Did anyone remind Carrie it’s not at Shitty’s?

Don’t forget, men and women, that this Friday is the next annual installment of a bunch of us getting together, getting drunk, and bitching about the Cubs. Will Crane Kenney show his face around Dolan again? Will that cheap bastard GORDON WITTENMYER actually buy ME a drink this year? Will Al Yellon get heckled out of every bar he’s ever set foot into? FIND OUT ON FRIDAY. Details will follow.

Oh, yeah, the Muskbox also happened. Here it is.

What exactly were the terms of the Willis deal? Can he compete for a job in the Majors, or is it a Minors deal only?
— Wayne S., Indianapolis

What a dumb-ass question. Would anyone ever sign a professional baseball contract if there was absolutely ZERO chance for them to compete in the Majors? Does he understand the whole point of a minor-league system? IS JIM HENDRY ASKING THIS QUESTION???

CARRIE: Willis, who turns 32 on Saturday, signed a Minor League deal and will be in the Cubs’ Minor League camp.

Since we didn’t get a “[Dontrelle] Willis” out of Carrie, I’m going to assume the Cubs signed Willis Jackson. And I’m going to make shirts for Friday that say, “WHATCHOO TALKIN’ ‘BOUT, WILLIS?”

CARRIE: He may get some innings in Cactus League games, depending on how he does. Last year, Willis was 0-3 in four games with the Orioles’ Triple-A Norfolk team before leaving, and he is a long shot to make the Cubs’ bullpen.

He may, however, be their best pinch-hit option off the bench.

Given the new depth in the rotation and lack of depth at third base, as well as the apparent relationship with the Rangers’ front office after the Ryan Dempster and Geovany Soto deals, would trading Matt Garza for Mike Olt and another prospect be an option? It seems like it would be a win-win for both organizations.
— Adam B., Harlingen, Texas

So, the Cubs stuck the Rangers with a clown piece of shit pitcher and a fat, bad backup catcher, so I’m sure they’re begging Theo to take their #2 prospect AND ANOTHER PROSPECT off their hands.

CARRIE: All speculation about Garza being traded needs to be put on hold until he shows that he is fully recovered from the elbow injury that sidelined him last year.

CARRIE HAS DECLARED A MORATORIUM. If she shows up on Friday, all I’m going to talk about is trading Matt Garza.

CARRIE: I’m sure the rumors will start as soon as Garza takes the mound at Fitch Park in Mesa, Ariz., for his first throwing session.

This is what we have to look forward to when pitchers and catchers report, folks. Matt Garza trade rumors.

What are the chances the Cubs work out a trade with the Marlins for Giancarlo Stanton? Over the course of the next five years, he could easily be the best pure power hitter in all of baseball and would be a worthwhile player to sign long term.
— Brett L., Indianapolis

Stanton might be a worthwhile player to sign long term. What a stretch!

CARRIE: Stanton is a stud, but you’d have to give up one of the Cubs’ young impact players to get him.

The Cubs would have to give up a young impact player to get a young impact player? IS THIS HOW TRADES WORK???

CARRIE: The Marlins, like the Rangers, aren’t going to part with one of their top young players unless they receive a lot in return. Are you willing to deal Starlin Castro?

For Giancarlo Stanton? Absolutely. Yes. Yes. A million times over, yes.

Have the Cubs signed Carlos Villanueva? I don’t see him on the roster, but the last item on the web indicates they have.
— John B., Kalamazoo, Mich.


CARRIE: Villanueva has not officially signed with the Cubs. The 40-man roster is full, so the delay is most likely related to the need to open a spot for the pitcher.

That would be the same guess I’d give if I weren’t a beat reporter with access to the front office, who had the capability to definitively answer this question.

If the Cubs’ season were to start today, what would be the starting lineup and rotation?
— Ismael V., Chicago

Oh my god, Ismael Valdes is angling his way into a Cubs comeback!

CARRIE: Manager Dale Sveum will be asked this at next week’s Cubs Convention, but here’s an early guess: CF David DeJesus, 2B Darwin Barney, Castro, 1B Anthony Rizzo, LF Alfonso Soriano, 3B Ian Stewart, C Welington Castillo, RF Nate Schierholtz. A possible rotation: Jeff Samardzija, Edwin Jackson, Garza (if healthy), Scott Baker (if healthy) and Scott Feldman.


Also, Scott Feldman sounds like a character from Animal House.

What happened to the left-hander the Cubs signed from Cuba? They dropped him from the 40-man roster.
— Terry L., Sun City Center, Fla.

Fidel Castro?

CARRIE: Gerardo Concepcion…

Oh, right.

CARRIE: …who signed a five-year, $6 million deal in March 2012, was removed from the 40-man roster in December to make room after the team added Schierholtz. He was then outrighted to the Kane County Cougars, so he’s still in the Cubs’ system. Last season, Concepcion made 12 starts at Class A Peoria and posted a 2-6 record and 7.39 ERA, giving up 70 hits and walking 30 over 52 1/3 innings. He turns 21 on Feb. 29.

Sounds like they made a huge mistake dropping this gem from the 40-man roster. I’ll have to have a chat with Theo on Friday about it.

What is the projection and progress of Hayden Simpson?
— Tim S., Du Quoin, Ill.

Prognosis: Negative

CARRIE: Simpson, 23, has had a tough time regaining his strength since being sidelined with mononucleosis following the 2010 Draft.

Good thing his parents took him to that chicken pox party when he was eleven!

CARRIE: Last season, he pitched for Boise and Daytona and was a combined 4-7 in 29 games (five starts) with a 6.56 ERA. Hopefully, he was able to add some weight this offseason.


CARRIE: In an interview last summer with the Idaho Statesman, Simpson said he hasn’t given up. Said Simpson: “So many guys get to the top without any bumps in the road, and when they start having trouble, they don’t know how to react. Well, I’ve had every bump in the road. I’m never going to take anything for granted ever again.”