Inbox: Is Colvin back on track?
Beat reporter Carrie Muskat answers Cubs fans' questions
Tyler Colvin, Carlos Zambrano's hypothetical future at first base and former Cubs in the playoffs are among the topics in this week's Cubs Inbox. Email your questions to email@example.com, and please include your full name and hometown.
How is Tyler Colvin doing?
-- Clay W., Midland, Texas
Colvin, who suffered a collapsed lung when he was struck in the chest by a broken bat, is doing well, and preparing for his wedding next month. He's expected to resume "Colvin Camp" with strength-and-conditioning coach Tim Buss in Mesa, Ariz., after the honeymoon. There are no plans for him to play winter ball.
I hear a lot of rumbling about Adam Dunn. Why have we not heard Lance Berkman's name pop up? I don't think the Yankees will give him $15 million. I think he's got something left, and he gives us a left-handed bat with a much better glove at first. Plus, he will probably be much cheaper. Your thoughts?
-- Nich H., South Bend, Ind.
I think the Cubs can do better at first than Berkman, who will be 35 in February. He batted .245 for the Astros, .255 for the Yankees, and for the season, hit 14 homers and drove in 58 runs. The Cubs would like to add a left-handed bat, and Berkman, a switch-hitter, batted .267 against right-handers. He has a career .220 average at Wrigley Field. He did bat .308 against National League Central teams, but I know the Cubs won't give him $15 million.
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.
Any chance the Cubs go after more pitching instead of spending on a free-agent first baseman? I'd rather give big money to, say, Cliff Lee than Dunn and go with a cheaper/younger option at first.
-- Darshan P., Mount Laurel, N.J.
Top priorities after the Cubs name their new manager will be adding a left-handed bat, most likely at first, and possibly another starting pitcher. Lee's last deal was $15 million for four years, and I'm guessing he'll get a significant raise, which means he wouldn't fit in the Cubs' 2011 budget.
I heard a rumor around the time Carlos Zambrano was in anger management rehab this summer that if the Cubs were smart, they'd convert him to a first baseman. He's a decent hitter with power and wouldn't have to do that much moving around at first. Now that Derrek Lee is gone and the Cubs have a hole at first, is there still a possibility we could see Zambrano make the transition from pitching to first base?
-- Zander A., Valparaiso, Ind.
I have seen Zambrano take grounders at shortstop during batting practice, but the answer to your question is no. He went 8-0 with a 1.58 ERA in his last 14 games, and even though he's athletic enough to make the switch -- and is very good with a soccer ball -- he'll stick to pitching and pinch-hitting for now. Note to everyone who has suggested moving Alfonso Soriano to first base: No. Look at Soriano's fielding stats when he played second.
It broke my heart to see Kerry Wood wearing Yankee pinstripes in the playoffs. How many ex-Cubs are in the postseason this year?
-- Roger W., Foothill Ranch, Calif.
Besides Wood, who posted a 0.69 ERA in 24 games after the All-Star break, the Yankees also have former Cubs pitcher Sergio Mitre on the staff, bullpen coach Mike Harkey, and, of course, manager Joe Girardi. Rangers infielder Andres Blanco played for the Cubs in 2009, and pitcher Clay Rapada came up through the Cubs' Minor League system and appeared in one big league game in 2007. The Giants have infielder Mike Fontenot, who was traded from Chicago to San Francisco when the two teams played each other in August. Also, Mark DeRosa is with the Giants, though he's not playing because of a wrist injury, and former Cubs shortstop Shawon Dunston has helped as a coach.
The Phillies have former Chicago pitcher Jamie Moyer plus bench coach Pete Mackanin, who graduated from Brother Rice High School in Chicago, attended the University of Illinois, and was in the Cubs' Minor League system as the coordinator in 1987. Also, Phillies first-base coach Davey Lopes played for the Cubs from 1984-86. Reds infielder Miguel Cairo and outfielder Jim Edmonds played in Chicago. The Braves had ex-Cubs Kyle Farnsworth and Derrek Lee, and the Rays had bench coach Dave Martinez and former Chicago manager Don Zimmer.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.