I have noticed that when managers need to look up information in the dugouts that they use a notebook. Why haven't they started using laptops or some other devices that would be quicker and more insightful? -- Barry, Carmel, Ind.

I once saw a Stanford baseball team use an Apple computer in their dugout in 1989, but it looked too cumbersome and they stopped quickly.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a team use an iPad in the dugout if it were legal. Major League Baseball does not allow electronic devices in the dugouts.

Many teams have the information they need in those notebooks. It would be brutal for a team to look up information on an iPad or a computer, only to have the wireless system crash.

If you had an iPad in your dugout, you could watch replays quickly and contest calls that went against you. This wouldn’t go over well with umpires.

I know of one team that used to have a monitor set up in a photographer’s well adjacent to the first base dugout. Since the dugout was sloped, many umpires couldn’t see players checking the replays.

When umpires would get suspicious, they’d walk over to chew out the photographer, who already would kick the monitor cord out of the socket and claim the monitor wasn’t working.

That ploy worked every time.

How exactly does "service time" affect players like Brooks Raley and Jorge Soler on the 40-man roster but not on the 25-man roster playing in MLB games in September? I know they're not on the MLB club but if they were, are there any specific rules about pitchers and position players or about players who already have service time? -- David Lowery, Krakow, Poland

The 40-man roster has an effect on only players who are optioned to the minors and after their third option is used. More teams who promote players to the majors are often certain that those players won’t qualify for salary arbitration as a “Super Two” player. There are no specific rules for pitchers and position players. They fall under the same category.

Epstein seems to be following the "Marlins model" by dismantling the Cubs.  Isn't there a danger of alienating the fan base by having players come and go so quickly?  If Epstein continues to trade every player with value, he'll have a team with no value.  This seems a recipe for sustained losing seasons and empty seats. -- Jaime Sommers Goldman, Universal City, Texas

I’m not sure Theo was following the Marlins’ model to the fullest because the Cubs didn’t expect to challenge for a division title in 2013, as the Marlins did the previous season when they signed Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes and Heath Bell to lucrative contracts before  trading them one year later.

The hope is that Jake Arrieta will be better in the long run than Scott Feldman was, and that the Cubs will get a greater return (in terms of volume) for trading Garza and that Corey Black can help the major league club down the road and for more than the remaining year that Alfonso Soriano is under contract.

I do believe that fans want to see much better results in 2014 and that there’s a sense of restlessness, even with the legitimate hype surrounding the likes of Javier Baez and Kris Bryant.

They are committed to Castro and Rizzo, so I don’t see them being dealt.

I would never tell fans how to spend their money, but it’s pretty revealing what many fans believe when the Cubs had their smallest home attendance on Wednesday since 2002.
 
I saw the Oaks and Sounds in Nashville last Saturday and was not impressed with Mike Olt and his four  strikeouts. Who do you see at third in 2015?  Bryant at third base, Baez and second base and Castro at shortstop are my picks. --  Tom Wolfenden, Pensacola, Fla.


I've seen Olt in the Arizona Fall League in 2011 and in spring training games and can't figure out what's gone wrong, unless his post-concussion syndrome issue continues to linger. I don't think the Cubs would put him as risk, but a scout who has watched Olt play on numerous occasions is mystified by the decline in his production.

I think Baez ends up at third, and Bryant moves to right field. The transition from shortstop to second is tougher than people believe, but Darwin Barney made a smooth switch to enhance his career.

Is it probable that the Cubs will ever use the strategy of advancing baserunners with a sacrifice?  I'm tired of seeing leadoff doubles or rallies with runners at first and second with no outs become nothing.  Either our players lack the ability, or our manager lacks imagination. --  Jim Kuhn, Fort Myers, Fla.


Jim, hope all is well in Fort Myers. I love the area as well as Sanibel Island and hope to visit again in the future.

One of the biggest mistakes in baseball is when players are asked to fulfill a role they can't perform or have little or no experience in performing. Nevertheless, the coaches have players work on bunting drills to prepare for situations like the ones you mentioned.

Jeff Samardzija executed a sacrifice bunt Wednesday, so it can be done.