Anyone getting the feeling that the major league front offices are starting to become one big fraternity? Theo Epstien’s regime, that came from Boston, just traded with a GM in San Diego (Josh Byrnes) who used to be an assistant under Theo as well as the current Cubs GM Jed Hoyer, for a player who was originally drafted by Boston.
Rizzo, of course, is the centerpiece of this deal as he was a notable portion of the Adrian Gonzalez trade from the Padres to the Red Sox last winter and he has recently been displaced by the Mat Latos deal that brought Yonder Alonzo to play first base in San Diego. Though I’m not convinced he’s going to hit for a good average, he should be a good middle of the order hitter for the Cubs down the road.
Cates didn’t make Baseball America‘s top 10 list for the Padres for 2012, nor did he make the top 25 on Minor League Ball‘s preliminary list, though he was mentioned under “others”. But he ranked 16th on Minor League Ball’s prospect list for the Cubs (posted after the trade), stating that he has a live arm and could be a breakout candidate. He has a good fastball with a plus change, but he’s still working on his curveball.
Cashner is a power arm that could be an could be a candidate for the rotation, but that is doubtful anymore with his injury history. It is more likely that Cashner settles in towards the back of the bullpen for San Diego. But it is not all bad, he has the stuff that he could eventually be pretty good out of a setup role and possibly close out games.
Na is an outfielder with virtually no power and was caught in 1/3 of his stolen base attempts. On the good side, he’s only 19, very young for a player at Double-A and he produces a good walk rate. Regardless, he seems to be a forth or more likely fifth outfielder at this point. There’s an outside chance that he learns to steal bases efficiently and hits for a higher average as he matures, but I’d rather bet on Cates’s chance at success.
Anyone can tell you that if you can trade a reliever for a position player, do it. That adage is true with even this trade. If I had a belief that Cashner could stay healthy in a starting role, this trade would be much closer, but Andrew hasn’t sold me on that in his short career. The most interesting part of this trade though is that the Cubs intend to give first base to Bryan LaHair after his tremendous season at Triple-A last year, giving Rizzo a little more seasoning in the minors. Maybe they’re hopeful that LaHair will be able to produce well enough to draw some trade interest at some point during the season before they bring Rizzo up.