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Marcelo Carreno (Emily Jones/MiLB.com)

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.

  • http://bleachernation.com lou brock lives

    Will he have to be protected on the 40 man for Rule V draft purposes ?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I *believe* he’ll be eligible to be selected, yes, but I’m not sure how at risk he would be. Need to do some more analysis to see how easily he could be stashed at the big league level. That’s obviously quite a huge leap, and he doesn’t quite have the live, power arm that teams look to try and pilfer (like the Cubs did with Castillo).

  • Mick

    Wow, great prospect. Was there suppossed to be a PTBNL from the Rangers for Soto too?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Or cash, yes.

      • Mick

        Speaking of cash, it was also announced that the Cubs recieved cash considerations with Carreno so, maybe that equates to the other PTBNL.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Yup. That’d be it.

  • rbreeze

    That’s a nice get for us! Another plus body for the farm system.
    Who will we see at 20 years of age in the majors?
    Castro made it to the majors at 20 years old.
    Who’s the next impact youngster that will make it up here and stay in the major leagues and not roll back down to the farm system?
    Baez? Any other candidates?
    it would be great if we could become a version of the 2012 A’s by 2014.

  • MichiganGoat

    I’ve seen Carreno pitch multiple times for the West Michigan Whitecaps he is a huge return for Baker (of course so is a nice steak dinner), he would be due a promotion to High A or AA after last season is a great return for a player we would have dropped if he didn’t get traded. I hope this rumor has some reality because I can tell you Michigan is furious that the Tigers might lose a quality pitching prospect for a player that did nothing for them.

    • calicubsfan007

      @MichiganGoat: A hamburger from In-N-Out Burger is considered a huge return for Baker. I am guessing that somehow (thank God), the other teams didn’t realize that Baker SUCKS!!

  • Kyle

    I’ve seen conflicting reports now. If he works 88-89 (works, not hits) then I don’t care about him (not that nothing is a bad return for Jeff Baker). If he works in the low 90s, there might be a little something there and it’s a great return.

  • JulioZuleta

    Official. Tweeted by the Cubs.

  • Fishin Phil

    Put some pajamas on that cat!

    • https://www.facebook.com/chris.siuty Chris84

      I lol’d. If there was a “like” button, I’d click it.

  • AB

    wow I didn’t think the Cubs would get anything for Baker because he was outrighted at the end of the season I beleive.

  • MichiganGoat

    Of all the trades the Cubs pulled off this year this might just be the most lopsided win for the Cubs.

    • Featherstone

      I think if we give the Cashner/Rizzo trade enough time that will win out because Rizzo will be a solid first baseman for years and Cashner’s shoulder will implode soon enough.

  • Joshua

    I would just like to publicly state I drafted him right after he signed in my completely not real fake baseball league. …….sigh

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Was he a big-time bonus baby?

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    Looks like a pretty good trade to me. I was not expecting the return on Baker to amount to much at all. This is quite surprising.

    So far, I’m liking the Theo/Jed trades in general. Let’s hope that keeps up.

  • Spencer

    Seems like a good deal. Even if he doesn’t amount to something special, it’s not like the Cubs really lost out on anything by trading Baker. Cool beans.

    • hansman1982

      Yes, anytime you can get a 21 year old prospect-y type for a Baker like player that is reallllly good.

      • Kyle

        It is really good in the sense that you basically got a dollar for nothing. But it’s still just a dollar.

        • hansman1982

          The sky is blue.

          The components of our atmosphere are such that they absorb every color except blue, which it reflects and therefore what our eyes perceive.

        • Tommy

          You’re our dollar, Kyle.

        • Kyle

          Seems like now the reports are solidifying that he throws a legit low-90s, which makes him more like a crisp fiver.

          Our front office is very, very good at finding value that other teams don’t seem to take seriously enough.

          • Myles

            What’s a benjamin?

            • Kyle

              Mike Trout or Bryce Harper before this season were hundies.

              I really like the dollar bill analogy, actually, because its hows how quickly the value declines as you go down the prospect lists.

              Baez is a $50, and Soler, Almora and Vizcaino are $20s right now (yes, he’s separated himself that much).

              We’ve got about half a dozen $10s, maybe 20 $5s, and a whole bunch of ones.

              • Myles

                I’m serious, this is actually a sweet analogy, and now I want you to do our top 20 list to see how much are in the Cubs prospect wallet.

          • Featherstone

            We can agree on that fact Kyle. Theo/Jed are good are evaluating talent that other teams seem to miss.

        • BT

          Seriously? Are you SO determined to be Captain Contrarian that you have to put on a blase attitude toward this? You might have the keenest insight on the planet, but no one will take you seriously if literally every move the Cubs make is made with disdain, disgust or disinterest. You don’t have to do cartwheels over a minor prospect, but to throw water on it, simply because it might make Theo/Jed look good, is childish.

  • Tommy

    Wow is all I can say. Love it.

  • http://thenewenthusiast.com dw8

    Not sure he’s eligible for Rule 5 now that he’s been traded. I believe the rule is that a player has to be in one organization for that time. Now that Carreno is a Cub, doesn’t that mean that the Cubs can exclude him from the 40 man, and he’s still protected?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I don’t think so (otherwise you’d see all kinds of prospect-for-prospect swapping going on when guys reached Rule 5 eligibility). You’re eligible, depending on the age you signed, once a certain number of years have passed since you signed your first pro contract.

  • Frank

    I’d forgotten all about that. I’d assumed that it had been swept under the table much like the PTBNL(s) we may or may not owe the Padres for Jed Hoyer.

    If we get any type of fully functioning human being for Baker, it will be a win. Wasn’t a Tiger for like a week?

  • Patrick G

    Just was reading up on mlbtraderumors about the cubs offseason plans/needs and they mention shohei otani. Never heard of the kid, and looked him up apparently he’s 18 and throws 100mph. He has said not sure if he wants to play in Japan or here, but if so that would be great for the Cubs, not to mention they have the 2nd highest international pool this year.

    • JB88

      Japanese players are excluded from the international signing rules. It’s fairly silly to call it “international”, more like Latin American signing rules …

      • Mick

        Oh cool, then he will be ours.

      • Kyle

        That’s not true in this case.

        Japanese players who come through the posting system do not count against the IFA pool.

        Presumably, this kid would come over as a free agent, and would count against the pool. We don’t have enough left in our pool to make a serious play for him after signing Panigua.

        • Cubbie Blues

          Nobody has enough money. That is why he would be smart (if he want to play in the US) to wait until the new FA season rolls around.

          • Jeremy

            Exactly, If he waits till next July to sign, he can maximize the amount he gets if he decides to come to the MLB. If he waits until next July, we should have a very good shot at him if the FO likes him.

          • Cubbie Blues

            Or, he could decide to sign with a Japanese team for a year or two with the understanding from that team that he would be dealt to an MLB team. This would be a circumvention of the new CBA.

            • Patrick G

              I read that If he chooses to play in Japan, he has to wait 9 seasons to be eligible to play here?

              • Kyle

                If he is drafted in the Japanese league draft (coming up later this month, iirc) and signs with a team, he is not eligible for free agency for nine years.

                He could, however, be put under the “posting system” by his Japanese team and come here. Details here:

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posting_system#Process

                Normally, Japanese teams will keep a player for 8 years and then post him before they lose the rights.

                • Cubbie Blues

                  That’s what I am saying. If a Japanese player works out a deal with a team to post him after a year or two, the team would stand to get a good sized posting price tag and the player would circumvent the new CBA signing limits.

                  • Kyle

                    Too much risk for Otani, imo. Young pitchers should delay their payday. They are always one delivery away from getting nothing.

                    • Kyle

                      should *never* delay, I mean

                    • Cubbie Blues

                      The difference could be $20-40M though. It’s a risk with a lot of upside.

          • Kyle

            A few teams still have their full $2.9 million. Also, a team in line for a lower IFA pool next season may opt to blow through the limit and pay the penalties next season.

            • Jeremy

              Ahh really, I didn’t realize that. Still though if he waits we have a shot at him. If not, doubt we go after him.

        • bails17

          There is no way a kid like that doesn’t get the entire pool for a team. If he DOES come over as a free agent, then his agent will make sure it is the right time to get all $$ available.

      • Jeremy

        Otani would not be subject to posting fees because he is not part of any japanese club right now which I’m 100% positive on so I’m pretty sure he is subject to IFA rules in which most clubs have little left to spend, including us.

        • Kyle

          There hasn’t been any indication that he intends to wait. Several teams in the US have already been in contact with his agent, and the Cubs are not on that list. We could always be the mystery team, I suppose, but this one does not look all that likely.

          Not to mention that the history of 18-year-old flamethrowers is riddled with arm injuries and not a lot of MLB success.

          • Jeremy

            True, but TBH when it comes to the Cubs I literally have zero concerns about money or risk right now especially with what are payroll is looking like for next year, which sucks because we need to be looking at adding talent and wins to the MLB team more then the farm after this season. We added some nice talent to our farm this year with Almora, Soler, etc. so it’s time to “compete”on both fronts and really rev up the “plan”. If we add some MLB talent this offseason and add Otani, it fits that idea, if that is what Epstein and crew are really committed to doing, which so far they haven’t.

            If the upside is there I think it’s worth taking a risk, especially with where we are at right now in terms of MLB talent as well as farm talent.

    • Mick

      Does Otani belong to any Japanese club? How does that work with the new International spending pool if an MLB team has to pay a Japanese club to negotiate with their player? Does the initial fee to negotiate count towards the spending pool or just the contracted salary?

      • Cubbie Blues

        He has not decided if he wants to play ball in Japan or the US yet.

    • college_of_coaches

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but there is another scenario for this kid. He can come to the U.S. and play a year of juco baseball. I believe that this would make him eligible for the Rule 4 amatuer draft in June of 2013.

      I am uncertain of the financial pros and cons involved in this scenario, and it might be unlikely. But at the same time, but you have to think that the kid is carefully considering all of his options. (Plus a year in college would help him acclimate to the culture.)

      • Kyle

        He could do that, but there’s literally no reason why he would want to. He wastes a year, restricts how much money he can make, and no longer has any choice what team he goes to.

        • college_of_coaches

          and no longer has any choice what team he goes to.

          Yes (aside from your problematic use of the word “literally”), this last point would probably be the deciding factor. At least it would be for me. As far as wasting a year, this is only the case if there are no teams willing (or able) to make him a $2 million dollar offer this year. But if there are no viable offers coming in, and if MLB teams are telling him to wait until next July, then he might want to explore other options (which certainly aren’t limited to college).

          • college_of_coaches

            Sorry, let me reword that…

            As far as wasting a year, this is only the case if there ARE teams willing (and able) to make him a $2 million dollar offer this year. (In other words, he should sign now.)

  • #1lahairfan

    Looks like a pretty good deal.

  • Spencer

    Keith Law is unimpressed.

    • hansman1982

      Keith Law has been known to be an idiot…I wish Goldstein hadn’t taken the Astro’s job

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett
  • cubsin

    If Otani waits until next July, the Cubs are well-placed to sign him. They’ll have the second-largest IFA pool and their shiny new Dominican facility should be a major selling point. Does anyone know if he already speaks English?

    • Kyle

      Not sure why you’d send him to the Dominican. At that point, he’d be one of the oldest there, and you’d have to assimilate him to two cultures instead of one.

      He’d go to extended spring training and begin learning to live and play in America.

  • cubsin

    If Otani waits until next July, the Cubs are well-placed to sign him. They’ll have the second-largest IFA pool, and their shiny new Dominican facility should be a major selling point. Does anyone know if he already speaks English?

    • Frank

      It’s deja vu . . .

  • North Side Irish

    Maybe the Cubs asked for cash to cover the new lower ticket prices. It’ll be interesting to see if that affects sales and attendance. It’s not much of a drop, but it helps…though probably not enough to really make a difference. It’s a nice gesture to the STHs, especially when the major league payroll is likely to be lower again.

  • August

    Gentlemen, I have a question: In a Player To Be Named scenario, how do teams determine who the PTBN is? If the Detroit Tigers are annoyed that we were able to secure this guy, how much control did they have in the selection process? School me.

    • Kyle

      It is usually a list of players agreed upon at the tiem of the trade. with one of the teams having to pick a player from that list by a specified date.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Like, say, “Dickie Noles”….. :-) (Of course, that was a long time ago, and the rules are different now, I think.)

    • Ted

      Tigers *fans. I missed that bit too.

  • Bric

    Hey Ace, just curious if the suedo-headline about Baker cranking it up for the Tigers can be considered an Easter egg. If so, I finally found one! As soon as I started reading it I was like “what?”

    If not, please make this game a little easier on us because I’m not even sure what to look for. THX, bro.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Haha. That isn’t quite one (and I haven’t planted another since the last one … yet) – that was more of just a joke.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_egg_(media)

      • Myles

        I never got the other one. :(

    • TWC

      ::tousles Bric’s hair::

      Next time, Champ. You’ll get ‘em for sure.

  • Carew

    How the heck did the cubs get him for craptastic Baker? Doesnt matter…our day has been made guys

  • nkniacc13

    I wonder what the Tigers got from the Braves for Baker

  • bwitty

    Who is the better prospect? Struck or Carreno?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      First look says Carreno has more upside, but Struck is more polished. So, pick your poison: higher upside, higher risk; or lower upside, lower risk? Each has a shot at being a back-end starter, with Carreno having slightly better raw stuff. Carreno also has a much longer way to go.

      • http://wavesoftalent.webs.com tim

        Struck is closer. Carreno has good walk/strikeout/innings numbers, but in his second year at Low A.

        Daytona could have good starting pitching.

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