Carrie Muskat's answers to these questions appear in today's Cub Mailbag. My answers appear below.
You still list center field as empty on the depth chart. Does this mean you expect the Cubs to either sign another player, such as Cliff Floyd, or give the job to Felix Pie? In an earlier update, you said Matt Murton is going to start a majority of games, even if they sign Floyd. If Pie is not ready and no one else is signed, will the outfield be Murton in left, Jacque Jones in center and Alfonso Soriano in right? I know this is no Gold Glove outfield, but why would the Cubs not be satisfied with this outfield lineup?-- Billy E.
First of all, Billy, you've confused me with someone else, someone who does depth charts. Last week on Chicago radio, Jim Hendry all but declared the outfield situation won't be settled until the Cubs have made more personnel moves. Murton, Jones and Soriano sounds okay to me, and I imagine it will sound okay to the Cubs, assuming there are no other bodies in the mix. Pie hit .216 in winter ball, plus there's that Corey Patterson thing hanging over everybody's head. Short of Pie hitting .400 and playing a flawless centerfield, it's hard to imagine how he could win the starting job coming out of Spring Training.
With the addition of Cesar Izturis, what will happen to Cedeno?-- Tyler F.
He'll be summering in Des Moines.
I've been hearing a lot about this arbitration stuff. What is salary arbitration? Why would a player file for arbitration? How can they benefit?-- Kevin B.
Kevin, your questions bother me. A lot. Major League players and their agents and their lawyers and their lawyers' lawyers and their financial advisors are only in this game for one reason: because they love it. I don't understand why fans always insist on making it about the dollars and cents. Please don't write me again.
Do you see any surprises coming out of Spring Training? Can someone unexpected make the team? I was thinking about Eric Patterson.-- Ron L.
E Pat is a promising player, but it wouldn't make sense for the Cubs to bring him north so he could sit on the bench at Wrigley Field. It will be interesting to see if Mark DeRosa can play second base to Piniella’s satisfaction. If he can’t, Ryan Theriot would seem to be the best Option B. Though supremely athletic, Patterson still swings and misses too much and runs into too many outs as a base-stealer.
My question is about Casey McGehee. I've seen him play through the winter, and it seems that he could be in the Majors. I read that the Cubs are inviting him to Spring Training, and I wanted to know what possibilities he has?-- Cesar T.
Now that the Cubs don’t expect to be third baseman-shopping for at least another $73 million, it seems fortuitous they have been moving McGehee, a 2005 Southern League All-Star third baseman at West Tennessee, all around the infield, even giving him time behind the plate this winter in the Mexican Pacific League. If he continues to build off last season at Iowa, he could develop into a valuable commodity: a utility player with some sock.
How can it be that "The Hawk" is not already in the Hall of Fame? In a time where ethics are a major question in baseball, Andre Dawson should be recognized and embraced for his high morals and pure dedication to the game. It's a shame the voters don't realize this.-- Justin D.
Sorry, Justin. When I first read your question, I assumed you were lobbying for Hawk Harrelson. It upset me and now I can’t continue. Try again next month.