“Do you think they should bun-vert Marmol to a starter?”

There are a few recurring themes in the Muskbox. The most prevalent is to swap all of the players around despite their success or lack thereof to make room for them in the lineup. Generally, they’re not trying to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic to get more at-bats for the closer. That’s why I’m here. To think outside the Muskbox.

Any word on why the deal to send Marmol to the Angels for Dan Haren fell through?

The Angels were actually looking for a starter, and when they wrote in to the Muskbox, they realized Marmol couldn’t make the transition. Don’t believe me? READ ON.

I’ve seen a couple potential trades I thought would benefit the team fall through now, and it’s kind of disheartening to see that.

It’s not the front office’s fault that Garza’s arm fell off and Dempster is a cunt. It is, of course, their fault if they bring Dempster back.

Why are Jed [Hoyer, Cubs GM] and Theo [Epstein, president of baseball operations] hesitant to pull the trigger on a deal like that?
— Kevin S., Fort Wayne, Ind.

Thank goodness for the clarity. I thought he was asking about Jed [Clampett, oil tycoon and patriarch of the Beverly Hills Clampetts] and Theo [Huxtable, faux-Gordon-Gartrell-shirt-wearing son of Heathcliff and Clair Huxtable].

CARRIE: The two deals that did not happen — Marmol to the Angels and Ryan Dempster to the Braves — both involved players with no-trade clauses.

Thanks again for all of your efforts, Jim Hendry!

CARRIE: It’s safe to say Hoyer and Epstein won’t be offering those any more. Not only did the Cubs need to agree to terms with the other team but also needed the player’s approval. Even though Marmol told the Dominican media he was being dealt, the right-hander apparently was reluctant to approve going to the Angels, according to his agent. Maybe the Cubs didn’t like the medical reports on Haren, who had back problems, or they couldn’t agree on financial details. Maybe it was both. Knowing how thorough Hoyer and Epstein are, they had good reason.

Maybe it was the housing market. Maybe it was today’s election. Maybe it was Hurricane Sandy. Maybe it was the Mayans. I’M JUST A SIMPLE REPORTER! HOW CAN I POSSIBLY BE EXPECTED TO COME UP WITH ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONS I HAVE SPECIFICALLY SOLICITED ON THIS, THE WORLD WIDE WEB?

The deal between the Cubs and Angels fell through and Marmol is ours.


It must be tough to come back, knowing your team was close to getting rid of you.

Also, knowing your team is a piece of shit team that could possibly lose a hundred games again this year.

How about trying him out as a starter?


I think the reason not to start him is that he throws too hard but it’s worked for Joba Chamberlain in New York.

Yeah, it’s worked out great for him, as long as you don’t want him to pitch more than 20 innings a year.

I think that would give him better confidence knowing, “Hey, you can still help us, we’re in need of starting pitching. How about trying this new role?”

Holy shit, the Muskbox has reached a new low. We’re now having fictional conversations with players we’ll never meet trying to get them to buy in to ideas that are terrible.

I remember either in ’05 or ’06, he came up as a starter when Kerry Wood and Mark Prior were hurt…

You’ll have to be more specific.

…and if I’m not mistaken, he hit a home run.
— Jesus J., Richmond, Ind.

So, let me parse this argument. The idea is to move the Cubs’ wildly-erratic closer to starter because it worked out terrible for a tubby Native American in New York. But the real reason for the move to starter is not for his pitching ability, but because he can hit home runs. Yet he hasn’t had an at-bat since 2008. Do I have all of that right?

CARRIE: Marmol was a starter in 2006, and did hit a home run on Sept. 7 that year, but that was his last hit (he’s 0-for-7 since). I don’t think the Cubs are looking for starting pitchers who can hit.

But, if they are, Jason Marquis is probably available.

CARRIE: Remember that Marmol was a converted catcher. He seemed to find his groove in ’07 and ’08 pitching as a setup man. He had a 1.69 WHIP in ’06, which isn’t good, and this season, finished with a 1.54 WHIP and his highest pitches per inning number (20.1) ever. If Marmol was a starter, he probably wouldn’t last beyond the fourth inning. Marmol is able to shrug off blown saves. I think he can handle the trade rumors as well. According to reports, he was laughing with Cubs management after the botched deal to the Angels.

“Carlos, we had some preliminary talks with Ryan Dempster.”

Why was Soriano passed over for the National League Gold Glove for left field?

[Francesco] Soriano doesn’t play left field. Heck, he doesn’t even play baseball. In fact, he’s been dead for nearly 400 years. So that’s probably why the voters ignored him.

Defensively speaking, he was better than all of the other qualifiers.


In fact, statistically speaking, the three finalists were the three worst defensive left fielders. Who makes these decisions anyways?
— Josh O., Wyatt, Ind.

“Top men.”
“Top. Men.”

CARRIE: The Rawlings Gold Glove Award winners were determined by votes cast by each Major League manager and up to six coaches on their staffs. They picked from a pool of qualified players in their respective league, and they could not vote for players on their own team. Soriano does rank first in fielding percentage among National League left fielders at .996 percent, he only made one error, had 12 assists, turned six double plays and posted an .867 zone rating. The Rockies’ Carlos Gonzalez, who won the Gold Glove, had a .982 fielding percentage, made four errors, had seven assists, zero double plays and an .852 zone rating.

“Here are some numbers.”

CARRIE: But the stats don’t tell the whole story.

“Please disregard them.”

CARRIE: Soriano did make huge strides in his defensive play, but anyone who watched him knows there were balls he couldn’t get to and plays he didn’t make because of his balky knee. Managers and coaches know that.

Managers and coaches know EVERYTHING.

I see the Cubs are playing the Texas Rangers on April 16-18. Why are they playing an Interleague game so early in the season?
— Dane S., Harvard, Ill.

Holy shit, really? I assume, if one were to write in to the Muskbox, one would have at least more than a passing interest in baseball. But even if one didn’t, and if one had even a passing interest in sports in general, in current events, or in the world at large, how in the hell could one miss the news that a professional franchise in a major sport was changing leagues?

CARRIE: With the Astros moving to the American League next year, there will be 15 teams in both the American League and National League, and the schedule will have Interleague series scattered throughout the year to accommodate the uneven number. For example, the Reds open 2013 against the Angels on April 1, and the Tigers will end the year against the Marlins in Miami from Sept. 27-29.

Can you even begin to imagine the questions she DIDN’T answer if this was one of the best of the bunch?

What are the chances the Cubs might go after a free-agent third baseman?
— Paul M., Longmont, Colo.

Oh, no, Mr. Colorado. We already took your shitty third baseman LAST year.

CARRIE: It’s one of the options but the pool of free-agent third basemen is a little shallow. It includes Geoff Blum, Miguel Cairo, Eric Chavez, Mark DeRosa, Brandon Inge, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Placido Polanco, Mark Reynolds, Scott Rolen and Kevin Youkilis. How weak is it? MLB Trade Rumors ranked its top 50 free agents, and Chavez was the only third baseman on the list at No. 49.

To be fair, DeRosa was #51 and DeRosa’s five-o’-clock shadow was #52.

CARRIE: When the Cubs traded for Ian Stewart, they knew he had been slowed by his wrist…

Maybe he shouldn’t have been running on it in the first place.

CARRIE: …but also saw a solid defensive player who had some power. The question is, how much did the wrist hold him back? If healthy, Stewart could deliver 25 homers and 70 RBIs, which he did in ’09 with the Rockies.

And if not healthy, he could get outperformed by Luis Valbuena!

Alex Rodriguez is a free agent after the World Series. Are the Cubs interested in signing him?
— Robert C., Huntington, Ind.

No, he isn’t, and no, they’re not.

CARRIE: Rodriguez is not a free agent; he has five years, $114 million remaining on the 10-year, $275 million contract he signed in December 2007 with the Yankees.

That contract being absolutely terrible for the Yankees warms the cockles of my heart.

Why can’t the Cubs try out Bryan LaHair at third?

Because of interleague play.

Countless players have gone from first to third or third to first in their careers, and it would be a way to keep his bat in the lineup. That infield would be sick: Anthony Rizzo, Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro and LaHair.
— Anderson J., Charleston, S.C.

I agree. That infield would make pretty much anyone sick.

CARRIE: LaHair has been asked about third base and said no.

“Are you going to get past third base at any point after the All-Star Break?”

With the disappointment of Brett Jackson’s brief debut, the possible departure of Soriano, the need for power hitting, and the Cubs having good salary space, do you think the Cubs will be in the running for Josh Hamilton?
— Nathan, Erie, Pa.


CARRIE: No. Hamilton is too expensive and high maintenance. I look at Jackson’s debut as something to build on, similar to what Rizzo experienced in 2011 with the Padres. That said, the Cubs are still in the market to add an outfielder this offseason.

That’s a good idea. SOMEONE is going to have to stop all those line drives hit off Dempster from rolling into the ivy.

When will the Cubs announce the 2013 Spring Training schedule? I want to know if they will be playing one weekend in Las Vegas this year.
— Tim K., Hillside, Ill.

I hope something happens there, and they stay there.

CARRIE: Last year, it was released Nov. 20. As soon as it’s available, we’ll post it on Cubs.com.

To the delight of hundreds of shut-ins, retirees, and Crane Kenney.

Incidentally, I met a girl over the weekend whose father has Wrigley Field seats right behind home plate. Because of the nature of his business, he gets quite a bit of inside access to team events. This girl had a chance to meet Crane, who was greasily hanging all over a girl who was young enough to be his daughter, and who seemed loose enough to be a hooker. According to this girl, Crane was “disgusting.” She also mentioned that pretty much everyone in the organization despises him. So, every horrible thing you’ve ever thought about Crane Kenney is probably completely accurate.