The Cubs made a trade of sorts and one they obviously felt was an upgrade. They claimed Bret Marshall off of waivers but in order to do so, they had to DFA Liam Hendriks. He was promptly picked up by the Orioles.
Marshall is 23 years old and was the Yankees 6th rated prospect after the 2012 season by Baseball America. Marshall was a 6th round overslot draft in 2008, receiving $850,000 to sign.
His best season was following that 2012 year when he went 13-7 with a 3.52 ERA (4.09 FIP). He walked 3.01 hitters per 9 IP (8%), while striking out 6.82/9 IP (18.1%)
Marshall is short at 5'11" (though baseball reference has him at 6'1") but has a solid 200 lbs. frame and a good arm, throwing in the low 90s in the minors, though he averaged in the high 80s in his brief call-up with the Yankees last season. He compliments his fastball with what is considered the best change-up in the Yankees system. Marshall once threw much harder, reaching as high as 97 mph at the lower levels but Tommy John surgery has taken some velo from that FB, but it does have more movement now.
Despite his size and a 3/4 arm slot, Marshall keeps the ball low, getting sinking action on both his fastball and change. He has the potential for good command because he repeats his delivery well, so the potential is there for a bottom of the rotation starter who works efficiently and generates ground balls.
He needs to work on his breaking ball and there isn't a ton of upside with Marshall, as most would consider his ceiling to be as a #4 starter, but he should be in that mix for that #5 starter and if he doesn't he win that spot, he can provide depth at Iowa or perhaps work out of the bullpen, though for me, his potential to be a durable starter make him more interesting in the rotation. The Cubs must believe that now that he's 4 years removed from TJ surgery he'll be able to sustain his health, though it doesn't seem likely he'll regain his old velocity.
Still some scouts will say that Marshall has the better movement on his fastball and the better chance to stick as a starter than Hendriks did, so in that sense it's an upgrade.