The Cubs Really Kicked Butt During Trade Season

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The Cubs Really Kicked Butt During Trade Season

Chicago Cubs

If you follow me on Twitter (@Michael_Cerami), you’ll know that I’ve been periodically updating the individual and collective stat lines of the Cubs’ three major deadline pitching acquisitions – Cole Hamels, Jesse Chavez, and Brandon Kintzler – to point out just how well the front office did to stabilize a rotation without its ace, Yu Darvish, and a bullpen without its closer, Brandon Morrow.

Sparing you an embedded tweet, that data looks like this today:

Combined: 81.1 IP, 18 ER, 20BB, 81Ks

Hamels: 45.0 IP, 5ER, 12BB, 43Ks
Chavez: 25.2 IP, 3ER, 2BB, 31Ks
Kintzler: 10.2 IP, 10ER, 6BB, 7Ks

Obviously, one of those things is not quite like the others, but the combined slash line is excellent. With this trio, the Cubs have effectively added 81.1 innings of a pitcher with a 2.00 ERA. That’s AMAZING.

And if you want to stretch and include Jorge De La Rosa in that conversation, you can add another 11.0 innings with just 1 earned run, 3 walks, and 11 strikeouts (so it’s like they really added 92.1 innings of a 1.86 ERA pitcher). Though he wasn’t a trade acquisition, so we can keep that as an aside for now. And that’s all on the pitching side.

There’s also the addition of Daniel Murphy, who has done nothing but hit since coming to the Cubs, while completely removing the leadoff hitter question from the docket. Just.Like.That. Murphy has played in 12 games since joining the Cubs, he’s got at least one hit in all but three of them, and six multi-hit games. He’s also smashed 3 homers and 3 doubles during that stretch, adding 6 RBI and 8 runs scored. That is not bad.

In any case, and with all of this in mind, it should come as absolutely no surprise to learn that ESPN handed the Cubs an A+ grade on their trade deadline deals. They also point out that at the All-Star break, their playoff odds sat at 89%, but on the day the article was published (August 30th) those odds improved to 94%. Today, according to FanGraphs, the Cubs odds of making the postseason stand at 99.8%.

When you throw in the fact that the Cubs gave up almost no prospects of consequence to add all these very significant difference-makers to the roster, it’s hard not be impressed. Head over to ESPN to check out more on how and why the Cubs were graded so highly.

But before I’ll let you go, I’ll give you a little more context (and a little reason to be annoyed). The Cardinals (A-) were the fourth highest-graded team in baseball according to ESPN, thanks to … trading away Tommy Pham and Luke Voit. Even ESPN’s write-up confuses me: “It’s not that these trades did much to propel the Cardinals on the season-making run they are on right now. It’s more of what they signify. No more papering over of holes with veterans.” So these trades didn’t make them better, but they get an A-? Got it.

“It’s not always about the trades that you make. Sometimes, it’s about the message you send with the ones you don’t.” Eh … alright. An A-? Really? The Brewers, by contrast, received a C for their deadline deals (adding Joakim Soria, Mike Moustakas, and Jonathan Schoop), which I think might be a little unfair, but probably not be too much. In the end, all I care about is that bright and shiny A+ next to the Cubs name, which was wholly deserved.

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)


Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami