It’s been said multiple times already but the fact remains that the 2019 MLB Trade Deadline was weak, until the clock nearly ran out. Several big names were shopped with the deadline wrapping up, including the Chicago Cubs trading for Nicholas Castellanos.
Leading up to that point, the Cubs had made very little movement on “D-Day” but the acquisition of Castellanos turned things around. In exchange, the Cubs sent Paul Richan and Alex Lange, one of their top prospects, to the Tigers. This season, Lange has played for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans and Tennessee Smokies, both part of the Cubs’ farm teams.
Lange has experienced mix success this year, compiling a 3-12 record, sub-6.00 ERA and struck out 79 over the span of 86 innings.
Bringing on Castellanos was a splash move for Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, and the entire Cubs organization. There were rumors they were trying to snag him once the Tigers made it known he was on the trading block. This season, Castellanos owns a .273 batting average, along with 37 RBIs and 11 dingers. He should slot in nicely into the Cubs batting order and brings more depth in the outfield.
Martin Maldonado, Carl Edwards Jr. traded
Earlier in the day, the Cubs sent Martin Maldonado down to rejoin the Houston Astros, in exchange for Tony Kemp. Shortly after Wilson Contreras was put on the IL in early July, the Cubs made a move in bringing aboard Maldonado to shore up the catcher’s spot. He only made four appearances in a Chicago uniform, making it on base three times via walks. He returns to Houston, where he finished out 2018 where he contributed with a .231 batting average, drove in 12 runs and hit four bombs.
Kemp is regarded as a utility knife, proving he can play multiple spots on the field. While with the Astros, Kemp found his stride in 2018 by hitting .263 with 30 RBIs and six dingers. He was on pace for a similar season this year, hitting .227 with 17 RBIs and seven long balls in nearly 100 fewer at-bats. Kemp is expected to be a primary option to play at second base with David Bote taking the lead spot on the depth chart. Robel Garcia was playing second base the past few games for the Cubs but was optioned back down to Triple-A Iowa to make room for Kemp and Castellanos on the roster.
Chicago had some spots they needed to address and it was known they’d have to ship someone out to get someone back. This time, they said goodbye to Edwards Jr. who’s become a fan favorite for some but didn’t put up the needed numbers. He’s made 20 appearances this season and currently holds a 1-1 record, struck out 17 in 15 innings of work but has a ballooned 5.87 ERA. They shipped him to San Diego and got an equally questionable arm in return.
The latest Padre turned Cub is Brad Wieck, who has similar numbers to Edwards Jr. On the season, Wieck has made 30 appearances and has yet to register a win, but has limited the damage to one loss. He has an even higher 6.57 ERA to go with 31 strikeouts in just over 24 innings of work. The Cubs bullpen has had its fair share of issues and blown saves this season already, but the acquisition of Wieck won’t have much impact, most likely brought on for depth purposes.
While the Cubs got mixed success, they did address their main areas of concern, despite the levels of talent. Though it didn’t happen on the same day, the Cubs’ addition of Derek Holland could be one of the best moves in terms of stabilizing their bullpen. Since being shipped from the Bay to the Windy City, Holland has made two appearances equaling a shade over one inning of work, striking out one.
As Jesse Rogers stated, the Cubs have the pieces they need to succeed, now they just have to perform consistently.