The fancy maneuvering of the day is complete, with the Cubs sending lefty Drew Smyly to the Rangers, together with a Player to Be Named Later, for a Player to Be Named Later. Probably won’t be the same guy.
Additionally, the Cubs picked up their $20 million team option on Cole Hamels, many more thoughts on which are right here.
When you see PTBNLs traded this time of year, it’s fair to presume there are Rule 5 implications (i.e., you don’t want to have to roster someone just yet, and/or you want to see if someone is still available after the Rule 5 Draft), and it’s also fair to presume they are not significant prospects.
In this particular case, my guess would be the guy coming to the Cubs is somehow Rule 5-impacted (either the Cubs’ roster or the players’ closeness to being selected), and the guy going back to the Rangers could be predicated on Smyly’s health in the early part of next season. Keep in mind, he didn’t quite come all the way back from Tommy John surgery last year, despite getting the procedure done a year and a half ago. He’s *likely* to be OK next year, but the Rangers are taking on some risk. My guess is the PTBNL going to them is designed to hedge against that risk a little.
Either way, the thrust of this trade for the Cubs is obviously not about the PTBNLs. It’s about keeping Hamels, and about clearing out some of the pitching/no-options-left glut while saving some money in the process.