Paul, as a long-time Cub fan (since 1939) I see a very confusing system being installed as "the Cub way." What exactly is the plan? How can management expect the Cubs to pull this off in a few years? This plan, the way it's being implemented, will take years beyond what is being told to the fans. Paul Catanese, Redding Calif.
Actually, the Cubs have been very careful not to put any timetable on the process, which was a smart move since it buys them time. Basically it's a gut rehab, and the gutting has yet to really begin, so it will take quite a while before we know if it's working. Check back in a year or so.
World Series in over 100 years and they stink this year. Should I try to convert him or just let him live a life of baseball misery like me and my Dad are doing? Mark Mehleck, Denver
Misery. It's a character builder, or so they say.
What is your overall impression of Dale Sveum as a manager? He seems very tied to the idea of matchups, i.e. lefty vs. righty which makes me wonder if he thinks outside the box. Having Starlin Castro bunt is not something I consider outside the box. Soriano maybe but not Castro. Don, Castle Rock, Colo.
It's difficult to judge Sveum based on this particular team, but yes, he is pretty rigid in his lefty-right matchups, and no, Starlin Castro shouldn't be bunting because he's their best hitter and not a very good bunter. I think he's getting more comfortable as the season goes on, but he needs to be a little more forthcoming with the media when it comes to dispensing information, like saying the Cubs would probably carry three catchers, or that Marmol wouldn't close again until he regained his command, or hiding Kerry Wood's shoulder issues in spring training. Stuff like that shouldn't happen, and wouldn't under Lou Piniella, whose honesty was always appreciated.
Hi Paul, Cubs fan for 30 years. I have no patience with rebuilding. There has been 104 years of rebuilding. I think Theo is a carpetbagger who is just here for the money. Ryan Dempster is a great pitcher and a great Cub, so why can't we keep him instead of trading him for a few crummy prospects who might never play or win a game in the bigs? I think we should just sign big ticket free agents until we win the Series. All I want is one. Jack, Gibsonville N.C.
Can't say I agree with you. Theo isn't just here for the money. He also wants the immortality of ending two of the longest droughts in sports history. Dempster wants out because he wants to win, so I have no problem with dealing him for prospects. The Cubs tried the big ticket approach. It got them into the postseason a few times, but didn't really work. Rebuilding is the only way to go at this point.
If you could cover any baseball team next year, which would it be? Paul, Bloomington, Ill.
Outside of the Cubs or White Sox, probably Boston. Seems like there's always something wacky going on over there, and always something fun to write about. Plus I've always wondered what it would be like to cover a nut case like Bobby Valentine.
Could the Cubs possibly have two All-Stars this year? With Pujols & Fielder in the AL, Joey Votto is the only true star in the NL. LaHair happens to have the second best average and is tied for second in home runs. While Dempster is third in ERA. Chris DeMay, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Starlin Castro is their only deserving All-Star at this point. LaHair started out well but hasn't kept up the pace of an All-Star caliber player. Soriano also could make it, despite his bad April. Dempster has three wins, which usually doesn't cut it.
Paul: Knowing that many teams rent a player for the balance of a season by trading for a free agent-eligible veteran, and knowing Ryan Dempster likes the Cubs, what are the chances of Dempster being traded and then re-signing as a free agent after the season? Rick Bogren, Baton Rouge, LA
Slim. Dempster is looking for one last multi-year deal, and is having a good year when he's not on the disabled list. I don't see Theo giving out long-term deals to pitchers that are at the tail end of their careers, even to someone everyone knows and respects like Dempster.
How will Bryan LaHair ever learn to hit big league lefthanders without actually batting against lefties? Is Baker playing so much because the Cubs hope to shop him in July? Scott Merville, Houston
If LaHair got an occasional hit against lefties, I'd argue he should play more against them. But he's hitting .100 in 30 at-bats, which isn't a really good sample size, but enough to show he's a liability in the lineup against them.
A few years ago when they torn down Busch Stadium you wrote an article saying it was a dump and it was no loss. I have been to only two games at that stadium and at least it was clean. It was too bad at the time you had never been in the bleachers or the stands at Wrigley Field. You want to talk dump! Before the Ricketts bought Wrigley field the troughs leaked and you walked in urine. It was no surprise that his first priority was to clean up the place. Richard Digenan, Crestwood, Il
Sorry to inform you but I've sat in the bleachers and stands at Wrigley a few hundred times before becoming a sportswriter, and a few dozen games at old Busch Stadium from my college days at the University of Missouri. I stand by my statement, and I have no problem with the troughs at Wrigley.
Good morning Paul, Can you shed some light on why the field at Wrigley is in such poor shape after last weekend's two concerts when it hasn't been like that in years past when there have been concerts. As a lifelong Cub fan this was very disturbing when my wife and I were there this past Wednesday. Bob Kubasiak, River Grove, Ill.
The stage for the Roger Waters' "The Wall" concert was gargantuan, and I think that's the reason for the dead grass. The Cubs should reconsider holding concerts a few days before a homestand when they have no chance to re-sod. Of course, they won't because it's all about money. They don't have to share any of the revenue from the concerts with the rest of MLB, and don't really care what their fans think of how awful the field looks. They eventually did re-sod the field this week and it will look normal the next homestand.
Hey Paul, is it too early for crazy trade talk? Think the Cubs could move Dempster to the Red Sox for a pitching prospect ... and Kevin Youkilis? He's on the block, including him would help to even the money out, and having him around some of the young Cubs and filling a hole at 3rd would be kind of nice. What do you think? Ryan Dunn, Winterville, NC
I love Youkilis, but he's not a fit for this rebuilding team. The White Sox would seem more logical. And yes, it's about time for the 14th annual wacky trade edition of Ask Paul, so send your wacky trade ideas and we'll post the best.