Both the Cubs and Royals were involved in the last minutes moves at the trade deadline last weekend. In short:
- The Royals acquired 22 year-old catcher Justin Huber from the Mets organization in exchange for Jose Bautista whom they acquired earlier this season from Baltimore. Huber will go to AAA and the Royals like his power potential (15 homeruns in A and AA last year). He's also seems to have a pretty good eye putting up a .360 OBP last season while hitting around .270. The Royals want to work on his defense (particularly his throwing) but he could end up being a better bat than John Buck, who has looked overmatched at the major league level thus far. He may also be moved to a corner outfield spot or first base (as if the Royals don't have enough of those guys already).
- The Royals also acquired 27 year-old outfielder Abraham Nunez from Florida (not the one from Pittsburgh) and sent reliever Rudy Seanez packing. Nunez was one who had 2 years added to his age recently and so has lost some of his luster as a prospect. He's also had injuries (hamstring in 2003) that have limited him. He hit .311/.398/.547 for the Albuquerque Isotopes (one of the worst team names you can find by the way) last season but in a notorious hitter friendly environment. He has some pop and has shown a little patience and speed in the past as well. Not sure what the Royals plans are for him with the combination of Mateo, Brown, and Stairs in the outfield. At this point I'd like to see the Royals bench Stairs and see if the other three can play. DeJesus seems to be coming around a bit has hit .292/.378/.403 since the break. Strangely, he doesn't seem able to steal bases at all (2 for 5 thus far).
I like both deals since Huber has more upside than Bautista and Nunez than the aging Seanez and it may just turn out that Huber at least will be a regular in the majors some day.
- The Cubs of course acquired Nomar Garciapara from the Red Sox in a multi-team trade giving up Justin Jones a 6'4" 19 year-old left handed pitcher, Brendan Harris, the organization's top infield prospect, Francis Beltran, the 23 year-old top pitching prospect (40 K's in 35 innings with the Cubs this season), and Alex Gonzales (605 OPS). They also acquired outfielder Matt Murton from Boston who was in A ball hitting .301.
The Bottom Line: The Cubs gave up a lot. Three of their top prospects for possibly 2 months of time from Nomar. Given that the Cubs will not win their division this year and are trailing in the wild card race I'm not sure this is such a good deal. Beltran would have looked nice in the rotation next year if Maddux retires or injuries once again plague Wood and Prior with Harris taking the utility or second base job and Jones still a couple years away. My preference would have been to put Grudz at shortstop and leave Walker at second.