Javier Báez's defensive skills, Carl Edwards Jr.'s future and what manager Joe Maddon drinks in-game are among the topics in this week's Cubs Inbox.
Can Baez qualify for a National League Gold Glove Award this year? If so, at what infield position?
-- Clara J., Wilmette, Ill.
Baez could get votes, but he doesn't really have enough innings compared to other full-time infielders at their respective positions. Here's his fielding breakdown:
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Second base: 32 games, 236 2/3 innings, three errors, .979 fielding percentage, .831 zone rating
Third base: 50 games, 283 2/3 innings, six errors, .938 fielding percentage, .784 zone rating
Shortstop: 13 games, 105 innings, no errors, 1.000 fielding percentage, .848 zone rating
Among National League second basemen who have played at least 67 games, the Cubs' Ben Zobrist has the top fielding percentage (.994), and he's played 714 2/3 innings there. At third base, the Rockies' Nolan Arenado, the Dodgers' Justin Turner and the Marlins' Martín Prado all have a .982 fielding percentage, and they've each played more than 860 innings there. The Pirates' Jordy Mercer has the top fielding percentage among NL shortstops (.989), and he has started 101 games with 888 innings there.
The voting for the Gold Glove Awards is done by the managers and coaches in each league, and managers are not permitted to vote for their own players. A sabermetric component provided by the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) accounts for approximately 25 percent of the vote. There is no "super utility" category. Baez will likely have to wait until he settles in at one position for that Gold Glove Award .
Edwards has been great as a reliever, but was a starter earlier in his career. Do the Cubs believe he could ever return to being a starting pitcher?
-- Casey G., Oak Park, Ill.
Anything is possible, but I think Edwards will stay in the bullpen. The Cubs switched him from starter to reliever when he was limited to six starts in 2014 because of shoulder issues. Edwards totaled 53 2/3 innings in 2014, then 55 1/3 innings in 2015, and he already has 43 1/3 innings this season combined between Triple-A and the Cubs. Maddon wants to make sure he doesn't overwork Edwards so that he's fresh in October.
What's the real deal with Tommy La Stella? He was sent to Triple-A Iowa on July 29, but his name has never appeared in a box score. I understand he was given some "extra" time, but what's going on?
-- Mo K., Boone, Iowa
La Stella apparently has made a deal with Cubs management to work out but not report to Iowa. He wasn't happy about being optioned to make room for Chris Coghlan, and he was given more than the normal 72 hours to report. Manager Joe Maddon said La Stella was taking batting practice somewhere, just not with the Minor League team. You're right -- he has yet to appear in a game with Iowa. Give Justin Grimm credit; he was optioned July 30 and pitched for Iowa on Aug. 1 before returning to the Cubs when Jason Hammel was placed on the bereavement list. When Hammel is activated Wednesday, the Cubs will have to make another move.
What does Maddon drink during the game?
-- Joe K., Omaha, Neb.
Green tea. He has coffee in the morning, then switches to green tea the rest of the day.