“So, what do you think of the LaHair signing?”

Has the competence of the Cubs front office negatively affected the Muskbox? Has the fact that there is significantly less about which to complain made the Muskbox read like the same thing every week? Would you even NOTICE if it did? You might not, but for my heroic efforts to read it.

Like, for example, this week’s nonsense!

I don’t understand the LaHair situation.

SPOILERS: At the end, the guy who flew the helicopter was actually the undercover agent who let them into the research lab.

He was the team’s most dangerous hitter in the first half of the 2012 season.

Arguably, he was their most dangerous hitter in the second half of the 2012 season. Dangerous TO THE HEALTH OF EVERYONE WATCHING.

He made the All-Star team, then was relegated to the bench, I would say mostly because of Brett Jackson being called up.

But at least partially because he was a terrible hitter.

I see no reason why he can’t spend an entire offseason working on his defense in right and being a valuable power bat the Cubs’ lineup needs.

Yes, did he consider PRACTICING before he went to Japan?

Why designate him when there’s an obvious need that he could fill on the team?
— Walter Y., Greenville, N.C.

If there’s one thing the Cubs need, it’s yet another outfielder/a guy who can’t hit who can block Anthony Rizzo.

CARRIE: If you look at LaHair’s monthly splits, he was the Cubs’ best hitter in the first month, not first half. That’s why his role changed from starting first baseman to left-handed bat off the bench, and it wasn’t because of Jackson but the June 26 arrival of Anthony Rizzo. Theo Epstein, Cubs president of baseball operations, and general manager Jed Hoyer did talk to teams about LaHair but didn’t find any takers. He had considered playing in Japan prior to the 2012 season and now has signed a two-year, $4 million deal with the SoftBank Hawks. It’s a great opportunity for him. He can be the designated hitter, play some first base and left field.

Plus, he can learn Japanese and marry a bedpillow!

I’ve never been to the Cubs Convention but may get “permission” from my wife to fly in and attend this year.

A Cubs fan locked into his home by an overbearing, controlling harpy of a wife? WEIRD.

If I do, what are the must-attend sessions and events? What former players might show up?
— Bob F., Lincoln, Neb.

Other than the Desipio-HJE meetup, the only must-attend event at the Cubs Convention is ritual suicide.

CARRIE: The schedule of events varies from year to year, but you can usually count on sessions with the general manager, the manager (Dale Sveum) and his coaching staff and a Minor League update.

The funny thing about Carrie’s job is that EVERY event at the Cubs Convention is a must-attend session for her.

CARRIE: At the January 2012 convention, one session celebrated Ron Santo and his induction into the Hall of Fame with Glenn Beckert, Randy Hundley, Billy Williams and WGN Radio’s Pat Hughes sharing stories.

I bet most of the stories involved Ron doing something hilariously stupid.

CARRIE: There are usually player sessions with groups of past and present Cubs in which they talk about their experiences beyond the game.

Like star outfielder BUZZ LIGHTYEAR!

CARRIE: The Ricketts family has a forum…

Todd plays the snare drum!

CARRIE: …and they invite questions. There are Cubs souvenirs for sale and autograph sessions. The list of who will attend hasn’t been finalized yet.

It’s been a bitch trying to track down Paul Assenmacher.

CARRIE: The event will be at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers in downtown Chicago from Jan. 18-20, and tickets and hotel rooms are still available.


CARRIE: Tell your wife thank you, and book your trip.


Do you see the Cubs trading Darwin Barney? His stock is high after winning the Gold Glove, but his skills are limited.

Limited to non-baseball activities, for the most part.

I like Logan Watkins’ potential better.
— John D., Grand Rapids, Mich.

I love when Muskboxers say scout things.

CARRIE: Watkins may have been named the Cubs’ Minor League Player of the Year after batting .281 at Double-A Tennessee, and he did perform well in his brief Arizona Fall League action and was recently added to the 40-man roster, but he’s not going to unseat Barney in 2013. Barney’s offensive numbers dropped in the second half, but if you’re saying his defensive skills are limited, I’d have to disagree (as would Gold Glove voters). Trade Barney? No.

Predicted headline from the upcoming Winter Meetings: BARNEY TRADED; IRATE LIBRARIAN GUNS DOWN TWENTY

Where does Junior Lake stand in the Cubs’ plans? Will he be playing in Wrigley before Javier Baez? What about moving Starlin Castro to third and promoting Lake or Baez to shortstop on the big club?
— David M., Washington, D.C.

With the Cubs intentionally sucking now, the Muskbox has gotten boring. It’s all questions about young players and Japan. I miss the old days of bitching about Carlos Zambrano’s attitude, Neal Cotts’ existence, and Alfonso Soriano’s contract.

CARRIE: Lake, ranked by MLB.com as the No. 9 prospect in the Cubs’ organization, is an option at third base, but he would have to convince the team he’s ready in Spring Training. He spent last year at Double-A Tennessee, batting .279 in 103 games. This winter, he’s playing in the Dominican Republic and has been used mainly as a designated hitter, but that’s because it’s hard to crack the lineup.

Yeah, because it’s WAY easier to crack the MLB lineup. I’m not being sarcastic. It is. I’m sorry I capitalized that “way.” It didn’t mean anything.

CARRIE: He’s got more Minor League experience than Baez, so it would seem obvious Lake will get to the big leagues first, but I can’t predict that.

She’s not a scout. She’s not a talent evaluator. Some say she’s never even SEEN a baseball game!

CARRIE: As far as players moving around, let’s see how it plays out.

Let’s just see how things PLAY OUT.

With the Mariners designating Chone Figgins for assignment, is there any chance we could see him in a Cubs uniform? He could be an inexpensive option for third base because of his lackluster production in Seattle. Maybe a change of scenery and league could be what he needs.
— Dustin S., Memphis

Or maybe a complete change of profession or a sex change would help!

CARRIE: Figgins most likely is not the Cubs’ first choice.

God willing, he’s their last choice.

CARRIE: He was an All-Star in 2009, and he did swipe 42 bases and hit .298 for the Angels that year. Those numbers resulted in a four-year, $36 million contract from the Mariners in December ’09. But Figgins batted .227 in three seasons with Seattle, including .181 last year. Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik said: “It just never worked out like he thought, and sometimes you never know why.”

Yes, sometimes you never know why, indeed.

CARRIE: As far as third base, Figgins has a less than impressive .956 fielding percentage in 630 games there.

He’s no Luis Valbuena over there.

With the Marlins trading off their team, could it be possible the Cubs go after Giancarlo Stanton?


He’s a young outfielder who could fit perfectly.


I feel it would be worth the risk to trade some Minor League prospects because Stanton already is proven in the big leagues.

You think? You think it would be a good idea to swap Junior Lake and Logan Watkins for GIANCARLO STANTON??? I don’t know!

Maybe we could send Alfonso Soriano in a deal.

Brilliant. “I noticed that the Marlins dumped all of their big contracts and have a great young player. Have the Cubs thought to trade them a big contract for a great young player?”

I don’t know all the contract figures that go into this…


…but from a stats side, it feels like it would work out great for the Cubs.
— Dallas G., Muscatine, Iowa

All other things being equal, and with zero consideration to any modicum of common sense, I feel like this would be a good trade for the Cubs, too.

CARRIE: According to a report in the Boston Globe on Sunday, the Phillies, Red Sox, Yankees, Orioles and Cubs have inquired about the outfielder. The other Marlins players were dealt because of their high salaries, while Stanton made $480,000 last year and isn’t arbitration eligible until 2014. He was critical of Marlins management, so they may try to move him.

God, Loria is a rabbit-eared little cunt.

With the Cubs’ payroll down this year, do you think if they were in competition at the All-Star break this year, they may become buyers and not sellers?
— Ben B., Dallas



The first question she’s ever definitively answered, and it’s about a scenario more ludicrous and offensive than everything that has ever happened on Two Broke Girls?

In the last 10 years, how many of the Cubs’ No. 1 Draft picks are still with the organization? What is Mark Prior up to these days?
— Jerry A., Masonville, Iowa

About 275. HEY-O!

CARRIE: Josh Vitters (2007), Jackson (2009), Hayden Simpson (2010), Baez (2011) and Albert Almora (2012) are still in the Cubs’ organization. Prior, 32, who was the Cubs’ top pick in 2001, has been slowed by shoulder problems and tried to come back last season in the Red Sox Minor League system. He was released, but the plus side is that he was let go to open a roster spot and not because of an injury.

Was it for Adam Greenberg? Because that feel-good story of the year couldn’t have possibly harmed anyone’s career!

CARRIE: In an interview in late August, the right-hander said he was going to try again in 2013.

TEN YEARS after he was relevant. Feeling old today?

I’ve heard they are going to add seats behind home plate. How severely will this alter the appearance of Wrigley Field?
— Luke J., Olney, Ill.

Welington Castillo won’t have to squat anymore!

CARRIE: You’ll notice less foul territory behind home plate.

Thanks a lot, physics!

CARRIE: The plan is to move the brick wall forward three feet to create room for 56 seats. It’ll be interesting to see if it does affect play, especially regarding balls that get away from catchers.

Will less foul territory affect gameplay? GUESS WE’LL JUST HAVE TO TUNE IN TO ALL 81 HOME GAMES TO FIND OUT!!!