Another day, another trade made by Neil Huntington. This time it's free agent to be John Grabow and Tom Gorzelanny to the Cubs for right handed pitchers Kevin Hart and Jose Ascaino, along with Class A infielder Josh Harrison.
I'm not surprised, as we all expected this. As far as the return, it's fine with me. Huntington continues to add arms, which the organization desperately needs. The return doesn't have tremendous upside, but he wasn't going to get a big return for Grabow alone. I may have wanted to see Huntington try and package Grabow with either Duke, Maholm or Capps and see if he could get one more big haul before the deadline.
Hart threw today for the Cubs and threw pretty well. I have seen his last 3 starts with the Cubs and like what I have seen. He struggles with his command at times, but I like him. He has made 8 appearances with the Cubs this season, including 4 starts. He is 3-1 with a 2.60 era. Before his start today, he is allowing less than a hit an inning. The only problem so far has been his 18 bb to 13 k's in 27.2ip. He allowed only 1 bb in 6ip today though, looking good getting the win for the Cubs. Hart began the season as the 6th rated prospect in the Cubs system. I expect him to join the Bucs rotation, possibly replacing Virgil Vasquez.
Ascaino has also seen big league time with the Cubs this year. In 14 relief appearances with the Cubs, he was 0-1 with a 3.52era. He is a hard thrower and has struck out 18 compared to 9 bb in 15ip at the MLB level. He allowed less than a hit per inning while on the big league roster. While in AAA, he was viewed primarily as a starter, which is what I think the Bucs will do with him. At AAA Iowa, Ascaino was 2-4, with a 3.16 era in 12 starts. In 51 innings, the ratios applied there as well. Less than a hit an inning and a nice 47k's to 18bb's. He was once a highly thought of prospect in the Cubs system, but despite putting up solid minor league numbers, seemed to be forgotten about. I like his live arm, with his fastball usually touching 95-98 mph. He will probably report to AAA Indy.
As far as, Harrison. He seems like a nice player, and is considered a decent prospect. Harrison, primarily a left fielder/third baseman this season, but his primary position had been second base, has put up solid numbers during the season. He played 79 games at Class A Peroria, hitting .337 with 4 HR/33Rbi and swiped 16 bags. he was promoted to High A Dayton and has played 18 games, hitting .286 with a homer and 9 RBI's. By the way, the major league player that he is compared to the most.....Freddy Sanchez.
I don't have a problem with this deal at all. I like adding the 2 arms and if Harrison progresses, then it's a bonus. The deal does leave John Russell with only Donnie Veal as a lefty in the pen, and there really isn't one to call up. I don't expect JR to be playing many match ups the rest of the season. As far as Gorzo goes, we did kind of sell low there, but face it, he wasn't going to get another shot in Pittsburgh.
While the Bucs are younger the rest of the season, the Altoona and West Virginia teams contain pretty much the entire future of the team, which wasn't the case a season ago. i applaud Huntington for sticking to the plan and blowing the whole thing up. A total rebuild was needed and it's good to see he is committed to it, instead of dealing just one or two vets. I would still like to see Capps dealt (I just read the Dodgers are interested). Remember, the goal isn't .500. the goal is to eventually put a playoff caliber team on the field every season.