Hello, and welcome to the fourth installment of Zack’s Sack, a BP Wrigleyville mailbag! It’s an extra hefty edition this week. Find me at @beersntrumpets on Twitter to ask me questions. I’ll answer just about anything.
Questions posed by Twitter followers have been unedited for the sake of embarrassing them utterly. Any similarities to other mailbags are coincidental, unless they appear to be brilliant pastiches of said mailbags. In that case, it’s totally intentional. Let’s open up the Sack.
“What baseball position would Kevin Durant be best at?” — Jared Wyllys, co-editor-in-chief BP Wrigleyville
As a basketball expert, I am well-qualified to answer this question. Durant is a good pure shooter, and that’s a skill that doesn’t quite translate well to baseball. He’s almost seven feet tall, though, and his wingspan is tremendous, so I’m going to say he, like many of his tall NBA counterparts, would be ideal first basemen (if they can, you know, catch the ball). But, also like his fellow basketball players, he possess great awareness and body control. Maybe outfield would suit him well.
“Do you see Wade Davis being used in the playoffs this year similar to the way Chapman was used last postseason (multiple innings)?” — @BrennanCasey11
In short, no. Joe Maddon used Aroldis Chapman with abandon because Chapman wasn’t going to re-sign with the club, and because the Cubs’ bullpen was falling apart in the latter half of the season. With a full slate of good relievers and one of the most solidly constituted bullpens in the game, the Cubs would presumably be able to deploy whoever fits the situation best when it comes to high-leverage playoffs outs. Carl Edwards, Koji Uehara, and Pedro Strop would likely take most of those late innings before the ninth.
Other data that supports Davis’s traditional use is Maddon’s almost parodically conservative use of Davis so far this season: he’s come in almost exclusively in save situations. Plus, it’s just so hard for a pitcher to do anything like Andrew Miller did last postseason, and even Miller seems to have paid for it in fatigue and ineffectiveness. The advent of the “super reliever” has been greatly exaggerated.
“What is the Cubs’ greatest need prior to the non-waiver trade deadline?” — @Darth_Stout
Unfortunately, as many have pointed out, there are few holes on the Cubs’ roster that lend themselves to filling via trade. They definitely don’t need bullpen help, and there really aren’t field positions that can be filled. Nabbing a starter would be the best bet for improvement—I opined on the futility of trade speculation here, but made clear my lack of reservations when considering trading for a top-line starter. If there are starters who would improve the Cubs in both the short- and long-term, they should absolutely entertain trading Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease for them.
“Who’s your favorite baseball boy? Would you give him kisses?” — @ultimatehungry
My favorite baseball boy is Javy. I would give him kisses.
“what players would you most like to see play for the Cubs from a purely aesthetic perspective (so not automatically Trout). OF/IF/SP/RP” — @henrydruschel
Henry asked this because I tweeted about wanting Max Scherzer in a Cubs uniform, and I stand by that pick. Scherzer is an old-school starter in a few ways: he has a variety of great pitches, he is fierce on the mound, he has a pretty fun personality, and he’s one of the rare players who could go out and do something exceptional that no one has ever done before on any night.
I also lamented the downfall of Andrew McCutchen, who would have held this spot by himself for several years. Others considered: Marcus Stroman, Dexter Fowler again, Manny Machado.
[Editor’s Note: This is Zack’s Sack for a reason, and that reason that is that we want to isolate Zack’s opinions as much as possible. But I can’t resist: Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., and, honestly, Aaron Judge are glaring omissions here.]
“1. Why do olives suck
2. You have to pick one Cub to cook you a three-course meal. Who do you pick and why” — @StelliniTweets
They’re too damn salty, Nick. Olives, like mushrooms, are only acceptable in meals that need that saltiness to round out the flavor. Veggie pizza, mostly.
Really I would have anyone but John Lackey cook me dinner, but would probably give preference to Kyle Schwarber. He’s a Midwestern guy, so I imagine we have similar tastes. Ben Zobrist famously fell in love with the Z-Man sandwich from Joe’s Kansas City Barbecue (formerly Oklahoma Joe’s), so he’s up there too.
“If beer affected John Lackey the way spinach affected Popeye the Sailorman, how many beers would Lackey have to drink to be good?” — @GregLicked
As the poet wrote, “the limit does not exist.” Lackey would have to go on a three-week bender—a Miller Lite cleanse, perhaps—to be good again. His 2017 really has been bad. Oh hell yeah.
Thanks, Greg, for the best Sack question yet.
“how many deserving All-Stars do the Cubs have at this point in the season?” — Nate Greabe, co-editor-in-chief BP Wrigleyville
Probably… two? Three? Kris Bryant, certainly. Wade Davis is deserving. You could make a case for Anthony Rizzo, but no other position players have stood out offensively enough to make the cut. The starters have been bad. The 2017 NL team is going to look a lot different than the 2016 version.
“Longtime listener, first time caller. Hi I just want to know if you think Schwarber will start mashing taters again soon thanks” — @rschultzy20
If my eyes (and recent box scores) are to be believed, then he’s already socking big dongs again. In 38 June plate appearances, he’s hit four homers and has a .250/.368/.688 line. The big boy is back, baby!
Lead photo courtesy Dylan Zobel