Well, another non-waiver trade deadline has come and gone, rending the MLB landscape with its sheer awesomeness. David Price is a Tiger, John Lester joined an already-stacked A's rotation, and the Yankees acquired Marlon Byrd. Damn those fake Twitter accounts and the reputable ESPN baseball pundits who believe them.
But enough about that, let's talk about the Cubs, a team who's biggest move took place on July 4th, well before today's fireworks. I'm going to play a quick game of Love It or Shove It, with the Cubs and their moves as the focus.
Bat-First Catchers: Love It
After drafting Kyle Schwarber with the 4th pick in this year's draft, the Cubs just acquired Victor Caratini from the Braves in the Bonifacio/Russell deal. Caratini, a 20-year-old switch hitter, was rated by MLB.com as Atlanta's 7th-best prospect. He's a product of the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy and was a 2nd-round pick last year out of Miami-Dade College.
Despite all the elite bats in the organization, catcher is a position at which the Cubs are thin. Much has been made of Schwarber's ability to stick behind the dish, since it's his stick that's so highly coveted. With Caratini projected to be about 3 years from the Bigs, he may have time to develop as a backstop.
Long-Haired Freaky People: Shove It
Jeff Samardzija: gone. James Russell: gone. Now only Brian Schlitter, known affectionately and heretically as Baseball Jesus, is the only remaining hippy on the team. But Jake Arrieta is cultivating a fine beard, so we've got that going for us. And speaking of beards...
Former Red Sox Players: Love It
You can add Felix Doubront to the list of former assets the Cubs braintrust has re-aquired. The disgruntled lefty was moved to the 'pen in late June after compiling a 2-4 record with a 5.19 ERA in 10 starts. His effort as a reliever was even worse though, as he surrendered 11 runs on 15 hits in only 9 innings.
Sounds like a Cub to me! Word is that he'll start out on the DL and then spend some time in Iowa stretching out to get back into the rotation. Maybe a combination of the change of scenery and Chris Bosio's tutelage can turn things around though. After all, Doubront is only 26 years old and still has his prime ahead of him.
Loogies Who Can't Loog: Shove It
If you're a lefty reliever who doesn't necessarily do well against like-handed batters, your value may not be all that high. Such was the case with Russell this year, rendering him expendable.
Versatile Speedsters: Love It and Shove It
Emilio Bonifacio lit the world on fire when he debuted with the Cubs this year, collecting something like 58 straight hits. It was more amazing than the time I saved those old people from that nursing home fire. More amazing than the time I ate my weight at Godfather's Pizza. More amazing than the time Michael Jackson stopped at my house to use the bathroom.
Okay, you got me. Michael Jackson didn't stop at my house to use the bathroom. But his sister did! And Boni's start wasn't that prolific either, but he sure added some excitement to the lineup. But then he got hurt and, well, out of sight out of mind.
Soon, a new top-of-the-order, multi-positional talent caught our collective eye. This newer model could hit for power, fly on the bases, AND was younger to boot. Oh, and his name is even harder for gringos to produce, which has been a huge win for Twitter.
Cubs Moves on the Whole: Love It
The Cubs were able to turn short-term commodities into long-term assets, free up roster space and money, and avoid an all-out fire sale in the process. We'll probably get to see some of the heralded prospects when rosters expand in September, if not (maybe) a little before. Not a bad deal.
I'm not going to get into the bigger implications of David Price to the Tigers (will they really pay him, Verlander, and Scherzer?) or Lester to the A's (whether they win or not, will they pay him to stay?), but I'm sure one of my fine colleagues can do so.
But it sure was a fun deadline and now we can look forward to the month of August, which will be dull to those not looking below the surface. The little things a front office does to mold the organization will be fun to watch; roster moves and shifts from the rotation to the 'pen and vice versa, positional changes, that sort of thing.
It's gonna be a bumpy right, to be sure, but a fun one nonetheless.
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