I literally just finished writing and posting my latest blog on the Chicago Cubs and their plans to go forward with a full blown rebuilding, and now news has officially broken.
Today, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer made another trade that many Chicago Cub fans are not happy with. A few weeks ago they sent a fan favorite, Tyler Colvin, to the Rockies for Ian Stewart. Today they sent another fan favorite packing. In an interdivisional trade, the Cubs and the Cincinnati Reds have agreed on principle that sent 29 year old left handed relief pitcher Sean Marshall to the Reds for 24 year old left handed starting pitcher Travis Wood and two minor leaguers who have not yet been named.
Over the past few years, especially last season, Marshall has proven to be one of the best left handed relief pitchers in the majors. He has been slotted into the rotation occasionally as an emergency starter, and has had limited success. However, he has had his most success being used as the 8th inning left handed setup pitcher for closer Carlos Marmol. Wood on the other hand is a starting pitcher with just over one full season of Major League experience under his belt where he has posted a 11-10 with an ERA of 4.18. At the moment, Marshall definitely looks like the better pitcher, which has many fans scratching their heads asking what the Cubs front office is thinking trading him away when he has been so dominating in recent years.
Personally, even though the Cubs are giving up a very good pitcher in Marshall, I like this trade. While he may very well have been the best pitcher in the Cubs bullpen, anytime you can trade a relief pitcher for a starting pitcher and get some additional prospects back in return, that is an offer you have to seriously consider.
Realistically speaking, relief pitchers not named Marino Rivera, should never be considered an untouchable piece of any team. While finding the ones who can have sustained success is hard to find, you have to keep in mind that they are generally a one inning a game pitcher who can occasionally give you two innings every few games. More often than not, even the best of them, will usually max out around the 80 inning mark. A starter on the other hand, like Wood, can give you 150-200 innings a year.
Depending on which prospects the Cubs get back, this is an epic win for the Northsiders. Even if the fans do not agree, this was done with the Cubs best interests in mind. This is only the first of several moves to come this off season as the rebuilding process begins.