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The Chicago Cubs’ front office has not so secretly coveted 22-year-old first base prospect Anthony Rizzo from the Padres since Yonder Alonso took Rizzo’s job. And now they’ve got their man.

Today the Cubs announced that they’ve acquired Rizzo, together with pitcher Zach Cates for pitcher Andrew Cashner and outfield prospect Kyung-Min Na.

Rizzo has been discussed here at length before, but here’s a notable selection:

Rizzo, who just turned 22 in August, is the top prospect in a very, very good Padres’ system. Rizzo was a top 100 prospect in all of baseball going into 2011, and then all he did was put up an eye-popping .331/.404/.652 line, with 26 homers and 34 doubles in just 93 games. Those numbers are great even for the PCL, particularly for a 21-year-old. Before 2011, Rizzo’s minor league numbers were good, if unremarkable, but he was young at every level, and was consistent after each promotion. Rizzo is also believed to be an above average defender at first base.

Rizzo was called up late last year for a cup of coffee, and struggled mightily, hitting just .141/.281/.252 in 153 plate appearances (love that IsoD, though, eh?). Very few saw that as a reason for concern, however.

Rizzo was drafted by the Red Sox under Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod, so their interest is, of course, understandable. Given his age and lack of success in the bigs last year, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Cubs let Bryan LaHair break camp as the Cubs’ starting first baseman, giving Rizzo additional time to develop at AAA. Otherwise, Rizzo is the Cubs’ starting first baseman right out of the gate, and, yes, almost certainly takes the Cubs out of the running for Prince Fielder.

Cates, who just turned 22, was the Padres’ 3rd round pick in 2010 (again, Hoyer/McLeod), and spent 2011 in A ball, pitching adequately, if unspectacularly. Cates struck out 8.5 per 9, which is great, but walked 4 per 9, which is not. Obviously the new guys in charge must have been fans.

Cates is probably a fair swap for Na, 20, who is himself a legit prospect. A quality young outfielder, Na has a great deal of upside, but is still a long way from the  Majors. Given the Cubs’ depth in low-minors outfield prospects, Na was expendable.

And, ah, Andrew Cashner.

Going into 2011, he was primed for a breakout season in the rotation. His first start didn’t disappoint – or, at least, it wouldn’t have, if it hadn’t been his only start. Recurrent rotator cuff issues ended Cashner’s season, and he was set to pitch out of the pen in 2012. To be sure, Cashner is an extremely talented pitcher, but, given the injuries and the likelihood he’d be in the pen in the near-term, he was a piece the Cubs could afford to shop. If Cates is a fair swap with Na, landing Rizzo for Cashner is likewise a fair move.

Given the Cubs’ long-term needs, and the relative depth of their pen, I can’t call this anything but a win for the Cubs. It was probably also a win for the Padres, which is just fine with me.

Obviously I’ll have much, much more on this trade in the coming days.

  • Spoda17

    Awesome trade in my opinion.  I think this is a perfect example of what Theo and company have been working on.  I think this is just the beginning.

    As I have been posting for weeks, not going to win next year, so we need to exercise patience, and let Theo and company do their jobs.  Hang in there Cubs fans, things are just getting started.

    • Adventurecizin’ Justin

      You know…I don’t think we’ll compete in ’12…but the Cubs could very well be a team that causes some problems. Decent pitching, timely hitting, and sound fundamentals has been lacking for 3 years. I believe we will see more of those important aspects in ’12…and those win games, right?

      • rcleven

        Let not get ahead of our selves. Haven’t see pitch 1 of the 12 season and IF this has been successful or not. This is only a good start. Let’s see where where the success’s and failures are and improve on them before 2013.

        • Adventurecizin’ Justin

          I’m not gettin’ ahead of anything. The new regime has stated what they are going to do…and I think they are bringing better baseball to Chicago. Simple as that…

          • BetterNews

            Yep!

  • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

    i think theo is looking at the 2013 FA class of starting pitching. saving his money and making this club an interesting young group for FA to join. but who knows right? that makes to much sense.

    • Boog

      that seems to be the direction we are heading in. Hamels and Cain please

      • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

        imagine hamels cain and garzain a rotation together

        • Earl Cunningham

          I can see it now…

          • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

            and unleashing a monster at first from his cage in the PCL. i like next year if theo is down with spending money on starting pitching. and we should draft pretty high as well

  • Matt M

    This trade = Winning! Only just maybe not this year.

  • BlueBlood23

    Does anyone know how Rizzo’s Minor league peripherals compare to Hee Sop Choi? LOL… Just kidding… good trade on the surface, also had my concerns with Cashners long term prospects as a starter… Although if they do go that route with him in SD successfully, his numbers could be gaudy in Petco… Might be an unfair comparison in a couple years when evaluating this trade… Cashner is somewhat ahead on the development curve, goes to maybe the best pitchers park in baseball and the Pads started their rebuilding ahead of the Cubs (could mean additional wins under Cashners belt in the short term)…

    Of course along with many others on the board, if I had to predict I’d say he winds up at the back end of the bull pen…

    • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

      i think cashners numbers and his injuries make him a bust in the long term and one we will look back and see how fortunate we were to get out of. another ryan leaf for the folks in SD

  • die hard

    Satisfying a Cub fan’s craving for goodies is a thankless job. Theo will have to adopt bakers hours if he wants to have any chance of doing so. A move a week might not cut it.

  • die hard

    any bets on arm wrestling between Rizzo and the pitcher obtained for Z?….a few more like these and Cubs will be training at Bourbanais

    • BlueBlood23

      Let’s bring back Farnsworth and throw em all in a cage!

  • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

    big pitchers and big 1st baseman.and young too. lets make some more moves like this. really i gotta say the last 2 moves the cubs made came outa nowhere. i mean i remember all the names being discussed, but right when all the rumors kinda faded…bang! i hope there are more of these moves materializing behind the curtains… it was real nice to tune in today i find out we got rizzo and garza was still here too. amen?

  • Doug Dascenzo

    I’m surprised it took Cashner and Na to get Rizzo. I thought all the talk was that the Padres would want more than what the Cubs have given them. I bet Padres Fans aren’t that happy about this one.

    • MoneyBoy

      Not only did the Cubs land Rizzo, Cates was the 9th player taken in the 3rd round by SD in 2010, number 91 overall.  Attended JUCO in Texas.  22 y/o last month.  Hoyer/McLeod drafted him and are very high on him.  Way too early to tell.

  • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

    so now do we sign maholm, or what? i mean we need some pithing depth, major league pitching depth.

    • http://CubbiesCrib.com Luke

      Cubs 2012 starting pitchers, as of now:
      Gazra, Demspter, Wood, Wells, Volstead, Coleman, J. Jackson, Samardzija, Sonnenstein (sp?), Rusin, Searle, Dolis (maybe) and eventually McNutt.

      That’s 8 guys with major league experience and a grand total of 13.

      While another 200+ inning guy would certainly be welcome, I think the Cubs now can probably shift from adding depth to looking for upgrades.

      • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

        is there any cost efficient upgrades available?

      • jr5

        Maholm, to me, would be an upgrade at the right price.

        • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

          i mean who else out there looks good?

          • bluekoolaidaholic

            Is Saunders still available??

        • BetterNews

          Can’t agree with that one.

          • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

            it apears at first glance to be pretty dead in the FA pitching market, i mean based on what the asking price is for the best guys available.

          • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

            even malhom seems alittle bit taxed for an option that is certainly not anything clear cut as an upgrade

      • Adam H

        Did they officially sign Wood yet?

        • cubs4life

          kerry wood? no they havent resigned him yet.

  • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

    and i would have to believe that were not interested in jackson oswalt or thornton, given the asking prices for these not really game changing guys.

    • King Jeff

      I still think Oswalt would be a great addition on a one or two year deal.  I don’t think he’d be willing to pitch for a rebuilding team though.

      • BetterNews

        We don’t want him! NO way Jose!

  • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

    are there any other bargains to be had on the free agent market as far as pitching goes? or do we get another couple of inning eaters for byrd and soriano?

  • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

    come on i know there are people reading these posts right now thinking what a stupid question. please enlighten me oh wise cub fans at bleacher nation.

  • Mike S

    Love this trade for the Cubs. Gets me excited for the future! Anthony Rizzo not only is a solid hitter, but is a good defensive first basemen too. Which, incase you haven’t seen, we kind of need with our SS…under team control for 5 years! Can’t wait to see if the Cubs can pry away Turner and Smyly from Detroit! I can definitely see a group of young core guys bringing the Cubs a championship!

  • Oswego Chris

    I got crucified for saying this last summer but I don’t think there was any way Cashner was going to be a starter…Padres not even going to give it a chance…..

    not trying to be a downer but Rizzo is far from a guarantee…but it is a great, great move…Cashner is at best a closer…which I feel a good organization should be able to produce….

    really don’t want to see Garza go now….we still need some major league guys…I think they may be in play for Cespedes now…

     

     

    • Kansas Cubs Fan

      I’m still not sold on Cespedes. I think hes a bust waiting to happen.

      • BetterNews

        I agree, I am not sold on him either.

      • JulioZuleta

        Agreed. He’s Tyler Colvin’s age, and if I had to venture a guess, Colvin would put up similarly ridiculous numbers in A, which is what many compare the Cuban league to. Give me Soler.

      • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

        did you know cepedes is spanish for keep away

        • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

          when signed he will be the highest tenured player in the minors.

  • ty

    Roll of dice with Cashner for S.D. but Na was the fastest 17 year old that we gave about a million to sign. He is a Coco Crisp clone and has progressed on schedule. It was fun to see Na and Ha in the same lineup in instructional league. between the two a ball could not drop in the outfield. Ha is a viable prospect with power, speed, and arm. Ha over Na at this time!

  • Timmy

    Finally a win for Epstein! Been a tough winter until now.

    • Kansas Cubs Fan

      So you think the Marshall trade was a loss?

      And by the way Jed Hoyer is the Gm.

      People need to remember that.

    • bluekoolaidaholic

      Team Thoyer

  • John (ibcnu2222)

    Here is a few comparisons for 1st basemen in their AAA years.

    Rizzo: Age 21, 26 HR, 101 RBI .331, .404, .652, 1.056 in only 93 games

    Fielder: Age 21, 28 HR, 86 RBI, .291, .388, .569, .957 in 103 games

    Votto: Age 23, 22 HR 92 RBI, .294, .381, .478, .859 in 133 games

    Rizzo looks like he could be a star.

    • andrewmoore4isu

      is PCL triple A? i thought 331,404,652 were rizzo’s PCL stats? I was under the impressions that PCL was a winter league that was extremely friendly?

      • JulioZuleta

        PCL is the hitter friendly league in AAA. That’s still DAMN impressive though.

        • andrewmoore4isu

          ah ok, i read that rizzo is projected to be a plus defender, any info on his speed?maybe sneaky speed/smart speed?

          • JulioZuleta

            Without having seen more than a handful of games, I can only go by what I’ve read, which is that he’s above average.

  • John

    Rizzo and Jackson in the same lineup is going to be great. Both guys know how to work the pitchers count something the cubs haven’t had for years. And another great thing is there both left handed power hitters who play great defense also. I just hope the Cubs dont rush these guys, id be more than happy to wait till september call ups to see these guys play. Now lets trade Garza for that Turner kid from detroit, get rid of Soriano and Resign Kerry wood and Ill call this the best off-season ive seen in years for the cubs.

    • andrewmoore4isu

      let me remind you soriano carried our team at times to the playoffs. He is far from a bust especially early in the contract. He was never the 40 hrs 40 steal guy jim hendry signed him for, but alwayssss produced for the cubs. No, he isnt worth 18 million right now but he was worth 18 million earlier. We shouldnt pay for what he did but unfortunately that is what hendry did.

  • BetterNews

    The way things are going, I think the Cubs are going to be far Better than what most fans are thinking, and what I was thinking, honestly.

    • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

      remember what a wreck a pitching staff is… but yea i think we wont totally tank. we could definatly out do the pirates and the astros

      • BetterNews

        I would have too agree with rcleven, we’re not done with pitching. I expect a “BIG” move coming up, and I don’t think Garza is in the mix for a trade.

      • Cubs in 2xxx

        Astros are in the AL now

        • tjtrigo

          Astros have one more year in the NL and start the AL in 2013

    • Kansas Cubs Fan

      It all hinges on the starting pitching as usual. Behind Garza there’s no telling how everyone else will pitch.

      That is if Garza is still a Cub(I hope he is).

      • BetterNews

        Garza is not going anywhere!

  • rcleven

    “I would say we’re not finished acquiring starting pitchers. We want to have as much depth as possible,” Hoyer said, adding that the early-season injuries to Cashner and Randy Wells last season sent the Cubs on a shaky path at the outset.

    The direction of the next moves.

  • ty

    o.k. Luke At least you brought fans up to speed on our outfield prospects. Easterling has been a nice surprise to me.

  • Sully777

    Man, do I love this move! There has been a great deal of discussion about this prospective move; and much speculation surrounded the Cubs having to give up one of the prospects in a Garza trade to get Rizzo-or worse(such as the Padres requesting Jackson, McNutt or Szczur). Wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple lefty hitters who tore up the PCL last year in LaHair and Rizzo manning LF and 1B before the end of 2012. As for Cashner, I’m probably still paranoid after the Prior fiasco-but I wasn’t convinced this guy would be able to hold up as a SP anyway. I’m excited and encouraged for the organization and the fans who are long overdue.

    • andrewmoore4isu

      I agree with your statement about cashner. I sound great potential and I also saw a rookie who broke down at the end of the season and winded up posting a 5.00, granted some of his outings in the bullpen were awesome, and obviously some not so awesome. When cashner was put in the rotation last year I didnt think he would be able to go 200 innings in his second year, unfortunately I did believe he would go atleast 20… I wish him the best of luck in his career, I just dont have any clue how it will go for him.

  • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

    we are getting younger and at the same time deeper. the rebuild is evident but going well and optimistic in my opinion. weve got enough to know were in good hands and going in the right direction. lets not forget we could be big players in 2013 free agent market of starting pitching.

  • PeteG

    I don’t understand everyone’s love for Cespedes. The video had some impressive talents but overall he’s just a 26 year old playing against single-A opponents. His swing will lead to high strikeout numbers and he’s not going to walk much either. I see him as a poor mans Soriano at the plate but with obviously better speed and defense. I say go after Soler, he’s an intriguing prospect who is much younger and cheaper.

    • cls

      This.

  • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

    Me very happy, great trade.

    • Joe Cartwright

      Same here

  • Sully777

    There’s going to be some fun in Des Moines this summer; with Jackson, Rizzo, Vitters and McNutt; who knows-maybe Torreyes and Szczur get a taste before it’s all said and done. I’d be happy if we keep Garza, and somehow land either Cain or Hamels next off-season. However, if the Blue Jays finally realize the added-value Garza would bring to the table-and offer “Threeo” a package including SP’s Hutchison, McGuire, Nicolino and the RF prospect Marisnick-I’d pull the trigger.

  • Tommy

    To all the folks that are talking about sitting through a horrible losing season I have a few things to say:

    1) We will see effort.
    2) We will see better defense.
    3) We will see better growth.
    4) Where we don’t see growth, we won’t be wondering what to do with the gazillion dollars left on that guy’s contract.
    5) We will see position battles.
    and I expect that we’ll see a bunch of young kids having fun.

    Give me all that and I can sit through 90 losses, because in that scenario there is at least hope for a better future for our Cubbies. But honestly, at this point, why not hope for the best. With this team, we have no idea what we’re going to get (and that’s half the fun). Maybe, just maybe, this team will surprise us all. Either way, we’ll know we’re not stuck with a bunch of over the hill, overpaid, low energy, low effort guys.

    • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

      love your post tommy! my feelings exactly!

    • SAM

      1. We will see no talent
      2. We see less error because the Cubs have flyball pitchers
      3.We will see growth because the bottom of the barrel is the bottom of the barrel
      4. we still pay that paycheck for Miami wins and the comeback player of the year award.
      5 we will see position battles that produce tiddle winks results
      6. and will see the Chicagos young kids put on White sox Jersey -oh yes our kids will have fun cause they will have a ML job with noone of talent to take that away.

      and

      Ricketts / crickets the only sound you will hear in the Bleachers come AUG-july-JUNE and as early as MAy-

      • BetterNews

        Don’t know about that. Cubs fans filled the park the last two seasons being 20+ games under .500. Now we are looking at a team that might hit .500 or better! (record wise of course)

      • Bric

        If you actually think Zambrano gets more than 6 wins then we’ll talk again when he’s waived before August. Friendship with Ozzie or not, the dude’s done. And as soon as he starts hanging out in South Beach he’ll take his settlement and buy a raft to retire on ala Rickie Williams.

        • Robbo

          Ricky Williams is still in the league and prepping for a playoff game. Just sayin

      • Adventurecizin’ Justin

        Seriously, SAM, I suggest you find another team to root for. You’re making harsh judgments, and the moves aren’t even done. And, spring training hasn’t even started! Maybe the Cubs Curse is truly just the perpetual ignorant pessimism of a good portion of its fanbase. Take your vibe to the Cardinals yo!

        • BetterNews

          There’s a high five for sure, bro!

        • Kansas Cubs Fan

          You guys are wasting your time with Sam. Just ignore him and hope that he will go away.

          • BetterNews

            There’s not too many Sam’s that just go away. I wish that was the case though.

        • TWC

          Maybe the Cubs Curse is truly just the perpetual ignorant pessimism of a good portion of its fanbase.

          Great line, man.

          • Jeff L

            LOL TWC you are hilarious!!!! TWC maybe the Cubs curse is the lovable loser fans such as yourself and not the realistic fans. The fans that pay the 3rd highest ticket prices and support an “owner” that has no desire to win but wants to make a profit with a pitiful team salary for a team that has the 3rd highest ticket prices in baseball. TWC also no need to use bold we already know that you’re a lovable loser.

            • TWC

              TWC you are hilarious!!!!

              Great line, man.

              • Jeff L

                Great reply man. Very intellectual thought out response. Really TWC you need to stop posting if you have nothing real to contribute.

                • Kansas Cubs Fan

                  You need to stop posting if you’re going to be an irratinol idiot.

                  • Rick Vaughn

                    ^this

            • Rick Vaughn

              “Great line, man.” – TWC

              Great line, man.

      • JR1908

        Sam, I think u are Jim Hendry’s son. You have no concept of what it takes to win for the long haul…

      • ferrets_bueller

        What an absolute moron.

        • BetterNews

          Yes, he’s at “absolute” zero.

    • Bric

      That’s what I’ve been saying for two years. In my mind, Hendry shoulda been gone after the Milton Bradley deal. But he kept hanging around, afraid he’d lose fans if he didn’t sign FAs with names that we already knew.
      All the while we saw the Cubs getting knocked around by younger teams like the Marlins, D-Backs, Pirates, and Reds who had a bunch of kids making a name for themselves at a salary about 1 third of what the Cubs were paying for a bunch “veterans” who were cast off by their former teams.

    • Brian Myers

      Now we just need to see improvement from what our minor league development has given us over the years. Here’s a page that’s a real head shaker regarding that.

      http://thebaseballcube.com/prospects/byTeam.asp?T=6

  • TongueInCheek

    I am with you Tommy. This is going to be fun!

  • SAM

    46 STRIKEOUTS IN 146 AB —– do the Padres know something the CUBS dont. but he is young we can trade him again!

    • BetterNews

      Do the Cubs(Theo) know something the Pads don’t? I’ve got my money on Theo!

  • Cubsin

    Even if they lose 100 games, the 2012 Cubs will be a lot more fun to watch than last year’s team. The high-paid, low-effort losers of the past are gone or on their way out.

    I actually expect the 2012 Cubs to win 75-85 games (70-80 if Garza is traded for prospects). Some of our new players will meet or exceed my expectations, and some will fall flat on their faces. But I have faith in Jed and Theo – them that fail will be replaced.

    If the right SP’s file for free agency and the Cubs can sign them, the 2013 team could be competitive with any team in baseball.

     

    • Jeff L

      Truthfully, I think we can come to the conclusion that we are looking at a future of below 100 mil payroll. I know a lot of you guys love to watch the dollars. One thing you have to remember is those dollars are not coming out of your pocket. Now if i knew that Ricketts wanted to keep the payroll around 130 mil I would count the dollars with you. I would be happy with the savings they may be making for the future. I hate this trade for Rizzo. You could have kept those prospects they gave up and have Fielder. That to me makes the most sense. Fielder is a known star and we wouldn’t have to give up any prospects. This will be a seriously dreadful team for god knows how long. We may never see a payroll above 100 mil again once these big contracts are gone. With Ricketts as an owner expect many more losing seasons.

      • BetterNews

        You’re not the “real” Jeff!

        • Jeff L

          ???

          • BetterNews

            Fans that post here regularly know what I’m talking about.

            • Cerambam

              ^like

      • JasonB

        Yes, because if a team’s payroll goes below $100 million it will never go back above it.  What has Tom Ricketts EVER said to suggest that the long-term plan is for the payroll to be less than $100 million?

        We just acquired one of the top 1B prospects in baseball and a pitcher with an electric fastball for a relief pitcher.  What don’t you like about that move?

        • Jeff L

          You’re talking about a 1b prospect that hit below 200 in the Majors… We’ll see how Rizzo does, I’m hoping for the best. Ricketts never suggested that the long term plan was to be above 100 mil.. Bottom line is Ricketts is in debt after purchasing the Cubs and that suggests to me especially with the lack of spending this offseason that we will have a perennial under 100 mil dollar payroll.

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