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Mailbag: Power Outages, NL Central Showdown, Sleepers...

Q: What is going on with Derrek Lee? He hit over 40 homeruns in 2005 and now he is barely hitting 20. What is that about?

Joesph R., Hanover

ELI: When Derrek Lee broke his wrist, he naturally adjusted his swing to offset some of the minor pain. His swing has become more of a solid all around hitter, aiming for the gaps. At least that was the case in 2007. This season, he has showed good signs of power early on, but is now reaching for pitches and swinging at he wrong pitches. This has lead to a lot of double plays and pop ups. I do not think this can change, so expect Lee to be a 20 homerun hitter for the rest of his career.

Q: What is going on with Rickie Weeks? You said earlier that the Brewers should trade JJ Hardy to open up a spot for Alcides Escobar, why not trade Weeks?

Jonathan, Stevens Point, WI

ELI: I can't say I disagree with that. Weeks has yet to prove to anyone that he can hit, but still has the upside to land the Brewers a solid prospect. The Diamondbacks, Indians, Atheltics, and Dodgers are just four of several teams looking for a second baseman, and all four teams have solid prospects. The Brewers would not only save money, but give their bottom half new life.

Q: The Brewers and Cubs are great teams. What would you say is the one thing the Brewers are missing and the one thing the Cubs are missing?

Brett Sheridan, Mesa, Arizona

ELI: I would say the Brewers are missing a productive bat in their lineup. If they had someone like Kevin Youkilis at third or Garrett Atkins, they would be a solid team. However, I believe pitching wins games so I would say they need a number three pitcher that can win 10-15 games. Yovani Gallardo was that guy for the Brewers but he is out, so I would say it is important for them to sign one of their two aces, along with one other guy, and let Gallardo, Capuano, Parra, and Suppan do the rest.

For the Cubs, the pitching is great. While I would love to see them add a solid number five starter, a homerun hitting outfielder would do them wonders. While Fukudome did a good job early on, he hasn't made the adjustments to succeed. They need someone that will hit at least 30 homeruns, someone who is a threat every at-bat.

Q: Who is the biggest bargain on the free agent market?

James W., Buffalo

ELI: While Rafael Furcal will be expensive, he is injured and won't cost nearly as much as his orginal contract with the Dodgers. You could even up the annual price and give him a one to two year deal. He has huge upside, when healthy.

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