Cubs, Padres Swap Anthony Rizzo And Andrew Cashner

The Chicago Cubs found their first baseman of the future, and possibly for 2012, reuniting Anthony Rizzo with both Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer.

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6 Total Updates since January 6, 2012
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SICKELS: The Prospects In The Cubs-Padres Deal

Among the four players in Friday's Cubs-Padres trade, we know a fair bit about Andrew Cashner, who's logged 65 innings for the world's famous Chicago Cubs. Kid's got a big arm. But unless you were watching the San Diego Padres last summer at just the right moments, you might have missed the other three players in this deal.

Fortunately, John Sickels has the lowdown on all three youngsters, including first baseman Anthony Rizzo, potentially the biggest prize in this one:

At age 22 he still has time to work out his flaws. Rizzo has excellent power and sound plate discipline, but his swing gets long and major league pitchers found the holes quickly. He's not going to hit .300 outside of the Pacific Coast League, but with some adjustments he should hit .260-.280 at his peak, with 25-30 homers and plenty of walks. Although error-prone at first base, his defense is considered very good due to soft hands, a strong arm, and surprising range.

Rizzo batted .141 for the Padres last season. Looks like Jedstein believes in minor-league statistics.

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Should We Cross Cubs Off Prince Fielder's List?

With the Cubs trading for a young first baseman, they would seem to have less need than ever for the last great free agent on the market.

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Rizzo To Begin Year In AAA; Cashner To Relieve

The San Diego Padres traded away their best remaining trade chip for a pitcher who has been both a starter and a reliever; the Chicago Cubs acquired a hitter who filled a position of need, but who might not be ready for the majors just yet. How would they be used?

Good question. First from Scott Miller:

Cubs GM Hoyer: Plan is Rizzo open at AAA Iowa and LaHair start season at 1B.

...and again:

Padres GM Byrnes says views Cashner as reliever in 2012. Set-up role makes sense, but GM says not going to "anoint" him now as 8th ing man

There you have it. Bryan LaHair, a 28-year-old who has ridden more buses than any man should ever have to, will not get his first chance at a major-league job yoinked away from him with one cruel transaction. He'll still be the ostensible starter.

And considering how the Padres have found relievers in the past -- in free boxes around the league, through minor deals, and by building them with slider dust and Tinkertoys -- it's more than a little curious that they gave up their best trade chip for a young pitcher they intend to put in the bullpen, but Cashner does have an impressive arm, and it's not crazy for a GM like Josh Byrnes to covet someone like that.

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Cubs Acquire Anthony Rizzo, Trade Andrew Cashner To Padres

The Chicago Cubs found their first baseman of the future, and possibly for 2012, reuniting Anthony Rizzo with both Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer.

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