The Muskbox Takes Your Minds to Japan


Carry on, my wayward bun.

The Muskbox forges on as the only place where you’ll still read names like “Tony Campana” and “Micah Hoffpauir.” Also, “Carrie Muskat.” Because if there’s one thing the Muskbox is, it’s relevant. If there’s two things it is, at least one of them is “terrible.”

You’ll see…

The Cubs are looking for an outfielder.

Congratulations. That’s the most relevant fact that has ever appeared in the Muskbox.

What’s wrong with giving Tony Campana a chance to play full time?

ALL OF THE THINGS.

He’s fast…

True.

…covers center field very good…

Very well. But that’s false. He can run around out there as well as anyone, but he has a noodle arm.

…and could be a heck of a leadoff hitter.

False.

He can get on base…

False.

…steal bases…

True, but not if he’s not on base (see above).

…and that gives the team a chance to manufacture runs.

Not when he gets caught.

Why are Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer so afraid to give these young players a chance?
– Jeff R., Waterloo, Iowa

Because their young player is 26. And also bad at baseball.

CARRIE: In order for Campana to utilize his speed, he has to get on base, and he hasn’t shown that he can do that consistently. He’s going to work on it this winter and was to begin play this week in Venezuela for Caracas.

Where he will be known as Tony Campaña!

CARRIE: As for your comment on Epstein, president of baseball operations, and general manager Hoyer not giving young players a chance, you might want to double-check the Cubs’ 2012 roster.

You cruel bitch.

CARRIE: The Cubs used 20 rookies, the most since 1974, and 11 players made their big league debuts.

No, that 1974 team did not lose 100 games. They only lost 96.

Any word on who will be in the TV booth with Len Kasper this year?
– Peter M., Orland Park, Ill.

At some point, Jim Belushi, Taylor Swift, the runner-up of this season’s The Voice, Brandon Marshall, and the Maine South wrestling team.

CARRIE: Interviews have begun and I was told last week that nothing is imminent.

Except DOOOOOOOOOM!

CARRIE: Among the names rumored to be candidates are Dan Plesac, Todd Hollandsworth, Gary Matthews, Eric Karros and Rick Sutcliffe. All played for the Cubs.

But only one shattered all his leg bones for the Cubs and tried to keep alive the memory of Dave Coulier’s hair.

When do pitchers and catchers report for 2013 Spring Training?
– Dalbert S., Charlotte, S.C.

In 2013. Christ, don’t you have a Thanksgiving dinner menu to prepare, or something?

CARRIE: The Cubs haven’t officially released that yet.

Everyone knows the best kind of Spring Training is surprise Spring Training.

CARRIE: According to Major League Baseball, the voluntary reporting date for pitchers and catchers is Feb. 12. The Cactus League schedule also has not been made public, but I’ve seen some early schedules with the Cubs beginning games on Feb. 24. The early start is because of the World Baseball Classic in March.

I get the feeling Carrie was accidentally included on an internal e-mail list.

Since we’re going after a third baseman, what are the chances of the Cubs picking up Mark DeRosa again? If so, have talks started already?
– Ray D., Columbus, Ohio

Oh, dammit. DeRosa, Dempster, and Millar are all available.

CARRIE: DeRosa, who turns 38 in February, has been limited to fewer than 50 games each of the last three seasons because of injuries. The Cubs are looking for someone a little more durable.

Also, hopefully way better. And quieter.

CARRIE: Third-base options were the hot topic this week. Jordan D. of Waverly, Iowa, asked about Eric Chavez, who turns 35 in December. Chavez has been slowed by back problems. Before each of the last two seasons, he has considered retirement because of what it takes for him to get ready to play each day. Again, the Cubs want a reliable everyday player. Alex S. of Chicago asked about free-agent Mark Reynolds. Reynolds may provide some pop, but he also strikes out a lot and doesn’t appear to fit the type of player the Cubs are looking for.

I love the Muskbox. One dude bitches about the Cubs not playing enough young players who “get on base”, and another dude wants to sign fossils or the only guy who strikes out more than Brett Jackson to play third base.

Do you think the organization still thinks Josh Vitters could be the third baseman of the future or is it really just a false hope at this point? I don’t like to put too much stock in a player’s first stint in the big leagues, but he didn’t look real good.
– Jaden K., Ukiah, Calif.

At least in those 100 at-bats, he sure didn’t. NEXT.

CARRIE: If you look at Vitters’ career stats…

“…you’re probably too smart to write in to the Muskbox.”

CARRIE: …he seems to do better in his second year with a team. For example, he batted .223 at Double-A Tennessee in 2010 and followed that with a .283 season in 2011 with the Smokies. If Vitters, 23, keeps up that pattern, the 2013 season should be much better than 2012, when he hit .121 in 36 games with the Cubs. He has already been told he’ll open next year at Triple-A Iowa, where he hit .304 in 110 games.

If I understand the numbers, he’ll hit .450 in Iowa next year.

Who do you think the starting catcher will be next season? Will it be a platoon like it was the end of this year?
– Dennis H., Mishawaka, Ind.

At least the Muskbox is no longer asking about the backup catcher. PROGRESS.

CARRIE: Welington Castillo appears to have secured the starter’s job, and the team was looking for someone with more experience as a backup. Steve Clevenger needs to show more consistency at the plate.

And Castillo needs to show more ability to stay the hell away from the plate. The DINNER plate! Hey-O!

With the acquisition of the Kane County Cougars, what does that mean for the Cubs’ Class A team? Do all the Peoria Chiefs move to Kane County or do the Cubs just acquire all the Cougars players?
– Michelle S., Richmond, Ill.

Did she just ask if the Cubs purchased a bunch of baseball slaves?

CARRIE: The players and coaching staff are the property of the host organization, so they don’t change affiliations, just location. For example, Javier Baez played for Class A Peoria this year. If Baez was assigned to play for the Cubs’ Class A Midwest League team in 2013, he would be at Kane County.

Good lord, I hope they have a “Cougars half off” night.

Do you know how Micah Hoffpauir hit in Japan this past year? Do the Cubs retain any rights to him?
– Steve M., Albuquerque, N.M.

They retain the right to never start him again.

CARRIE: Hoffpauir, 32, who played for the Cubs from 2008-2010, batted .247 in 109 games with 14 home runs, 13 doubles and 37 RBIs, and has reportedly re-signed with the Nippon Ham Fighters for the 2013 season. The Cubs do not retain any rights to him; if Hoffpauir returned to the U.S. to play, he would be a free agent.

You hear that, general managers? Also, ladies?

  • Dein Hintern

    What do you think it would happen if they trade baker, the twins pitcher, to someone else for some young talent this upcoming year near the trade deal? It bears repeating.