I have to lay out the caveats aplenty up front, because although I am very annoyed by this news, your annoyance right now is necessarily limited by …
- A global pandemic that makes minor baseball transactions seem even more minor.
- The Cubs aren’t loaded in many areas, but young catching talent is certainly one of those areas.
- Jhonny Pereda has flashed a great glove, but the bat still has a very long way to go.
- If and when the bat does go, Pereda’s upside is probably that of a back-up catcher in the big leagues.
- (Oh, and one more caveat comes at the end after I talk myself through this.)
OK. So are we square on that stuff before I say the things I want to say about the news? Cool.
Here’s the news: today the Chicago Cubs traded catching prospect Jhonny Pereda to the Boston Red Sox in order to complete the Travis Lakins trade.
If you don’t quite remember what the hell I’m talking about, I don’t blame you. Back during the offseason, in late January, when the Cubs were stockpiling pitching options for the bullpen/Pitch Lab, they acquired Lakins from the Red Sox for a PTBNL. And why not? Sure, the Cubs had already accumulated a significant volume of these types, but Lakins had had minor league success, big spin, and was ranked as a legit top 30 prospect in the Red Sox’s system. Moreover, he had minor league options remaining. Good guy to pick up, especially at the price of a mere PTBNL or cash.
… and then, a week later, the Cubs DFA’d Lakins to make room on the 40-man roster for Jeremy Jeffress. Fine, I suppose, but there were other DFA’able options on the 40-man, and they were guys for whom the Cubs didn’t still owe a price to the Red Sox. Lakins is now on the Orioles.
But, hey, it was for a “PTBNL or cash” – those are never big pieces, right? Surely the list of players the Red Sox could choose from was not robust? And I guess I wouldn’t call Pereda a “big piece,” but he’s certainly at the more notable end of these kinds of PTBNL trades. I guarantee you Red Sox fans who are into the prospecting world are pretty stoked about this pleasant surprise today.
So, in the end, the Cubs gave up a quality upper-level catching prospect, with big league back-up upside, for like five days worth of evaluating Lakins in January. I’m sure there were reasons the Cubs decided so quickly to dump Lakins, but it’s quite an eye-popper to know they gave up Pereda for the privilege.
If you’re looking for a reason to shrug after this, I guess you’d have to go with something like: the Cubs knew most of the AAA Iowa starts would be taken by P.J. Higgins and Josh Phegley, and also knew that most of the AA Tennessee starts would be taken by Miguel Amaya and Cam Balego (who is being converted to catcher). So there just weren’t going to be many starts available for Pereda.
OK, actually, when I look at it that way, this makes a little more sense, and is probably a nice move for Pereda. It just would’ve been cool for the Cubs to actually get something for him.