What Yesterday's Trade Does and Doesn't Mean, Love for Megill, Darvish Grace, and Other Cubs Bullets

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What Yesterday’s Trade Does and Doesn’t Mean, Love for Megill, Darvish Grace, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

I haven’t really said much on here about the really tough stretch I went through in the fall – some of you might remember – and it’s not because things haven’t been improving (they have! thank you, new meds and new counselor and more support from loving folks!).

I think because improvement is not a light switch – one day things are really rough, and then the next all is well again – I never really had a day, sitting down to do the Bullets, where I felt like, ooh, yes, unlike yesterday, today I feel like I’m in a great place again! It’s also kind of scary to mention any of this stuff, because to say you’re feeling good now implies that things were definitely not so good before. But I am good right now. So I guess I’ll mention it today. I feel good. I feel positive. I feel more in control of the anxiety and depression issues that quietly bug so many of us, and I feel that way in large part because I’m more OK with knowing I’m not in control of them. It’s gonna ebb and flow for the rest of my life, and the best I can do is observe it as it happens, doing what I need to do along the way, and keeping those around me informed so they can be a part of the support system. Thank you all for being a part of that, and if I can ever be an ear for any of you, I’ve got two of them.

On to the Bullets …

  • Although it was far from the biggest news in the baseball world yesterday, the Cubs did make a trade that had folks buzzing – less because of the players involved, and more because we’re all so feverishly desperate for “Cubs news” – so there’s a little more to say. Bryan will also have a take on new Cubs prospect Alfonso Rivas soon.
  • As for the addition of Rivas, a first baseman by trade, no, let me be very clear that this has nothing to do with Anthony Rizzo, or making plans for his departure, or anything at all like that. The Cubs simply are interested in adding minor league talent that they dig, Rivas was a fourth rounder in 2018 who had a lot of success in 2019 (and was probably a favorite of new Cubs scouting director Dan Kantrovitz, who drafted him with the A’s), and he isn’t viewed as a future starting-caliber first baseman in MLB unless he really explodes on the power side. Instead, he projects more like a polished hitter who can play first, left, and maybe right, and who could become a nice bench piece. If he becomes more than that, you just figure it out later. This has nothing to do with Rizzo. At all.
  • And as for trading away Kemp, since it didn’t really save the Cubs any payroll space, you can presume it was just about him being a guy the A’s liked for their bench, and a guy the Cubs felt like they could part with. Their roster is already overloaded with bench-ish second base options, and although Kemp can also play in the outfield, he doesn’t really bring a big bat. Having just recently inked lefty-hitting second baseman Carlos Asuaje to a minor league deal with a legit chance to win a bench job, it was all the more reasonable for the Cubs to part with Kemp at this point, especially if Rivas was a guy they really liked.
  • And as for the timing of the deal, my guess is it was a little bit about the Asuaje signing getting finalized, but mostly was just an ongoing dialogue between the Cubs and A’s, and after a while, they each decided it was just time to go for it. I really don’t think the Cubs were opening up another 40-man spot for some major deal, or this is a precursor to anything else.
  • Aaaaand one more thing, with a hat tip to @ballskwok – now having added a versatile, light-power, high-contact bat in Kemp, who is very likely to be on their bench, the A’s chances of being able to carry a similar player in Vimael Machin – taken from the Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft – just went down a good bit. So that’s cool, if you’re hoping the Cubs can get Machin back.
  • We discussed the state of the Cubs bullpen yesterday, and among the large group of upside arms trying to win a job is Trevor Megill, the Cubs’ Rule 5 pick from the Padres. A little more on the 6’8″ righty here at BA from Patrick Mooney. The Cubs are optimistic about the stuff and the arm, though I’d point out with really, really tall guys, you worry about the ability to consistently repeat mechanics. The very same thing that gives them an edge – super long levers and extension and intimidation and weird angles for the batter – can also be a unique hurdle to overcome to achieve the kind of consistency you need for success. Much like his 6’9″ friend that the Cubs earlier plucked from the Padres’ farm system (Brad Wieck), I would not presume they come out of the gate perfectly in 2020.
  • That said, Megill sure was a freaking beast by the peripherals at AAA last year – 32.3% K rate, 8.6% BB rate, 0.89 HR/9 (in the western half of the PCL in juiced ball 2019!). Despite a comically unlucky .411 BABIP and 69.6% LOB, he still managed a 4.47 ERA, which was more than a run better than league average (LOL, that freaking league last year … ).
  • This is more incredible wisdom and grace from the Darvish family:



Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.