Mailbag: Fuld's offense overlooked?
Beat reporter Carrie Muskat answers Cubs fans' questions
Sam Fuld, Geovany Soto, naming rights and NIU are among the topics in this week's mailbag.
I keep reading about the competition between Felix Pie and Fuld for center field. Most Cubs fans have seen what Pie can do, but the only argument for Fuld, while it was an amazing play, was his great catch against the ivy last year. Why does no one bring up his offensive ability? What are the scouting reports on his hitting?
-- Ryan O., New Orleans
Fuld has a career .300 Minor League average, and was sizzling in the Arizona Fall League, batting .402 in 29 games. He led the AFL in hits, doubles, total bases, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Now, if he can carry his AFL stats into the big leagues, it'd be quite a story. At Double-A Tennessee, Fuld batted .290 with 23 doubles and 41 walks, and that might be more likely. Pie has more power, and is faster than Fuld.
Is Soto the real deal? I have talked to several Cubs fans who feel the team is weak behind the plate right now, and if the club were to trade for anyone, it should be a more established catcher.
-- Nathan C., Amarillo, Texas
One of the best things the Cubs have done is keep Soto in the Minor Leagues to give him time to develop as both a hitter and a catcher. The pitchers love working with him, he is one of the best defensive catchers the Cubs have had, and he has improved in his game calling. I'd pick him for my team.
Am I the only one who remembers how well Mike Fontenot hit last year when he got the chance to play every day? His defense was suspect, but he's a productive hitter. He's got a short, quick, compact stroke. He sparks the offense, moves runners and swings left-handed. Why is he being overlooked?
-- Jacob P., Ames, Iowa
If Fontenot could show that he can play more than second base, he'd have a spot as a utility player on the team. With Mark DeRosa sidelined, Fontenot will be getting more playing time, and that can only help him sell himself. Fontenot had one hot month last season; he needs to show it wasn't a fluke.
Have a question about the Cubs?
E-mail your query to MLB.com Cubs beat reporter Carrie Muskat for possible inclusion in a future Inbox column. Letters may be edited for brevity, length and/or content.
I read that the CEO of the Tribune Co. won't hesitate to sell the naming rights of Wrigley Field. I think I speak for all Cubs fans when I say this would be nothing short of a tragedy. Is there really a good chance they will rename Wrigley Field? Please tell me no.
-- Mark M., Des Moines
The answer is yes. New Tribune Co. chairman Sam Zell has said he will sell the naming rights to the ballpark. The Wrigley Co. has not paid for the rights -- the ballpark was named after William Wrigley, not the gum. Citibank is paying $400 million for the naming rights to the New York Mets' new ballpark. That kind of money is hard for Zell to ignore.
It seems all of Chicago's sports teams are doing something to show support for the NIU community except the Cubs. What gives?
-- Julie B., Westmont, Ill.
You must have missed the note: The Cubs will fly an NIU flag on top of the grandstand all season in honor of the students killed in February at the school.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.