Anyways, in case you weren't anywhere near a computer today, madness ensued in the Cubs world today. International signing day began today, with the Cubs expected to be big players, and that they were. The Cubs quickly snagged 18 year old Dominican pitcher Jefferson Mejia and the number 2 ranked (by Baseball America) international prospect, Venenzuelan shorstop Gleyber Torres. The Cubs later added number 17 ranked, Columbian pitcher Erling Moreno. In addition, the Cubs are also still the favorites to sign top ranked outfielder Eloy Jimenez.
So how did the Cubs get the money to afford all these international free agents. Well they traded for some pool money of course. The Cubs trades got started today by sending pitcher Scott Feldman to the Orioles along with catcher Steve Clevenger for starting pitcher Jake Arrieta, reliever Pedro Strop, and just under 400,000 in international bonus money. The Cubs immediately announced the Carlos Marmol trade, sending the oft-booed reliever, along with just over 200,000 in bonus money to the Dodgers for reliever Matt Guerrier. The Cubs then acquired more bonus money, almost 800,000, from the Astros for AA infielder Roni Toreyes. Twitter was crazy, as all of this happened in a 15 minute time span. Let me go in depth about these trades and the players involved:
FELDMAN AND CLEVENGER FOR ARRIETA, STROP, AND BONUS MONEY
Scott Feldman has been fantastic for the Cubs this year, posting a 3.46 ERA with a solid 2.68 SO/BB ratio. Feldman was on a 1 year deal and was expecting be moved at some point this season, but the move came a bit early. Clevenger, who has been hurt all season, was nothing more than a throw in here. Arrieta has struggled in part of 4 seasons with the Orioles, posting a career 5.46 ERA, but advanced statistics show he has been better than that, and a move out of the AL East should benefit him. Pedro Strop was dominant last year as a reliever, but he has completely lost his command for the Orioles this year, most likely due to overuse. The bonus money is big here too, as the Cubs will need every last penny to make sure they sign Jimenez. I am completely ok with this trade, although I do feel the Cubs could have gotten more for Feldman. Keep an eye on Arrieta, as I could see him getting flipped to the Padres who were very interested in him prior to the Cubs deal.
Grade for Cubs-B
MARMOL AND BONUS MONEY FOR GUERRIER
It is a miracle!! Not only were the Cubs able to get rid of Marmol, but they were able to get a decent reliever in return and save about 200,000 on Marmol's salary. The Dodgers are just intent on getting every player they can aren't they. While I don't like the Cubs losing 200,000 of bonus pool money here, I am floored that the Cubs were able to get anything at all for Marmol. Again, I could very easily see Guerrier getting flipped, provided he pitches well for the Cubs.
Grade for Cubs-A
TORREYES FOR BONUS MONEY
The Cubs gain quite a bit of bonus money here, but it is at the expense of a very young and very talented prospect who is at AA. Torreyes isn't the most well rounded player, but he definitely can hit. If I had to compare him to someone, think Jose Altuve, but not as fast. The guy hits for a high average and is still only 21 years old. The positive here is that the Cubs are stacked up the middle in the minor leagues, so there really wasn't room for Torreyes anywhere with guys like Arismendy Alcantara, Logan Watkins, Gioskar Amaya, Javier Baez, and others up the middle in the minor leagues. This money will almost assuredly be used to sign Eloy Jimenez, who has some big time tools.
Grade for Cubs-A-
Mejia is an 18 year old right-hander from the Dominican Republic, but because of some questions about his age, he was declared ineligible last year. Mejia has some questions surrounding him, but he is 6'7" and 220 pounds and throws in the low 90s with a good changeup and a decent curveball. The Cubs inked Mejia for 850,000, according to Baseball America
The 17 year old Colombian has a big time arm and good size. At 6'3" and 190 pounds, Moreno has a good frame and his fastball sits in the mid to upper 80s. His velocity should increase as he matures physically. He has a good changeup and curveball and for a 17 year old, has good command of the strike zone. The Cubs paid Moreno 800,000.
This 16 year old Venenzuelan was one of the prizes of this international crop. Torres is an all-around solid player, who's game seems to be more mature than his age. He can hit the ball all over the field and is a plus defender, all while showing a little bit of pop at the plate. Obviously it will take Torres a bit of time to mature, both physically and emotionally, but Torres has the kind of tools that could lead him to the big leagues eventually. He signed for the hefty price tag of 1.7 million.
There you have it Cubs fan, my take on one of the craziest days in Cubs transactions history. Stay tuned, as many more names including Matt Garza, Kevin Gregg, Scott Hairston, David DeJesus, Nate Schierholtz, Dioner Navarro, James Russell, and others could be moved. Along with each Cubs trade, you will get my take on it, so when you see a Cubs move, expect to see my opinion about it.
Have a great night, and congratulations to Homer Bailey, the man who has thrown Major League Baseball's last two no-hitters (Picture from last year)