You could probably count on one or two hands the total deals made by the Chicago Cubs’ front office that were total clunkers. The Ian Stewart trade. The Scott Baker signing. The Ian Stewart re-signing. The Jose Veras, Kyuji Fujikawa, and Rafael Soriano signings. Yes, probably the Edwin Jackson signing, too.
None of that is even to say you can be too hard on the front office for those because (1) the business of making deals in baseball is an imperfect science, and (2) their hit rate has been pretty darn good. Not every deal will work out.
And, if you’re inclined to keep track of these things, you can add another deal to the clunker list: trading Welington Castillo for Yoervis Medina. The former eventually landed in Arizona, where he hit .255/.317/.496, and the latter couldn’t put it together at any point for the Cubs and has now been designated for assignment.Like most of the Cubs’ moves that haven’t worked out, I understand the why of the deal. Castillo was not only a superfluous catcher at the time he was dealt, but he was also not especially attractive on the trade market thanks to well-below-par receiving skills. Indeed, keeping him was never really an option for the Cubs, who benefited greatly from their catching in 2015. Still, Medina did not work out for the Cubs, so you can’t chalk it up as a win. It happens.
The Cubs will have 10 days to trade, waive, or release Medina. He figures to be waived and to clear waivers, at which point he’ll be outrighted and may elect free agency. Medina could still be a useful big league pitcher, though he’ll have to figure out what went wrong in 2015 after some good years with the Mariners.
His removal from the 40-man roster allowed the Cubs to officially complete the Starlin Castro, Adam Warren trade, by adding the player to be named later – it’s utility man Brendan Ryan, 33, who has seen a steep decline in his once stellar defensive performance in recent years. He’ll make just $1 million in 2016, so he’s not locked into a roster spot. He’ll compete in Spring Training for a bench gig, and if the glove looks solid enough, he may make the club.
I hope he kept his mustache going, by the way, because that could give him a leg up.