Details to follow.
WEEI’s Rob Bradford posted on the radio station’s website that the Padres sent former Red Sox standout prospect, Anthony Rizzo, to the Chicago Cubs, along with pitcher Zach Cates. In return, the Padres netted pitcher Andrew Cashner and outfielder Kyung-Min Na. Rizzo and Cashner are the high-value players in this deal. According to a tweet from USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the Padres plan to use Cashner, a former first round draft pick in 2008, out of the bullpen.
Rizzo absolutely raked in Triple- A for the Padres last season, posting a 1.056 OPS in 93 games. He played in 49 games for the big club in 2011. He was not ready, and it showed. Rizzo had an OPS of .526. The Padres recently shipped young righty Mat Latos to the Reds for Edinson Volquez and a couple of highly regarded prospects. Yonder Alonso was one of them. It was the acquisition of Alonso that placed Rizzo on the trading block. It seems that the ever-active Cubs have secured their first baseman of the future. But let’s deal with the here and now.
Personally, I don’t really care about this deal. I decided to write about it because it affects a local kid. Bryan LaHair is a 29 year old first baseman who has played the last two seasons in Triple-A Iowa for the Cubs. He played his high school ball at Holy Name in Worcester,MA. He has hit a combined 68 homeruns in two years since signing as a free agent with the Cubs organization. Before 2010, LaHair’s entire career was spent in the Mariners system where he consistently rose through the ranks. After reaching Triple-A ball in 2006, LaHair was stonewalled year after year from the big club by guys like Richie Sexson and Russell Branyan who possessed mammoth contracts. In 2008, LaHair had a cup of coffee with the Seattle Mariners (45 games). He signed on with the Cubs in 2010, and LaHair once again began doing what he is best at—mashing. That year, LaHair posted a smooth .308/.385/.557 line. Last season, LaHair flexed his muscle. A .331/.405/.664 line helped punch his ticket to the Show. LaHair showed versatility by splitting time at first base, right field, and left field. In only 59 at bats, LaHair got on-base at an impressive .377 clip. He caught the eye of former manager Mike Quade: “He has looked fine in the outfield. And that’s a good thing. I watch him work, and again, he’s not going to light you up with his speed, but he’s going to do the right thing.” Consistently doing the right thing seems like it is going to finally payoff for the New England native.
According to GM Jed Hoyer, LaHair will open the 2012 season at first base for the Cubs. Rizzo will begin in the year at Triple-A.
It is easy to root for a local kid. It’s easy to cheer on someone who played on the same Little League fields in Thompson,CT., that you did. But the easiest part of the whole thing is when the kid is flat out good.
Thank you to baseballreference.com, mlbtraderumors.com, weei.com, and chicagotribune.com for providing information and statistics used throughout the blog.