The trade deadline came and went with the Cubs only adding Tony Kemp to the beleaguered second place club. After about twenty minutes news rolled in that the Cubs completed three separate deals right at the wire. Cubs OF prospect Jimmy Herron was dealt for international bonus money. The Cubs had spent virtually all of their bonus, and moving their third rounder from 2018 gives them an opportunity to acquire a few more late signings before the end of the period. The Rockies were willing to part with some of their pool for the contact oriented outfield prospect.
Here is what Michael had to say about the 23 year old switch hitter:
2018 3rd rounder Jimmy Herron is a quality contact hitter with above average speed. A potential 4th outfielder who could sub in at the top of the order and provide some pinch running value, the biggest question with Herron has become his arm strength. His range in center and right field seemed adequate but I’m not sure his arm could carry him at either spot. If he struggles to profile in center he could end up stuck as AAA depth like Mark Zagunis and John Andreoli in recent seasons.
Carl Edwards Jr. was also shipped out to San Diego for tall left hander Brad Wieck. The big southpaw throws a 94 mph fastball that probably jumps at hitters coming out of his 6’9″ frame. The Cubs management had clearly lost faith in Carl Edwards given the extremely short leash he had upon his return. Wieck has two options remaining and it would seem likely that he will be stashed at Iowa until rosters expand or an injury creates an opening. Either way it is an interesting lefty the Cubs added and which saved them a few hundred thousand dollars.
All the various scrimping and saving for this deadline paid off as the Cubs announced the acquisition of Nick Castellanos after the deadline passed. The cost was in line with what free agent to be bats have been the past several deadlines. The Cubs parted with two pitching prospects and neither was named Adbert Alzolay or Brailyn Marquez. Alex Lange and Paul Richan were the cost to add a talented, 27 year old right handed bat to the lineup. To make room for Castellanos on the 40 man roster, Oscar de la Cruz was designated for assignment.
Castellanos has been having a solid but not spectacular season. He certainly did not build upon the breakout success he showed in 2018. The defensive challenged right fielder has seen a 25 point drop in batting average and on base percentage from the career high’s last year. His slugging has also declined by 38 points. Castellanos does not like to hit at his old home ballpark and the Cubs centerfield and power alleys are certainly far more friendly than the Tigers park.
Castellanos on Comerica National Park:
“This park is a joke. It’s to the point where how are we going to be compared to the rest of the league for power numbers, OPS, slugging and all this stuff when we got a yard out here that’s 420 feet straight across to center field”
— Chris McCosky (@cmccosky) July 21, 2019
Castellanos’ 2018-19 batted balls at Comerica.
Compare that to if those balls were in Yankee Stadium. pic.twitter.com/Vt1gpe4xd7
— Nick Gerli (@nickgerliPL) July 24, 2019
Just a wild guess: Nicholas Castellanos probably isn’t leading the league in doubles because of Comerica’s deep centerfield considering he’s only hit two doubles there this year. pic.twitter.com/migEOCKdYA
— Dan Szymborski (@DSzymborski) July 23, 2019
So there is some hope that a move out of the cavernous Comerica might help boost Castellanos power, and the Cubs really are not counting on Castellanos to be a difference maker. The Cubs need a player who can help them crush lefties and deepen the lineup. Castellanos’ bat should do both of those things. Those numbers aren’t a surprise as many variations of this information is available.
Castellanos has hit .347/.415/.611 in 82 PA vs. left-handed pitching this season. Doesn’t profile great defensively, but definitely helps with the vs-LHP component (92 wRC+ as a team in ’19).
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) July 31, 2019
So if Castellanos just remains what he has been this season as a monster lefty masher then it presents a huge upgrade to the lineup. And if you allow yourself to dream about short season matchups after last night’s game, then it is pretty easy to see the matchup problems Castellanos could create for the teams likely in their path. However, there is one set of numbers that I think has been largely ignored. And that is the RISP numbers. I have long argued that these are more often statistical noise than any indicator of skill, but if you believe there is a large component of skill to the statistic then Castellanos should be an exciting bat. His career slash line is .298/.363//503 in RISP situations.
Again if the goal was to completely remake the offense like the bullpen, then this deadline was a failure, but there was no legitimate way to completely revamp this lineup on the fly. Any legitimate leadoff hitter option was not truly available to the Cubs. But the Cubs nabbed several interesting players who made the edges of the roster better while saving what amounts to loose change to MLB teams. The Cubs were able to pile that loose change together to land Castellanos, and my guess is that is largely the reason why the deal came together now famously late.
Al Avila said on TV that the Nick Castellanos trade was done 40 seconds before the deadline.
On a conference call with reporters, he said it was 42 seconds.
So we’ll stick with 3:59 p.m.
— Evan Woodbery (@evanwoodbery) July 31, 2019
The cost seems in line with bats with no team control beyond the season. The price has not been top tier prospects, but rather interesting projects for a team to take a chance on. Here is Michael’s evaluation of the two former high draft picks who were shipped out for Castellanos.
The Cubs dealt away a trio of high draft picks at the deadline.
The biggest name is 2017 1st round pick <strong>Alex Lange</strong>. A right hander out of LSU, Lange came with a long track record of success against top college competition and curve ball that many draft analysts viewed among the best in his class. His inconsistent command due to a violent delivery and the lack of a third pitch drew relief pitcher concerns from some circles at the time. Lange would develop a solid changeup in his first full season last year, but it was unfortunately teamed with a diminishing of his fastball as his velocity dipped into the high-80s for most the season. It would recover into the low-90s in 2019, but he has yet to develop the command necessary to succeed with such an average fastball. He may require another bump in velo from a move to the pen to carve out a MLB role at this point.
The biggest loss of the day is likely to 2018 supplemental 2nd rounder <strong>Paul Richan</strong>. The righty also features a 91-94 mph fastball, but already shows good glove side command of the pitch and the ability to move it up and down in the zone against both right and left-handed batters. His slider is a solid 2nd offering and his curve shows some flashes of being a usable 3rd. So far, his changeup has remained fringy. With a bit of refinement on his arm side command as well as the curve Richan could develop into a reliable back of the rotation starter at the big league level, and if not his fastball/slider combo should play well in the pen.