Cubs Make First Trade of Off-Season

Trader Jim put a buzz through the GM meetings by pulling off the first trade of the week....RHP minor league pitcher Matt Avery has been sent to the Washington Nationals for LHP minor leauge pitcher Ryan Buchter. Avery was drafted in the 9th round of the 2005 draft out of the University of Virginia and played three years with their 3rd basemen, Ryan Zimmerman. Avery started off well in the organization with solid partial seasons in the Rookie League, Peoria and Daytona but has flatlined in AA in both 2007 and 2008 with ERA's above 4 and peripheral numbers that suggest he won't ever amount to a major leaguer.

Buchter was drafted in the 33rd round out of high school in 2005 by the Nationals and is just 21 years old. He's only pitched 70 innings of pro ball since then and the ERA isn't much, but he has maintained a K/9 rate above 9 which is always a good sign. The wonderful wide world of the web hasn't turned up a scouting report for me though.

Arizona Phil posted the potential Cubs minor league free agent list a few weeks back which looked like this:

Andres Blanco, SS
Mike Burns, RHP
Hector Carrasco, RHP
Edward Campusano, LHP
Robinson Chirinos, C-IF
Matt Craig, 1B-3B
Jason Dubois, OF-1B
Doug Deeds, OF-1B
Danny Fatheree, C 
Luis Figueroa, INF
Dumas Garcia, RHP
Adam Harben, RHP
Josh Kroeger, OF
Jason Stanford, LHP
Bobby Scales, IF-OF
Andres Torres, OF 

I received a list of all the potential MLB minor league free agents and the only disparities was that RHP Leonel Perez was on this one and AZ Phil had him as a Rule V eligible and this list did not have LHP Ed Campusano. It also had Koyie Hill on this list but it must have been before he was put on the 40-man roster.  I'm sure Arizona Phil will be along soon enough to tell us why that's incorrect.

Inside the Ivy also has a subscription piece on the potential minor league free agents with a quote from Oneri Fleita that final decisions won't be made for a few weeks.

- The folks who took up our old spot at MVN, The View From the Bleachers put together a little historical draft review on the Cubs inability to develop an outfielder. It's the best fucking piece I've ever read...fucking awesome. Fuck Yeah!

Okay, not really, I just wanted to curse...fuck you MVN. But the guys that run The View From the Bleachers are good guys, so check them out.

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Comments

VFTB did mention Arizona Phil in a recent post a few days back and thereby mentioned TCR.

Their article used the F-bomb several times, it just got censored.

Didn't we develop Mel Hall (same timeframe as Joe Carter)
...and Lou Brock (they only went back to 1980...only old farts like me remember THAT far back)

i think he's only counting guys that stuck around...maybe...

doug glanville put in over 1000 games no matter how much some think he sucked...which he did some years. not a star, but not a bum...pretty forgettable guy.

cubs haven't had a good draft that's worked out pretty much from 1985-2000...a lot of promise that turned to crap. 01 was a good one...02/03/04 are shaping up like dogs...probably too early to look at the more recent ones.

Cindy Sandberg was glad they were brought up through Cub system.

In '68 and '69 the Cubs drafted Oscar Gamble and Billy North. As the story goes, Gamble was seen around town with white women while he was up with the Cubs in '69 and Wrigley didn't like it. he was soon gone.

It is said that Billy North, on the other hand, was sent packing because he was an opinionated young black man of the early 70s variety - and surprise, Wrigley didn't like him either. He went on to be one of the best lead off men in the majors for several years and played a nice center field for some of the A's championship teams. I think we got Bob Locker who, it seemed, came in and out of Chicago more than a United flight crew.

Bill Madlock would later be sent packing for similar reasons. Ah, the Wrigley years. If you were black and didn't act like Ernie Banks, you didn't stay around long.

my dad tell the same story. i don't doubt it one bit.

Just went and checked. Locker left the Sox once and came to the Cubs only once. Just seemed like more. Always thrilling to see a young, athletically gifted center fielder get sent somewhere for an aging reliever.

Felix Pie for Mariano Rivera?

Blah. Wake me up when a real trade happens.

Fuck MVN.

was supposedly released from the organization before the season ended for those who care about such things.

I'm glad i shorted the Leonel Perez baseball card market!

As far as deals with two guys who have like a 20% shot of reaching the bigs goes this one is a steal for Jimbo trading a 25 year old righty who cant pitch in AA for a 21 year old lefty putting up average numbers in Low A. Maybe this kid finds it at 22 and turns into a decent Loogy prospect.

The guy we got was hurt at the beginning of this year.

Ryan Buchter was drafted by the Nationals in the 33rd round of the 2005 draft, but he didn't sign, and instead went to a JC in New Jersey.

The Nats signed Buchter as a "Draft & Follow" in May 2006 (prior to the new CBA, clubs retained rights to their Rule 4 Draft picks until one week before the next year's draft), an indication that his draft stock had gone up after his year playing JC ball.

What probably happened is, the Cubs area scout in New Jersey "turned in" Buchter off his performance in JC in '06 ("turned in" being the term used by scouts when they recommend a player), but the Cubs never got a chance to draft him in 2006 because the Nats had already signed him as a DNF in May, although the Cubs probably kept his name on file for future reference should a trade be made with the Nationals at some furure date.

Chances are the Nationals approached the Cubs about Matt Avery (you might have noticed that the Nats seem inordinately attracted to Cubs or ex-Cubs minor leaguers from Virginia) after watching him throw in the AFL in 2007, but the Cubs weren't ready to trade him then (he had been the closer at Peoria in 2006 and at Daytona in 2007 and appeared to possibly have a future as an MLB reliever). But then Avery took a step backward in 2008 (getting demoted from AA back to Daytona at one point), and so he may have asked to get traded. And for the Nats, getting Avery in a trade is better than selecting him in the Rule 5 Draft and having to deal with keeping him on their 25-man roster all next season.

Avery's "out" pitch is a sweeping curve ball that is far more effective against right-handed hitters than against lefty batters (which makes him something of a "ROOGY"), but he struggled with his command last season, and he really doesn't have the quality hard stuff to be much more than an MLB middle reliever (if that) even when he does throw strikes. Avery was a teammatre of Cubs prospects LHP Casey Lambert and OF Brandon Guyer at UVA.

As for Buchter, he should get a chance to compete with fellow LHPs Dustin Sasser, Zach Ashwood, and Chris Siegfried for one of the two lefty reliever gigs at Daytona in 2009, although he is a long-shot to make it to the big leagues. 

The Cubs did "buy" an extra year of control by acquiring Buchter, since Avery is eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time this year and will be eligible to be a minor league FA after the 2011 season (if he isn't added to a 40-man roster), while Buchter won't be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time until after next season, and he can't be a minor league FA until after the 2012 season..

Carmen Pignatiello and Billy Petrick were outrighted to the minors after I posted the list of potential post-2008 Cubs minor league free-agents, and all three are eligible to be minor league FAs. Also, Danny Fatheree (Kerry Wood's catcher in HS) has re-signed with Cubs for 2009, although he actually served as a mentor-coach for the catchers (like Matt Cerda and converted infielder Robinson Chirinos) at Fitch Park in 2008.

Cubs Director of Player Personnel (and Player Development Director) Oneri Fleita will sometimes sign an older guy to a minor league player contract and then instead use the "player" as a "mentor." Besides the 30-year old Fatheree, other players who served as mentors in 2008 were 25-year old Mexican IF-OF Issmael Salas for a while at AA Tennessee (before he was loaned to a team in the Mexican League), 24-year old Dominican catcher Leonel Perez at Daytona (and Perez was recently released), and 25-year old Korean OF Min Kyu Sung at Peoria (Sung went wherever 18-year old Korean RHP Dae-Eun Rhee went, which means Sung returned to Fitch Park after Rhee underwent TJS in August).

Sung played college ball in the U. S. (at Nebraska-Omaha), so he was able to help Rhee adjust to the U. S. while the youngster was at Peoria, and he also helped 18-year old SS Hak-Ju Lee in the AZ Instructional League last month (where Sung was the 1st base coach and OF instructor). Sung will probably be retained for 2009, since the Cubs recently signed two more Korean players (RHP Jung-Soo Min and OF Jae-Hoon Ha).     

BTW, Danny Fatheree will make a fine minor league manager or roving catching instructor some day, IMO. He relates real well to young players, and he is a hard worker.

As for Edward Campusano, I've rechecked his history, and in fact he cannot be a minor league FA until after the 2009 season because he spent the entire 2007 season on the MLB 60-day DL with the Tigers after undergoing TJS in April of that year (full seasons spent on a major league roster do not count toward the seven seasons required to be a minor league FA), and he was not returned to the Cubs (outrighted back to AAA Iowa) until October (after the close of the 2007 MLB regular season). So I should not have had Campusano on the list of potential post-2008 Cubs minor league free-agents.

Campusano will be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft next month (12-11-08), however, and then he will be eligible to be a minor league FA after NEXT season if he is not added to a 40-man roster by the close of the 2009 World Series. He will likely compete for a lefty reliever job at AAA Iowa in '09, although he could end up back at AA Tennessee.

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