You know Paul, it's not that difficult to figure out the Cubs' problems, despite Sveum's comments on the stats. At key moments in the game -- the key pitch, the key hit, the key play in the field -- the Cubs fail. Their players are simply not quite good enough overall to get the job done. Votto gets the key hit; Rizzo does not. Phillips makes the key play in the field; Castro does not, and so on. You don't need to be a rocket scientist or a sabermetrician to see this! Just watch a few games. It's a good thing Len and JD are entertaining! -- Kevin Neis, Highlands Ranch, Colo
Yes, but when the Cubs actually have been good enough to make the playoffs, they’ve also failed at key moments of big games in 1984, 1989, 1998, 2003, 2007 and 2008. So maybe it’s bigger than just not having enough talent. Maybe it’s just a Cub thing. (Trademarked.)
This question is about the upcoming draft. I think we are all familiar with how the NFL scrutinizes the personal character and demeanor of a player. How does a baseball team similarly examine a prospect's deportment even though some of the draftees cannot hire agents or representation in order to maintain their amateur status? -- Chris, Munster, Ind.
They meet with a lot of them, their families, their coaches, and obviously scout their games. There is no combine, like the NFL, so no chance to give a Wunderlic IQ test. A lot of it’s just guessing, since who knows if a kid is being Eddie Haskill-like in public and a lunatic with his friends. No one really knows.
If Edwin Jackson had an ERA over 7 as a visitor, why did the Cubs sign him to such a long and large contract? 2. What happened to Andy (?) Burnett? He was quoted as thrilled to be a Cub, pitched one inning, & was released. -- Jaime Sommers Goldman, Universal City, Texas
1. They thought he would be better. 2. His name is Alex Burnett, and he is part of the Cubs attempt to set a world record for claiming relievers on waivers and saying they always wanted him and then dumping him.
Is Shawn Camp's ineffectiveness related to his leading the league last year in appearances? It doesn't appear that he has any life or movement on any his pitches. -- Bob Seeder, Northbrook
He had a toe injury that has sidelined him since you sent this, but yes, his velocity was down before the DL stint, as Sveum pointed out. If could be from overuse in 2012, or perhaps he’s just an average middle reliever and is following an above average performance with a below average performance. It happens.
Have you heard any recent updates on Scott Baker? I know he was shut down for a month at the end of March, and then there were reports at the end of April that he had begun long-tossing. And then … nothing. I believe that the original timeframe after the spring training setback was for him to return to the rotation after the All-star break. -- John Delaney, Naperville
Sveum said in Cincinnati that he was playing long toss and could be back by August. I wouldn’t put my house on it, if I had a house. As you recall, he was injured in his first Cactus League game while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and hasn’t pitched since. This looks like a risk that didn’t pan out.
When a player gets traded how do they handle all of the logistics; place to
live, getting their clothes and personal items to the new location, transportation, their existing living arrangement, etc.? -- Barry, Carmel, Ind.
The traveling secretary gets them to and from places, and people in the organization help get them temporary housing if they need it. I’m not sure who packs their clothes, but it’s definitely not their agents, except for Carlos Zambrano’s agent, Barry Praver.
Not knowing what the current parking restrictions are for Waveland and Sheffield, and with the proposal of the complete remodel of the Grand Dame and the surrounding area, why doesn't the Cubs/Ricketts work with the city on shutting down street traffic completely on Waveland from at least the fire house east to Sheffield, and then Sheffield south to Clark. That way they can turn both Waveland and Sheffield in to pure fan concourses? I know this might rock the boat even more with Rooftoppers and all of the residence in that area, but how much more problems would be added by removing traffic from those to particular streets? May be for CFD if that had to travel east on Waveland it might cause some problems. -- Kevin P., Louisville
If you shut Sheffield all the way south to Clark you’re going to create a traffic nightmare, so I imagine you’re thinking Sheffield to Addison, which they’ve done before for streetfests, like during the NU-Illinois football game. It’s part of their plan. I have no problem with that, but only when it makes sense during the summer.
How close is Carlos Marmol to getting DFA'd? His trade value has to be close to zero. Maybe some team with a pitching coach who feels he can work with him might take him but the Cubs won't get much and will still pay almost all of his salary. -- Dennis Willett, Toledo
I’m sure the Cubs will exhaust every possibility before the trade deadline. If that doesn’t work, who knows? There’s no doubt Marmol can no longer pitch effectively in Wrigley Field, and that fans go into an immediate funk when he enters a game.
Just watched Carlos Marmol self-destruct again in a situation with the game on the line against the D’backs. I know, my wife knows, my kids know and my dog knows that Marmol can only pitch when the outcome has either been decided or no longer matters. Why don't the Cubs know this? He has as much trade value as my worthless season tickets. Trust me, put him on StubHub and his listing will expire. Can you please tell them to finally cut bait on this guy? -- Robin Hager, Naperville
Sorry, but I’m going to have to put a moratorium on Carlos Marmol complaints. I’m pretty sure I know how people feel on the subject by now. If you feel the need to vent, Tweet me @PWSullivan but not to email@example.com.
Let me get this straight, even after the Cubs were recently found to be the most profitable team in MLB they are trying to convince us that they "need" this Fenwaytron to get a better team? Can one of the smart guys over there explain the correlation? Here's an idea: take $100M from the $500M for their Fenwayland project and buy a championship like Theo did with his last team. Everyone wins. -- Cass, Chicago
It’s not a Fenwaytron or Fenwayland. It’s the Crane-OTron and WallyWorld.