In this week’s Muskbag, we are once again reminded that Cubs fans are idiots who are clueless about the rules of baseball and are obsessed with bad players. If they LOSE 97 games next year, will some of these dimwits go away?
I heard that Veal was picked by the Pirates in the Rule 5 Draft. What exactly does that mean? Did they just take him away completely from the Cubs organization? I thought he had a great future, and I would be very disappointed to see him leave.
— Ross K., Avon, Ind.
Taken by Pirates? That’s a keelhaulin’.
CARRIE: He is now a Pirate. Veal was not among the players protected by the Cubs and was available in the Draft, which took place last Thursday at the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas. What it means is the Pirates paid $50,000 to draft Veal, and he has to stay on their big league roster in 2009 for Pittsburgh to keep him or else be returned to the Cubs for $25,000.
Now, if I didn’t understand this system, I’d naturally have the question, “Wait, the Cubs need to pay the Pirates $25,000 to get their guy back? Or the Pirates have to pay the Cubs another $25,000 for the honor of giving them their guy back?” For the record, the Cubs would have to pay $25,000 to get Veal back. That better be a hell of a cut of meat.
I’m a little confused with the Cubs withdrawing from the Peavy trade. Did the Padres want more than Jason Marquis, Felix Pie and a couple Minor Leaguers? Surely Jim Hendry didn’t think that was too much to pay. How much more were they wanting?
— Bryan D., Frankfort, Ky.
He did think that was too much to pay. And don’t call me Shirley.
CARRIE: There were other names mentioned, and to avoid any additional angst this offseason, I won’t list them. The deal was not completed because Hendry decided the combination of who the Padres wanted plus Peavy’s large contract was just too much. Padres general manager Kevin Towers had every right to ask for the moon. But the Cubs had a very good rotation before the Peavy talk started and they have a very good rotation without him.
I get the feeling Carrie didn’t list any other names because she doesn’t know any other ones. And I still think the Cubs are going to end up with Peavy before the 2009 season starts. Towers couldn’t keep his damn mouth shut about their discussions, and I think Hendry was understandably pissed that every guy he mentioned to Towers suddenly read his name in the paper as being a part of the trade. That’s not good business. Towers still needs to trade Peavy, and Peavy doesn’t seem to want to go anywhere but Chicago. I think it will still happen.
I’ve read that Hendry is looking to sign someone like Paul Bako. Are the Cubs not going to re-sign Henry Blanco?
— Nick V., Muncie, Ind.
[THE ABOVE SPACE COULD HAVE BEEN USED TO ASK A QUESTION ABOUT THE STARTING RIGHT FIELDER INSTEAD OF THE BACKUP CATCHER]
CARRIE: Blanco is being courted by other teams, and even though the Cubs would like to have him back, they also wouldn’t mind a lower-priced alternative and someone who bats left-handed. That could be Bako. This spring, the Cubs will consider Koyie Hill, a switch-hitter, as a possible backup to Geovany Soto.
So, the backup catcher will probably be a guy named “Gabor” or a guy named “Koyie.” What’s the matter, Hendry? Wasn’t Dainty Sissypants available?
While the Cubs are looking for a left-handed power hitter, have they looked at the Cardinals’ Rick Ankiel? He is a left-handed power bat as well as someone to fill the void in center.
— Evan B., Stamford, Conn.
The, um, void is in right field. And if the Cubs are going to sign a total headcase, can they please get Milton Bradley?
CARRIE: Actually, Ankiel would be perfect. The Cardinals aren’t likely to help out the Cubs.
And that would make two years in a row that they were able to acquire former Cardinals centerfielders who I hate.
How about Guzman? I’ve read the Cubs are considering to send Jeff Samardzija to the starting rotation but nothing about Angel. He was the real deal until his shoulder was injured. In my opinion, he could fit perfectly next to Carlos Zambrano, Rich Harden, Ted Lilly and Ryan Dempster in the rotation. So much young talent — what a great problem to have.
— Gergely H., Budapest, Hungary
Your name is Gergely? Can you catch? Moreover, Guzman is going to be 27 in 2009, as will Harden. Zambrano will be 28. Dempster will be 32. Lilly will be 33. They’re not THAT young.
CARRIE: Guzman will likely be in the Cubs’ bullpen in 2009, one, because he’s finally healthy after surgery on both his right shoulder and elbow, but also because he’s out of options. (Other Cubs out of options include Pie, Ronny Cedeno and Rich Hill). Samardzija could be in the ‘pen with the big league team or start at Triple-A Iowa, depending on what the Cubs need.
That’s not entirely true. Pie, Cedeno, and Hill all still have the option of going out into the street and shooting themselves.
Will you please tell me who played first base during Ivan DeJesus’ time with the Cubs. I’ve got a bet on it.
— John S., Sebring, Fla.
What does the winner get? Internet access?
CARRIE: DeJesus played for the Cubs from 1977-1981, and the Opening Day first basemen in those years were Larry Biittner (1977) and Bill Buckner (1978-81).
What are the odds that he and his buddy had a three-hour argument with one insisting that Biittner was the starter and the other insisting that Buckner was the starter, neither one of them realizing that there is an internet?
I was reading the mailbag and read that Mike Fontenot was in trade talks so we could get Mark Teahen. Why? This is coming from a guy who owns an authentic Mike Fontenot jersey and loves the Little Babe Ruth (as Ron Santo calls him).
— Taylor F., Watertown, Wis.
Your first mistake was reading the Muskbag. Your second mistake was believing anything you read in the Muskbag. Your third mistake is being a man with an authentic Fontenot jersey. Not even Fontenot has an authentic Fontenot jersey. It’s just a t-shirt with buttons drawn on.
CARRIE: Taylor, the Cubs are not trying to trade Fontenot. The Royals asked about him because he is so valuable. There’s a difference.
Man, it’s not often that someone gets called by name by Carrie. Must have pissed her off, because her time is SO VALUABLE. There’s a difference.
Is there any news when that film about the Cubs’ 2008 season will be coming out? I remember some talk about it early but haven’t heard anything for a while and I wasn’t sure if they were still doing it.
— Greg P., La Grange, Ill.
Lucky you. We have the video right here.
CARRIE: The documentary “We Believe” is expected to be released in Chicago before Opening Day 2009.
Is it going to be tacky, sentimental crap? Because I’m not going to watch it unless it’s tacky, sentimental crap. I hope the full title is actually, “We Believe that It’s Gonna Happen and Mend Our Broken Hearts.”
Thank goodness Carrie is safely back from Vegas, answering the tough questions for all of us fans.