Question: Would the Cubs be back in on Bourn if he lowers his offer and looks for a 1 year deal somewhere?
Bruce Levine: Maybe. But I don't see how that works for him or them. Maybe more for the Cubs. The point is when July comes along and you look to trade him the other team is still going to say that he will be a free agent in 2014. That limits you to what you can get back.
Question: What would it take for the cubs to get Peter Bourjos from the Angels? he seems like the out man out now. Do they still have interest in Marmol?
Bruce Levine: They may still have interest, but Bourjos is a high-quality defender making little money. So there is no need for the Angels to give him away. He'll probably get into over 100 games just for defense.
Question: Will Cubs go after Liriano or another pitcher since losing out on anibal sanchez??
Bruce Levine: Most definitely. They are still in that mode. They have kicked the tires on Edwin Jackson and Shawn Marcum. Jackson it appears will get a three-year deal from someone else. Padres seem to be the lead dog for him.
Question: Anibal Sanchez chose Detroit over Chicago. Is this a sign of things to come, until the farm can produce enough players that can make the cubs competitive again?
Bruce Levine: It is a tough reality for Cubs executives when they make a tremendous offer and are left standing at the door. The harsh reality is that Sanchez took the Tigers money because they are closer to winning. There's no getting around that.
Question: Bruuuuuce! Did the Cubs catch a break by being out-bid for Anibal Sanchez?? I really don't understand going after him with a long-term contract. He's been mediocre throughout his career, and the Cubs wanted to sign him to be the ace on a staff where he's arguably worse than Samardzija and Garza. I just don't understand the move at all.
Bruce Levine: It's called supply and demand. When there is a short supply of starting pitchers in a yearly market, people talk themselves into doing things that they wouldn't normally do. As you know pitching is the number one commodity and this year's free agent crop for starting pitching was in short supply. Therefore #4 starters look like 2s and 3s in a depleted market.
Question: Why can't the Cubs find any suitors for Alfonso Soriano? He had a great year last year and if the Cubs are willing to eat all but 10 million on the contract...why is he not more attractive to other teams?
Bruce Levine: Most teams are holding on to their good, young players at this point. Regardless of how much money the Cubs eat, other clubs are reluctant to give up any young talent. That is just the nature of the industry right now.
Question: Hey big fan! I have 2 questions, are the cubs interested in mark trumbo or Giancarlo Stanton? And if we are what would we have to give up for one of them?
Bruce Levine: Of course they would be interested in either one. But the Cubs would have to trade their good, young talent for other teams' young talent. Right now the Cubs do not have an extensive amount of young talent to deal.
Question: What do you make of Buster Olney saying the Cubs will make a run to get David Price next offseason? If this is true, who would they actually consider giving up?
Bruce Levine: Next offseason? I don't understand what that is supposed to mean. Price may be traded or signed by Tampa before next offseason. To me that's just pie in the sky.
Question: If the Cubs can get Porcello for Barney, then put Junior Lake at 2nd? would they? I know he has a good relationship with Starlin and Sveum likes him
Bruce Levine: The deal for Barney was before Detroit obtained Infante. Infante is firmly locked in as the Tigers' second baseman right now. I don't see that deal happening
Question: The pursuit of Sanchez seems to smack against the philosophy we've been told to buy into buy Hoyer and Epstein. Should we be nervous that they seem to be changing their tune after 14 months?
Bruce Levine: No, Sanchez falls into the area of being young enough to help you win for the next four years and also has the type of contract flexibility where you could trade him for other young players. The problem the Cubs have is that right now they are coming off a 101-loss season.
Question: With all the talk about local TV contracts on the west coast, i haven't seen anybody talk about the cubs local TV revenue. I believe the contract with WGN is coming up in the next 2 years.. Is this correct? and if so, have you heard about expectations for what they would be expecting on the next contract (and with who), i.e. would they do their own network?
Bruce Levine: The Cubs deal with WGN expires after 2014. The Cubs are still committed to between 80-100 broadcasts on Comcast through 2019. So the Cubs can sell the rights to those other games after 2014 or create their own cable network. These conversations have been going on with the Cubs for a number of years, as far as their internal plan for the future. The guess according to one source, is that the Cubs will be getting over $150 million per season by 2020 on their local TV rates.
Question: Why not consider Grady Sizemore for RF? Since Nate is looking like the 4th OF. How about Jed make a call to his Padre friends and make a deal for Chase Headley? We have some depth in our minors with baez, lake.
Bruce Levine: Last I looked, Chase Headley led the NL in RBIs. I don't believe there is a real chance the Padres are going to trade him. Grady Sizemore as an impact player are well behind him now due to injury.
Question: If you had to bet on one trade the cubs had to make before the start of season, what would it be?
Bruce Levine: Carlos Marmol going for a small package of prospects.
Question: Bruce - money talks. Didn't Sanchez get $5mil more? You make it seem like it was the exact same offer and Sanchez chose the Tigers. Didn't his agent leak the Cubs deal for leaverage?
Bruce Levine: He did use them for leverage, but he actually got only $2.5 million more from Detroit. And that wasn't the reason that he went there. All things being equal, Detroit is the American League champion and the Cubs lost 101 games. In my opinion, that is why Sanchez chose the Tigers.
Question: Does Ricketts put a "budget" of sorts on Theo & Co. or do they have the autonomy to do what they think is necessary?
Bruce Levine: Like every big business, people have budgets. But Epstein and Hoyer have flexibility to sign free agents in the international market. The problem with that is you can no longer outbid other teams in that market. The most you can spend is $2.9 million for an international player.
Bruce Levine: Brett Jackson is a good possibility to join the big club again if he solves some of his swing and miss problems. He could be back up in June or July. The organization still believes he has a tremendous upside.
Question: Hey Bruce! Merry Christmas! Any chance we could see the Cubbies make a trade for Mark Trumbo? A package of maybe Garza and Brett Jackson or Josh Vitters?
Bruce Levine: I'm sure the Cubs would love to acquire Trumbo. Right now they don't have the matchups to be trading their good young players away.
Question: What are the chances of the Cubs pursuing Andre Ethier? He fills a void in RF, is a left-handed bat in the lineup (arguably powerful), and could help when the Cubs start to compete. Your thoughts? Thanks!
Bruce Levine: He may be too old and expensive for the Cubs' plans right now.
Question: Bruce, could you give me/us 3 things to look for in the upcoming season.
Bruce Levine: The number one thing is that baseball will continue to push for more extensive tests for HGH.