Welcome to the Albert Pujols-Prince Fielder sweepstakes. Should be an exciting month for Cubs fans. Welcome.
Hi Bruce, Heard the Cubs are considering David DeJesus. What about Josh Willingham? Thank you.
One step at a time. DeJesus is on their radar. He used to be high on-base percentage guy until this past season. But he does fit into the mode of players who Epstein and Hoyer look for. At 31, he could be looking to rebound.
Bruce,Look into your crystal ball. If Garza is traded for a nice package of players, who will round out the rotation after Dempster, Wells, and (sadly) Zambrano? I won't hold you to this prediction later.
Most likely Samardzija and a pitcher or two who the Cubs can get back in a Garza package.
Hi Bruce, Any update on the Hoyer compensation? Epstein? Thank you.
We're supposed to know after the Rule 5 draft on Dec. 8 about Epstein. No word on Hoyer.
Hi Bruce, If $200 million is the projected total for all baseball operations, what portion of that is for payroll? Thank you.
That's for Epstein and Hoyer to decide.
If we trade Matt Garza to the Yankees or Rangers, Do you think we'll get the same level of talent that we traded to get him from the Rays?
So far none of those guys have really contributed to the major league team. So I wouldn't get too crazy about what they gave up.
What's the Cubs management's philosophy moving forward? Are they looking to rebuild or wait until the big contracts come off the books? Any chance they take a look at Jose Reyes and move Castro to third? I would like the one-two punch of Castro and Reyes at the top.
Before you start investing in position players, you hopefully have an idea of who your pitching staff is going to be. Fielder might be the exception because he's 27. But beyond that, I don't see them going after high priced veteran free agents, unless they're pitchers.
If the Cubs offer a little bit more overall money, would Pujols take a contract that declines in value over time?
I don't see why he would want to. He has a great deal on the table with the Cards. I don't see him leaving.
How badly does the new CBA screw up Theo's plan of attack?
I think a lot. That's probably the reason why you're hearing Fielder/Pujols talk. The new CBA puts everybody on an even playing field, which punishes teams that want to spend a lot on amateur players. That was the Cubs' original plan.
Am I the only one that think the Cubs interest in Albert is not geniune? No way we exceed what STL has offered. Possibly just trying to increase the price STL pays?
I'm right with you. I'll be addressing that later today. In the meantime, it's a good tactic for the Cubs to take, raising the price of poker for Pujols.
Is Tyler Colvin an everyday big leaguer or is he going to be another fringe player that struggles to hit?
Making contact is a real problem for him. He's got a nice swing, unfortunately it's usually air that he's hitting.
To the Cubs have enough resources set aside to not only get a Prince Fielder, but to also address some other needs like pitching? Or is it a 1 or the other situation?
Right now they have somewhere around 90M committed to 10 players. It depends how high they want to go for the 2012 payroll. The resources are there, but that wasn't the initial plan.
What prospects, outside of Brett Jackson, do you expect to have a chance to start the season with the big club?
Trey McNutt, who pitched pretty well in the Arizona Fall League, after having an injury prone 2011 has a shot. Also Chris Carpenter.
With more restrictions on the available money for amateur players, will the Cubs make bigger splashes in free agent market or via bigger named trades?
Could be, as I stated earlier, that they have changed their plan.
What do you see as the first moves the Cubs' brass will make this off season? One of the two Dominican guys or possibly Yu Darvish? Go Cubs Go!
First move might be to solidify some of the weaknesses in the outfield or pitching staff. DeJesus' name has come up.
Hey Bruce, I understand why the Cubs would want to deal Garza, but look at the possible rotation candidates without him in 2012: Dempster (meh), Wells (eh), Samardzija maybe, Z if he doesn't get traded, God-forbid Casey Coleman, Cashner until he gets hurt...oh God please don't trade him.
Your assuming trading Garza brings you back nothing. My assumption is you'll get one or two pitchers, for now or the near future. You can't trade a pitcher of Garza's quality without getting pitching back.
What can the Cubs realistically expect in a trade for Marmol?
If you trade him, you have to get 2-3 solid young players back. Pitching is what the Cubs need the most. The Angels and Red Sox need a closer as of now.
What's going on with Angel Guzman? Is there a chance he can be an impact reliever for the Cubs at some point this year?
He made some nice progress, but nobody is counting on him now. He could be a sleeper.
Bruce- As the winter meetings approach, I'm really hopeful that Theo and company can get creative with trades. Moving Garza should be out of the question because of the salary control for a few more years, but Byrd, Soto, and Marmol can bring back young arms/players. From what you're hearing, who's moved first and why?
I don't think they have a priority on who goes first. Teams like the Angels and Pirates have shown interest in Soto.
Theo and Company are apparently entertaining trade offers for Garza. One team, that I've read, might be interested is the Texas Rangers because of the possible departure of Wilson. Mitch Moreland comes to mind as a possible target for the Cubs, what else could we get for Garza from the Rangers? or In general what would Garza's return be if we traded him? Do you believe his value has gone up since we traded for him? (Meaning: Could we get more than we gave to get him?)
At 28, with a power arm, his value is extremely high at this point. Texas definitely has interest. It would be nice if you could get Ogando. They definitely need to replace Wilson, who will sign elsewhere.
Bruce, don't you think it would be a mistake to trade Garza? As you wrote, he was removed from 6 games with the lead only to have it blown. This means he should've been a 16 game winner and with the new front office trying to instill the "Cubs way," I can't think of a better clubhouse guy to help instill that. I can't remember seeing a Cub with more passion, cheering on his teammates when he's not in the game, let alone a starting pitcher... Thanks Bruce!
I'm right with you on that. Trading a strength to cover other weaknesses is in my opinion a difficult process. You'd like to build around Garza rather than trade him. But it's their job to see what he's worth on the open market. It doesn't hurt to see what other people think of your player.
Bruce, is there any update on Cespedes or Darvish?
Not as of yet. Hoping to know more in the next day or so.
Hey Bruce, I am not liking what I'm hearing from the new CBA, why do you think the players gave a lot when it came to the draft, it sounded like they didn't put up much of fight? It seems Theo's dreams about fixing the farm system just took a huge hit.
Very perceptive on your part. The people who wanted to spend a lot of money in the draft may now have to find other ways to improve their team. That's why you're hearng the Fielder/Pujols talk. Changing the Cubs' fortunes won't occur overnight.
Hi Bruce, Any idea what the front office came away thinking after watching Cespedes and Soler? Thank you.
No update. There are five or six other teams who are looking at Cespedes. It's not in the Cubs' best interest to tell people what they thought of his workout.
Bruce,Marmol, Garza or Soto ---- Is there any possibility and none of the above will be a Cub in 2012?
There's always that possibility with new front-office guys who don't have any allegiance to any one player. Their only concern is trying to get better.
Any chance the Cubs go after David Wright?
I don't know if they have a package who would bring back a player like Wright at this point. He also has two years left at close to $30 million.
What's the latest on Sveum's coaching staff? Any new names floating around?
Chris Bosio was interviewed recently. He seems to be lead guy for pitching coach. Only heard one other name, and that's Ed Seder, who is the Brewers'first base coach.
Realistically, how many years til I can return to Wrigley Field? I told myself I will not spend a penny going to a Cubs game until they put a legitimate contender on the field.
I'd save your money for at least one more year. Let the Cubs spend $150 or $160 million on their payroll. It's difficult to see them being competitive with Milwaukee and St. Louis next season.
First base is getting all the attention, but what solutions do you see at third? Stewart in a trade...but who else might be available and a good fit?
Chad Headley, who's with the Padres, may be a trade solution.
Cincinatti has been rumored to be open to trading Yonder Alonso. Could that be a possibility for the Cubs at 1B? Inter-division trading is tough, but he can mash. Not sure about his D at 1B (terrible in the OF experiment).
I wouldn't be shocked if they trade Votto instead of Alonso. If they're intent on improving their pitching staff, they might have to make a bold move like that. A team like Toronto would be a match.
Can the Cubs go out and make a splash as they did in 06' when they brought in (Soriano, Marquis, Derosa, etc) and are there enough players for the Cubs to go out and make those moves to contend for the division next year ?
They don't have the players to trade, I don't beleive. If you're going to trade Marmol and Soto, I think you'll go younger. That's my guess.
Does Jorge Soler still intend to defect, or will he wait until he is 23? It would appear that the new CBA would drastically diminish the amount he could sign for as a 19 year old amateur.
Right, because there is an age cutoff. Doesn't impact anybody over 23. Not sure.
Will we see a continued push for more night games in the future?
Not really on the dockett for the Cubs right now. That probably would be something they consider after their remodeling. That's 3-4 years away.
Bruce - any idea why the Cubs have left Ryan Flaherty exposed to the Rule 5 draft? Do they think he won't get picked or are they content to potentially lose him? With the questions surrounding Vitters, it seems a little odd to me to give up so soon on Flaherty. Thanks.
They still have six spots left on their 40 man roster. You're also excluding trade possibilities.
Looking forward to a busy time at the Winter Meetings, which start Monday. Keep following ESPNChiCubs on Twitter. Now here's Doug.
Hello all. Let's get going with some White Sox talk.
So different will the White Sox look by Christmas? Does it look like we will see a few small deals, or are we looking at a new team by the new year?
Well, the infield will look the same. I see Buehrle not signing and Quentin being traded. If they can get a starter with some potential in a deal, Danks or Floyd could go too. Look for Thornton to potentially be traded as well.
Doug do you the Sox will get some player outside the organization to play centerfield?
They would if they could. They are stuck with Rios and his contract, though. Rios could be moved to a corner OF spot leaving CF open for somebody, though. But Kenny seems comfortable that De Aza could do the job wither in CF or LF.
Which pitcher out of Danks, Floyd and Buehrle has the best chance of being with the team in 2012?
I still say Danks, even though he can get back more of a return in a deal than they can for Gavin. Danks would fill that vet lefty role in the rotation when Buehrle signs elsewhere. I'd keep Danks and build my rotation around him. The guy has guts (and talent).
Doug, do you see any real possibility in the Sox hooking up with the Reds in a trade for Alonso? The reds need starting pitching and Danks or Floyd could be a match. Only issue I see is sticking him out in left where he was not all that good last year.
If Konerko's deal had a year left instead of 2, I'd see it. That way he could be PK's eventual successor. Hard to put a guy like that in left over De Aza. Don't really have a leadoff guy at that point.
Whats one position the white sox would have to improve by trade or free agency
Don't look for much help via free agency. I think the White Sox will target the rotation on the trade market. If they can get a young No. 4 guy who comes affordable they'd do it. A left fielder who can lead off would also be a need.
Will we be seeing Dayan Viciedo starting with the team next year or will he be spending another season with Charlotte?
No more Charlotte for Viciedo. They'll find a spot for him somewhere and right now that spot would appear to be RF when Quentin gets traded.
Doug, what are your thoughts on Kenny and the Sox trying to move some of the high value pieces they have (Danks, Floyd, Thornton, Santos...Konerko?) and getting this rebuilding project underway?
It's only going to be a partial rebuilding project. Konerko isn't going anywhere for now and Dunn and Rios can't be moved. But Viciedo, De Aza and Flowers will get some decent playing time. Morel will get another year to show what he can do at 3B. It will be an interesting mix.
Have you heard anything about Dunn's off-season workout plan?
Haven't heard much other than that he will be required to swing a bat this winter. Remember, Dunn did work out during the winter, he just didn't swing a bat. KW as said that will change this offseason.
Do you think trading Quentin is in the best interest for the Sox, especially with his potential and the lack of offense we may get from Rios and/or Dunn?
It's in the best interest for the White Sox because it reduces payroll and gives Viciedo a spot to show what he can do. If they didn't have Viciedo waiting in the wings, we wouldn't be talking about a Quentin trade. Well, we wouldn't be talking about it in such certain terms.
Dunn, Beckham, or Rios....who has the best bounce-back season?
Wanted to say Beckham, but that's the safe answer. Let's go with Dunn. With a year of experience in the AL it could help him to return closer to the numbers that he used to post. 26 HRs and 90 RBI will look like MVP stuff compared to what he did last year.
Will KW be trying to move AJ, and would AJ go if traded?
He will make $6 million next season and with Flowers showing that he is ready, they would move him if they could. But he has no-trade protection, of course, so he can't be moved just anywhere.
Is an outfield of De Aza-Rios-Viciedo a likely possibility?
I still think they see De Aza as a 4th outfielder, who rotates in at all the OF positions on a frequent basis. Maybe 4 games a week. That means they could be targeting a young left fielder with some of the trades they are expected to make.
What makes Sale a better starter than reliever?
I guess we don't know what he is better at until we see him start. But he was drafted as a starter and the White Sox always intended to use him there. When he was called up so quickly in 2010 it was because they needed lefty bullpen help. He was impressive there but was always promised that he would start one day.
What about packaging AJ with Thornton to the Yankees? They need a catcher, always need bullpen help, and would be willing to extend AJ's contract (thus making him likely to accept).
The Yanx were interested in Thornton at the teade deadline last year. Not so sure about A.J., though. They can sign Russell Martin for slightly more than A.J. will make this year and they were happy with the job Martin did last season. Plus, Martin's younger.
Doug, did you also see the story about Floyd giving $12K to a kid in his hometown for a new pair of prosthetic legs? Good dude. Is he a good clubhouse guy to be around too?
He's one of the nicest guys you could ever hope to meet. Bumped into him at a restaurant once and he chatted with my kids for a while. You are correct, good dude.
Which Hummer do Sox get in 2012, the first half Cy Young candidate, or the second half can't get out of his own way version?
You have to think something in the middle, but he has it in him to dominate at times so if you can get a dominating run out of him for about two months that would help the cause.
Thanks for the questions. My gut tells me that the questions with just a first name were from the same guy, so to you I give an especially big thank you.
Looks like I'll be talking to you all from the winter meetings next week in Dallas. Look for updates on Twitter @ESPNChiSox.