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.

  • Kyle

    As mentioned in the other thread, I really like this deal. Wood can probably hold a back of the rotation spot credibly at a cost-controlled price for the next five years, and he has upside to be better.

    Plus two prospects? That’s awesome. All for one year of a relief pitcher.

    But yeah, we just made a key division rival even stronger. We *really* aren’t trying in 2012 at all.

    • Brett

      Oh yes. That last point is spot on. It also suggests the Reds’ offer was the best by far.

    • cls

      We made them stronger for 2012 only. Who knows where Marshall will end up after that, and how much he will cost. We didn’t figure to be a major player in 2012, so I don’t see it as an issue.

      • Wilbur

        Agree totally

      • Mike Foster

        Ever notice how pitchers love to return to the Cubs? Who knows….in a year.

  • Hector

    Cubs are trading Sean Marshall for prospects to Cincinnati. I don’t like it but it’s get something for him now or let him leave through free agency 

  • MrCub73

    I really like this trade. I went back and watched some past pitching highlights from Wood and I think the Cubs are getting a decent starter for next season or in the not to distant future. Wood will help this Cubs team more than Marshall. If the Cubs are down 6-2 in the 5th, Marshall would not do them much good, but Lopez is gone so maybe those games the Cubs are out of it by the 3rd might be as well. Now that this deal is done, go find a way to get Rizzo in Chicago. I would be excited to see some good young talent on the field for a change. Hate to see Marshall go, but Wood will help the Cubs more.

  • matt

    If they are going to blow this team up…I hope they don’t half ass it. At this point, Garza has to go, Marmol, and Soto too. They can dump Zambrano, and Soriano too as far as I’m concerned. If their goal is to rebuild, there’s no sense in “tweaking”. This indicates to me, the new slogan will be, there’s always 3 years from now. I’m not opposed to that thinking, but where past regimes failed was their unwillingness to go all the way with their decision one way or the other. So cheers to not being half assed…and happy holidays!!

    • Kyle

      Agreed. I didn’t want this path, but now that we are taking it, let’s take it all the way.

      Garza should provide a haul. Marmol, Byrd and Soto might have worthwhile trade value.

      • The Omnipresent Mystery Team

        What do you mean “take it all the way”? They need to look for the best deals possible and if there isn’t a good deal to be had on Soto, they shouldn’t give him away.

        Meanwhile, we got something that was on our off-season checklist whether we were making a push for 2012 or not. We got it for the price of a reliever we only had control of for one more year. This move does not keep us from signing a reliever who could approximate Marshall’s contribution.

        I’m not saying we aren’t selling. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be. I’m saying we are all rushing to judgment on this off-season.

  • Rick Vaughn

    “A major league starting pitcher under club control, and two minor leaguers for ONE relief pitcher who isn’t even a closer?

    Pulled that quote from the comments on MLBTR. Sums it up pretty good. I approve of the deal. I’m sure if the cubs could get more, or even equal outside of the division, they would have taken that deal instead.

  • DRock

    We better get used to sucking next year. Travis Wood’s ERA 4.84

    • Lou

      That’s not saying much. Actually, his command needs to return to 2010. Last year– walks up, SO down. But then again, who’s to say they don’t flip him in a package to SD for Rizzo.

    • Kyle

      Yeah, but his peripherals were still pretty strong, and those are more predictive. In general, a guy’s FIP (an ERA lookalike pulled from a pitcher’s peripherals) is more likely to resemble his ERA the next season than his actual ERA.

      And his FIP was 4.06 last season.

    • DRock

      BTW, Wood’s minor league ERA was 5.331 and his WHIP was 1.548 last year. What do the Cubs brass see in him? Hope he turns things around in the coming years…

      • Noah

        Probably that ERA and WHIP aren’t great indicators, that his BABIP against in AAA was an incredibly unlucky .363, and that he had a very small sample size in Louisville last season (10 starts, 52.1 innings) so they probably shouldn’t extract too much from them. And his FIP in Louisville was 3.98.

        Relievers just aren’t that valuable, especially on the trade market.

        • Cedlandrum

          WHIP is actually a pretty good indicator. It isn’t the only one, but it is pretty good.

      • BetterNews

        Actually Wood had a whip of 1.49 last year and a “stingy” 1.081 the year before! His ERA for the past two seasons is a little over 4.10, and thats with a not so lucky 2011 season. If you compare numbers, Wood is off to a better start than Garza at the same age. Good move Theo!

        • DRock

          Where do you get your BetterNews? I got my numbers from Rotoworld.

        • DRock

          I was talking about his minor league numbers last year in AAA. Read my post again.

          • BetterNews

            So even if your talking minor league numbers that would be 3.49 ERA and 1.25 WHIP(career). That’s taking into consideration his latest stint, which was not good.

            • DRock

              Last season, not career.

              • T Wags

                Yes, Wood had a rough year last year but if you look at his career stats (minor and major leauges) before this year, its very possible that last year was a fluke and the FO thinks whatever went wrong can be corrected. He was the Reds’ 2009 minor league pitcher of the year with a combined 1.77 ERA in 167 innings between AA-AAA. He also had a VERY good half-year in 2010 for a 23 year-old starter when he held major league hitters to a batting average of .222. Lets hope he can correct whatever went wrong last year and we got a steal! Love the trade

  • Louis

    Plus 2 prospects is key! Hope we got at least one really good piece. I’m sure Brett will find out before not too long!

    • DRock

      Agreed, better be good prospects or we just got shafted. Marshall is a very valuable piece that could net us a nice return. Hope they got at least 1 TOP prospect.

  • rbreeze

    Maybe the pieces get rolled into a deal for Rizzo or they free up some of our own prospects for Rizzo.  So does trading Marshall in the end yield us Rizzo?   I like the deal either way.

  • Noah

    I love how we trade one relief pitcher who throws 70 innings and everyone says we have to blow up everything! And now! Look, Marshall is a great relief pitcher, but great relief pitchers don’t provide as much marginal value to a bad team as they do a good team. I agree that every player listed above (Garza, Marmol, Soto, Soriano, Zambrano, Byrd) should be shopped. But they should only be TRADED if the Cubs get value in return.

    I just don’t think that Soto’s, Zambrano’s, Soriano’s and Byrd’s value is maximized yet. Regarding Soto, I think if he can put up another year similar to 2010 (and there’s no reason he can’t), his value could skyrocket heading into midseason. Zambrano’s value is at an all time low, but if he can come in, pitch pretty well and not cause a distraction, there is at least a slight chance he could fetch something decentish in return. At this point, though, you’d have to pay another team to take him and receive essentially nothing in return. If Soriano can have a bit of a resurgent season where he puts up similar power to last year but, you know, get on base more than 30% of the time, teams might look more palatably at picking up $5 or $6 million of his contract to be a platoon DH or LF. And I just think Byrd is a guy who will have more value when teams have to deal with flameouts and injuries and need to find a replacement.

    It’s not necessarily the best move to sell everything now, if you can wait a bit longer to receive more value.

    • Kyle

      If you think you can get better value for some of these guys midseason, that’s fine.

      The point is we are all-in on the rebuild. You don’t significantly improve a key divisional rival’s bullpen if you are trying to win the division that year.

      • Noah

        I agree with you entirely on this point.

  • RY

    Its not like we are gonna need to use Marshall’s services in 2012 to hold many games anyway. This could potentially be a huge deal for the cubs by getting three players in return. Wood definitely has potential to be good. What would really be great is if Marshall leaves the Reds as a free agent!

  • ferrets_bueller

    Not only did the Cubs blatantly win this trade post-2012, they also won for next year as well IMO. We needed SP, and have good relievers. And what good do good relievers do on a team with holes? Nothing. We’ll win more games now than we would if we hadn’t made this trade.

  • 2much2say

    Anytime you can get 3 or 4 for 1 in a deal your building depth somewhere. There are knowns and unknowns. It’s the unknowns that you hope impress.

  • Morgan

    Same ol Cubs, Padres get the Reds to over pay for Latos while the Cubs get the reds to underpay for Marshall, wood was there 5th or 6th best starter last year, and there rotation wasnt anything speacial, think we could have gotten more, But since we traded Marshall its time to trade everyone else, get a Haul for Garza, soto, marmol, bryd, barney, dumpster, soriano, zambrono, wells, all need to go, and the signing of Dejesus make no since now if we try to rebuild, same with johnson
    clean house, get a c, 1b, 2b, of, and sp san diego has a C in grandal and 1b in Rizzo that would be perfect for us, play the young kids and have them grow together

    • 2much2say

      The fans on here seem to overvalue the Cubs trade chips. The Cubs want depth at SP. Rather than sell the farm for a Latos they are trolling for diamond in the ruffs. Marshall was hardly a cog worth keeping. The relievers will turn out to be our non starters. May the best men win. Garza Z Demp Wells got some competition coming. Jeff Z Mcnutt Cashner shape up or ship out

  • JulioZuleta

    I have a feeling the prospects are going to be pretty solid, at least one of them. Even if we didn’t get any prospects, I wouldn’t call this trade a loss really. Sean Marshall is a very good reliever, but 15 years from now I’m going to remember him as a defensive replacement for Soriano.

  • Wrigley11

    I agree with the concept of trading relievers while they are valuable, as well as developing them from within, rather than paying 8 figures for them on the market. However, it really quite unfortunate that Hendry was basically forced to hold on to these pieces at the deadline last year. Looking at what the Pads got for Adams, knowing that one contender would have been willing to part with a valuable prospect for Aramis, and telling the Rangers to go scratch when they asked about Marmol are all nonmoves that probably cost this team a year of contention. Not necessarily blaming anyone, just sucks knowing that we’re doing now what should have been done 6 months ago.

    • baseballet

      Blame away Wrig, you’re exactly right. The Cubs should have begun this rebuild two years ago. Lack of vision by Hendry and ownership

  • terry

    Can football last longer? I have always been a die-hard cubs fan. For over 30 years. Maybe a rebuild is good for you. But not for us old people. We may not be here in 3 to 5 years when and if any of the prospects even work out. What if they turn out to be a bust. Then trading the whole team looks pretty dumb. And not trying to get a fielder. Etc. Becomes a mistake.

    • MoneyBoy

      Terry – I’ve been a fan for a half century and season ticket holder for 24 yrs.  Had it been Hendry – not so willing.   But with the investment Ricketts has made in the front office and their collective pedigree — YES.

      “What if they turn out to be a bust?”  As in what?   Worse than Soriano?   Argue performance and I’ll give you Todd Hollandsworth – “if not for the contract, he (12) would be classified as a fine #7 hitter.” Worse than Zambrano?   Kerry Wood, when asked, did not mince words … something like “he’s going to have to go a ways to be welcomed back.”   Milton Bradley?   Do I need to go on?

      Drafting 18 year olds involves the art of projecting them at 23, 25 and beyond.   You pays your money you takes your chances.   Football, in Chicago, is OVAH … I will be closely watching the rebuild … and the Bulls and Hawks … both of whom are examples of building “correctly” … as in:  6 of the 13 on the Bulls roster are home grown.  9 of the 20 on the Hawks roster are as well … with a whole host of others waiting in Rockford for their chance.

      • Toosh

        I’ve only been a fan for 43 seasons and will remain one. It would be nice, though, if the 2012 payroll is significantly lower, that ticket prices are significantly lower as well.

        • MoneyBoy

          Toosh … I wished, as well, for even a “token” reduction of 5% … shrug.

        • BetterNews

          That’s funny!(LOL) Not the 43 seasons as a fan(I have 38) but you are not really expecting lower ticket prices, are you?

    • Lou

      I can’t necessarily say I disagree. I have really bad physical problems. When baseball is really the only sport you follow, outside of the Bears (but I’m less committed to them), it’s hard every year to wait for next year and then see summer come and go waiting for it the whole year only for it to end in frustration. We’ll have to see what the future holds. I really don’t think Fielder’s coming here…so that’s how it’s gonna be.

  • Zach Fisher

    Great trade if it goes through. Cubs get a probable 4/5 pitcher with 3 upside who is a lefty and 2 specs for a good reliever with one year left on the contract who we dont really have use for this year because we most likely wont compete (always pains me to say that). In all honesty i would have probably traded marshall for just wood, but the 2 specs are just icing on the cake. well done theo & co.

  • barroof

    I hate this move. Why are we always talking about how many ” CONTROL” years a player has left ? Are we in a small market city that can’t afford to pay good players ? And EVERY trade that gives 2 or 3 mid level prospects is bad. Get 1 great prospect or don’t do the deal. History tells us the team that gets the best player wins the deal 75% of the time. I understand the Cubs need to trade value to get value but I want a player of value not 3,4 or 5 guys that oher teams don’t want. A guy like Rizzo is value and a need position. We’re going to end up with 6 or 7 #5 starters and tons of noshows at Wrigley. MARK MY WORDS

    • Noah

      Because when you have to pay free agency prices you end up having $36 million a year committed to guys like Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Zambrano.

      • Brett

        That’s pretty much it, in sum.

      • MoneyBoy

        Yup … add in another $14mm for Dempster (player option – thanks so much, Jim) and you’ve got $50mm of not very much.  Let’s not also forget – Zambrano and Soriano both have full no-trades.

      • Kyle

        I’m perfectly comfortable committing half of that to Zambrano for the years we’ve had him.

    • ferrets_bueller

      Wood was a fairly top-ish prospect, who has had one good year and one bad year, while still showing flashes in the bad year. he’s much closer to a top prospect than a mid-range one. The guys floor is pretty much a number 5, with the potential to be a 3. And you gave up a relief pitcher! How many of those EVER bring back top prospects? You got a major league ready, lefty arm with a good ceiling and experience, plus two other pieces, for a relief pitcher. You really weren’t going to get more value out of marshall in any other trade or by keeping him.

      • BetterNews

        Absolutely Wood has the potential to be a solid #3(lefty, mind you) starter. I think people are so upset about the Marshall trade because he was so well liked. I personally loved the kid and always thought he would be a starter when first coming up. No doubt he will be missed. Now lets keep the train chugging! Go Cubs!

    • aCubsFan

      Really? Is Rizzo a need position? Don’t the Cubs have a 1st baseman with power in the organization? Oh yeah his name is Bryan LaHair. He’s the same guy that said Theo and Jed were going to give him a try but wouldn’t promise him anything. The same guy who has hit 12 HRs in winter ball, and showed himself pretty well in the limited play at the Big League. The same guy who hit 38 HR in Iowa and was named the PCL Player of the Year. So why do the Cubs need Rizzo?

      Furthermore, control means cheap. You can see that control means a lot to clubs when you look at some of the trades that have been made this winter.

      • Boog

        Yes, the very same guy that killed AAA pitching at the ripe old age of 29. By the time that Rizzo is hitting his prime, LaHair will be in a nursing home.

        • Cheryl

          Let’s wait on judging LaHair to this spring. His month with the Cubs may not have been a fluke, but we won’t know until after spring.

  • barroof

    Can you tell me how many prospects the Cubs received in trade over the last 10 years that have done anything ?

    • Rick Vaughn

      Over the last decade the Cubs have been buyers. So they weren’t really in the business of acquiring prospects. Notice though, nobody we gave up really amounted to anything anyway. Ricky Nolasco was the best I saw. We’ve been that bad at drafting.

    • The Omnipresent Mystery Team

      Does Matt Murton count? j/k

      • Rick Vaughn

        Only in Japan

  • cubsklm

    I love this deal, it reminds of my old college days where I start with young Wood, and a little later the old vintage Wood would show up and bail me out.

    Absolutely nothing wrong with double Wood, from each hand.

    First a McDonalds, now double Wood at every home game!

    I am loving it!

  • miggy80

    I’ve always liked Marshall. He always did everything he was asked to do. For his sake wish he could of been sent to a better team then the Dusty Baker lead Reds (yuck) , but best of luck to him (when he’s not facing he Cubs).

    • The Omnipresent Mystery Team

      I really enjoyed watching Sean Marshall pitch. I’ve got a lot called third strike knee buckling pictures in my mind remembering him now.

  • http://Bleachernation Ramy16

    Brett other prospect Juan francisco??? Oh please begging lol!!! I truly hope we get Juan Francisco!

  • http://Bleachernation Ramy16

    Does anybody happen to know what the prospects happened to be??? I hope Theo is smart and asked for Juan Francisco.. Great 3rd base prospect with alot of upside! Does anybody know who currently plays 3rd base now for the Reds??

    • bacboris

      Someone on MLBTR, just mentioned catcher Kevin Coddington and pitcher Travis Webb. I hope its not them, the catcher looks old for every place hes hit and still has a junk ba, and obp. As for the pitcher, he looks like a flaky RP but at least good strikeout numbers even if the WHIP is a little scary. Of course, the poster could have just been spouting nonsense.

      • Brett

        Not to be a Debbie Downer, but those are the kinds of prospects I’d expect to be getting.

        • CubFan Paul

          @pioDeportes1 is saying steven ames & daniel corcino are the 2 players possibly

          • Rick Vaughn

            I like Corcino, can’t be true

      • Cedlandrum

        If those are the 2 minor leaguers… just tell them to keep them.

        • Brett

          Maybe I’m keeping my expectations artificially low so that I can be pleasantly surprised. I’m just not expecting much but organizational filler. I think Wood is a fair, if unexciting, return.

          • Cedlandrum

            Wood is fair and I think that part is good, but Webb is abysmal. He doesn’t have anything going for him. He will be 27 and has a career whip of near 1.5. Coddington is o.k. I guess. But again he is a .265 minor league hitter.

            These guys aren’t spare parts. You know where you deal from your excess from guys who are low A guys that you don’t know what to expect…. like Luis Liria or Larry Suarez, these are old minor leaguers who are going to be out of the game in the next year. This is like getting the JR Mathes and Chris Robinson.

            • MrCub73


    • DRock

      Scott Rolen. I agree with you about Francisco. Hamilton would also be nice. Doubt we get both of them but one of these 2 guys make the deal good for us.

  • Yeold17

    This sort of goes along with the Ian Stewart move- Theo said something in regards to going after those who had uncharacteristically bad years.

    Hopefully Wood and Stewart bounce back. Still makes the first week more enjoyable seeing new cubbies.

  • Hawkeyegrad

    Will Marshall likely garner a supplemental pick if he leaves for free agency after the season? Taking out that consideration, I like the Marshall for Wood deal. Assuming Marshall is likely to garner a high supplemental pick, we would need a good prospect in return as well or I’m not happy with it.

  • J.B. House

    just looked up Webb and Coddington. ouch! maybe we should have just had Marshall start.

    • BetterNews

      Marshall could not cut it as a starter. I believe he hasn’t pitched more than 70 innings in years. Wood is very promising on the other hand, could be a solid #3 starter. But remember, he could be bait in a bigger trade deal to come. We’ll see. Also, say you do start Marshall, and it turns out real ugly. Now what do you get for him?

  • Oswego Chris

    I was just over at “RedLeg Nation”…it felt a little weird…like I was at Gary’s Olde Towne Tavern instead of Cheers!  They are definitely not holding any welcome Sean Marshall parties…and if the prospects are decent they will flip out…

    • BetterNews

      Oswego–What’s your take on all of this? Good, bad, or indifferent?

    • MichiganGoat

      I really think the Reds are in a next year or bust mentality similar to the Brewers last year. They will make a couple other moves to win the central.

      • BetterNews

        No doubt. Who is to stand in their way?

        • The Omnipresent Mystery Team

          The Cardinals may not be worse in 2012 if they get a solid OF, move Berkman to 1B , and get a decent return from Wainwright. The Brewers aren’t out of it. The Astros… actually, I predict the Astros will never again be a contender in the NL Central.

          • Rick Vaughn

            Good prediction on the Astros.

            Cardinals I agree with.

            Brewers, not so much. Maybe Ryan Braun will prove he isn’t a cheating scumbag. That will help them.

            • The Omnipresent Mystery Team

              The Crew had the second highest run differential last year and got .215/.275/.324 out of 3B. I think they’ve got a good chance of being a factor, depending how the rest of their off-season goes.

          • BetterNews

            As much as it irks me to say this, I wish Marshall the best with Cinci. He deserves to play for a contending team and I will always be a fan of his. This reminds me so much of the Greg Maddux thing, trading out of futility. There might some on BN that were not even born during those days. Ah yes, reminiscing!

            • Brett

              Maddux wasn’t traded out of futility…

              Unless you’re wondering whether some folks here weren’t born when Jim Hendry unloaded Maddux for Cesar Izturis in 2006.

              • BetterNews

                I was referring to 1992 Cubs when, with amazement the Cubs did not offer Maddux a decent contract. At the time The Braves offered him a 28 mil contract, which he took! 28 mil and the Cubs would not match! We know the story from there!

                • Rick Vaughn

                  I was only 8 when that happened and I remember it. Brett was just pointing out that he wasn’t traded….nevermind.

                  • BetterNews

                    O.K., not tendered a contract. Does it make a difference?

  • nashcub

    Good move! Blow it up and start again! Some amateur GM moves: 13 mil. and Zambrano for Chris Volstad + low prospect. Matt Garza to NYY for Gary Sanchez (C), Dellin Betances (RP), Brandon Laird (3b) + cash. Jeff Baker + Carlos Marmol to Boston for Lars Anderson (1b) and Ryan Kalish (OF) finalizes compensation for Theo. Marlon Byrd to KC for Danny Duffy (LP). Geovany Soto to Seattle for Mauricio Robles (LP) and Kyle Seager (2b). Go after premier FA in a year or two. We won’t win now, but we quickly re-stock with young players.

  • Cubz99

    With Webb and Coddington, couldn’t the Cubs have just picked them up in the Rule 5 draft? Makes little sense to include these two in any deal.

  • BleedBlueinWNeb

    just curious…what are the best apps for the cubs??? just got the new iphone and trying to decide what cubs apps are “can’t miss”…sorta like Lou Montanez once was!