No Frenzy … Just Trades for the Cubs

Tim Lincecum picked up his second consecutive NL Cy Young award on Thursday. The BBWAA awards will take a break on Friday and pickup next week with the announcements of the NL and AL MVPs. One note on the NL Cy Young award, Keith Law and Will Carroll might steer clear of St. Louis for a few months.

Let the free agent frenzy begin … just not on the North Side of Chicago. The majority of changes the Cubs are looking to make this winter will reportedly come via the trade route and not opening up the checkbook of the Ricketts family.

Jim Hendry made the first trade of the off-season for the Cubs on Thursday when he dealt Aaron Heilman to the Diamondbacks for two prospects. Rumors had suggested Heilman could be non-tendered. Many thought Hendry would not let a pitcher he coveted for many years walk away and he would tender a contact to Heilman for 2010. Hendry traded Heilman for Arizona’s 18th best prospect according to Baseball America and a lefty reliever that could help the Cubs in 2010 … and beyond.

So on the third anniversary of Alfonso Soriano’s mega deal being made official, here’s the latest on the Chicago Cubs …

John Grabow

The official announcement was expected on Thursday and should be made on Friday. According to numerous reports the Cubs have agreed in principal on a two-year contract with John Grabow. The deal is rumored to be worth a little more than $7 million.

Bruce Levine reported one of the reasons Jim Hendry traded Aaron Heilman on Thursday was to make room to re-sign John Grabow. Heilman is due a raise from his $1.6 million salary in 2009 and will pocket at least $2.2 million in 2010.

The Cubs needed to clear the money and they feel Esmailin Caridad, Justin Berg and Angel Guzman give them enough depth to trade Heilman.

Scott Maine

Fangraphs liked the return of Scott Maine and Ryne White for Aaron Heilman. Ryne White was the D’Backs 18th best prospect according to Baseball America prior to the 2009 season. The Chicago native grew up a Cubs’ fan and was named after Ryne Sandberg.

But Scott Maine could end up being the player that helps the Cubs first.

From Fangraphs:

“Scott Maine is a stout lefty with impressive strikeout rates out of the bullpen. He’s 24-years-old and Drafted out of the university of Miami in 2007, Maine throws from a low arm slot and has a fastball that breaks into the low-90s as well as a slurve. The mandatory Tommy John surgery is out of the way and it’ll be interesting to see if deception is the key for Maine or if his stuff can hold up in the higher minors.”

“Considering Heilman was on his way out for nothing, it’s hard to say the Cubs lose out on this deal. Maine might be a useful relief arm sooner than later, and who knows what the future holds for White. Obviously this isn’t an ideal situation, but at least they didn’t pay a marginal reliever seven million dollars today. As for Arizona, I’m not sure giving up anything of value for a middle reliever is a good play, especially given Arizona’s placement on the win curve.”

From the Hot Stove

The Arizona Fall League

The Mesa Solar Sox season came to an end on Thursday with their eighteenth loss in 31 games. The AFL Championship Game is Saturday and will be aired on the MLB Network.

Here’s how the Cubs’ prospects finished:

  • Starlin Castro – .376/.396/.475/.871 with five doubles, a triple and a home run in 26 games
  • Josh Vitters – .353/.380/.485/.866 with four doubles, a triple and a home run in 16 games
  • Michael Brenly – .240/.240/.400/.640 with a double and a home run in eight games
  • James Russell – 0-1 with a 1.26 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP in 11 games, 14 1/3 innings with 12 hits, two walks and 14 strikeouts
  • Blake Parker – 2-1 with two save and a 4.50 ERA with a 1.50 WHIP in 11 games, 12 innings with 12 hits, six walks and 11 strikeouts
  • John Gaub – 1-1 with a 9.31 ERA and a 1.97 WHIP in 10 games, 9 2/3 innings with 13 hits, six walks and 15 strikeouts
  • Andrew Cashner – 2-3 with a 4.58 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP in six games, 19 2/3 innings with 22 hits, five walks and 19 strikeouts

Stay tuned for roster moves later on Friday and the official announcement of John Grabow’s contract. Teams must file their reserve lists (40-man roster) by midnight eastern on Friday.

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Well, that’s the latest … and I’m sticking to it!

Quote of the Day

"Build up your weaknesses until they become your strong points." – Knute Rockne