As if it’s not already the greatest day in a horrific year of being a Cubs fan (after the 4-game weekend sweep of the Cards), GM Jim Hendry completed a couple moves at the trade deadline to significantly brighten up prospects for next year and beyond.
The Cubs parted with 327-game winner Greg Maddux to the faltering — but still not out of the weak NL West race — Dodgers. In return, the Cubs get a few million bucks, and 2005 All Star Cesar Izturis, who is still getting his groove back after off-season Tommy John surgery.
This solidifies the Cubs infield for years to come, with Derrek Lee at first, Izturis at second, Ronny Cedeno at short and Aramis Ramirez at third. Izturis, originally a shortstop, was platooning at third base and in the outfield after coming off the DL this year. I find it hard to believe that the Cubs would be willing to move Cedeno — who has been mopping up as starting campocorto (SS) all season.
The Cubs also dealt veteran 2nd baseman Todd Walker, opening up the infield slot for the speedier and better fielding Izturis. In doing so, they acquired the pitching gem of the San Diego Padres farm system, Jose Ceda, a Dominican power-pitching right-hander who has torn up the Arizona rookie league.
By sending Maddux — a 40-year old with an expiring contract after 2007, and Walker — whom the Cubs have been willing to deal for two years — to two teams struggling to steal a title in a division in which it may only take 80 wins to do so, Jim Hendry pulled yet another coup in his GM stint. Additionally, picking up Ceda helps beef up the Cubs pitching prospects, after they sent stud rookie Ricky Nolasco (who tore up AA for the Cubs last year) to Florida during the offseason in favor of the STILL unproven and running out of time Angel Guzman. Nolasco, by the way is the second stud pitcher we gave the Marlins in favor of Guzman, the other being a lefty named Dontrelle.
Needless to say, not everybody is as optimistic about this trade as I am. Take Death at Goat Riders for example, who posts that he’d rather see Maddux retire as a Cub than see Izturis in Cubbie blue, adding: “Jeez. Hendry just can’t do anything right, can he?”
For more Cubs commentary — see my ‘next year is here’ links on my blogroll. Full details and insight on a rambunctious day of wheeling and dealing through MLB can be found at MLB-content & blog aggregator Ballbug.