You’re bunbelievable!

The Muskbox takes a brief hiatus this week from worrying about who will be the backup first baseman in 2013 to worry about who will be the backup first baseman in 2020! Progress? As always, Carrie answers all questions with a sense of patience, thoroughness, and professionalism that one just doesn’t see often in this day and age. Oh, also, she talks about Pearl Jam, points out that people from California are Californians, and talks an awful lot about calendars. Read more now!

When is the 2013 Draft?

This year, I’ll wager!

We have the second pick, and Mark Appel, Ryne Stanek and Austin Meadows should be the best players available.

Also, with the easiest names for headlines.

“Appel of Hoyer’s Eye”
“Ryno Returns”
“Austin is a Cool Town with a Lot of Attractive Women, and People Should Go Visit There More Often; AUSTIN: COME PLAY WITH US”

Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer will probably pick Meadows. What do you think?
— Elvis R., Altamonte Springs, Fla.

I think that’s the WORST damn headline ever!

CARRIE: The Draft will be June 6-8, and yes, the Cubs have the second pick overall. Stanford pitcher Appel, University of Arkansas pitcher Stanek and Georgia high-school outfielder Meadows are ranked 1-2-3 in MLB.com’s Top 50 Draft Prospects list. Theo Epstein, Cubs president of baseball operations, addressed the Draft during the Cubs Convention. It does seem that both he and Hoyer would lean more toward a player like Meadows.

“Hoyer and Epstein Eager to Frolic in Meadows”


CARRIE: “There’s a bit of an imbalance in the organization,” Epstein said during a front office seminar at the convention. “We have probably better position-player prospects and we lack some starting pitching prospects. So, in an ideal world, there would be that can’t miss college starting-pitching prospect available No. 2 overall that we all know is a lock. [We] would move in that direction.

I wonder what word [we] replaced. “A GIANT TARANTULA WITH A HUMAN FACE FOR EACH ONE OF ITS EYES would move in that direction.”

CARRIE: “But it’s interesting because in the history of the Draft, the best bets up top are position players because of the uncertainty and the attrition and injury risk of pitchers,” Epstein said. “So those are pretty well trends over time. We’re going to take the best player available.

Which, with the second pick, will be the second-best player overall. Math!

CARRIE: “If there were a can’t miss position player and pitchers that we had some questions on, we’d go with the position player and then attack the pitching with volume because the history of the Draft also shows that great pitching can come from all over the Draft,” he said. “You might hit on a guy in the fifth round, the 15th round, the 25th round. With position players, most of your great players come from the top two rounds.”

Or, historically for the Cubs, their great players came from the top two rounds of other teams.

Wait, is she still going with this?

CARRIE: Last year, the Cubs selected high-school outfielder Albert Almora with the sixth overall pick, and then stocked up on pitchers, selecting seven in a row and eight in the first eight rounds. Appel was selected eighth overall last year by the Pirates but did not sign. Said Epstein: “I don’t see us backing down from any player that legitimately wants to play professional baseball.”

No matter what happens, with the second pick, not even the Cubs could screw it up!

CARRIE: The last time the Cubs had the second overall pick was 2001, and they selected Mark Prior.

Oh. Notably, with the second and third pack of that draft, they took Andrew Sisco and Ryan Theriot, respectively. Ugh.

What will be the end-game with Matt Garza?

He’ll have to play a game of chess against a sentient computer for domination of the world.

Will he be traded early this year, near the deadline, or not at all? What could the Cubs get for him? Thanks.
— Tyson W., Iowa City, Iowa


CARRIE: The only thing that’s certain is that Garza will be a free agent after this season.

Also death, taxes, and the relentless slog of the Muskbox.

CARRIE: There are a lot of variables to be considered regarding the team’s options. First, he has to show he’s healthy. What if he and the Cubs get off to a good start and they’re contending in July?

Ha ha ha ha haaaa!

Ha haaa haaaaa haaaaaaaaaa!

Ahhhh haaaa haa ha ha ha haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

CARRIE: The Cubs might decide it’s better to keep Garza than deal him for prospects. You’ll just have to wait and see.

What Matt Garza’s end game is, is hard to define.

I was looking through the roster and I’m not seeing a complete bench.

Because it’s January. And it’s a rebuilding year. And it’s the bench.

Assuming Scott Hairston, Dioner Navarro, Luis Valbuena and Tony Campana are locks, who possibly fills the fifth or sixth spot if the Cubs decide to go with 11 pitchers?
— Eric F., Danville, Ill.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Tony Campana better god damn not well be a lock to make the roster. Hell, I hope Luis Valbuena isn’t even a lock. Sorry, Dolan.

CARRIE: Right now, Hairston isn’t officially on the Cubs’ roster, and I’d say only Navarro and Valbuena are “locks.”

Thank god. Sort of.

CARRIE: The Cubs need to find a backup for Anthony Rizzo when he gets a rare day off, and they want a good balance of left- and right-handed hitters in the lineup. One option as a backup at first could be Steve Clevenger.

Or, sort of, ANYONE. Because it’s first base. I played first base, and I can’t even make an argument for spending a roster spot on a backup first baseman.

CARRIE: Dave Sappelt had a good winter and could be an extra outfielder. Check out the list of non-roster Spring Training invitees on Cubs.com. Players in that group, which includes Darnell McDonald and Brian Bogusevic, who have big league experience, will also be competing for those final spots on the 25-man roster. Filling out the bench is part of the fun of Spring Training.

You’re doing Spring Training so very wrong.

Pearl Jam just announced a July concert at Wrigley Field. I understand the Cubs bring in extra revenue selling Wrigley as a concert venue, but why do they continually do it during the season?

Because it’s inconvenient to have an outdoor concert in Chicago in February?

The field is absolutely destroyed and it’s an embarrassment to the players and fans alike. When will Wrigley start being treated like the baseball sanctuary that it is?
— Chris J., Santa Monica, Calif.

When you stop anthropomorphising it.

CARRIE: You’re from California…

What tipped you off?

CARRIE: …and I’m not sure if you’ve ever been to Chicago, but obviously, the concerts are scheduled during the season because that’s the best time of the year here for an outside event. According to the Cubs, the four concerts in 2012 (Roger Waters, Brad Paisley and two Bruce Springsteen shows) generated $24 million in economic impact and $2.5 million in estimated tax revenues to the city, county and state, including $1.6 million for Chicago alone. This also helped Wrigleyville neighborhood bars and restaurants, Chicago-area hotels, rooftop businesses, neighborhood parking lots and residential garages.

Plus, the lawns of the surrounding neighborhood are green as ever because of all the urine soaking!

CARRIE: As for the field, the grounds crew hates having anyone walk on the grass, even the players.

What’s going on with Arodys Vizcaino? I haven’t heard a whole lot on his progress rehabbing from surgery and was wondering if he’ll be someone we’ll see at Wrigley this year.
— Mike P., Clarendon Hills, Ill.

If he’s in the stands, I have a feeling we’ll be able to single out individual faces, yes.

CARRIE: Vizcaino should be pitching at Wrigley this year, but his role is to be determined. Because he’s coming back from Tommy John, he’ll be eased into action. We’ll know more once Spring Training begins.

I don’t know if I’ll be able to take time away from the never-ending joy of figuring out what the bench is going to look like!

When will single-game tickets go on sale?
— Donna C., Williamsfield, Ill.

I love questions like this. Anyone who is even aware that the Muskbox exists isn’t exactly going to have ticket sales sneak up on them.

CARRIE: Cubs’ single-game tickets go on sale March 8.

Oh, right. It’s an easy answer. I forgot how this works.