What’s that, up in the sky? Is it a bird? A plane? No, its…

It’s been a while since we’ve gone Muskbox-diving. Did you miss it? Did you? What if the Muskbox disappeared forever, and all of our memories of it slowly faded from our minds just like the fact that Matt Lawton was ever a Cub? What then? Would it ever have existed if no one remembered it? Well, yes. It would. I don’t know why anyone would even ask such stupid questions, which is probably why I hated my mandatory freshman philosophy class. Also, because my T.A. looked like Fernando Vina.

With that, here’s this week’s Muskbox.

Q: With the possible exception of Arodys Vizcaino…

It’s names like this that make me really miss Harry Caray. “AIR-OLD-EES VIZZ-KIE-EE-NO!”

…and even he’s a question mark coming off Tommy John surgery — it appears the Trade Deadline came and went without the Cubs acquiring any high-level prospects.

Thanks, TrollDempster!

I was wondering when was the last time the Cubs traded a veteran for a prospect that ended up making a lasting impact at the Major League level? Do we really have to go back to Ryne Sandberg? — Aaron M., Lexington, KY

Todd Van Poppel, retroactively!

A: I asked Cubs historian Ed Hartig for some help, because I had a tough time coming up with names, and we both agreed with you that Sandberg was the last one.

…over a bottle of cognac and the romantic sounds of Van Halen’s Jump.

Q: Darwin Barney has been making some great defensive plays this year to go along with the best fielding percentage in the NL. Do you think he could get a Gold Glove? — Ethan T., Pittsburgh.

Barney absolutely should win the Gold Glove this year, but he won’t, because, if there’s one thing that Santo’s induction into the Hall of Fame taught us, it’s that award voters are the worst semi-sentient creatures in the universe.

A: He could. Barney would have to unseat the Reds’ Brandon Phillips, a three-time Gold Glove winner (2008, 2010, 2011).

Well, he wouldn’t, really. Because Gold Glove awards are just awarded for that one year. It’s not like Barney would receive Phillips’ old Gold Glove and have to scratch Phillips’ name off and write “DARWIN, BITCHES!!!” in permanent marker on it. What I mean to say is it’s not like Phillips is sitting on this glove-shaped golden throne and that Darwin would have to lead an army of face-painted rebels to remove Phillips from his perch and take Barney’s rightful place as ruler of all second basemen. That would just be silly.

Q: There was a lot of talk about Dillon Maples after the Cubs paid him big money in the 14th round last year to skip college.

WHO DO THESE PEOPLE HANG OUT WITH? I consider myself a pretty big Cubs fan, and I have several like-minded friends. Not a single one of them has ever even MENTIONED Dillon Maples in face-to-face, electronic, facsimile, or telephonic conversation.

Since then, I haven’t heard his name mentioned. Is he pitching somewhere? — Gary J.

I want to make #SmugSteveStone the biggest star since #TrollDempster.

A: Maples had an elbow injury, and is pitching for the Cubs’ Rookie League team in Mesa, Ariz. In two starts, he’s given up one earned run on one hit and four walks over 2 1/3 innings.

Four walks in 2 1/3 innings? Maybe they should let him pitch to Brett Jackson!

This is going to happen, people.

Q: Is Anthony Rizzo considered a rookie this year?

“This year, and every year!”
-Peter Pan

How many at-bats do you need to be a rookie? — Wesley H., Chicago

Zero. Oh, you mean how many at-bats do you need to NOT be a rookie.

A: Rizzo is a rookie. A player is considered one unless during the previous season or seasons, he has No. 1, exceeded 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the Major Leagues, or No. 2, accumulated more than 45 days on the active roster of a Major League club during the 25-man limit in effect from Opening Day through Aug. 31. Rizzo came into this season with 128 at-bats and 68 days of service time, but 24 of those days were in September.

Who the hell uses “No. 1” and “No. 2” in mid-sentence to delineate list items? That’s just- Weird.

Q: With the recent trade of Jeff Baker…

…I became filled with glee. I never liked that dipshit. I feel like he was the giggly little toadie behind Ryan Dempster. Didn’t they go to, like, Monday Night Raw together, or something? I can’t find the article. Whatever. I don’t have to justify my hate to YOU or to ANYONE.

…the Cubs got two players to be named later. Are those players coming from the Draft in 2013 or from the other team’s farm system? — Ray D., Columbus, OH

I hope they get Jim Butcher and Joe Candlestickmaker.


A: Usually, the two teams decide parameters before the deal.

I bet the only time that’s NOT the case is when Jim Hendry is involved.

For example, the Cubs and Tigers might have agreed to players from the Class A level and set a soft deadline as to when the Cubs need to make a decision.

Hopefully less soft than the Theo Epstein compensation talks, which I believe are scheduled to wrap up in 2017.