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July 30, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Bruce Levine

Bruce Levine
  (1:03 PM)

Welcome to my favorite chat of the year, the pre-deadline version. Almost everything you read on the Internet could be the opposite right now. Welcome ...

Tom (Morgan Park)

What's the latest on a possible Kevin Gregg trade? If the Cubs do trade him, what kind of value do you think they can get back?

Bruce Levine
  (1:04 PM)

I just talked to a few scouts about that and some said they haven't heard his name much. Most of my scout sources say teams are looking at him as a setup guy. His value isn't quite as high as people in Chicago think.

Junior Lake [via mobile]

Bruce, am I here to stay or lighting in a bottle? What's my role on this team and what type of numbers can I put up on a yearly basis.

Bruce Levine
  (1:05 PM)

It depends on how you adjust as a starter. You're going to have a chance to play the OF the rest of this season. Make the best of it.

Garrett (PA)

What type of prospect could the Sox expect for Crain? Assuming he plays a solid role for the Rays.

Bruce Levine
  (1:06 PM)

What I'm being told is that there are a couple of different levels of players the Sox can pick from depending on Crain's performance. They should get at least one good young player if he pitches well the last two months of the season. As I wrote yesterday, it's a complicated deal, one the Commissioner's office had to sign off on.

Mike (Chicago)

Are the A's still interested in Peavy or are they entirely out? I believe they could be saying that they are out like Hahn is about keeping him just as leverage tactics.

Bruce Levine
  (1:08 PM)

The A's plan is based around Bartolo Colon. If he is suspended in the Biogenesis investigation then they are definitely interested in a starting pitcher. The money is too rich for Oakland for Peavy. It just depends if the Sox adjust their asking price. Other teams are looking at Bud Norris. The A's might be in that mix right now.

Greg (Chicago)

With the departures of Soriano, Garza, Marmol, and Feldman the Cubs have freed up about $31 million for next year. Do you think we will see them spend all of that money or can we expect a lower payroll next year?

Bruce Levine
  (1:10 PM)

Remember some of these Cubs players are going to arbitration and contracts like Castro's and Rizzo's escalate with their new deals. And Samardzija is going to make a lot more money and Russell is going to arbitration for the first time unless he gets traded. All of those variables have to be considered. That said, they should have a lower payroll than this year.

Mike (Tempe, AZ)

Hi Bruce, When should we anticipate Mike Olt playing third base?

Bruce Levine
  (1:11 PM)

Sveum was asked about Olt today. He said he wasn't really looking at his numbers or his video. I would think at some point in August he will be up.

Mo (Chicago)

Where is the line on an extension the Shark would take and one that Theo & Co. would offer? 6/$72 get it done? Who's the comp?

Bruce Levine
  (1:13 PM)

It's hard to tell by their numbers because he's pitched better than his record. I talked to him this morning and he said he is in no hurry to get a long-term deal done and his concentration is on finishing this year strong. This is not a greedy guy. He just wants to pitch for a winner. He feels the compensation will take care of itself. The Cubs would like to get him under team control with two years left of arbitration.

Mehmet (Fairfax, VA)

Are the White Sox looking for anything in particular with the Peavy trade? .... just young MLB-ready pitching?

Bruce Levine
  (1:14 PM)

They are looking for position players more than pitching. They are also looking for guys they can control. They don't want people in their second or third year of arbitration.

Tom (Downers Grove)

The Cubs have the 4th best record in the NL over the last 2 months. Are we really that far away from competing? Isn't next year a possibility for a run at the wild card?

Bruce Levine
  (1:16 PM)

Look at the rotation and look at the everyday players and then answer that question. With all due respect, how many players in the lineup can you project being on the team in 2014? I have three and maybe four. Your rotation, how many guys do you see being on this team next year? The Cubs have done a good job of competing and overachieving.

Matt (Springfield, IL)

Are the White Sox still in talks with the Cardinals for Ramirez? If so, what is there asking price?

Bruce Levine
  (1:17 PM)

I had heard that the Cards were interested in Peavy and Ramirez. That was three days ago and you know how these things change.

David Hout (Iowa)

I noticed Josh Vitters got a couple starts at LF. Do you think he will be able to contribute in 2014 as an outfielder?

Bruce Levine
  (1:18 PM)

Not sure about that. Also saw that he got hurt the other day. His future is probably in some other organization.

Joel (Florida)

What's going on with the Sox? Are they rebuilding or just testing the market to determine what value certain players have? It seems like they are somewhere in the middle.

Bruce Levine
  (1:18 PM)

I think you're right. They feel they have good pitching in their organization. They would like to add two or three position players before next year.

Tony (Skokie)

Bruce...Do you think we would be in a better position if we kept Chris Archer and never got Garza? I think it worked out in the end for us getting more players for a team rebuilding. That said, Archer would be a big building block for the future. Thoughts?

Bruce Levine
  (1:21 PM)

Any good trade is based on both teams getting value. Such is the case in the Archer trade. I remember when Cubs fans wanted to boot Hendry for trading DeRosa to the Indians for three pitchers, one of whom was Archer. You have to wait on these trades to really evaluate them.

Dan (Omaha)

Bruce,Will the Cubs trade Shierhotlz for middle of the road prospects? I feel like he's more valuable to the team next year as the right fielder rather than move him for another single A relief pitcher prospect.

Bruce Levine
  (1:21 PM)

They will trade him if they get back the right prospects. The Pirates have been on him for over a month. They have one of their top scouts here watching him.

Dallas (Chicago)

Gut feeling where does Peavy get move? and does Alexie n Rios get move?

Bruce Levine
  (1:23 PM)

Have no gut on either one at this point. I know St. Louis and Pittsburgh were both interested in Ramirez. Boston, Oakland and St. Louis seem to be the frontrunners for Peavy. The money in Peavy's contract has become an issue.

Mike (Portland, OR)

Hi Bruce, what are the chances Samardzija gets traded by tomorrow?

Bruce Levine
  (1:26 PM)

I would say zero. I believe his name is being floated just to gauge interest and to get his agent back in talks for a long-term deal.

Joe (Chicago)

Bruce, do you think the Cubs move anyone not named Gregg or Schieholtz?

Bruce Levine
  (1:27 PM)

James Russell's name is certainly out there. There are a bunch of teams who would like a LHP who's under team control for another three year. I think there's a chance he get moved.

Mike Alioto (Oak forest)

What was Matt garza asking for before he was dealt to the Rangers?

Bruce Levine
  (1:28 PM)

Garza told me the Cubs never moved off their offer from last November, which he said was for "Edwin Jackson money."

Lee (South Bend)

Was Corey Black a good pick up from the Yanks? Because to me it looks like his arm might fall off with that violent delivery.

Bruce Levine
  (1:29 PM)

We know he has a good arm. A Yankees source told me he's a future bullpen pitcher, but still a work in progress.

Joey (Windy City)

Just heard that the Pirates and Sox are trying to work something out for Rios...Any news on that?

Bruce Levine
  (1:30 PM)

Pirates have had interest in Rios for over a month. They've also shown some interest in Ramirez.

Bruce Levine
  (1:31 PM)

Walt "No Neck" Williams for the White Sox (OF in the 70s/80s and from the Cubs how can you look past Mordecai "Three-Finger" Brown?

Evan (Indy)

Strop or Parker: who will be the closer at the end of the season? And do you see that person starting next season in that role?

Bruce Levine
  (1:32 PM)

I think Strop is the guy who has the big-time stuff. He's been excellent up until last night. He has a chance to be a dominant closer, and there's a good possibility he comes into camp next spring as the team's closer. Could be as soon as next week if Gregg is traded.

Todd (The Region)

Whats the story on third baseman? Olt or Bryant?

Bruce Levine
  (1:34 PM)

I think both will play there in the minors, but you should see Olt in the majors some time in August. Bryant may be a long-term third baseman, but he'll need some time in the minors to figure that out.

Scott (Rockford, IL)

What are the future plans for Dayan Viciedo? Is he the first baseman of the future?

Bruce Levine
  (1:35 PM)

First and foremost, he's been the most diappointing Sox player of the season. After hitting 25 HR last season, they expected him to be a middle-of-the-order hitter at this point. As of now, I can't tell you what the Sox expect him to be.

Rick(Cicero) [via mobile]

When will both teams contend for the World Series, not just contend for a playoff spot?

Bruce Levine
  (1:36 PM)

I'm not a smart enough baseball man to tell you that, at least looking at these rosters. Both teams are light years away from a World Series title.

Bill (Chicago)

Will Konerko get a statue after he retires? I sure hope so. Before him the face of the franchise was Frank Thomas. I think Paulie got a lot of fans excited to be Sox fans again.

Bruce Levine
  (1:37 PM)

I do think Konerko would prefer to retire as a Sox as opposed to being traded this year or signing elswhere next season. I talked to Konerko Sunday and he said he doesn't know what he's going to do this season. He's just going to let the season play out. He bristled when asked if he would accept a deadline deal.

Bob (Harigtown, PA)

How about Peavy for Matt Kemp?

Bruce Levine
  (1:39 PM)

I don't think that Dodgers are trading him right now. Most teams in baseball aren't sure how he'll deal with his injured legs. They're making folks doubt whether he'll ever reach his potential. Plus, he has a huge contract.

Chicago (Fan)

BRRRRRRRRRUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCEEE!!!!! Who will be the next youngster brought up to taste the bigs? Position player not pitcher. I'm thinking we start taking a look at who will start 2B with Watkins or Alcantara getting a call up. Thoughts??

Bruce Levine
  (1:41 PM)

Contract control is always an issue. Once you bring up a player pre-September, you start their free agent clock. The Cubs may prefer to wait for some of their younger players. They want contract control beyond 2015. It's particularly important to the Cubs. Once they're able to compete, they want to know that they can control that core for a long time.

Osmar (Brazil)

Any chance the Cubs are blown away with a haul of prospects for Samardzija before the deadline? Say the Red Sox or Diamondbacks come calling.... Thanks Bruce.

Bruce Levine
  (1:43 PM)

Really doubtful, although many folks were impressed by his outing last night. Samardzija still has a tremendous amount of upside despite the fact that he'll be 29 in January. His arm appears to be robust and has had no arm/wear and tear issues to this point. His best years might be at 34-35-36 years old.

Darwin Barney (Chicago)

What are the chances I will be playing with the Cubs 2015?

Bruce Levine
  (1:45 PM)

Remote. You're a good player, so hopefully you'll be playing on another championship team. Unfortunately you don't get on base enought, and hit hit enough, to be considered a big part of the future. But, you are a good player who can help other teams win.

Eric (Arlington, VA)

Is Hahn's relative inactivity (only minor deals) related to his status as a GM rookie? Are other GMs less likely to deal with him on even terms because he's the new guy at the party?

Bruce Levine
  (1:47 PM)

I think the philosophy of the Sox's organization is that they don't have to trade just because they're approaching the deadline. Peavy, Ramirez and Rios are all under contract control, so they can be traded arguably for better packages over the winter. The only exception might be Peavy because he's been dealing with some injuries the last 4-5 years of his career.

Bill (Chicago)

Why don't the Sox gauge what they could get in return for Sale? I heard the Cubs wanted the top 2 pitchers in the D'backs system for the shark.

Bruce Levine
  (1:48 PM)

They may be listening -- I think Hahn would listen on any player -- but it would take a monster group of prospects coming back to consider trading Sale.

Ben (Chicago)

Peavy has been scratched from his start today. SPILL THE BEANS BRUCE.

Bruce Levine
  (1:49 PM)

If I had the beans I would spill them. :)

Matt (Milwaukee)

There is talk that Bryant's future with the Cubs could be at another position than 3B. But all the other talked about positions for him: 1B, LF, RF are already covered by either a current "foundational piece" or future prospects. So who is not long for the limelight in Chicago then?

Bruce Levine
  (1:53 PM)

Nothing wrong with having duplication at positions. That's why teams have four minor league affiliates. You can always move players around as they matriculate through the system. It's not like Almora or Baez are going to be playing for the Cubs tomorrow. These players are also trading chips when you have strength at one position. I think the emphasis on the Cubs' young players is blown out of proportion because it's so hard to identify talent on the major league team.

Chicago (Fan)

Would you say we have a solid rotation 2-5 with Wood, Shark, EJax, and Rusin? If so, do we spend big on an ace for this staff or does Garza come back?

Bruce Levine
  (1:55 PM)

They definitely need to keep building their cache of young pitchers by developing their own and acquiring others from other organizations. I agree on Wood and Samardzija, but Jackson and Rusin are a stretch. The Cubs have played well but it's hard to project both positional players and a rotation for next year off the current 25-man roster.

Tom Chicago [via mobile]

Bruce with several Cubs going into Free Agency do you now move them just to get any minor leaguer for them?

Bruce Levine
  (1:57 PM)

Epstein said last week that anyone not under the team's control for next year would be considered in a trade.

Joey (Windy City)

Just read of a possible mega deal sending Peavy and Ramirez to the Pirates...hear anything?

Bruce Levine
  (1:58 PM)

Both the Cardinals and Pirates have show interest in Ramirez, but the Cardinals are more apt to trade for Peavy than Pittsburgh.

Ben (Chicago)

is lake going to stay in the outfeild in the cubs future? or is castro going to move to 2b and lake to ss?

Bruce Levine
  (1:59 PM)

Sveum was asked this morning if Lake was going to stay in the OF. He said yes, but also said that he might look at him over at 3B. As for Castro, there are no plans at this point to move him to 2B.

Danny (Waukegan)

Who wins a WS next? Cubs or Sox

Bruce Levine
  (2:01 PM)

So I have to choose between a team that hasn't won in 104 years and another team that's won once in 96 years. Could be neither!

Bruce Levine
  (2:02 PM)

Have to get back to the phones. Thanks for all the questions. Keep following @ESPNBruceLevine and my teammates @ESPNChiCubs / @ESPNChiSox for all the latest.Talk to you next week.