Happy new year. The Cubs mailbag is back. Got a question? Please send it to CubsInbox@gmail.com, and include your full name and hometown.
Why would the Cubs entertain the idea of trading Jeff Samardzija? He has a solid arm and many years ahead of him. They have the young talent that they have been trying to obtain. It looks to me that you add just one or two more power hitters and the Cubs are in contention.
-- John P., Swifton, Ark.
The Cubs are listening to offers because they've made it no secret that they are trying to restock the Minor League system (look at the deals at the Trade Deadline the past two years). They also are trying to keep Samardzija, and have talked to his agent about a possible long-term deal, which would be more cost effective for the Cubs. The reason teams want to acquire the right-hander are the same reasons the Cubs want to keep him -- he's durable with a power arm, and is under team control for two more seasons. He's projected to get about $5 million in arbitration, which is a great price for a starting pitcher these days. I think they need more help than one or two power hitters, as you say.
With Javier Baez on the rise and Starlin Castro "sputtering" at the plate, what are the chances that Castro can be dealt for pitching prospects? Seems the Cubs should do so now while he's still very young and under contract.
-- Jason C., Elk Grove, Calif.
How do you know Baez won't "sputter," too? It's clear Baez and the Cubs' other top prospects have talent, but they have not been tested at the Major League level. It's a little early to give up on Castro. Be patient. Baez, 21, has 828 Minor League at-bats total. Derek Jeter totaled 1,751 Minor League at-bats before he was promoted to the Yankees. Gary Sheffield, to whom Baez has been compared, collected 1,228 at-bats in the Minors before he got the call.
Why do the Cubs want Masahiro Tanaka? They will have to pay the $20 million posting fee and then tons of money for the signing. And I know the Draft has a lot of pitchers. Aren't the Cubs sixth in the Draft? Who do you project they will get?
-- Dan C., Orland Park, Ill.
The reason the Cubs and others are interested in Tanaka is because by all accounts, he's Major League ready. He was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in Japan and he's 25 years old. Yes, the Cubs have the fourth pick overall in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft. They could select a high school or college pitcher and then wait years for him to develop, not knowing for sure if he'll even get to the big leagues. In talking to scouts who saw Tanaka, they feel the right-hander is worth the investment.
Will the Cubs ever change their look, even just a little? They need new uniforms. It's time for a change.
-- Lisa M.
You will see some new looks this year as part of the Wrigley Field 100th anniversary celebration. The Cubs have partnered with Majestic Athletic to recreate throwback uniforms from significant events at the ballpark during each decade of Wrigley's history. The first is a copy of the 1914 Chicago Federals uniform, which will be worn on the 100th birthday game, April 23 against the D-backs. The remaining uniforms will be worn on a "Throwback Sunday" game for the corresponding decade. Visiting teams also will wear retro uniforms on those games. The Cubs also will feature an alternate road jersey for 2014 that pays homage to the road jersey worn in the 1920s.
With a huge offensive hole at second base, why didn't the Cubs look at Robinson Cano? Darwin Barney is solid at defense, but the Cubs could have used a big bat in the lineup.
-- Chris L., Appleton, Wis.
There are 240 million reasons why the Cubs didn't sign Cano.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.