Bryant on his way to the SF bay
The final big trade went down. The Cubs shipped former MVP Kris Bryant to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for toolsy outfielder Alexander Canario and RHSP Caleb Kilian.
On the surface, this doesn’t appear to be a great haul. Canario has modest numbers as a 21-year old in High-A and while Kilian has fantastic numbers in AA this year, he isn’t highly rated on any major publications. But I’m guessing there is more than meets the eye here.
I can say that Canario has very good bat speed, and like most young guys, making a jump to full season ball after the 2020 layoff can be tough. Looks like he got off to a slow start but has been digging himself out of it lately. I’ve liked the small amount of video I’ve seen of him.
The wildcard appears to Kilian. I’m not familiar with him at all. He’s a little older for AA, but due to 2020 layoff, that isn’t unusual this year. He’s put up fantastic numbers, compiling solid GB and K rates, while posting a tiny walk rate (96 K, 9 BB in 84.2 IP). I’ve also seen reports he’s a velocity popup guy who went from being low-90s in 2019 all the way up to touching 95+ in 2021.
I’ll need to watch a bunch of video on him tomorrow, but I suspect he is a bigger piece in the Cubs’ eye than you might expect from reading online scouting reports.
An emotional Kris Bryant after learning the Cubs traded him: pic.twitter.com/Ld9P6mx5Dw— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) July 30, 2021
Kimbrel to Southside
The Cubs pulled off their first big blockbuster of the day. Craig Kimbrel is arguably their biggest trade chip of the deadline, and they have now cashed him in prior to the deadline. The best closer in baseball returned a pair of young MLB players, both in their pre-arbitration years (assets that are in higher demand now than they have ever been).
The big name among the two is former 4th overall pick 2B Nick Madrigal. Out for the season with a torn hamstring which required surgery in June, Madrigal is perhaps the elite young contact hitter in baseball. For those screaming for the Cubs to find a top of the order player who puts the ball in play, the Cubs now have another option for the future outside of Nico Hoerner. He put up phenomenal numbers at Oregon State, and then since finding his groove in AA back in 2019 his numbers have looked:
- 2019 AA: 42 G, 2.8 K%, .341/.400/.451
- 2019 AAA: 29 G, 3.7 K%, .331/.398/.424
- 2020 MLB: 29 G, 6.4 K%, .340/.376/.369
- 2021 MLB: 54 G, 7.9 K%, .305/.349/.425
Madrigal will turn 25 next spring, with one year of pre-arbitration in 2022, and then provides four arbitration seasons before becoming a free agent prior to the 2027 season.
His ability at 2B is nothing special, but is not considered a liability. Madrigal is strictly a 2B, but given Hoerner’s versatility to play SS and potential other positions, this provides the Cubs with coverage in case Javier Báez is traded or leaves via free agency.
Codi Heuer adds to the Cubs stable of hard throwing relievers. He averages around 97 mph on his fastball, and compliments it with a high-80s change and slider. After recording a 1.52 ERA in the shortened 2020 season for the White Sox, he’s fallen off a bit this year, with a 5.12 ERA, but he’s been a little unlucky giving up home runs this year (where as he was a bit fortunate in 2020). His true talent likely lands somewhere in the middle and he should give the Cubs a solid setup option in the coming years. Heuer also has one year remaining before arbitration, but he will reach free agency one year before Madrigal.
Javy (and Williams) headed to Mets for Crow-Armstrong
Source confirms: Báez and Trevor Williams to Mets, pending medical review. First with Báez: @feinsand.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 30, 2021
Cubs land 2020 19th overall pick Pete Crow-Armstrong.— Michael Ernst (@mj_ernst) July 30, 2021
Speedy centerfielder with a good hit tool. Potential leadoff hitter down the road. Only 19 years old. Currently out for the year after surgery on a torn labrum suffered 6 games into this season (his pro debut).
You can check out what I thought of Pete Crow-Armstrong last year in my 2020 draft preview.
I should clarify, his labrum injury was suffered on his non-throwing shoulder.
Marisnick to San Diego
Cubs made a minor trade as well, sending backup outfielder Jack Marisnick to the Padres in exchange for former top 100 prospect Anderson Espinoza. Back in 2015-16 Espinoza was a big time starting pitcher prospect. Two Tommy John surgeries caused him to miss all of 2017, 2018, and 2019. He of course did not pitch in 2020 either. The 23-year old has returned to the mound this season in High-A. His numbers don’t look great, but given the long layoff for him maybe the Cubs are hoping part of this is rust. I assume he can’t be considered anything but a lottery ticket at this point, but hey, this is Jake Marisnick trade, that’s kind of what you expect.
Espinoza has been on a nice run of late: pic.twitter.com/4nIbNgUMSy— Brad (@ballskwok) July 30, 2021
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