Today the Chicago Cubs made a minor move, dealing second base prospect Tony Thomas to the Boston Red Sox for relief prospect Robert Coello, who was recently designated for assignment. Coello will be added to the Cubs’ 40-man roster, and will compete for a spot in the bullpen this year. The move is a bit perplexing for a team ostensibly loaded with bullpen options, but Coello does have some solid stuff – outside of getting a cup of coffee in the bigs last year, 26-year-old Coello put up a combined 3.86 ERA at AA and AAA last year, with 130 strikeouts in just 107.1 innings, and held opposing hitters to a .209 average. He’s been a strikeout machine throughout his minor league career.
As for Thomas, he’s been a well-thought-of prospect since the Cubs took him in the third round in 2007, but had never really broken out – he usually fell outside of the team’s top 20 prospects. The Cubs weren’t really looking at him as the second baseman of the future, but he does have some upside. So, while he probably didn’t have a future on the Cubs outside of a utility role, it still seems a bit strange to move him for another reliever.