Congratulations to the Blackhawks and welcome to baseball season! Let's chat.
In case you haven't heard, Carlos Marmol has been designated for assignment. That means the Cubs have 10 days to make a deal for him before he is waived, which basically makes him a free agent. They can ask Marmol to go to the minors if he clears waivers, but he can refuse the designation.
What are the chances someone claims Marmol?
Doubtful. Most likely scenario is that teams will wait for him to clear waivers so they don't have to waste a player for someone who will be a free agent in 10 days.
Will Marmol have a chance to play MLB with another club?
Knowing the state of relief pitching in baseball, Marmol will likely get offers from other teams. We'll have to wait to see if it's a minor-league deal, asking him to throw down there before bringing him up. Most of those deals are short-term until they make a decision on him.
With Marmol gone, and Gregg probably going to be dealt - who will close for the Cubs after July 31?
If you're not busy, Andrew, you may want to request a tryout. Seriously, though, Henry Rodriguez is the likely candidate in my mind having experience and a 93-95mph fast ball.
How is bogusevic going to be used? Will his addition limit sweeneys starts or will he just mainly be a pinch hitter off the bench?
Good question. Bogusevic isn't really a CF by trade, although he could play there. He's had big numbers in the minors this year and could be the left-handed power bat the Cubs have been seeking for a long time (out side of Rizzo). If Soriano is traded, there's a definitely an open spot.
What's the Cubs asking price for guys like Garza, Schierholtz, and Soriano?
Young pitching is number one. They want to continue to add to their pitching group. But, if someone has a good-looking 3B prospect, they certainly will listen to that as well.
When Kris Bryant gets signed what level do you see him starting at?
Probably rookie ball or low Class-A. The Cubs might think that he's progressed enough through college to start at Kane County. Normally, most prospects go to rookie ball first, but he may be an exception.
How soon before we can expect trade talks for the Sox to heat up?
I would say after this homestand it would be pretty clear cut as to whether Sox management thinks they're still int he race. With four games this weekend against Cleveland, they should get a pretty good idea of where they stand. If they're 10 games back by July 4th I think the Sox will start to seriously consider moving guys.
So who gets traded and when do the Sox start catching the ball again?
To me the most amazing story of Chicago baseball this season is how poor the Sox's defense has been, especially in critical game situations. That's mindboggling to me. As far as trades, I think Ramirez is a likely candidate because he has a favorable contract and is considered one of the better SS in the league. He could bring back the most young players. Other candidate include Jake Peavy when he's back from the DL, certainly Jesse Crain who's one of the best relievers in baseball, and possibly Konerko, although he has 10-and-5 no trade rights.
Hey, Bruce . . . at this point, Starlin Castro is on a definitive downtrend. What should be the next step to get his development back on track?
I think a short period of time on the bench would be beneficial to him, not as punishment but as a focusing tool. He hasn't missed a game since 2011, so he could use a mental day off here and there. However, there seems to be more going on than just that. This guys is not a .228 hitter, even though that's what the numbers say today.
Hi Bruce. Do you think Sveum is being just plain stubborn refusing to rest Castro? It seems like a day here and there can only help. This seems to me like the kind of thing we'll be pointing to if/when Dale is relieved of his duties.
Sveum comes from the old school group of baseball coaches who believe that your top talent needs to be out there every single day. He also believes that playing every day creates mental toughness, which is something you need to be a successful major league player. Sveum got his mentality from playing with HOFs Robin Yount and Paul Molitor.
In speaking with Theo/Jed, when do the honestly expect to be a winning team?
I don't think they'd ever be quoted as saying 5-7 years, but that's the realistic expectation in my mind, even though they've never said that to me. That means they'll compete every year, not one random appearance in the playoffs.
What's the latest on Peavy? Any chance he comes back to make a couple starts before the trade deadline?
I don't think so. He hasn't been cleared to pitch yet, so I think it would be another month before he's ready to pitch again in the majors. They can trade him while he's on the DL, though, if someone wants to take the gamble on this year and $14M next year.
Now that the Cub released Stewart do you see him getting a shot with another team?
Someone might offer him a minor-league contract, but that's likely as good as it will get for him.
Is Javier Baez going to see any playing time this year at the major league level?
Definitely not. They want him to experience progressing up the minor-league chain. Plus, until he's ready to play in the majors every day, they don't want to start the time on his free-agent clock.
Who is the first cub to be traded?
My guess is Garza. I think when a guy is going as well as Garza is going, you don't wait long to move him. If you remember last year, they waited for his market to build up and he got hurt. That's even more reason to move him for the best deal they can get for him in the next week to ten days.
I have heard that the Cubs are open to dealing James Russell. Do you see that happening? He's young and one of our best bullpen arms.
Honestly, I think the Cubs are open to trading anyone on their roster outside of Samardzija, Wood and Rizzo. There's no reason to fall in love with any player who can bring you back fine young players in return, especially if teams are will to overpay.
Bruce. What are the odds Theo/Jed would fire Dale after this season and make a run at that manager over in New York... Who will be a free agent and loves Chicago.
I don't see Dale getting fired at this point. Both Epstein and Hoyer have stated multiple times that the roster isn't good enough to compete and the blame for that should be on them, not Sveum.
How big of a player are the Cubs going to be in the Free Agent market after this season?
It depends. I think the Cubs will still be fairly reserved for one more free agent season. That doesn't mean that they won't spend $50-60M on a young player or a pitcher. After all, they offeren Anibel Sanchez $80M last year. But I don't think they'll make multiple long-term FA signings.
Your "untouchable" list above was Shark, Wood and Rizzo. I noticed it did not include Castro. You're beginning to come around to our thinking, Bruce. :-)
I don't think Castro is an untouchable, but I also don't think that you trade a commodity like that when he's playing poorly. It's tough to look at this way, but you can't trade a 23-year-old with that kind of talent. The asking price would be the same as if he were hitting .300.
Speaking of Anibal, can you reveal if the signing of Edwin Jackson was a panic move, or did they believe/do they still believe he can be part of a winning rotation? That 4 year deal really puzzled me from day one.
Jackson had other 3-year offers, so the Cubs had to overpay on years, but not necessarily on money. I wouldn't call it a "panic move" but they needed someone to be a 200-inning pitcher over the next few years. Unfortunately up to now, he's averaging the fewest amount of innings out of all their starters.
Hey Bruce, You announnced that you will be taking "Talkin Baseball" on the road this Saturday. I believe you said you would be at a Menards. Which one will you and Fred be at?
Thanks for asking, Gary. 6100 East Avenue in Hodgkins
Bruce, do you think the Bogusevic call-up is a harbinger to a Soriano deal?
Not at this point. Soriano is goign to be very difficult to trade with his power numbers down. If he gets hot before the All-Star Game that might change. He hasn't had his usual 6-7 game hot streak like he usually has a couple times each year.
Bruce! Any word that the Cubs are in the bidding for Cuban Pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez? Is he ready to pitch in the majors this season if signed?
I've heard rumblings about Gonzalez, as well as a few other Dominican player they're scouting, but you're not allowed to sign international free agents until July 2. I do expect them to be active in that, though.
Assuming DeJesus was healthy, would there have been a market for him? And knowing he will be gone after this season one way or another (I don't see them picking up his option), wouldn't you hold onto Schierholtz until next summer?
I would, yes. Schierholtz is a developing player who the Cubs smartly identified. I think DeJesus would have been traded to the Giants this week if he were healthy. They lost Angel Pagan for another three months.
Who is the 1st big prospect to make it up for the Cubs?
Tough to say, but I'll go with Baez. He could be up about one year from now.
Could be neck and neck with Soler, but if they bring him up towards the end of June then the arbitration window would drag out another, which is good for the Cubs.
Speaking of Garza, there was a rumor floated about him going to San Diego. Any legs to this?
Peter Gammons tweeted that, which means there's probably some legs to it.
Assuming the Cubs stick with building internally, staring into your crystal ball how do you see the 2015 opening day roster looking at each position?
Don't know about the entire lineup, but Baez, Soler, Almora and Bryant will probably all be in there, along with Rizzo, Castillo and Samardzija starting.
Do you think that the Cubs would be willing to do an Olt for Garza deal?
Probably not straight up, but the Rangers have always been interested in Garza. There's no reason to think they won't be involved this time around as well.
Do you feel Dale has a tough time picking pitching or is the roster just that bad?
If you're talking about the bullpen, I think they lack the depth that other major-league bullpens have. Also, they've been stuck with just one major-league caliber lefty in the pen. That makes it tough for dale to match up.
Bruce, what happened to the blackhawks power play in the playoffs?
Who needs a power play, when you have a horseshoe?!
That's all for today. Thanks for all the questions. Keep following me @ESPNBruceLevine and my teammates Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) and Doug Padilla (@ESPNChiSox) on Twitter. Have a great week and enjoy the parade!