Cubs, Sox with Levine
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox reporter Bruce Levine stops by Tuesday to chat.
Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.
Send your questions now and join the chat Tuesday at noon CT/1 p.m. ET!
Bruce LevineWelcome to the Cubs and White Sox only mutual day off this spring. Your opening day pitchers threw yesterday, although the Sox have not officially named Sale as opening day starter. Welcome to the chat!
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)What do you think Chicago will do about Wrigley Field since that Stadium is 99 years old?
Bruce LevineThere's a plan for renovation that is waiting for the city of Chicago to sign off on. The renovation will take 4 offseasons and cost the Cubs close to $300 million. The city has told the Cubs and rooftop owners as well as the neighborhood to come to some type of business agreement before the city gives its approval.
Joe (Bloomingdale)3 weeks away Bruce cant wait, will the White Sox carry 2 backup outfielders or will it just be Wise? Also does Conner Gillaspie make this team?
Bruce LevineGillaspie and Wise are both on the team. They do need another right-handed bat for the bench. Angel Sanchez will be another backup for the infield. Not sure if they will just go with Wise or carry one more outfielder.
Matt (Shelbyville, IL)Hey Bruuuce! Valbuena has been handling the stick this spring, and from what I read over the past couple days, is that we can't afford to cut Stewart and it is still his job to keep. Please tell me we can cut him and have Vitters be the back up.
Bruce LevineVitters is going back to AAA, and he needs to have a solid year there. There are no other plans for Vitters right now. From my conversations with people that should know, Stewart will be kept around to rehab his injury and eventually get back into the lineup. Cubs feel they need his power potential.
Gill (Mpls, MN)Any chance that someone, who can run, will be inserted into the line-up between Dunn and Konerko?
Bruce LevineI'm not sure who that would be. If you look around, Viciedo doesn't run well and neither does Flowers. Keppinger is an average runner and Beckham has not hit enough to fit in that spot. The only above average runners they have are De Aza and Rios, who will bat 1st and 3rd.
Eric [via mobile]Pretend you are cubs marketing, give me three reasons (that dont include wrigley field) as to why I should come to games this year.
Bruce Levine#1- You and your family have been Cubs fans since 1876.
Samsonite [via mobile]Who are the surprise players in each camp this spring?
Bruce LevineSo far for the Cubs, Javier Baez has looked extremely great. With any luck he'll be in the big leagues in a couple years. For the White Sox, which shouldn't be a surprise, is the way Paul Konerko has attacked the ball. And after an extensive offseason conditioning program, he looks to be as strong as he's ever been. I think he's going to have a monster year.
Bill (Iowa)Got a few over/unders for you: Flowers 20 HRs, Viciedo 100 RBIs, Sale 20 wins? Thanks!
Bruce LevineUnder on Sale's 20 wins. I'll take the over on Viciedo's 100 RBI. And I'll take the under on Flowers' 20 HR.
Paul (Denver, CO)Do you see Matt Szczur at Triple A Iowa at some point this season?
Bruce LevineSzczur still has some things to learn, like hard contact, which has been a problem for him. This will be a big year for Szczur to prove to the organization that he's a future major leaguer.
Brad (Albany, NY)Bruce, what is your prediction for the sox this season? Think they can overtake the Tigers and win the central?
Bruce LevineI think the White Sox are a wildcard team, somewhere between 88-90 wins. I like them but the Tigers are hard to pick against.
Alan (Aurora) [via mobile]Once Matt Garza and Scott Baker are healthy what will happen to Travis Wood? Will be go to the bullpen or be sent to AAA?
Bruce LevineWood might solidify himself in the rotation by that time, so he would not necessarily be the odd man out. Remember, he's the only left-hander in that group.
Kelly (Tinley)How has Beckham been hitting this spring? Do you think he can turn around his bat this season to match his glove?
Bruce LevineThe White Sox feel they helped Beckham change his approach to the ball late last summer. When he crouches and repeats his mechanics, he's a better hitter. This is also a big year for him to prove that he is the White Sox' 2nd baseman of the future. Carlos Sanchez is waiting in the wings.
Brian (Woodridge)Can we expect the Cubs to go pitcher heavy in the draft again, including the 2nd pick? Seems there is still a huge gap between hitting and pitching talent in the minors.
Bruce LevinePitching is the major concentration, and it will stay that way for some time. They would also consider drafting a quality 3rd baseman. But their first pick will be a pitcher.
Help Fans (Understand)Am I the only one who doesn't understand the Garza story? How can he be already on the DL and out the first month without knowing if his body can progress before opening day? I just don't get it. It all seems very odd, please explain the situation because he is beginning to be compared to Wood and Prior.
Bruce LevineThe reason why they will take their time with Garza is because he is still coming back from the elbow injury. Right now he's rehabbing a lat injury. So their caution is based on two injuries. Therefore, it will be 4-5 weeks minimum for him to complete spring training. He has to start from the beginning. The most realistic time would be end of April or beginning of May.
Jeff (Goshen, IN)How has Jared Mitchell looked at bat and in the field? Is he a year away?
Bruce LevineMitchell has looked a lot better this year than he has in the past. He's making more contact and hitting the ball with a lot of authority. I'd say another year for him.
Peter (Peoria)I know he is in Reds minor league camp but have you heard how Mark Prior is doing?
Bruce LevineI have not heard much about Prior, but I admire him for trying to come back though. He made $16 million during his career, so it's not about him having to make some money. That's why I respect him so much for trying to make it back.