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.

Comments (33)

  1. So Fielder to the Nationals is that much closer.

  2. I’m not even convinced Rizzo will be good, but I feel like I would have traded one of our many pitching prospects for him if that is all it would take to make this deal. We need more bats in the system.

  3. I’ve never understood the love for Anthony Rizzo. Just another product of the Boston/NY prospect hype machine.

  4. I’ll defend the shit out of Rizzo. He was in the Majors last year at the age of 21.

    • Yes, but he shouldn’t have been.

      • Totally agree. But isn’t last year’s play with SD the source of most of his criticism? That’s why I say it’s unwarranted.

        • I agree with that, but he also has pretty poor strike zone judgement and has never put up spectacular numbers outside of the PCL. Also he does deserve the benefit of the doubt for being an underage player for the levels he’s played at.

          I’d personally take Alonso over him.

          • I wouldn’t say that about his strike zone judgment. High walk rate in Minors and only slightly worse than average at swinging at pitches outside the strike zone in his limited MLB time.

        • That was supposed to be “Although he does deserve the benefit of the doubt for being an underage player for the levels he’s played at.”

          not “Also”

        • I don’t know Parkes, I used to be pretty high on him but I think a lot of that really had to do with his monumental start to last season in the PCL – if you ignore is +1000 OPS in AAA last year he never broke 900 before that at any other level of the minors.

          I think he has potential but I’m not sure if he is ever going to be elite.

        • A walk rate of around 10% and striking out more than twice as many times isn’t really what I would want from my first baseman.

          He actually reminds be a lot of Adam Lind.

      • Didn’t he also deal with some major ailment like cancer or something that slowed his development? I thought I remembered hearing that. If “slowed” development is making it to the majors at 21, I’d be pretty high on him.

        • Holy shit. You’re right.

          Rizzo was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in May 2008 and was successfully treated with chemotherapy.

        • Minor league #’s (

          Lind:
          BB% – 8.8%
          K% – 16.7%

          Rizzo:
          BB% – 9.7%
          K% – 20.7%

          So Lind walked about 1% less and made contact 4% more often. In either case I don’t love those numbers at 1st base.

          • Good stuff. More similar than I would’ve thought.

          • If you look at rizzo though you see for the last 3 or 4 years he has consistently been around 10% walk rate. Lind’s minor league rates are all over the place at the upper levels. Again, i don’t think you can overlook how important it is is that Rizzo was accomplishing this at a younger age.

  5. Oh shit. Bowden just endorsed Rizzo. Never mind to everything I’ve written.

  6. Every time I see someone fill their hole at first base I smile

    I smile because the market for Prince is that much smaller.

    I would love for him to play in Toronto, but the next best thing is that Boras doesn’t get close to the contract he wanted and has to make excuses.

  7. Rizzo might be a sexy fantasy pickup at a CI slot… playing in the hitter friendly confines of Wrigley.

    The line drive numbers on the kid aren’t great, but surely a big guy with the ability to get the ball in the air will play quite nicely in the NL Central… I’d take a flyer on him late…

  8. here’s hoping the jays offer 5/125 with an opt-out after 2 and 3 years. boras gets aav he wants, fielder gets the chance for one more big pay day.

  9. @kylz
    We can all dislike boras as much as we want(or try to want) but the fact is that we like baseball players who have skills and for some reason dislike agents and owners who have skills. If I were a base all player, I’d ask boras to be my agent … And wait a few days for him to return the call. Problem is, there aren’t any blogs praising his skills.

    • Well so many teams have gotten burned by bad deals by signing his players that most fans see him as a threat to their team. That said, he is just a man who’s doing his job and does it well.

      Hearing that the Jays were inquiring about him (like they do with everyone) I’m curious what the Padres were wanting from the Jays? The Cubs didn’t really give up as much as I would expect for him so could the Jays theorectically have gotten him for say a Jesse Litch and Eric Thames? Or a Joel Carreno and a Darin Mastroianni?

      • I think Carreno and Moises Sierra is probably a more realistic comparison to what Chicago gave up for Toronto, that being said I probably would give that up for Rizzo.

    • I love Scott Boras…power to the players!

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