andrew carpenterThe Cubs made another minor trade this weekend, mentioned by Luke on Sunday, and I thought it worth posting here so you didn’t miss it. After dealing minor league/non-roster signee Alberto Gonzalez to the Yankees late last week, the Cubs sent minor league/non-roster signee Drew Carpenter to the Rockies for a player to be named later or cash.

The big righty was brought into the Cubs’ organization originally to compete for a bullpen spot before emerging as rotation depth. (At one point, Dale Sveum even called Carpenter the next starter in line after the first five starters, back when Matt Garza and Scott Baker originally went down in Spring Training.) He struggled as a starter at Iowa, posting a 7.33 ERA in six starts, and the Cubs were ready to shuffle in another starter from their AAA-level glut of fringy starters.

The deal is interesting not because it will net the Cubs anything worthwhile – it will not – but instead because it’s the second minor league signee that the Cubs have traded in the last week. The deals suggest (1) that the Cubs did a good job of selecting non-roster invitees this offseason, even though only a few ultimately made the team (and all three – Gonzalez, Hisanori Takahashi and Brent Lillibridge – were quickly booted); and (2) that the Cubs were looking to accumulate as many cheap, borderline pieces as they could, knowing that they can quickly shuffle them out as necessary.

In other words, I like the way the Cubs have played these marginal types, especially given the talent vacuum they had at the AAA level. Fill it up with guys like Carpenter and Gonzalez, and move on when you’re ready to try someone else out at that level. If you’re willing to be that flexible and responsive, you really can never have too many players in the system.

  • ETS

    I think this is interesting because it could mean the cubs are wanting to promote some guys.

    • mak

      Was about to say the same thing. I’d expect to continue to see these fringy major league bench guys (McDonald, Murphy, Lillenbridge) to be shuffled out as AA guys continue to put up good numbers (Ha, Szcuzr, Torreyes).

    • MXB

      Maybe Kyle Hendricks gets moved up?

  • Andy

    I’m not sure this means promotions are forthcoming, because it could also mean some players on the DL could be on their way back. Junior Lake should be getting close, if my recollection of the timeframe put on his injury is correct. And with Matt Garza getting set to reclaim a spot on the major league roster sometime in the next week or two, someone is likely headed to Iowa, so it seems to me that the Cubs merely recognize the need for roster slots.

  • Indy57

    The front office has done a really good job of filling in the holes in AAA and on the MLB roster. They also acted with a great sense of urgency to fill the bullpen with better arms after the terrible start. The amount of talent (think broad spectrum) the FO has added in 2 years is quite amazing. Add to that the work being done to develop players to succeed at the ML level (Rizzo, Jackson, Wood, is just as impressive. Looks like we should be prepared to see movement throughout the organization.

  • Willrust

    Any chance that these deals could be for additional international signing pool money?

    • Brett

      Conceivable (and great thought), but I tend to suspect not, because of the way that money is traded: it can only be traded in slot values, and I’m not sure the smallest slot amount would be small enough for the Yanks/Rockies to be willing to give it up (especially the Yanks, who have a very small pool to begin with).

      That’s a very interesting thought, though.

      • cubsin

        Brett, correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think there are any “slot values” for the international free agent pool. I suspect there will be if/when an international draft is introduced.

        • cubsin

          Actually, I’m sure there will be slot values once an international draft starts if “Larry” Bud is still Commissioner at that time. Also, I’ve read that international pool money can’t be traded until after July 2, 2013.

        • Luke

          I think Brett is right on this one. It’s a weird and complex set up, but essentially it goes like this – there are no locked in slots, but there are slot recommendations issued by MLB. The only real thing those recommendations do is define the blocks of cap space that can be traded (right now, anyway).

          Teams can ignore the slots when signing players, but not when trading money with each other.

        • Brett

          There are slots, though they have no force just yet. But that’s how you trade for pool money. Here’s the gist:

  • Deez

    You’re getting something for nothing. We got guys who increase the compeition level, plus, we got the opportunity to see what the kids could do early at the Lower levels before shuffling them up.

  • TommyK

    I have purposely held off naming my son so that he can be the proverbial “player to be named later” in all these trades. I’ll give him a name when he retires from the game.