Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cubs Make a Move for a Lefty, Done For Now?

A day after I wrote up about the Chicago Cubs looking for a lefty out of the pen, the Cubs finally swung a deal with their frequent trade partners the Pittsburgh Pirates and snagged John Grabow and Tom Gorzelanny in exchange for RHP Kevin Hart, RHP Jose Ascanio and 2B Josh Harrison.

The good news is the Cubs didn't give up a lot in the deal for Grabow. Sure, they gave up a starter at a time when they kind of need them, especially with Ryan Dempster not having a great return to the rotation this past Tuesday and Ted Lily on the DL. But Ascanio is projected to be a MR at best in the big leagues. Harrison was 6th round pick in 2008, and has progressed to High A Daytona before being included in this deal. He does have some speed, but hasn't walked much yet in his baseball career.

Grabow will instantly show up in the Cubs bullpen, probably tomorrow while Gorzelanny will report to AAA Iowa. But that brings up an interesting question. If Gorzelanny is heading towards Iowa, who's going to start for the Cubs on Tuesday of next week? Sure, they can call him back up by then since the 10-day demotion rule doesn't apply to him since he was already with the Pirates AAA affiliate. But if not him, does that mean that Sean Marshall will be taken back out of the pen and inserted into the rotation, leaving Grabow as the only lefty in the pen, the reason why this trade was made in the first place? And is Gorzelanny the best option left in AAA to make that Tuesday start?

Gorzelanny, an Evergreen Park, IL native must be happy to come home and be able to pitch for a hometown team, though I suspect he was more a White Sox than a Cubs fan and was in fact drafted by the White Sox in 2000, but didn't sign. But since his good 2007 season where he finished 14-10 with a 3.88 ERA, he's had some major control problems in the majors, walking 74 batters in 114 innings. He's pitched much better than that in AAA in 2009, there is a significant jump in talent from AAA to the majors. Unfortunately, it's either him or Marshall on Tuesday and I don't want them to take Marshall's bullpen ERA of 1.25 to go anywhere but where he's been.

As far as any more deals, there doesn't seem to be any rumblings of the Cubs going after anyone else. They can use some help at secondbase, but with Freddy Sanchez already moved to the San Francisco Giants, there doesn't seem to be much of an option out there. Sure, Brian Roberts of the Baltimore Orioles always seems to have his name thrown around in trade discussions, but there doesn't seem to be any indication as to whether the Orioles are entertaining offers for him. A curious name that I was surprised to see shopped briefly was Carl Crawford from he Tampa Bay Rays. Presumably the only reason why the Rays would need to move him would be to free up money for a Roy Halladay deal, but with Crawford's deal up at the end of next season at the latest, or after this year if his option isn't picked up, he makes an intriguing possibility. Where to play him? Well, he's played mostly LF in his career and a few games in CF. But what about RF? There's been some rumblings that the Cubs might be looking for a left-handed hitter to platoon with Bradley in right, since Bradley's a much better hitter right-handed than left. Of course if the Cubs could pull off a Zito for Soriano deal, well he can play there too. But that one's not happening. But Crawford is an intriguing name. Mark Teahen of the Kansas City Royals is another name that's been thrown around for possible trades. Teahen is a poor man's Mark DeRosa, except bats from the left side of the plate. He's played 1B, 2B, 3B and RF all this season and has a .290/.344/.437 line so far this season. And under team control for 2010. He's a name I would love the see the Cubs go after to help solidify the 2B conundrum the Cubs have this season.

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