Last time I did this, I had a lot of fun reading Cubs.com beat reporter Carrie Muskat's inbox where she answers people's dumb questions about the Cubs with remarkably dumb answers.
So here are some better answers to your stupid questions that you left in Carrie's box.
Cubs manager Lou Piniella scratches his head as he wonders how Cubs fans could ask such silly questions.
If you were to take a guess, what players do you see not returning to the Cubs in 2010, and do you see the acquisition of Kevin Gregg as a big mistake or just him having a bad year? I assume Carlos Marmol has cemented himself as next year's closer, so is Gregg traded or put in the bullpen? -- Jeremy B., Denver
Jeremy, you should never assume anything when it comes to the Cubs. I assumed that Marmol would be the Cubs' closer by defeault when they brought in rag-armed Kevin Gregg as competition. But whaddya know? Gregg spent nearly five months as the team's closer before manager Lou Piniella figured out what everyone else had known since Spring Training: Kevin Gregg sucks.
As for whether or not I think acquiring Gregg was a bad decision, let's put it this way. The only people that thought bringing Gregg to the Cubs was a good idea were St. Louis Cardinals fans.
Reed Johnson, So Taguchi, Rich Harden and John Grabow are among the free agents the Cubs have coming off the books this season. Fox SHOULD be gone, but I assumed that would be the case after 2005 and 2008. (See where assuming gets you, Jeremy?) But maybe that 135.00 earned run average might be the end of the Chad Fox era. So Taguchi ... gone. Bye. Nice knowing ya. Johnson earned $3 million to be a fourth outfielder on a team rife with fourth outfielders. Again, nice knowing you Reed -- and thanks for what you did for the two division winners.
As for Dick Hard-on. Keep reading.
I know Rich Harden is a free agent but are the Cubs not even considering him for their starting rotation next year? They have a solid rotation but it seems odd that Harden put up very good numbers and is not even considered to be a Cub next year. And, if the plans are that he no longer remains a Cub, why would he sit at the end of the year to "save his arm?" -- Andy C., Baltimore, MD
Why save his arm? Because it's a dick move to make a guy throw his arm out for a team that is eliminated from postseason contention. And it's a bigger dick move to throw his arm out as he heads to free agency. I'm assuming (here we go again) that Harden has a family to feed. And it's hard to make money in baseball, as a pitcher, if you can't throw. Granted, that never stopped Kevin Gregg, but I digress.
As for Harden's on-the-field performance, he had a very good second half. But when he struggled with a 5-6 first half with an ERA of 5.47 and a 1.541 WHIP, which helped negate the 4-3 record, 2.55 ERA, 1.119 WHIP, it might as well have signaled the end of Harden's time on the North Side.
With that said, yours truly believes the Cub should bring him back in 2010.
What's the tentative schedule for the approval of the Cubs purchase this winter? This has to be one of the longest club ownership sagas in years. -- Michael M., Chicago
Michael, I currently reside south of I-64. Since you're in Chicago, you likely have a greater chance to run into Tom Ricketts than I do. You should probably ask him.
Do we agree that the offense was the biggest problem this year? -- Kenny D., Atlanta
Hmmm, I wonder what gave that away? The fact that the Cubs ranked 22nd in all of baseball in runs scored, 21st in OPS, 18th in OBP and 15th in home runs after ranking second, third, second and eighth in those same categories in 2008 probably had something to do with why the Cubs won only 83 games.
Do you still think Dave Duncan is the answer?
You said a leadoff hitter is Piniella's No. 3 priority. What are his other priorities? I'm guessing closer/bullpen help is one of them, but a center fielder who can bat leadoff would seem to be the greatest need. -- Mark M., Richmond, VA
Sweet Lou's top two priorities: Getting laid. Getting paid.
I'm curious what the Cubs' won-loss record was in games that Milton Bradley did not start. Lastly, what was the Cubs' record each month? -- Paul H., Providence, RI
I'm curious why you care so much about a player who won't even be with the team in 2010. For what it's worth, the Cubs were 27-27 in games in which Bradley did not start. When he did start, Chicago was 56-52. And yet, everyone wants to get rid of a guy who is one season removed from leading the American League with a .999 OPS in 2008.
I'm sure I'm not the only one wondering about this, but what are the chances we see Bradley in the lineup next season? I know we spent a lot of money to get him and he still has two years left on his contract but is a replacement on Lou's wish list? He obviously didn't live up to expectations and doesn't seem to want to remain a Cub anyways. -- Jake W., Little Chute, WI
Lou's wish list reads as follows: 1 steak dinner, 1 bottle of hard liquor, 1 intimate moment with a college co-ed and her cute and curious best friend.
No sign of Bradley anywhere on this list.
The Cubs almost had five starting pitchers with at least 10 wins with each of them having ERAs under 4.00. I hope Zambrano gets his 10th win before the season ends but it appears Harden will not have a chance at 10 or get a chance to lower his ERA. My question is, have the Cubs ever had a starting five with 10 or more wins and all of them having ERAs under 4.00? -- Bud B., South Pekin, IL
I refuse to answer a question asked about a season that was already in progress after the season is over. Zambrano didn't get 10 wins. Neither did Harden. Part of of the reason is because they had average seasons. Another part of the reason is that Kevin Gregg was asked to close out games for them and Milton Bradley was expected to produce a 40 home run, 100 RBI season -- a season in which he had never produced ever in his baseball career.
So to answer your question, it doesn't f*cking matter!