More mail in Carrie's box? You betcha. More snippy answers? Oh, you know me too well.
Is there a possibility Ryne Sandberg could be the Cubs' hitting coach next year? If not, could Sandberg be the manager of the Triple-A Iowa Cubs? Either position should help him ease into a Major League team as manager, hopefully with Chicago.
-- Ara W., Alpharetta, Ga.
Ara, you have a better shot of being the Cubs' hitting coach in 2010. They hired Von Joshua, for crying out loud. Sandberg is more likely to manage a Dairy Queen than he is to be the next Cubs hitting coach. Sandberg does want to manage, and he does want to manage the Cubs. And the way Lou Piniella managed the 2009 team, Sandberg might be with the big club before you know it.
What are the Cubs' plans for Jake Fox next year? Piniella has indicated his desire for a big RBI bat, and it seems Fox could fill that role nicely, especially if there are payroll constraints. Fox added some key production and power in his limited playing time this year. Also, has anyone coined the term "Fox trot" when he hits a home run? If he gets more playing time, we could see the "Fox trot" a lot in coming years.
-- Wes K., Dallas
Long answer: Fox hit 11 home runs and drove in 44 runs in 216 plate appearances, and if you adjust his splits over a 162 game season (or 650 plate appearances) and Fox has a 21 homer, 86 ribbie campaign. However, the stats are deceiving. Through July 31, Fox owned a .311/.345/.592/.937 line, but starting from Aug. 1 on, Fox hit .202 with 4 home runs and 18 RBIs after a month of July in which he hit 5 homers and drove in 15 runs. Like the Cubs need another guy who disappears in September..
Short answer: Because he can't play second, short or center, the Cubs' plans include finding an American League team looking for a cheap, right-handed hitting designated hitter.
What is the status of Aaron Heilman? I would love to see him back next year in pinstripes.
-- Matt, Logansport, Ind.
Aaron Heilman's status? He sucks. Next question.
Why is it that Piniella insists the team needs another RBI bat if he's expecting Geovany Soto and Alfonso Soriano to be better next season? What this team could use and use badly is speed and guys who can reach base. I recommend the team try to acquire Tampa Bay's B.J. Upton or Detroit's Curtis Granderson. Their teams are considering trading them, and they can actually play defense. If you look at the teams in the playoffs, you will see fast runners at the top and solid defense up the middle. Wouldn't that be better than going backwards and looking at a Mark DeRosa, like most Cubs fans want?
-- Alfonzo A., Chicago
The following players out-homered the entire Cubs starting outfield: Albert Pujols (47), Prince Fielder (46), Ryan Howard (45), Mark Reynolds (44). Milton Bradley, Alfonso Soriano and Kosuke Fukudome combined to drive in eight more runs than Pujols. Does that answer your first question? It should.
I also recommend trying to acquire Curtis Granderson or B.J. Upton. I also agree with your assessment of Mark DeRosa. You get a gold star for today. Now run along before you get hurt by Carrie's dumb answer.
I've heard the phrase "another Ken Griffey Jr. out there." Why don't we sign Griffey to a one-year contract? He played for Piniella once, so maybe he would end his career with him as well. Has anyone mentioned Adam Dunn? He would've been the perfect fit instead of Milton Bradley.
-- Jesse P., Mellen, Wis.
Why don't the Cubs sign Griffey, because it's 2009, not 1997. And unless you have a Steve Urkel-like transformation chamber, we're not going back in time to get the mid-90s Griffey. In 2009, he hit .214, but did hit more home runs than K-Fuk and Crazy Uncle Milton.
As for Dunn, he's under contract with the Washington Nationals. Jim Hendry missed that boat last off-season. If it would have had an all-you-can-eat buffet, he probably would have been on board.
Baker really played well when he got here. Do you see him as a potential starting second baseman for next year?
-- Mordy G., Cleveland
Baker. Baker who? Not Dusty Baker. I'm happy with him managing Cincinnati and ruining the young arms on that ball club. As for Jeff Baker, sure, why not? He posted a .305/.362/.448/.810 line in 69 games in Chicago.
Do you know when the DVD release of "We Believe" will be out?
-- Josh B., Lombard, Ill.
No. And unless it features the Mend My Heart guy jumping off a tall building after failing to find love after the Cubs, then I'm not interested.