Inbox: Wrigley Field friendly to Nady?
Cubs beat reporter Carrie Muskat fields fans' questions
Xavier Nady, Carlos Zambrano, Andre Dawson's No. 8 and Spring Training are among the topics in this week's Cubs Inbox. Submit your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, and please include your full name and hometown. The first workout for pitchers and catchers in Mesa, Ariz., is Feb. 18.
I see that the Cubs signed Nady. I know when he was with the Pirates, he killed us, especially in Wrigley. What are his career numbers at Wrigley? I think the Cubs could definitely use him as a backup to Kosuke Fukudome and Alfonso Soriano.
-- Mark A., Momence, Ill.
Nady has a career .304 average in 28 games at Wrigley Field with two homers, eight doubles, and 15 RBIs -- and it wasn't just with the Pirates that he had success on the Cubs' home field. In 2005 while with the Padres, Nady batted .421 (8-for-19) against the Cubs and was 6-for-12 at Wrigley, including a game April 13 when he went 4-for-4 in an 8-3 San Diego win. On Aug. 4, 2006, he was 4-for-5 with two RBIs in the Pirates' 6-0 win over the Cubs at Wrigley, and that year, went 12-for-34 at the Friendly Confines. On May 8, 2007, Nady had another four-hit game at Wrigley to help the Pirates win, 4-3. In his career against the Cubs, he's a .299 hitter in 45 games with five homers, 14 doubles, and 24 RBIs. The number the Cubs like is .308 -- that's Nady's career average against left-handers.
I'm pretty optimistic about Zambrano this year. He seems to have a better attitude and looks to be in better shape. Is there any way the Cubs could hire a shrink to work with him in the dugout between innings? Considering his $90 million contract, this could be good insurance. Are there any other options out there for keeping him sane?
-- James P., Naperville, Ill.
My neighbors are retired psychiatrists -- they prefer that term -- and Cubs fans, and both have offered their services. I'd prefer to leave the analyzing to pitching coach Larry Rothschild. Both manager Lou Piniella and GM Jim Hendry talked to Zambrano after the '09 season ended, about how important it was for him to show up in shape this year. He looked fit and trim at the Cubs Convention. I think he was a little embarrassed by last year's numbers.
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"Carlos has something to prove this year," Piniella said. "He's coming off a nine-win season. Everybody knows that he's a lot better than that. Truthfully -- and I don't want to put any pressure on him -- but this is a young man who should approach 20 wins every year with his stuff and physique. Hopefully, this is the year he gets to that."
I heard the Cubs are staying in Arizona. If this is true, how come there are still talks about moving to Florida? Also, how long would the contract be for the Cubs if they did stay in Arizona?
-- Justin G., McHenry, Ill.
The folks in Naples, Fla., haven't given up hope. The Cubs have approved Mesa's proposal for a Spring Training facility and new stadium and have given the city exclusive negotiating rights. However, the Arizona state legislature still has to address financing the project and a referendum must be approved by Mesa voters in November. Although no official deadline was set, Mesa has one year to get everything together. If the city can't get the money or the land, then the Cubs would consider Naples again. The Cubs' deal with Mesa would be for 25 years.
"The dedicated civic leaders involved with Project Home Run and the State of Florida remain ready to bring the Cubs to Naples should the remaining hurdles to a binding agreement not be overcome," Florida Gov. Charlie Crist said last week. "The Ricketts family has been open and honest, and I wish them well. Florida stands ready to step in."
Any more news on whether the Cubs will retire Dawson's number? I know they said they would retire it if he went into the Hall of Fame as a Cub, but I think they should retire No. 8 anyways. Greg Maddux most likely will go into the Hall as a Brave and the Cubs retired his number. Also, I think it's garbage he's going in as an Expo. If he wants to go in as a Cub, let him go in as a Cub. It was his career and he knows which organization he benefited with and associates himself with the most. Plus, the Expos have a total of about 17 fans while there are millions of Cubs fans who would appreciate it more.
-- Joshua S., Elmhurst, Ill.
I don't think the Cubs have said anything regarding Dawson's No. 8. There are other Cubs players who had stellar careers -- including some in the Hall of Fame -- whose numbers have not been retired. What about Charlie Grimm, Stan Hack, Phil Cavarretta, Gabby Hartnett, Charlie Root, Billy Herman and Kiki Cuyler?
As far as the cap issue, Dawson's first choice was to wear a Cubs cap. In 2001, the Hall of Fame changed its policy on cap logo selection (there were rumors that players were being offered incentives to pick a team). Gary Carter was the first player affected in 2003. He wanted to go into Cooperstown wearing a Mets cap, even though he had played five years in New York and 12 with the Expos. The Hall decided Carter's plaque would show him wearing an Expos cap. Cubs fans should celebrate Dawson's induction, no matter what cap he wears, and hopefully, they outnumber your 17 Expos backers in Cooperstown, N.Y., at the ceremony.
When do individual game tickets go on sale?
-- Gary I., Decatur, Tenn.
Tickets go on sale Feb. 19. Details will be posted on cubs.com regarding times and procedures soon.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.