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Bruce Levine, who first reported the trade talks between the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds centering on Sean Marshall and Travis Wood, now says the deal – which includes two prospects coming the Cubs’ way – is done, pending a physical of the four players involved.

Levine isn’t sure when the deal will be formally announced, or when the names of the other players involved will be named. Obviously we’ll have more on the deal when it’s finalized, and on the prospects when they’re named. They’re pretty much the swing pieces that could take this deal from “just ok” to “pretty great.”

Here are my thoughts on Wood and on dealing Marshall from earlier today. The short version on Wood and Marshall, specifically:

Marshall, as discussed yesterday, is a free agent after this year, in which he’ll make just over $3 million. For one of the clear best relievers in the game, he’s a bargain. That he should net the Cubs a very good return goes without saying. And, to be fair, given his role and contract situation, trading him doesn’t necessary signal an imminent dive bomb into the 2012 season.

As for the return on Marshall, Wood makes an interesting centerpiece. A lefty with just one year of service time, Wood debuted in 2010, and put up a 116 ERA+ in a half season at age 23. He had a 3.51 ERA and a strikingly good 1.081 WHIP that year, with a 3.31 K/BB ratio. He couldn’t keep it up in 2011, though. In another half year, his ERA ballooned to 4.84, his WHIP to 1.491, his walk rate went up, and his K rate went down. The Reds’ trade for Mat Latos this weekend made Wood expendable, if he was even going to crack the rotation at all in 2012.

Drafted by the Reds in 2005 in the second round out of high school, Wood, who will turn 25 in February, was a consistently good minor league pitcher as he worked his way through the Reds’ system. Until his 2011 hiccup – not only did he regress in his time in the big leagues, he struggled at AAA – Wood had the look of the kind of pitching prospect you’d be thrilled to get for Sean Marshall. In that regard, he certainly makes sense as a “buy low” candidate for Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer. The kind of player they say they like to target.

  • Smitty

    So has anything leaked about the two prospect coming along in this Marshall deal?

    • Kansas Cubs Fan

      I haven’t seen any real solid names. But keep an eye on Twitter because it will be talked about a lot today.

  • bob

    The thought of building from within is something that should have been done for years. Think about how many good, starting quality players the Cubs system has developed over the years that wilted under the pressure of being the “savior” because they were the only prospect in the system. Corey patterson, felix pie, tyler colvin, on back to kevin orie and the endless parade of third basemen before ramirez…if they were surrounded by others instead of given the unrealistic burden of turning around the team by themself many of them could have become very useful pieces on a series of good teams. The combined over-hype (because they were the only one worthy of ANY hype) and unrealistic expectations we Cub fans put on them have crushed a lot of promising careers.

    • Kyle

      A lot of those guys just weren’t very good prospects.

      Corey Patterson was legit, and he did give us a couple of decent years in CF, so I don’t really consider him a complete bust.

      Felix Pie was a legit disappointment. That guy’s minor league performance showed real potential.

      Kevin Orie was way overhyped. He had one decent minor league season, his age 23 season at AA. He struggled a lot in the minors, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that he couldn’t cut it in the majors.

      Tyler Colvin sucks. He sucked in the minors. Then had one miracle, fluky-hot season in the bigs. Then he went back to being exactly what his sucky minor league performance predicted he would be.

      It’s not like the Cubs have never tried to build from within. It was a major point of emphasis throughout the MacPhail regime including Hendry’s early years. They just sucked at it.

  • Trueblue

    The list of quality free agents will be very thin for several years. That is why you need to grab the ones that fit into the rebuild mode of being talented and young. Acquiring prospects does not make your farm system good. It is the capability to develop and train prospects in your system to help them become better players. We are in phase one of rebuilding: Which is committing to our minor league system and hiring the management pieces to oversee it. Phase two would include developing that plan and hiring the personnel to run that plan at each level. This will take 2-3 years to get into place. Our player development is not very good at the moment. This is where my frustration lies with the Cubs right now and I think it is a mistake not to go after a few of the free agents that you can build around. Fielder is still out there. If there is anyway to sign him to a 5-7 year deal the Cubs really need a player of his talent to help with our rebuilding process. I am not asking for miracles and have the Cubs win 100 games next year. But I do want to see continued improvement at the big league level. Putting a team that can get to .500 next year is an obtainable goal with a strong nucelus and a developing farm system would excite me. Trading our valuable players so our minor league teams are good does not excite me.

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