The Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres have agreed on a deal that will send first baseman Anthony Rizzo and right handed pitcher Zach Cates to Chicago in exchange for right handed pitcher Andrew Cashner and outfielder Kyung-Min Na moving to San Diego.

So, I guess that pretty much sums up how much stock Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer put in Bryan LaHair’s .443 wOBA at Triple A last year. It’s also likely telling of how much Hoyer loves him some Rizzo, as this will be the third time an organization that he’s been a part of has acquired the first base prospect.

We probably should have seen this deal getting done ahead of time. With the Padres acquiring Yonder Alonso in the Mat Latos trade, Rizzo, whom I kind of see as the better option anyway, was immediately expendable. The Cubs didn’t have anyone at first base this coming season, and for all the speculation about Prince Fielder, Chicago acquiring him didn’t seem like a proper fit given the supposed direction that the team under a new front office would be taking.

The jewel of the Padres return in the deal is Andrew Cashner, who throws a mid nineties fastball and could potentially be stretched out as a starter, but for now is likely to be a big league reliever.

I’m pretty sure I’m more fond of Rizzo and less fond of Alonzo than most, so if we combine the two deals involving both players together, I’d call it a loss for the Padres. However, given the question marks surrounding Rizzo’s batting skills, Cashner seems like a fair exchange. The caveat that comes with those questions is that Rizzo is only 22 years old and was facing Major League pitching for the first time last year.

Updates

Both GMs involved in the deal have spoken with the press. Here is what they’ve said:

  • Cashner will be in the bullpen for 2012, possibly as the set up man.
  • Rizzo will start the year at Triple A, with LaHair as the starting first baseman on the big league club.
  • Hoyer saw Cashner as a reliever only and Rizzo as future everyday player.
  • Byrnes admits acquisition of Alonso made Rizzo expendable.