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 my last ESPNChicago chat room. Let's have a fun last hour. Welcome.
Elvis (Kalamazoo)If you're Theo,do you fire Sveum and go after Girardi ?
Bruce LevineI'm two inches taller, 26 years younger and just a tad better looking. I don't know if Epstein and Girardi's philosophy's sync up. Both are outstanding baseball men who have world championships to prove it. the question is whether they think alike as far as running a baseball game and developing young players. It is definitely not as simple as Girardi wanting to return to Chicago. Sveum has a contract for next year and an option for 2015. He was hired to help develop young players while winning some games along the way. So far he hasn't been given enough young players to develop.
Adam (Loop) [via mobile]Bruce, pretty simple question here: what should Cubs fans look for and quantify as a successful winter?
Bruce LevineContinued development of the organization's young players, including Almora and Soler having solid AFL experiences. Also looking toward trades that bring more offensive talent. Since Soriano was traded on July 26, the Cubs have been right there with the teams that have scored the fewest runs in baseball. Hoping Rizzo, Castro and Barney get better will not be good enough for the offense to improve going toward next season.
James (Des Moines, IA)Has Chris Rusin earned a job next season? I would hope so.
Bruce LevineRusin is one of those lefties that has to be just about perfect with his stuff in order to compete. I think he has shown the ability to change speeds and throw strikes. These are two main elements for a left-handed starting pitcher to be successful in the major leagues. If he can be somewhere between Jamie Moyer and Mark Buehrle, then the Cubs may have a solid performer for the next seven or eight years. He definitely warrants another opportunity with the rotation.
Matt (Springfield)Do you see the Cubs giving up on Castro and trying to sell him in the hopes he may just need a change in location?
Bruce LevineI think the Cubs brass will listen to offers for Castro in the offseason. There are numerous teams that need a quality young SS and I believe the Cubs can get some top young talent for him in return. The Cubs will hesitate trading a 24-year-old SS who has accomplished what he has in his first four years. They may believe that they messed him to by asking him to see too many pitches. If that is the case they can either trade him and run from what they believe is true or rehab his confidence and bring in some outside hitting instruction for him.
Lawrence (Bolingbrook)I read al lot about how Starlin Castro is having such a bad year which is true but why aren't the same people saying same thing about Rizzo?
Bruce LevineThey are apples and oranges as far as the Cubs are concerned. Castro is a skill player that they are trying to turn into an on-base percentage player. Rizzo is a power hitter who they are trying to help make more contact. There is the perception that Rizzo is their guy and Castro is not. But if that was the case why would they have given Castro $60 million last year? Some way, somehow the staff has to help them improve their batting stroke.
davidg (chicago) [via mobile]what is the sox first priority this offseason
Bruce LevineThey have so many. I think adding a couple of young offensive players is the No. 1 priority for them. With Garcia and Viciedo expected to be part of their run production future, the Sox need to add some left-handed hitting. Dunn is only under contract for one more year. There is really no left-handed power coming through the organization right now. But the Sox have to address two new OFs, a 3B another catcher and a right-handed rotation pitcher. Other than that Hahn doesn't have that much to do this offseason.
patrick c (chicago)is gillapsie a stop-gap 3B or is he the future?
Bruce LevineHe's a young player still developing. I look at him more as a utility guy. He has some power. He looks like a .260 to .280 hitter. To me he is a solid 1B/3B utility guy.
Rene (Chicago) [via mobile]Any plans that the Front Office has made for Olt this off season? Seems it might be make or break for him in 2014, right?
Bruce LevineI don't know if it's that simple. Concussion syndrome can take a long time to go away. I think they will let him rest this winter and hope that his head clears up.
Peter (Skokie)What will it take to keep Navarro? $4/5 M per year for two years with option for 3rd cut it?? They don't have anybody behind him
Bruce LevineI think that's a great question because he's had a tremendous season. I'd say at least a two-year deal between $10 million to $12 million. I know that seems like a strange amount for a backup catcher, but he's only 29 years old and he's been as good a clutch hitter as anybody on the Cubs. Forgetting that part of it, most of the pitchers love to throw to him. He should be a very popular free agent.
Andrew (Minnesota)Matt Sczur starting the year at Triple A next year? Is he looked at as a 4th/5th OF in the industry?
Bruce LevineI think they like his progress. But I believe that there are other outfielders in the organization that might pass him up. He's definitely a major league prospect.
Tim (AZ)Do the Sox trade Sale this Winter? Maybe to the Braves for some of their vast young group of pitchers?
Bruce LevineNo, you really can't trade one of the best young left-handed starters in baseball. You build your rotation around him. Sale has a lot more things going for him than just dominant pitching every fifth day. He has very similar leadership qualities to former White Sox ace Jack McDowell. This is the type of guy you hold on to for as long as you can.
tom hickory hills il. [via mobile]Regarding white sox pitching next year, they seem to have an abundance of left handed starters and right handed relievers, and a shortage vice versa. Do you see Santiago as more valuable as the 4/5 starter or as the setup lefty reliever, ala Matt Thornton?
Bruce LevineI think it would be interesting to see Santiago and Nate Jones reverse roles. Jones has been extremely durable and the type of power pitcher they could probably need in their rotation. I know it's a stretch at this point but those would be two moves I think would make sense. All that said, the Sox are probably going to trade a left-handed pitcher in the offseason who would help fill their needs in other areas.
Tom Chicago [via mobile]What pitchers will the Cubs look to sign this off season?
Bruce LevineI think the Cubs are feeling good about developing their own pitching staff right now. Maybe an addition of a reliever or two along the way as well as floating the idea of Scott Baker and a couple of other veterans coming back from injury or a bad season. The Cubs are still in the rebuilding mode but their young pitching staff is starting to get better.
Nic (Des Moines)What is going on with Trey McNutt? He seems to be stuck at double a. Injury, move to the bullpen, etc. Is he working his way off the 40-man?
Bruce LevineMcNutt was a star on the rise three years ago. Injuries and some trouble with blisters have taken some of the luster off his future. Nobody is projecting an imminent rise to the big leagues for him. Ironically the Cubs offered either him or Chris Archer to the Rays for Garza. It appears Tampa picked wisely.
Dave (Bucktown)Hey, Bruce . . . you say the Cubs need to add an offensive player or two for the coming year (I actually like what we've got going forward with pitching), so what positions do you see as openings?
Bruce LevineRight now third base until Bryant gets there. Center field, second base are all areas they could improve on with regular offensive contributions. I would not be shocked if Barney is traded in the offseason. Right now the Cubs are a couple of years from Almora and Soler or at least one year away. My guess is that they feel they will get some help from Baez and Bryant at the major league level next year.