There’s no slumpbuster like a Muskbox slumpbuster. Thanks to the idiocy of people who read Cubs.com and the continued nightmare that is the 2010 edition of the Chicago Cubs, the Muskbox continues to shine. In this week’s Muskbox, a guy from Valparaiso asks about a player from Valparaiso, an Iowan is sick of watching Darwin Barney play in person, and some Swedish guy would rather watch the Cubs than bikini models. It’s a weird time to be alive, people.
I read the Cubs are going to have a special day for Andre Dawson on Aug. 30. Is this true? Are they going to retire his No. 8?
— John S., Winfield, Mo.
Not if Michael Barrett has anything to say about it!
CARRIE: The Cubs will honor the newest Hall of Famer on Aug. 30 when they play host to the Pirates at Wrigley Field, but there are no plans to retire Dawson’s number. Third base coach Mike Quade can continue to wear No. 8.
…and some flowers in his h- Oh, wait.
What’s the latest on Jeff Samardzija? With all the pitching woes and callups, I haven’t heard his name mentioned much. Is the Cubs management down on him or is he not producing like they want? He has a pretty big contract and I would think the Cubs would like to see him producing some dividends.
— John H., Valparaiso, Ind.
CARRIE: John H. isn’t the only one asking.
God help us all.
CARRIE: Got a note from Art K. of Lexington, Ky., and more from Samardzija’s home state of Indiana.
So many notes, so few teeth.
CARRIE: In 2009, Samardzija went back and forth between Triple-A Iowa and the big league team, and it was difficult for him to get into any kind of routine.
There were so many bar skanks that needed banging!
CARRIE: The plan at the beginning of this year was to have him pitch in relief because that was what the Cubs needed. In 20 games out of the ‘pen with Iowa, he compiled a 4.45 ERA. He was moved back into the rotation, and is 4-0 with a 2.29 ERA in eight starts. The Cubs want him to get his work in, get experience, and not be on the shuttle between Des Moines and Chicago.
They’d prefer he were on a shuttle piloted directly into the sun.
CARRIE: Another pitcher considered for a callup was Jay Jackson, who is 8-6 with a 4.19 ERA in 25 games (18 starts).
Don’t waste your time. I already looked. Jackson actually is the best option left in Iowa. Commence killing yourselves.
Having endured another rough season as a Cubs fan…
I don’t know what day it is by you, but the season isn’t over yet, SWEDE!
…I’d be interested in knowing how you perceive the young bullpen and the remainder of the season preparing for next year. Should the Cubs merely let them play and learn, hoping for a better 2011?
— Gabriel V., Stockholm, Sweden
Let me tell you something my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.
CARRIE: Absolutely. The best way the front office can evaluate the young pitchers is by seeing them in game situations. This isn’t September when they’re facing other team’s callups. Here’s a test — who were the three relievers the Cubs were counting on for 2010?
John Grabow, Carlos Marmol, and Sean Marshall?
CARRIE: Remember Angel Guzman, Jeff Gray and Esmailin Caridad?
CARRIE: Gray is the only one pitching, and he’s made four appearances at Triple-A Iowa. What’s tough for Andrew Cashner, James Russell and Justin Berg is that they’re still developing a second pitch.
They’re gonna call it the old Russell Cashberg! And Dave Otto is going to call it a fosh.
CARRIE: This next stretch of 17 games will be tough as the Cubs face playoff contending teams Cincinnati, San Francisco, St. Louis, San Diego and Atlanta.
The last stretch when they went 5-12 was a walk in the park.
What do the Cubs have in mind for first base next year? Would they consider moving Tyler Colvin to first and having Alfonso Soriano, Marlon Byrd and Kosuke Fukudome as the starting outfield?
Will they re-sign Derrek Lee?
Or do they go after a big name through free agency or trade?
— Jeff B., Bloomington, Ill.
No. Done. HERE COME A BUNCH OF WORDS.
CARRIE: I’m not sure.
CARRIE: Colvin is a possibility, having played first in high school and college. Lee is a Gold Glove first baseman and a leader on the team, but this has been such a disappointing season (.252, 12 homers, 51 RBIs) and it’s difficult to see the Cubs giving him a new deal. This year, he’s making $13 million.
He asked four questions. Zero were answered. This is the most disappointing ratio since Thermopylae.
Is there any chance we will see Darwin Barney play at Wrigley this year?
— Nick C., Davenport, Iowa
CARRIE: I’d say the chances are good, although it may not be until September.
Enjoy your Darwin-Barney-free existence while it lasts.
CARRIE: Barney impressed the team in Spring Training and was hitting .294 so far with 24 doubles, 45 RBIs and 11 stolen bases. He’s primarily played shortstop and it’d be hard to bump Starlin Castro from that spot right now. Barney also can play second base.
Can he slug Albert Pujols and Joey Votto in the backs with a baseball bat? I joke, but I- I actually think that won’t even help.
I’ve read that Blake DeWitt actually is stronger at third than second. Have you heard anything to indicate DeWitt could be the heir to the hot corner once Ramirez leaves?
— Kenny A., Nashville
I sure hope so, because I have a fucking AWESOME idea for “Third’s Company” t-shirts. The Cubs will knock on your door!
CARRIE: DeWitt has played 111 games at second and 109 at third so far, and when he joined the Cubs last Sunday, said he was still learning second base. He’s looked good so far and one reason to keep him there is that third base is usually a power position.
And for the Cubs, second base is a midget position!
CARRIE: DeWitt hit his second homer of the year on Wednesday.
Which is approximately twice as many as Theriot has hit this year. Okay, exactly twice as many.
CARRIE: Ramirez has a player option for 2011 at $14.6 million, and has said he will likely exercise that. What a difference a sore thumb makes. In 2009, when Ramirez missed two months with a sore shoulder, he still finished with a .317 average, 15 homers and 65 RBIs in 82 games. He hit .425 with runners in scoring position. This year, he’s played 81 games, and is hitting .223 with 16 homers and 52 RBIs. And, he is batting .223 with RISP.
Yet I’d still prefer he were the starting third baseman next year over Blake DeWitt.