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Carl's Cubs Mailbag: From A-Ram to Z

We've already blown a couple of late leads. Should I be worried about the bullpen?
-Darrin, Mt. Prospect IL

Easy there, Darrin. Unless the Ricketts family signs your paycheck, there's no "we" in Cubs. But to answer your question, no . . . the Cubs should be worried about having only three healthy, but very ordinary looking, starters.

Will Alfonso Soriano ever be a stolen base threat again?
-Emily, Rogers Park IL

Absolutely not. At 35 . . . or so . . . he's roughly 52 in professional athlete years; just young enough to play the Silver Fox card and get it up, but too old to out-hustle any of the young bucks on the dance floor. Soriano hasn't stolen more than 19 bases since 2006, largely because he spent several of those years hopping over second base just as he's about to grab it.

Thanks to Zambrano's no hitter back in '08, we haven't heard much about Milt Pappas lately. What's he up to these days?
-Ziggy, Appleton WI

Milt is enjoying being a member of Wikipedia's exclusive "1939 Births" club and still reaps the many benefits of having been traded for Frank Robinson. These include being booed by elderly Reds fans and getting angry every time Susan Sarandon's "I believe in the church of baseball" monologue from the opening scene of Bull Durham comes up on Versus.

Will Ron Santo get in to the Hall of Fame?
-Tyrone, Chicago IL

Yes, but ironically as a broadcaster.

Who's going to be the best Mexican player on the Cubs this year?
-Gary, Gary IN

Is it racist to say Starlin Castro, even though I know he's from the Dominican Republic?

[Editor's Note: Yes]

Who's going to be the best American player on the Cubs this year?
-Gary, Gary IN

Is it racist to say Ryan Dempster, even though I know he's from Canada?

[Editor's Note: No]

We're about a week in; what do we know about the 2011 Cubs?
-Dante, Peoria IL

We're running out of space, so I'll make this quick.

Castro is the goods, Colvin isn't a first baseman, Mateo means "Farnsworth" in Spanish, the Cubs have too many outfielders and second basemen, Sean Marshall is that good in the 7th but I can't explain why, Pat Hughes is still solid, no one will notice or care when Fukudome quietly bats .287 this year, Darwin Barney looks like he's Hawaiian or something and no one is really sure how old Josh Vitters is but we'll find out in September regardless of Ramirez's health because 83 wins . . . ain't . . . gonna . . . do it (gasp, huff, puff, cough).

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