This is a Guest Post by John Guminski. He’s a Junior at the University of Missouri majoring in Journalism.
Catcher Geovany Soto to the Texas Rangers for RHP Jacob Brigham
Steve Clevenger and Welington Castillo provided plenty of depth at the catcher’s position behind incumbent Geovany Soto entering the 2012 season.
Soto’s season long struggles at the plate, in addition to being the oldest and more expensive backstop, was also a deciding factor in shipping him to Arlington.
In return the Cubs receive Double-A right-hander Jacob Brigham. His fastball sits at 91-93 with an average curve and change. Brigham could fit into a middle relief role down the road.
Paul Maholm & Reed Johnson to Braves for pitchers Arodys Vizcaino & Jaye Chapman
This a classic example of buy low and sell high that has worked for the Cubs to bolster their farm system. Maholm’s sensational pitching of late seemed to considerably raise his trade value towards the deadline.
Johnson has been as steady as ever off the bench. His 13 pinch-hits are tied for the most in the majors and most importantly, he’s stayed healthy this season. Reed’s versatility defensively is also a plus, especially in the NL as a guy who does well spot-starting or coming in off the bench mid-game.
The return pieces for the Cubs are quite intriguing. Although Arodys Vizcaino is out for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in March, he was a top 3 prospect in a very deep Braves organization a year ago.
The Braves rushed him along last season and had slotted him into a relief role with the big club before his injury. He features a high 90’s fastball and an excellent curve with fantastic control.
If he doesn’t have the durability to continue as a starter, he certainly has the stuff to replace Carlos Marmol at closer.
Jaye Chapman is a 25-year-old reliever in Triple-A. He’s striking out 10.1 per 9 on his with a 3.52 ERA. He projects to be a middle reliever with an upside to be an impact player.
Ryan Dempster to Rangers for RHP Kyle Hendricks and 3B Christian Villanueva
The final deal was the most expected, although Texas ended up somewhat of a surprise destination for the 35-year-old Dempster.
Christian Villanueva was the only hitter acquired at the deadline by the Cubs. Seen as a sleeper around many scouts, he sports an above-average glove while hitting .285 with 10 home runs in advanced A-ball.
Right-hander Kyle Hendricks, throwing in the high 80’s, relies on his cutter and curveball as out pitches. He’s more of a throw-in to the deal, but projects as back end starter material.
Theo and Jed concentrated their efforts to fill the need for pitching depth in the Cubs minor league system. The pair could also further increase the returns later this month with a deal for Soriano, who’s willing to waive his no-trade right to join a contender once he likely passes through waivers.
Matt Garza’s unfortunate injury, fluid build-up on his right triceps, appeared to kill the lack of interest from potential suitors at the deadline.
It appeared the Cubs had every intention of dealing Garza, but doing so will be on hold until the offseason as Garza is not an August trade candidate (no way he’ll get through waivers).
It remains to be seen whether or not the Cubs will reconsider offering Garza the long-term contract he so desires.
All things considered, the Cubs trade deadline deals were a good step in the right direction towards the massive rebuilding project.