Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Burning down the roster with more Wood

David Kaplan today wrote one of the more conclusive articles today about the fact that, despite what a number of other members of the press have said, the Cubs are indeed going through a complete and total rebuilding process.

In 28 years of following this team, it's really the first time that I will have seen this done.  While it means the Cubs are likely going to be in the bottom half of the central division for the next couple years, come 2014, this team might finally be in a position to achieve sustained success.  It's not guaranteed, but I have faith that this is the right way to go.

So with that said, a slew of Cubs rumors have been coming down the line over the last few days, and a couple of transactions are in the process of happening.

The biggest move of the day, and the true beginning of the dismantling of the current roster, is a trade of Sean Marshall to the Reds for left handed starter, Travis Wood.  The Cubs are supposedly getting two prospects in the deal as well...and I believe that these prospects are more important to the trade than Travis Wood is. (Details on those prospects have not been released.)

Marshall is a free agent next year and was one of the best left handed middle relievers in baseball.  Dumping Marshall is extremely logical.  He'll be a free agent after this season.  His skills are going to useless for the Cubs this coming season as he'll be the best middle reliever coming into a majority of games where the Cubs are losing.

The Reds are making a significant stab at winning the division this year and appear to be going for broke as they sense blood in the water with the possibility of both the Brewers and Cardinals sinking significantly next season.  Cincinnati is looking at a pretty small window of opportunity right now with Joey Votto becoming a free agent in 2014.  After he leaves town, the Reds will need to rebuild their roster. 

So what do we get with another Wood on the team?  Well Travis Wood had a decent rookie season, and many of us remember the gem he threw against the Cubs in his MLB debut two years ago.  He faced the Cubs two other times that year, both times the Cubs handled him much better.

Overall, I really don't like Wood's stuff.  On the other hand, he is a lefty, is very young and is still a season away from reaching arbitration.

Take a look at this...
39 208.2 4.18 162 11 66
45 229.0 4.83 144 13 94
That first line was Travis Wood's stats combined in 2010 and 2011 at ages 23 and 24.
The second line was Sean Marshall in his first two seasons at ages 23 and 24.

Wood has actually been a bit better than Marshall was.  Today Marshall is one of the best lefty relievers in baseball. So keep that in mind...who knows how Travis Wood will end up.

I initially didn't like the idea of this trade, but this is a trade that a team in full rebuilding mode should make.


In other news, the Cubs supposedly have been talking with Paul Maholm and (God help us) Jeff Francis.  Both are left handed bottom of the rotation type of starters.  I get the feeling that with Travis Wood coming to the Cubs now, the interest in Maholm and Francis will probably decrease.

Also, the Cubs have re-signed Reed Johnson, again.  He had a decent season last year in his second stint with the Cubs (before getting his annual trip to the DL) and the fans seem to like him.  He'll be the 4th or 5th outfielder, and that's fine considering his injury history. 

With Reed signed, we still must watch what else the Cubs plan to do in the outfield.  We all know that Tom Ricketts would cut off his arm if it would help in moving Soriano.  I would also expect some rumors to start up about Marlon Byrd too.  If either of those players is moved, Brett Jackson will likely be roaming the outfield at Wrigley next season.