Last night, while the Cubs were quietly bleeding away a victory to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the desert, a trade happened between two West division teams. The San Diego Padres, led by a triumvirate of interim general managers after Josh Byrnes was fired, sent their best reliever, Huston Street, to the Los Angeles Angels in return for what was universally considered an incredible prospect haul. A caveat:
Of some concern to the Angels should be the fact that Street hasn’t pitched 60 innings in a season since 2009. He’d been used carefully by the Padres this year — they haven’t had all that many leads to protect — throwing 33 innings in the first half. The Angels will have more work for him, but they might want to tread carefully.
The Angels, then, got two relievers (one of whom was and can still be elite) in exchange for four of their best prospects, including their number one prospect in Taylor Lindsey. To which my reaction was initially...
But then I decided to bring it back a bit and actually think about it. The reaction is still as above, but I recall also that the Cubs were able to get Travis Wood (though he's having a poorer time of it this year) in exchange for Sean Marshall, who is currently injured but was on the verge of eliteness in his final season as a Cub. The Cubs also signed a guy-to-be-flipped in Jose Veras before they had to release him because, well, he sucked.
The Cubs also have a couple of trade candidates in James Russell and Wesley Wright, both LOOGYs who don't just LOOG. I guess ideally the Cubs should try to keep one of them around, especially since both are still going to be affordable next year and we don't know if Zac Rosscup can stay consistent at the MLB level. But they've pitched very well as both are in their second year of arbitration with one to go (free agents after 2015 season). The club control, similar to Street, would be crucial, though obviously neither are at Street's level. But it's certainly possible to prey on a general manager who is overvaluing relievers to get a better return than usual.
If I were the Cubs, I might try to trade Russell and keep Wright due to their peripherals. However, if both end up being traded, it's not like the system doesn't have a bunch of random power arms growing on trees to eventually fill in the blanks in the bullpen. We have less than two weeks to find out whether the Cubs can move one of their relievers for a nice haul, and I'm going to look for a return closer to the Sean Marshall trade than Street's trade.