Remember when the Cubs traded Jeff Baker to the Tigers back in August? Remember how Baker led the Tigers to a 2-0 lead in the ALCS against the hated Yankees? Ok, I’ll forgive you for not remembering either of those things – the first because it was muddied among a number of other moves, and the latter because it didn’t happen (Baker struggled, and was dealt to the Braves for a PTBNL).
When the Cubs made the move, it was for a couple of PTBNLs, which were expected to be settled soon after the end of the season. Well, here we are after the end of the season, and one report – from the reporter at the Tigers’ Scout site – says one of the players is 21-year-old righty Marcelo Carreno.
If true, that would be swell (and would make me wonder whether the Tigers are going to send another player, or if the two sides agreed that Carreno would be an adequate return).
Carreno, who has been in the Tigers’ system since 2008 when he signed out of Venezuela, was the pitcher of the year for his Low-A squad in 2012, according to Scout. It’s important to note that he was repeating the level (though, when he took it on as a 19/20-year-old, it was arguably a little advanced for him), but his stats were solid: 3.23 ERA, 1.127 WHIP, 1.8 BB/9 and 7.7 K/9 (yes, that’s a luscious 4.25 K/BB ratio). He started 27 games, and threw 139.1 innings. In other words, the numbers say he’s definitely not a non-prospect.
What about the scouts?
Well, Carreno (whose full name is apparently Josue Marcelo Carreno, because he’s sometimes listed as Josue Carreno) was the Tigers’ 17th best prospect before the 2012 season according to Kevin Goldstein. It’s hard to imagine that his stock as has gone down since then. Even better, MLB.com’s updated post-season rankings list Josue Carreno (again, that’s Marcelo) as their 11th best prospect. Yo.
The Scout.com article handing him the pitcher of the year award quotes a scout who says “there’s something there. Now that he’s throwing more consistent strikes with his improved velocity, he’s got a chance to pitch at the back of a big league rotation.” In a deal for Jeff Baker? Yeah, you’ll take that every time.
Further, a quick glance at the Twitters suggests Tiger fans aren’t thrilled about losing Carreno, which is always one of my favorite indicators, even if it isn’t all that telling (we all love our own). I’ll have more on Carreno (and hopefully the other name in the deal) when it becomes official, but the early reaction is …
It just seems too good to be true.
I’ll update you folks when this is confirmed or refuted.
UPDATE: The Cubs have confirmed that it’s indeed Carreno, which, I mean, wow. That’s just a silly, silly good get for Baker considering it was just a couple months worth of his service, and he wasn’t particularly effective to that point in the year. Carreno is a reasonable bet to be in the Cubs’ top 25/30 prospects, and could easily be considered one of the top 10 arms in the system at this point.
The announcement says that Carreno “completes” the trade with the Tigers, so, as I speculated above, the Cubs won’t be getting another player. But, I mean, getting a Carreno is much, much better than getting two 1/2 Carrenos.
As questioned in the comments, Carreno is Rule 5 Draft eligible (by my count), so he’ll have to be added to the 40-man roster if the Cubs are afraid he might be selected. He’s not really a power arm, and hasn’t pitched above Low-A, so he doesn’t feel like a risk. But we’ll probably have a better sense of just how attractive he would be as a pick and stash in the next few weeks.
UPDATE 2: This is a non-news update – I should point out that the way these PTBNL deals typically play out is that the two sides agree on a list of players from which the trading team will select in the future. That means Carreno’s name was probably put on the list back in early August (after which his stock improved a bit more with a full season of success), which means the Cubs’ scouting efforts should be commended on this one.
UPDATE 3: The Cubs are also getting cash, so there you go. Just a swell, swell deal.