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December 13, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Bruce Levine, Doug Padilla

Bruce Levine
  (1:03 PM)

Welcome to the rebuilding of the Cubs for 2012. Theo and Co. still have a ways to go with their pitching staff and whether they will have money for Fielder. Welcome ...

josh (peoria)

what is the deal so far with prince fielder when are we going to know when fielders desicion is.

Bruce Levine
  (1:05 PM)

The only timetable for agent Scott Boras is the one that brings back the best deal. He's starting at seven years but maybe would take less if the average yearly price is equal to or above Pujols'.

Paul (Denver, CO)

What are the chances that the Cubs land Fielder after the Brewers signed Aramis?

Bruce Levine
  (1:06 PM)

That has nothing to do with Milwaukee signing Ramirez. They were never going to bring Fielder back. They made their offer last year and it wasn't good enough. All the Ramirez does is bring back an RBI producer to try to replace Fielder.

Matthew (Cedar Falls, Iowa )

What are the chances that the cubs land Prince and if they do what would the terms of the deal look like

Bruce Levine
  (1:08 PM)

Other teams that shoud be interested are the Dogers, Mariners, Rangers, Orioles, Blue Jays and possibly the Nats and Marlins. The Cubs are not going to get into a bidding war for Fielder. They don't have that kind of money. Epstein might wait for the initial offers to take place and make one offer. But the Cubs are already at over $100 million in commitment for next season and still have a lot of work to do.

Eric B. (Decatur, IL)

Your thoughts on the recent LeMahieu/Colvin trade for Stewart/Weathers?

Bruce Levine
  (1:09 PM)

It's worth the gamble for both teams. Stewart was a legit power hitter for two years before crashing and burning last season. Defensively he should be an improvement over Ramirez. Colorado feels the same way about Colvin and LaMahieu may be a strong backup or starter. In other words, my stuff for your stuff.

Steve (Action Heights)

Will the Cubs kick the tires on Joe Saunders?

Bruce Levine
  (1:10 PM)

They should. It's probably the first thing they are doing this morning. He's a 200-inning guy who won 12 games. No reason not to go after him.

Jake (Chicago)

If the Cubs don't sign Fielder who will they go after? I am guessing trades and not FA's.

Bruce Levine
  (1:12 PM)

They have to solidify their pitching staff so you would think they are in on Yu Darvish. But again, posting is a tricky thing. The last time Theo posted it cost him $51 million just to talk to Daisuke Matsuzaka's Japanese team. That was before a $52 million contract for him. Most think Darvish is better. The Cubs need some defense in the infield as well with backups at second and short.

John (West Loop)

Bruce, any chance the Cubs trade for Trumbo? Do they have the prospects to make it happen?

Bruce Levine
  (1:13 PM)

I don't know if they are in on Trumbo. He may eventually be a DH if they decide to trade Kendry Morales. You'd like a shot at Morales but he hasn't played in two years so it's a gamble on what kind of a player he will be now.

Brian (Virginia)

Matt Garza still on the block? What would Theo want for him? And, how does the bullpen shape up (assume Wood back as set up with Marshall and another lefty, Marmol closes)? What happens to Cashner?

Bruce Levine
  (1:15 PM)

Garza was never on the block. The Cubs listened to offers for him. If they heard that they could improve the team by trading him and getting two young pitchers and a position players they would probably consider it. They didn't hear what they needed to at the winter meetings. It's hard to sya how the pen shapes up. Depends on whether they make Samardzija and Cashner starters.

Dave (Chicago)

Any takers on Soriano?

Bruce Levine
  (1:16 PM)

Zero. They were never close with anyone at the winter meetings. Three years, $54 million left on his contract.

Josh (South Dakota)

With DeJesus signed and Soriano still alive, what does that do for Jackson's eta?

Bruce Levine
  (1:17 PM)

Epstein has said that he will not rush any prospect, including Jackson. Unless he and Hoyer see a nearly finished product in spring training, Jackson may start the season at Triple A.

Tim (PA)

Do you think Theo would be interested in Kevin Youkilis from Boston in a package deal for either Garza or Marmol? It could both take care of the Theo compensation by alleviating a prospect the Sox would send to Chicago and give the Cubs an option at both 1st and 3rd at the same time?

Bruce Levine
  (1:18 PM)

Great but who will pitch for the Cubs? Unless Youkilis is in the rotation it's not a deal that will be made.

Eric B. (Decatur, IL)

I think you could argue picking up Edwin Jackson over Prince Fielder would be a smarter move. Less risk of overpaying, and get a good starting pitcher, which is a huge area of concern for the team. Agree or disagree?

Bruce Levine
  (1:19 PM)

If you want to throw your money at Saunders and Jackson you might have a rotation that can compete in the division. The problem is Jackson will want $10 million-plus a year. That's just the price of poker for a fourth starter. Not sure if the Cubs want to make that type of investment. I'd rather see them put that type of money in Saunders.

Mike (Chitown )

Do the Cubs have Interest in Ike Davis, he's a smarter move than fielder, Cheaper, Better defender and not gonna cost you 175 million

Bruce Levine
  (1:21 PM)

Davis had a decent year hitting .300 last year but only had 129 at-bats due to injury. Don't know if the Mets really want to let him go.

Lei (Gurnee)

Carlos Zambrano won't actually be on the Opening Day roster, right?

Bruce Levine
  (1:22 PM)

I wouldn't want to bet anything on it. There were no takers at the winter meetings even though there were plenty of rumors about the Marlins. It will be interesting to see how that works out. It may end up being similar to the Carlos Silva situation last year when the Cubs paid him $13.5 million and released him.

Nate (S. IL. )

Who is more likely to sign with the Cubs...Darvish or Cespedes? Which has a bigger upside?

Bruce Levine
  (1:24 PM)

Hard for me to say because I've never seen either play. I've just talked to international evaluators. They like both. They have a better handle on Darvish, who most scouts think is a No. 2 pitcher in the majors. I don't know if the Cubs have enough money to throw at both. Cespedes might be asking $60 million.

Stephen (New York)

Any chance that Hanley comes to the cubs?

Bruce Levine
  (1:24 PM)

Doubtful. Same situation you have with him in Florida right now. The Cubs have their SS of the future. Either Ramirez or Castro would be disgruntled. That's not a way to build a team.

Pete (Chicago)

Are there any minor league pitchers besides McNutt that could be potenital starters for this team next year?

Bruce Levine
  (1:27 PM)

Don't see it. Jay Jackson backed up last year after looking like a guy who would pitch in the big leagues in 2011. Chris Carpenter has spent time as a starter and reliever. That's about it. McNutt had a pretty good Arizona Fall League. He had blisters and bruised ribs during 2011. They are still high on him.

Allen (Benton Harbor)

Am I the only one that thinks signing Cespedes or Darvish could be a mistake by the cubs? There have been a few international players who scouted well but busted in MLB (see Fukudome). It seems like a lot of money to spend on someone who may not pan out and has no MLB track record.

Bruce Levine
  (1:29 PM)

They look at the athleticism and how they project him to the majors. Cespedes is a gifted baseball athlete who played well in international competition. I don't know about $60 million worth but because of the new rules about the amateur draft, people are looking at Darvish and Cespedes as their last shot before paying tax penalties for future international players.

Dan (Boston)

If the Cubs lose out on Fielder, will they look at bringing back Pena?

Bruce Levine
  (1:30 PM)

Possibly although you have to think a team like Milwaukee may be interested in Pena now. The Ramirez contract is backloaded allowing GM Doug Melvin some flexibility to replace Fielder.

Bruce Levine
  (1:31 PM)

Keep your eyes on Scott Boras. He will be on center stage over the next two weeks trying to bring home a boatload of cash for the Fielder family for Christmas. Not sure if the Cubs are really in it. All indications are that they are not, but Theo has surprised people in the past. Thanks everybody.

Doug Padilla
  (1:32 PM)

OK, it's time to talk White Sox.

Doug Padilla
  (1:34 PM)

I will say that at the close of the winter meetings in Dallas last week, it seemed like all the air was let out of the White Sox's baloon. I think they thought trade talks would heat up better than they did and it became a meeting for free agents.

Tim (PA)

Thoughts on the Santos trade?

Doug Padilla
  (1:35 PM)

That's a tough one because I'm a Santos guy (we both grew up in the same area of the LA suburbs). That being said, we have to wait and see. Santos could be a great one, but he did show signs of the yips, especially with his slider. We really won't know until we see the pitcher they got and that might not be until Sept. at the earliest. Tough to see an arm like that go, though.

Tom (Chicago)

Are the yanks coming around on the Danks trade

Doug Padilla
  (1:38 PM)

Sounds like it. The Yanx were awfully quiet in Dallas last week. Oddly quiet. Maybe they were waiting until Buehrle and Wilson found a home. The Yanx have the pieces the White Sox want. If the White Sox are patient with this, they might get a decent haul in return.

Jason (Bmore)

Ozzie mixed and matched his 9th inning duties based on the situation alot of times in the past. Do you think this is something Ventura will do as well considering there is no clear closer?

Doug Padilla
  (1:39 PM)

I do remember Robin saying at one point last week that he wants to find one guy he can trust. Ozzie wanted to do that too, but trust was hard to come by at times. I still think Crain is the favorite for the job, unless Thornton steps up and impresses people this spring.

John (Chicago)

If the Sox traded both Danks and Floyd, would Joe Saunders interest them following his release from the D-backs?

Doug Padilla
  (1:42 PM)

Still don't think so. But he is an innings eater with a track record of being dominate for stretches. But that was about four years ago with the Angels. He's been up and down ever since. They'd rather go with somebody younger/cheaper I'm guessing.

Sean Quinn (Broadview, IL)

Not many athletes on this team, who do you see as solid bench guys on next years squad....

Doug Padilla
  (1:44 PM)

Lillibridge is back, although the rumors were that he was the one guy other teams were asking about most. Still gonna need a fourth outfielder, although that could become De Aza if they find a LF. A middle infielder who can play 2B and SS will be necessary, and that's something they probably can afford on the free-agent market.

PG (Chicago)

Is there any chance of Danks signing an extension with the Sox? What is his asking price?

Doug Padilla
  (1:45 PM)

Word is that he might not be interested in an extension and would rather test free agency after the 2012 season.

kaufmak (chicago)

Will we see Quentin on opening day?

Doug Padilla
  (1:46 PM)

The odds are very long that Carlos stays, although Kenny did say that he sees a scenario where he starts for the White Sox in RF in 2012. Doesn't make sense to not let Viciedo play, though, especially when you need to lower payroll.

Sean Quinn (Broadview, IL)

More likely bench coach in '14? AJ, or Konerko

Doug Padilla
  (1:47 PM)

Sean, I'd say that you have a better chance of being th ebench coach in '14, but if I had to pick one, I'd say A.J.

Sean Quinn (Broadview, IL)

If Sox start out bad, how long is the leash on Ventura ?

Doug Padilla
  (1:49 PM)

Let's not start the Ventura watch already. If they start out bad, which is their trend, all eyes are on Kenny before they are on Robin. You can't blame two managers for slow starts.

HJ (Chicago)

Will Ventura tolerate Rios' unmotivated play

Doug Padilla
  (1:50 PM)

Since Robin has an option out there in De Aza, he certainly wouldn't have to. It will be interesting to see how Rios responds in 2012. He and Ozzie were tight. Will he now step up his game for a different guy?

Ryan (Minneapolis, MN)

What is your take on th Sox losing Doyle? Seems like the type of guy they would want to keep (and probably could have)

Doug Padilla
  (1:52 PM)

He put in a very impressive season in 2011, including the AZ Fall League. If there was one knock on him it was his 89-90 mph fastball. But his control was out of this world. Perhaps they thought they couldn't go forward with 2 of those guys since Axelrod is the same type of pitcher.

Shawna O (Chicago)

What does it say about Buehrle that he is calling this new contract with Miami a "break" and that he will be back in some capacity? It's like sending your childhood best friend to move away and hoping they don't make a new best friend!

Doug Padilla
  (1:53 PM)

It says everything that is so great about Buehrle. He was modest enough to think that clubs might not want to sign him and then he lands a huge deal. And it also says that his heart will always be on the South Side.

Philip Sloan (Oak Lawn)

I know you mentioned crain or thornton (if he stays) being the closer, how about addison reed? I think that he is going to have quite a good year.

Doug Padilla
  (1:55 PM)

I think Reed is the answer for the future. He'll need seasoning at the big-league level, though. But remember, we were saying that about Santos and he had the job in less than two years. There's no need to rush Reed into the job, but if he shows he can handle it he might get it sooner than later.

Don (Deerfield)

What kind of offensive game plan will we see out of Ventura, is he a sacrafice type guy or will he be a gambler and attempt to steal bases.

Doug Padilla
  (1:57 PM)

Don, I wish I knew his preference. We keep asking him and all he says is that he will work with what he has. But he wasn't a guy that used his legs as a player and maybe he'll have to be talked into that style. Steals can be compensated for if they are adept at going from first to third.

Shawna O (Chicago)

How possible is it that we will see Floyd, Danks and Thornton all in new jerseys by the start of the season? This seems unlikely, but it's nearly impossible to sift through the rumors these days.

Doug Padilla
  (1:58 PM)

Kenny says he's fine with the pitching staff he has to open the season. I still think at least one of those guys is playing elsewhere in 2012.

Harry (Columbia, MO)

If the Sox do not trade Quentin, what do you see the starting outfield to be with De Aza, Viciedo and Rios

Doug Padilla
  (1:59 PM)

I'll go out on a limb and sat Quentin is in left, Rios is in CF and Viciedo is in RF to open the season. De Aza would then rotate in at all the OF positions and get maybe four or even five games a week.

Jason Moore (Charlotte, NC )

Any Chance that Dunn has changed his offseason work habits and we see him at least have some impact next season?

Doug Padilla
  (2:00 PM)

Robin continues to say that he doesn't want Dunn thinking about baseball right now. That's fine I suppose. You do want to be a player's manager. But they should have a heart-to-heart pretty soon. Word is that he is working out but not necessarily swinging a bat yet.

Steve (Northbrook)

Why would the Sox only protect 36 players when they could've protected 40?

Doug Padilla
  (2:02 PM)

They needed roster spots for potential trades. It could be a sign that they plan on bringing in multiple young players for their veterans like Danks and Quentin. Those deals just didn't materialize at the winter meetings as expected.

Patrick (Chicago)

What are reasonable expectations for Flowers this year given AJ's continued presence? Will there be a R/L platoon?

Doug Padilla
  (2:04 PM)

If there is, AJ isn't going to like it. I think AJ knows the situation and if a chance to move to a winner comes about, he might waive his no-trade.

Collin (Sioux Falls, SD)

Speaking of slashing payroll, what are the chances Paulie gets traded? Granted, I do not want that to happen, but what is Kenny's mindset on that?

Doug Padilla
  (2:05 PM)

Not gonna happen. At least not by Opeing Day. If the White Sox are 15 games under by the All-Star break, things could get interesting, though.

Doug Padilla
  (2:06 PM)

Once again, thanks for the questions. Much more than in recent weeks. Sorry I couldn't get to them all. Keep them coming. And follow during the week on Twitter @ESPNChiSox.