Sean Marshall is an outstanding LH reliever. Perhaps the best in the game. Travis Wood is a solid, lefty starter who probably fits best in the back of a rotation.
At first glance, it doesn't seem that great a deal. Especially when you consider that Jed Hoyer just got 2 top prospects in Joe Weiland and Robbie Erlin just last year for reliever Mike Adams.
But times have changed. Adams was going to be a Type A Free Agent. So was Marshall.
And then the CBA happened.
Whereas Texas believed they would be getting 2 picks when Adams became a free agent and somewhat compensating for their losses, teams know that Marshall won't be getting Type A under the new agreement. The price of top relievers took a hit.
It's not a bad deal if it happens, just a bit underwhelming. Wood, 25, was the Reds 7th best prospect in 2009 and projects as a solid back of the rotation starter. He has decent velocity at 90 mph and a very effective changeup, though he did struggle with it last year. He's also cost controlled, won't be arb eligible until 2014 and won't be a free agent until after the 2016 season. He could be a part of the rotation for awhile.
For what it's worth, Keith Law of ESPN called Wood a 4/5 but possibly more with a change in pitching plan. Theo Epstein has been a fan of Wood since he was in Boston. Maybe they see Wood the same way Law does and maybe they get a #3 starter. He looked like he could have been exactly that in 2010 and he certainly has a chance to be the #3 starter in the Cubs rotation in 2012. If that happens, then it could even be a very good deal for the Cubs.
Marshall, 29, will be a free agent next year and it seems unlikely now that the Cubs were planning on keeping him. So they get a starter for the next 5 years in exchange for one year of Marshall in a rebuilding year. And the Reds will be getting much less compensation for that than they would have last year.
Still, I'm holding out that perhaps the Cubs get a prospect out of this deal. It'll make me feel a bit better about it.
UPDATE: ESPN's Bruce Levine reporting that the deal is close and the Cub will also get two minor league players in the deal in addition to Wood. I'm liking it a lot more now. Of course. It depends on who they are.
Filed under: Cubs Rumors