The Muskbox is Taking Stock of the Bullpen; Prognosis NEGATIVE


In Spring Training, no one can hear you Muskbox.

The always-informative Muskbox is back after a busy end to Spring Training. Since Carrie hasn’t had to write up many Cub wins so far, she’s been busily answering your most probing questions. You’re about to get probed by the Muskbox. MIND PROBED.

Is there any chance the Cubs will be looking for another left-hander for the ‘pen?

‘Nother ‘paw fer da ‘pen?

Having James Russell as the only one makes me feel a little uneasy.
– Michael F., Raleigh, N.C.

James Russell may be the closer before the end of this week.

CARRIE: They’re looking. The only option now is to figure out which right-hander on the current staff can handle left-handed hitters. Last year, Shawn Camp, for example, held right-handed hitters to a .263 average…

“Held”? I don’t think this word means what you think it means.

CARRIE: …but lefties hit .347 off him. Lefties batted .222 off Rafael Dolis at Double-A Tennessee. The Cubs may want Lendy Castillo to only face right-handers. Last year at Class A Lakewood, lefties hit .271 off Castillo, while right-handed hitters batted .184.

In other words, if you think the bullpen has been bad so far, JUST YOU WAIT.

If Carlos Marmol struggles, is there a backup plan at closer?
– Joe S., Lansing, Mich.

Yep. Just never have a lead in the 9th inning.

CARRIE: Not really.

That’s either bad reporting or bad general managing. Guess which one I’m picking?

CARRIE: The Cubs used Dolis in late-inning situations in Spring Training, so he would be an option. The 24-year-old right-hander saved 17 games last season for Tennessee.

They won seventeen games last year? GET THOSE LADS TO THE SHOW!

Scott Maine posted a 1.17 ERA in eight Spring Training games, yet he was sent down. At the time, GM Jed Hoyer said they were looking to acquire another lefty reliever. Why not Scott Maine?
– Candace S., San Diego

They need to acquire another lefty reliever BECAUSE OF Scott Maine.

CARRIE: Maine needs to be more consistent. Here’s Cubs manager Dale Sveum’s take on the lefty: “So far, his velocity has gotten better, but his command is not where you want it to be for that added guy right now. He’s got to get better command of all his pitches and not get behind so much.”

Lord, even Sveum’s analysis is generic.

What has happened with Angel Guzman? I haven’t seen any mention of him for quite awhile. Is he still with the organization?
– Dan F., Columbus, Ohio

And whatever happened to that Dave Swartzbaugh character? I have a feeling he’s going to be a star in this game.

CARRIE: Guzman signed with the Dodgers, appeared in five Spring Training games and was assigned to their Minor League camp on March 24.

This is the reason the Dodgers consistently produce Major League talent and the Cubs are praying Geovany Soto doesn’t end up sucking. It took the Dodgers five games to figure out what the Cubs couldn’t unravel in over ten years with Guzman. THAT HE’S A BIG NERD WITH NERDY NERD GLASSES!

Where is Gerardo Concepcion playing in the Minors?
– Ben R., West Palm Beach, Fla.

It’s surprisingly hard to not read that as, “Where is Gerardo Concepcion playing? In the Minors?”

CARRIE: Concepcion, who turned 20 in February, was listed on Class A Daytona’s roster.

Here’s a boring story from my life. DirecTV is the devil, and they are trying to entice me into buying the MLB package with a free trial. So, the other day I was watching Vin Scully call the Dodgers-Padres game. There are at least two amazingly cool things about Vin Scully.

  1. He doesn’t get pissed when you accidentally call him “Vince Cully.”
  2. Even though he talks absolutely nonstop throughout a game, everything he says is interesting and relevant. He has great background stories and tidbits about not only the Dodgers’ roster, but also their opponents’. Most importantly, he gives personal insight to the players that can’t be obtained from the internet. What I’m saying is that Vince Cully is the polar opposite of every single parenthetical comma Carrie has ever drafted.

All the talk about Brett Jackson and Anthony Rizzo is great, and I look forward to seeing them in Wrigley very soon. But good pitching beats good hitting.

That’s just what the Cubs have been telling you all these years because they’ve had terrible hitters.

Who in the Minors do the Cubs have who looks like he could be the staff ace of the future?
– J.S., Aurora, Ill.

Jeff Samardzija.

CARRIE: There is some talent as far as relievers go (Jeff Beliveau, for example), and Chris Rusin left a very good impression with his Cactus League start April 1 against the Angels. Robert Whitenack was 7-0 with a 1.93 ERA combined at Daytona and Tennessee before needing Tommy John surgery. I haven’t heard about a Roy Halladay-type pitcher in the Cubs’ system, and that’s something Jason McLeod, the scouting and player development director, is looking for.

They have one. It’s just that Carrie hasn’t heard about him.

Is a move to second probable for Starlin Castro with Junior Lake making his way up?
– Jeffery D., Chicago

I love Cubs fans. They finally have a good position player, so they immediately want him to move positions. Plus, WHERE WOULD DARWIN BARNEY PLAY???

CARRIE: Actually, Lake has played third and is talented enough to move to the outfield, so Castro could stay at shortstop.

WHERE WOULD IAN STEWART PLAY??? Side note: I predict we’re going to be pleasantly surprised by Ian Stewart.

I never saw how the bunting tournament that Dale Sveum put on during Spring Training turned out.

You clearly don’t have a Twitter account.

Who did it come down to and who won the competition for the Cubs?
– Ben W., Monticello, Iowa

You need to go outside. How do you NOT have a Twitter account?

CARRIE: David DeJesus won the 64-player tournament, organized by Sveum. In the final, held March 16, DeJesus, who won the position players’ bracket, beat Casey Coleman, who won the pitchers’ bracket.

Including the results of the bunting tournament in the Muskbox was almost as pointless as the bunting tournament itself.

I’d still very much like to get a Ron Santo “Pass10n” T-shirt that Koyie Hill designed.

Holy shit, that exists? I’d love to see Koyie Hill holding a charcoal pencil with his mangled crab hands.

Is there any way the Cubs are going to bring those back for fans to buy?
– Laramie R., Chicago

“Are they sellable? Then YES!”
–Crane Kenney

CARRIE: Sorry, but I’m told there are no plans to sell them again.

Looks like you’ll just have to bedazzle “PASSION” on a regular old Santo throwback jersey.

  • Bozos72

    Bedazzle Passion should be the name of band that Brenly and Muskat start.

  • Daniel Schulz

    The NL batting average for last year was .253
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/NL/bat.shtml

  • Daniel Schulz

    I never noticed that Vin Scully never shuts up, but you are correct, sir! That’s amazing.