Monday, December 4, 2023
HomeBaseballFinest Latest Commerce Deadline Rental Returns: Cubs Hearth Sale

Finest Latest Commerce Deadline Rental Returns: Cubs Hearth Sale

With the commerce deadline now lower than two months away, we at MLBTR are setting our sights backwards for a bit to spotlight previous trades of rental gamers to offer a free guideline of what kind of returns followers can anticipate with their groups’ present rental gamers. With an arbitrary cutoff level of 2017-21, we’re counting down the highest 10 returns {that a} staff obtained when promoting a rental participant. We’ve already revealed some honorable mentions in addition to entries No. 10, No. 9, No. 8 and No. 7. For those who disagree with our rankings, tell us! It’s all a part of the subjective enjoyable! Onto No. 6…

The 2021 season marked a turning level in Cubs franchise historical past. Half a decade had elapsed because the staff’s curse-breaking 2016 World Collection run. The “dynasty” chatter that adopted that seven-game victory over Cleveland by no means actually manifested into actuality. Chicago was a perennial contender, however that vaunted Cubs core by no means reached the World Collection once more and solely gained one sport past the Nationwide League Division Collection earlier than the group was immediately nearing the top of its time collectively.

Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, Willson Contreras, Kyle Schwarber, Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta and Kyle Hendricks was a sensational group of expertise round which to construct, however Hendricks was the one one of many bunch to place pen to paper on an extension. The group continued inching nearer to free company, and as Lester and Arrieta declined of their latter years in Chicago, among the shine wore off. The Cubs have been staff, however yr after yr, the season ended with now-former president of baseball operations Theo Epstein making related feedback about how the “offense broke” or one thing else went mistaken.

Following a 2020 season that noticed the Cubs swept out of a three-game Wild Card collection in opposition to the Marlins within the expanded playoff format, Epstein stepped down from his position as president and turned baseball autonomy over to Jed Hoyer. It was baptism by hearth in each sense of the cliche, as Hoyer confronted a collection of unenviable choices, starting with Schwarber. Recent off a .188/.308/.393 exhibiting in 244 plate appearances in 2020, Schwarber was non-tendered relatively than supplied a increase heading into his ultimate yr of arbitration. Not 4 weeks later, Yu Darvish was traded to the Padres in a salary-motivated deal that has thus far produced only one prospect of any observe (Owen Caissie).

Choice time was solely simply starting for Hoyer and his employees. The Cubs would want to find out learn how to proceed with the trio of Bryant, Rizzo and Baez, every of whom have been slated to change into free brokers following the 2021 season. Prior extension talks had by no means resulted in a deal — although Baez was reportedly fairly near signing earlier than baseball grinded to a halt with the Covid pandemic in 2020. Chicago made one ultimate effort to increase Rizzo that spring, however he spurned their five-year, $70MM provide (and has since banked three years and $56MM in assured cash with the Yankees).

The Cubs might’ve traded any of the bunch that offseason, and Bryant’s identify specifically echoed all through the rumor mill as a lot because it ever had. In the end, all three stayed put, and thus the following narratives that may dominate the 2021 Cubs season have been set into movement. Would any of Bryant, Baez or Rizzo keep? Was the core lastly breaking apart? Was this the staff’s final likelihood?

The lackluster offseason headlined by buying and selling the prior season’s Cy Younger runner-up ought to’ve answered that ultimate query by itself, however the Cubs shocked loads of onlookers by not solely fielding a aggressive staff however vying for first place within the division for a lot of the primary few months. As late into the season as June 24, the Cubs have been eight video games over .500 and in a first-place tie for the NL Central lead with the Brewers.

A subsequent 11-game dropping streak — the primary of two 11-game dropping streaks for that yr’s Cubs — eliminated all doubt, nonetheless. By July 8, the Cubs have been beneath .500, and the surging Brewers had remained scorching. They held a 9.5-game lead over the second-place Reds, with Chicago and St. Louis tied for third within the division. The fireplace sale was coming, and nearly everybody knew it.

Rizzo was the primary to go. A July 29 deal despatched him to the Yankees in trade for 19-year-old outfielder Kevin Alcantara and 24-year-old righty Alexander Vizcaino. A day later, Baez was following Rizzo out of Wrigley. Traded alongside right-hander Trevor Williams, Baez went to the Mets in trade for 19-year-old outfielder Pete Crow-Armstrong. For the subsequent 24 hours, there have been severe questions on whether or not a commerce for Bryant would finally come collectively, however in a buzzer-beating deal, Bryant was shipped to the Giants in trade for 21-year-old outfielder Alexander Canario and 24-year-old righty Caleb Kilian.

You may maybe name the inclusion of Baez dishonest somewhat bit for the needs of this collection, as a result of Williams’ inclusion meant it wasn’t *technically* a rental. The Mets acquired two months of management over Baez and a year-plus of Williams on this swap. That further yr of management over Williams certainly factored into the choice to half with Crow-Armstrong to an extent, however this was a commerce about buying Baez at the beginning. Baez caught hearth down the stretch for the Mets, too, posting an enormous .299/.371/.515 slash in 186 plate appearances. The Mets nonetheless missed postseason, nonetheless, and the commerce certainly stings when taking a look at what’s change into of the participant they surrendered.

Quick ahead lower than two years, and “PCA” is thought to be one of many sport’s prime outfield prospects. He’s ranked inside the top-30 total prospects within the sport on the newest lists Baseball America,, FanGraphs and Keith Regulation of The Athletic. ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel has the “low” rating on Crow-Armstrong… at No. 39 within the sport. Considered plus-plus defender in middle subject with plus velocity, Crow-Armstrong has opened the season with a .278/.345/.513 exhibiting in Double-A (131 wRC+). He’s knocked eight homers, seven doubles and three of triples whereas going 13-for-17 in steals.

Clearly, the Cubs haven’t but gotten any huge league worth out of Crow-Armstrong, however it’s uncommon for a staff to accumulate a prospect in trade for a rental and see him virtually instantly ascend to the purpose that he’s thought to be one of many prime 15 to 30 prospects in all of baseball. If the Cubs wished to take action — they certainly don’t, to be clear — they might use Crow-Armstrong as a headline piece to accumulate nearly any controllable veteran who hits the market this summer time or subsequent offseason. The likelier path for PCA is that he’ll be given each alternative to change into a franchise middle fielder for a still-retooling Cubs membership.

There’s no nitpicking with the opposite two swaps on this three-for-one entry. Rizzo and Bryant have been shipped out as two-month mercenaries in trade for a quartet of prospects, though Rizzo took to the Bronx fairly properly and is now locked in as a Yankee by the 2024 season. There was lots for the Yankees to love, as Rizzo hit .249/.340/.428 (113 wRC+) down the stretch, swatting eight homers and 7 postseason doubles earlier than tacking on one other dinger in that yr’s Wild Card loss to the Pink Sox. In elements of three seasons as a Yankee, Rizzo is a .245/.344/.468 hitter with 51 house runs.

I doubt the Yankees remorse making this swap, however it’s labored out properly for the Cubs as effectively. Alcantara, now 20 years outdated, isn’t as extremely thought to be Crow-Armstrong, however he entered the season ranked No. 91 on Baseball America’s High 100 prospect rankings. He’s dropped off that record after a sluggish begin in Excessive-A (.250/.281/.389), however he nonetheless sits at No. 75 at FanGraphs and is usually a really effectively regarded prospect.

It’s value making an allowance for that these pedestrian Excessive-A numbers have been posted in opposition to competitors that’s, on common, almost two and a half years older than Alcantara. The towering 6’6″ toolbox can be only a season faraway from a a lot heartier .273/.360/.451 exhibiting in Class-A, the place he was almost two years youthful than the league’s common participant. He’s a methods off, however like Crow-Armstrong, Alcantara has considerably elevated his inventory since that 2021 commerce. If the Cubs have been so inclined, he too may very well be a big piece in any potential deadline commerce for controllable huge league assist. That’s not prone to occur — granted, it’s a bit extra believable with Alcantara than with Crow-Armstrong — however Alcantara has change into a fairly high-profile prospect.

That’s not the case with the now-26-year-old Vizcaino, although the circumstances surrounding his departure from baseball stay unclear. The Cubs positioned Vizcaino on the restricted record in 2022  after he didn’t report back to spring coaching. He spent all the yr on the restricted record. The Cubs non-tendered him final offseason, and he didn’t signal with one other staff. Particulars surrounding Vizcaino’s abrupt departure from the sport are principally nonexistent. The plain hope is that he’s completely satisfied and wholesome wherever he’s at, however it’s a disappointing end result for the Cubs.

As for the third and ultimate chapter of this deadline trio, Bryant proved an necessary pickup for the Giants. True, San Francisco would’ve made the postseason regardless, evidenced by their MLB-best 107 wins that season, however they edged out the division-rival Dodgers for that NL West crown by a margin of only one sport. Bryant’s strong .262/.344/.444 slash could not have been according to his peak kind, however he contributed a significant presence within the Giants’ lineup down the stretch. They’d go on to fall to those self same Dodgers within the Nationwide League Division Collection, however not by any fault of Bryant’s. He delivered an 8-for-17 efficiency within the NLDS, including a homer and a stroll with solely three strikeouts in 18 complete journeys to the plate.

Not like with the opposite two trades, Cubs followers have at the least gotten a take a look at one ingredient of this return, though the now-26-year-old Kilian’s huge league work thus far hasn’t been fairly. The 6’4″ righty continues to be broadly thought to be one of many group’s finest pitching prospects, however he’s been tagged for 20 earned runs in 14 2/3 innings by a pair of very restricted auditions. He’s pitched 148 Triple-A innings as a starter over the previous two seasons, logging a 4.32 ERA with a 24.2% strikeout fee in opposition to an 11.1% stroll fee.

Command wasn’t a difficulty for him previous to reaching Triple-A, however he struggled with walks final yr. It’s encouraging that he’s walked simply 6.8% of his opponents over his previous seven Triple-A begins, pitching to a 3.09 ERA alongside the way in which, however Kilian has additionally plunked six hitters in that point so he’s not out of the woods together with his shaky location simply but. He’s within the combine to return up and make some begins this yr nonetheless, and relying on how he fares, Kilian may very well be a candidate for a rotation spot both later this season or in 2024.

As for Canario, he completed second amongst all minor leaguers with 37 house runs in 2022 and hit .252/.343/.556 throughout Excessive-A, Double-A and Triple-A. He added 23 steals (in 26 tries) and walked at an 11% clip, although his 27.5% strikeout fee was extra regarding. Baseball America calls him a possible low-average slugger with loads of walks, above-average velocity and above-average protection in proper subject. He hasn’t but gotten an opportunity to construct on final yr’s breakout, as he dislocated his shoulder whereas taking part in within the Dominican Winter League.

We’re simply shy of two years faraway from the Cubs’ deadline hearth sale, and whereas it’s nonetheless early to grade the general energy of their return, issues are wanting promising. To commerce three rental gamers and are available away with a pair of top-100 prospects — together with one who’s broadly ranked within the prime 25 — in addition to a near-MLB beginning pitcher and a strikeout-prone however prodigious slugging outfielder with energy, velocity and defensive upside is objectively spectacular.

On the one hand, it’s a testomony to the caliber of the gamers the Cubs have been buying and selling, however not all trades of star gamers lead to one of these return. The Orioles have nonetheless barely gotten something from the Manny Machado commerce almost 5 years after its completion. The Rangers’ commerce of Darvish to the Dodgers netted them one rapid prime prospect, however two years after the deal that prospect (Willie Calhoun) was already wanting like a questionable huge leaguer.

The tail-end of the event part for the prospects acquired right here — significantly Crow-Armstrong — will outline this collection of trades. However 4 of the 5 prospects acquired on this slate of trades have enhanced their inventory since becoming a member of the Cubs, who now have a handful of near-MLB-ready expertise and/or commerce chips to indicate for parting with a trio of in style veterans. The 2021 commerce deadline was a darkish few days for Cubs followers, however there’s likelihood it’ll wind up resulting in some brighter occasions forward.

Photos courtesy of USA In the present day Sports activities.



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