Ask Paul returns to discuss the latest chaos and calamity that is Chicago Cubs baseball.
Now that the Cubs have screwed up Matt Murton who's next? --Lee Barton, Idaho Falls, Idaho
Did the Cubs even try to get more for Michael Barrett than they got? I mean, good grief -- one of the top offensive catchers in baseball with a reasonable contract should have gotten a little more, don't you think? --Dallas Jenkins, Los Angeles
I think if they held onto him until the trading deadline they may have been able to get a little more, but one scout I spoke to yesterday said he was surprised they even got a back-up catcher for him. That's how much his defensive skills have eroded this season. Lou had obviously seen enough, and Hendry had to make a move as quickly as possible. We all know Barrett can hit, but since there is no DH in the National League, he has to learn to become better defensively.
Is the Barrett trade the only tinkering right now, or will Scott Eyre and Jacque Jones be on the way out as well? Isn't it time to simply take the financial hit and waive them if there are no trade partners? At this time, they are just taking up roster spots. --Randy, Nashville, Tenn.
Eyre has been pitching better lately, albeit in non-pressure situations, and it's too early to toss him aside and eat his contract. Jones is probably a goner, but I can't imagine they'll get much in return since he has another year on his contract. The Cubs are not going to eat it, nor should they.
If the Cubs fall more than 10 games out of first by the All-Star
break, are any big name players in jeopardy of being traded? --Steve Smith, Chicago
Do you consider Zambrano a big name?
Isn't it sad that ex-Cub second baseman Todd Walker cannot find a major-league gig? I think he has a few good years left. His offense is especially strong. -- Paul Racette, Chicago
Walker took his new team, San Diego, to arbitration this winter, one of the single dumbest moves I've seen in a while. He's not exactly Ryne Sandberg. Amazingly, he won, and then they cut him. Oakland had him for a while and let him go as well. I don't think it's sad at all. I think he's probably laughing all the way to the bank.
Paul, with Ron Santo recently inking a deal to sing a certain number of seventh inning stretches during this season, when are we finally going to see you in there? I think you should be the designated 14th-inning man -- really pump the team up during extra inning games. --PDizzle, Chicago
As soon as Sammy comes back in a Cubs uniform.
Paul, after last Sunday's game in which Rich Hill gave up a plethora of home runs, Pinella said that he may be "tipping his pitches." They said this last year in the infamous Barrett-Pierzynski game against the White Sox. I consider myself fairly knowledgeable about baseball, but I have no idea what "tipping pitches" means. And, why have I heard it in reference only to Rich Hill? --James McRay, Eaton Rapids, Mich.
It means he's making a move that lends the hitter to believe he's throwing a certain pitch, or "tipping" the batter to it. Hill insists he doesn't do it, but if the Cubs play San Diego in the postseason, perhaps he should sit out that round.
Paul, you seem genuinely annoyed by answering these questions. I understand your editor makes you do it (I hold a job too, as most adult people do). However, I never let my customers/readers/business associates know if and when one of my tasks bothers me. Maybe you think it's fun and cheeky to complain--and most times it is--but you may want to reconsider how many times you do it per column. On a related note, I heckled the snot out of Soriano on June 2. After that, he got hot. I apologized to him late in the game and, very graciously, he tipped his hat. Maybe my heckling you brings you to your usual big-city-paper reporting and writing. --Jose Hernandez, Chicago
Congrats on heckling the snot out of Soriano. You must be so proud. I enjoy doing this, but I am constantly amazed at the inane questions, like yours.
Paul, WHEN, if EVER, will MLB decide to SUSPEND Edgar Renteria for his CHEAP SHOT?? You CAN'T tell me that they haven't seen the TAPE or the STILLS???? This is NOT justice. --Lenny Clinton, Chicago
When I'm doing the seventh inning stretch.
Paul, as we all know the Cubs are for sale and prospective owners are lining up. I was hoping you could shed some light on who is currently chasing the purchase. I also would love to hear your opinion on who would be the best potential replacement. Thanks and go Cubbies. --Michael Koltun, Highaland Park, Ill.
I believe it will be Andy McKenna, the former Sox shareholder, and Tribune exec, who is liked by both Selig and Reinsdorf. The last time I saw Andy was before Game 7 of the 2003 NLCS. He seemed very nervous, but I told him not to worry, that even if the Marlins got to Prior, they wouldn't get to Wood. I believe he'll probably hire me as the new GM, based on that one moment.
Paul, with the speed we have at the top of the order with Pie and Theriot, why don' the Cubs play more small ball. In a game against the Mariners saw the Cubs with speed on third and first with the pitcher batting. WHY NOT SQUEEZE and get in an extra run? --Ray Nails, Burlington, Vt.
Mike Fontenot is batting second today, so that's the true definition of small ball. Soriano is not a good bunter, so in spite of his speed, he's not a small ball guy.
When Marla Collins was ballgirl, was she shagging foul balls or did she take new balls to the umpire? This will settle an argument between me the Cubs fan and my neighbor a Giants fan. --Gil Topp, San Jose, Calif.
I'm not really sure about the kind of shagging Marla Collins did, but if anyone knows, please e-mail me.
Hi, Paul, when are we going to get rid of Cesar Izturis? This guy's only driven in six runs in 48 games and has the worst fielding percentage of anyone on the team. --Scott Jeanblanc, Waukegan, Ill.
As soon as they suspend Edgar Renteria for trying to decapitate Fontenot.
Have not heard much of Kerry Wood lately. What are the odds he is quietly building up arm strength and pitching simulated innings to come up in July/August and blow everyone away when the Cubs need him most? Call me a conspiracy theorist if you must, but... --Bob, Missouri City, Texas
Good question, but one that I can not answer. Thanks for all the relevant questions, and please remember that I don't answer questions about you-know-who.
Ask Paul Sullivan
The Tribune's Cubs reporter answers reader questions
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