ESPNChicago’s Bruce Levine is down in Nashville for the Winter Meetings, but that didn’t stop him from doing his weekly chat (good on you, Bruce). Among Bruce’s thoughts …

  • The Cubs are looking for either a center fielder or a right fielder, and aren’t limiting themselves to one or the other, specifically. The questioner asked about Jacoby Ellsbury, which Bruce said he didn’t have a good handle on, but I can take care of that one: the Cubs aren’t trading for Jacoby Ellsbury, who is a free agent after 2013. Maybe they consider spending on him as a free agent, but trading for him now – for a steep premium in prospects – wouldn’t make too much sense. Oh, also: why would the Red Sox, who are clearly looking to compete in 2013, trade him?
  • Bruce reiterates, in the context of a deal with the Rangers for Mike Olt, that teams aren’t going to want to consider Matt Garza in a trade until they see him throw in Spring Training.
  • Bruce doubts that Carlos Marmol will be with the Cubs on Opening Day. I very much agree – the Cubs have set that ball into motion, and there should be a number of teams willing to take him on if the Cubs eat a few million.
  • Brian Wilson wouldn’t be a good gamble as someone to count on in a prominent role in the bullpen, coming off a second Tommy John surgery.
  • Nate McLouth could be a short-term idea in the outfield. (He was decent in 55 games with Baltimore last year, but, before that, he was absolutely, nightmarishly bad for two and a half straight years.)
  • The Cubs have had one conversation with Michael Bourn’s agent, but the question is whether they’re willing to commit four or five years to such a player. He’s an obvious improvement.
  • Bruce doesn’t believe Yunel Escobar is an upgrade at third base (uh, what? not that I’m pushing for him, but he’d be an ENORMOUS upgrade over what was there last year), and obviously has the history of immaturity issues.
  • If the Cubs get a starting pitcher this week, it will probably be a “depth” type of starter rather than a “top” type of starter.
  • The Cubs and Alfonso Soriano will “work together” on trying to get a trade put together, but it’s tough because of his no-trade rights. A lot of places he doesn’t want to go.
  • It’s unclear whether the Cubs will re-sign reliever Jaye Chapman.
  • Bruce doesn’t seem to like John Lannan.
  • The Cubs still have interest in reliever Jason Grilli, but nothing is close to getting done.
  • Bruce teases a possible down-the-road Matt Garza-Wil Myers swap, but says that hasn’t actually ever been discussed.
  • There doesn’t appear to be a match between the Angels and Cubs on a Carlos Marmol trade now.


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