Epstein, Cashman, Beane mentioned for the job, do any of those guys really want Ricketts forcing their hand on some decisions? Sign Wood, keep Wilken, keep Fleita. This job screams of an assitant GM as opposed to one of the big names. Nothing wrong with that, but all this hype of those top 3-4 guys seems like nonsense.

Bruce Levine
  (1:31 PM)

We have to report what perception is. I may agree with you, but for an example, if Epstein and the Sox don't make the playoffs, does his persona change among fan base and ownership. Maybe, maybe not. But he would like to probably at that point find out himself.

Bruce Levine
  (1:32 PM)

I'm expecting a ton of you people over the next five months talking about what we talked about today, new GM, new hope, new players. Now my good friend and colleague Doug Padilla takes over.

Doug Padilla
  (1:33 PM)

Here we go with White Sox talk. First time doing this during a game. Should be interesting.

Robert (Madison, WI)

It seems likely the Sox will need to trim payroll for next year. As a result, there are several likely trade candidates (Quentin, Thornton, Fraser, etc.). My question is, what kind of return can the Sox expect for these players?

Doug Padilla
  (1:36 PM)

Quentin is the guy who will get you the best return. Pitching is always desired whether you have it or not. A 1B prospect isn't a bad idea with Konerko advancing in age. If they go for a 2B it's a sign they have turned the page on Beckham, obviously. Could be telling.

Jason (Birmingham)

Ozzie -- back or gone next year?

Doug Padilla
  (1:39 PM)

More and more, the feeling has become that he doesn't return. Wanting that extension is what has it in doubt. He doesn't want to go, but he feels strongly in making that stand. Not sure Jerry is on page with that. He could be moved to somebody (FLA) for compensation. If the Sox don't get compensation and he walks, he'll have to sit out a year and can't manage again until 2013.

Jason (Birmingham)

Doug, would you agree with Bruce that Verlander captures the AL Cy Young and MVP?

Doug Padilla
  (1:41 PM)

That seems to be the sentiment now. When you think about it, where are the Tigers without him? They might still be in contention, but they are a decent threat to win it all with him. If he doesn't get it, one of the Red Sox guys might. Gonzalez or Ellsbury.

Harold (Baines)

Where would each guy in the coaching staff will end up? Any teams out there interested in our guys

Doug Padilla
  (1:45 PM)

Joey Cora will go wherever Ozzie goes. It's package deal. Coop would have many suitors. Wouldn't be surprised if Walker left baseball for a stretch to go into business. He sold a business once before he because a White Sox coach. Not sure what happenes to a guy like Cox. Pretty sure Coop is back, though, no matter who is the manager.

Harry (Columbia MO)

Greg Walker has had some pretty good years as a hitting coach, but this year was a total dud. If Walker leaves who do you see as the next hitting coach for the Sox?

Doug Padilla
  (1:47 PM)

Probably Tim Laker if Walker does go. That is still to be decided, and would likely be Walker's call if he did leave. Laker has gotten rave reviews for the work he's done with Viciedo and De Aza, to name a few. Flowers took a step forward this year too.

Jason (Birmingham)

Do you think Kenny would trade Beckham within the division to Detroit? The Tigers will need a 2B next year, and have some pitching they could send the Sox way.

Doug Padilla
  (1:49 PM)

Almost positive Kenny doesn't send him to Detroit. Nothing worse than giving up on a guy only to watch your division rival "fix" him and use him to hurt you. He probably doesn't deal him to the Twins either. But I don't think they're giving up on him just yet.

Mike (Texas)

If we let Ozzie go, what kind of compensation would there possibly be? Would it be major league talent or some minor leaguer that is still a few years away?

Doug Padilla
  (1:52 PM)

It would probably be no worse than a strong Double-A prospect. They won't take a flier on a move like that. Mike Stanton or Logan Morrison were the Marlins guys rumored to be desired by the White Sox last offseason. It's probably somebody who can make an impact next year or theyear after.

Ozzie Guillen (The Cell)

Please tell me that I'm not going to lose my job, and instead it will be Kenny because I've done everything that I can.. I've won a title because I had the right pieces that I can work with. It's the GM's job to get the right pieces for me to put out there and contend, but he hasn't exactly done that for me. What are the odds that I get an extension and the "GM" gets fired?

Doug Padilla
  (1:56 PM)

Here's the thing: If Ozzie doesn't want the extension, both guys are probably back since they are both under contract. But after being around for 8 years, Ozzie wants some assurances for the future. There are other options for him out there that might give him a few more years of security. KW isn't expected to get canned, though.

Hard C (Cleveland)

Doug, is there any Hope?

Doug Padilla
  (1:59 PM)

If you mean "hope" as in turning this thing around and getting to the playoffs next season, then yes there is. It will take some roster tinkering though. If you mean "Hope" as in Solo, then you need to ask the Sun Times' beat guy who met her over the weekend in KC.

Doug Padilla
  (2:00 PM)

OK, time to get back to this one. White Sox 2, Indians 2 in the 3rd inning of an 18-inning day.