You know Paul, it's not that difficult to figure out the Cubs' problems, despite Sveum's comments on the stats. At key moments in the game -- the key pitch, the key hit, the key play in the field -- the Cubs fail. Their players are simply not quite good enough overall to get the job done. Votto gets the key hit; Rizzo does not. Phillips makes the key play in the field; Castro does not, and so on. You don't need to be a rocket scientist or a sabermetrician to see this! Just watch a few games. It's a good thing Len and JD are entertaining! -- Kevin Neis, Highlands Ranch, Colo
Yes, but when the Cubs actually have been good enough to make the playoffs, they’ve also failed at key moments of big games in 1984, 1989, 1998, 2003, 2007 and 2008. So maybe it’s bigger than just not having enough talent. Maybe it’s just a Cub thing. (Trademarked.)
This question is about the upcoming draft. I think we are all familiar with how the NFL scrutinizes the personal character and demeanor of a player. How does a baseball team similarly examine a prospect's deportment even though some of the draftees cannot hire agents or representation in order to maintain their amateur status? -- Chris, Munster, Ind.
They meet with a lot of them, their families, their coaches, and obviously scout their games. There is no combine, like the NFL, so no chance to give a Wunderlic IQ test. A lot of it’s just guessing, since who knows if a kid is being Eddie Haskill-like in public and a lunatic with his friends. No one really knows.
If Edwin Jackson had an ERA over 7 as a visitor, why did the Cubs sign him to such a long and large contract? 2. What happened to Andy (?) Burnett? He was quoted as thrilled to be a Cub, pitched one inning, & was released. -- Jaime Sommers Goldman, Universal City, Texas
1. They thought he would be better. 2. His name is Alex Burnett, and he is part of the Cubs attempt to set a world record for claiming relievers on waivers and saying they always wanted him and then dumping him.
Is Shawn Camp's ineffectiveness related to his leading the league last year in appearances? It doesn't appear that he has any life or movement on any his pitches. -- Bob Seeder, Northbrook
He had a toe injury that has sidelined him since you sent this, but yes, his velocity was down before the DL stint, as Sveum pointed out. If could be from overuse in 2012, or perhaps he’s just an average middle reliever and is following an above average performance with a below average performance. It happens.
Have you heard any recent updates on Scott Baker? I know he was shut down for a month at the end of March, and then there were reports at the end of April that he had begun long-tossing. And then … nothing. I believe that the original timeframe after the spring training setback was for him to return to the rotation after the All-star break. -- John Delaney, Naperville
Sveum said in Cincinnati that he was playing long toss and could be back by August. I wouldn’t put my house on it, if I had a house. As you recall, he was injured in his first Cactus League game while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and hasn’t pitched since. This looks like a risk that didn’t pan out.
Reader Q&A: Paul Sullivan's Cubs mailbag
Tribune's Cubs reporter answers your questions about the draft, Edwin Jackson, Shawn Camp, possible street closings around Wrigley and the "Fenwaytron"
Jason McLeod, Cubs senior vice president of scouting and player development, discusses the differences between the NFL and MLB when it comes to the amateur draft.