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— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
Cubs - Signed Bradley, Miles, Traded DeRosa, Marquis
Chicago Cubs - Signed OF Milton Bradley and 2B Aaron Miles, traded 2B Mark DeRosa to the Cleveland Indians for P Jeff Stevens, P Chris Archer, and P John Gaub; traded P Jason Marquis to the Colorado Rockies for P Luis Vizcaino.
I actually had most of this transaction already written up, but it took forever for any kind of dollar figures and contract length for Bradley to leak through. This was apparently agreed to a few weeks ago, but I guess the contract needed to be signed in Nephilim blood or Bradley demanded a mighty galleon low in the water laden with silks and spices from the Orient as a signing bonus. The moves do have to go together, because given the Cubs outlook, this is essentially a single, complicated, transaction.
Looks like it’s a 3-year contract worth $30 million for Bradley. A little pricey given what we know about the market for non-elite hitters without a lot of defensive value this offseason (Bradley’s more athletic than the others, but he’s also shown to get injured quickly when displaying athleticism!), but it’s still a fair contract. Injured or not, the chance to sign a player coming off a season of MVP-caliber play for $10 million per doesn’t come up all that often. He won’t have a 163 OPS+ again, but he’ll hit well if he’s healthy and the Cubs will soldier through when he’s not.
The Cubs are around what they would like to invest in the 2009 team, no doubt looking at the rest of the division and seeing that any additional investment would probably have marginal returns, so might as well not risk it in a poor economic year. So signing Bradley necessitated trading DeRosa and Marquis, the most expendable assets. DeRosa’s still a good player and will prove a decent stopgap for the Indians (this move will cause the Carthaginian and the Poor Speller to remain at second and short respectively) but one of the benefits of having eleventy-jillion second basemen on the roster is that you can actually trade some. It’s too bad that the Cubs can’t simply surreptitiously acquire Jarrett Hoffpauir and play some funny business with Micah at the plate and Jarrett playing second base, as Micah is a lot bigger than Jarrett and I don’t think technology has advanced far enough that Voltronization of Hoffpauirs is a possible solution. So the Cubs will have Mike Fontenot and Aaron Miles split the job most likely, with Fontenot being good and Miles having a good-enough empty batting average not to be completely awful.
Marquis isn’t as bad as some statheads think, being a useful 4th starter with a decent health record, but not as good as some casual Cubs fans think, Marquis not being all that good, so while he has some use, with Sean Marshall not traded for Jake Peavy and Chad Gaudin hanging around, the team has rotation replacements. With Luis Vizcaino coming in, I suspect Mike Wuertz will be in a different uniform this season. The Rockies now look to have a Francis-Cook-Jimenez-Marquis-Smith rotation, which will be bland and mediocre as the team heads to another season of being a middle-of-the-pack team in a bad division.
Jeff Stevens is the most polished player picked up in the DeRosa trade. He’s got a good fastball, middling command, and probably could contribute to the Cubs in the next few years if the bullpen had real open spots. Gaub has an excellent fastball and is a player to watch, but he’s yet to pitch above the Sally League and was quite old for his competition and the Cubs will need to promote him aggressively to really gauge where he’s at. Chris Archer’s more of a project given some pretty lackluster control.
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