Another trade deadline has come and passed and this year was one of the most active deadlines that we have seen in recent years. The Chicago Cubs were not as active as some teams leading up to the deadline, but they were able to strike a deal. The Cubs traded utility man Emilio Bonifacio as well as left-handed reliever James Russell to the Atlanta Braves for minor league catching prospect Victor Caratini.
Although the Cubs did not trade much, as fans we all know that the team made their big splash of the summer on Independence day when they traded away both Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. After a very active deadline which saw David Price go from the Tampa Bay Rays to the Detroit Tigers, I think it is safe to say the Cubs were deadline winners.
Yesterday saw one of the best starting pitchers in all of baseball change teams and many people around baseball are questioning the return that the Rays got for Price. The Rays acquired Drew Smyly, Nick Franklin and a very young prospect in Willy Adames. Although Adames is highly touted by baseball insiders, in comparison to the return the Cubs got for Samardzija and Hammel I would say the Cubs came out with a better haul. Neither Samardzija or Hammel are anywhere near the caliber of pitcher that Price is, yet the Cubs seemed to get more value in return for them. Of course, it is very difficult to judge trades when they initially happen especially when they involve prospects because they may not make an impact on a major league roster for years. With that being said, I would still argue that the potential that the Cubs got in return for Samardzija and Hammel is greater than what the Rays were able to acquire.
The Cubs were able to trade their two best assets well before the deadline when their value was at its highest and acquired one of the best young prospects in all of baseball in shortstop Addison Russell. Along with Russell, the Cubs also acquired the Oakland A’s second best prospect, outfielder Billy McKinney and a young starting pitcher with major league experience, Dan Straily.
With the Samardzija and Hammel trade alone, I would classify that as a win for the Cubs, but yesterday the acquisition of Caratini just solidified the trading season and made it that much better. One of the weaker organizational positions for the Cubs is catcher. The Cubs were thought to have solved that problem by drafting Kyle Schwarber fourth overall this year, but many baseball insiders believe he will end up in the outfield. Thus acquiring Caratini gives the Cubs a solid catching prospect that can stick behind the plate and address one of the biggest areas of need.
Before the Cubs made the trades that they did, they had one of the top ranked farm systems in all of baseball. Now after they have made trades, they have the top farm system in baseball according to Keith Law. This is what the front office set out to do and they have accomplished one of their goals. The Cubs may not be winning games at the major league level, but the talent is coming and it is coming quickly thanks in part to another trade deadline in which the Cubs have come out as winners.