The Cubs might have had their first baseman of the future, and his name is not Prince Fielder. Betting lines
The team purchased Anthony Rizzo of the Padres in an agreement that sent right-handed pitcher Andrew Cashner to San Diego. Rizzo batted .331 with 34 doubles, 26 homers and 101 RBIs in 93 Triple-A games last season. He had a strong 1.056 OPS. Rizzo struggled in his call-up to the Padres, hitting .141 in 128 at-bats, but was at 22 years of age, his first exposure to the big leagues. Sports scores
New Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer know Rizzo very well. The 6-foot-3, 220-pounder was originally selected by the Red Sox in 2007, when the couple and recent Cubs scouting director Jason McLeod were in Boston.
Rizzo was then an important part of the operation that led Adrian Gonzalez to Boston past season. At that moment, Hoyer was the general manager of the San Diego Padres.
“We contemplate Anthony has the potential to be a middle-of-the-order run producer for the Chicago Cubs for a lifetime,” Hoyer said, in accordance the press. “He still has some progress left. We think what he did when he was 20-yeas-old in Double-A and 21-year-old in Triple-A was outstanding.”
Rizzo has also surpassed Hodgkin lymphoma. He was diagnosed in 2008 and declared free of cancer after months of chemotherapy.
The Cubs also get the right-hander Zach Cates, 22, who pitched in Class A last season, in exchange. Besides Cashner, the Cubs submitted minor league outfielder Kyung-Min Na, 20, to San Diego.
Cashner, 25, was 2-6 with an ERA of 4.29 in 60 big league games. Expected to enter the starting rotation last season, but only made one start and showed in only seven games because of a strain on his shoulder.
“The acquirement of Yonder Alonso (from the Reds in the Mat Latos change) has given us the suppleness to do this business and obtain a character, young power arm Andrew Cashner,” Padres GM Josh Byrnes said.
“We are thrilled to add a pitcher with the family tree of Cashner and an outfielder with the athleticism of Na.”
The Cubs have been in need of a first baseman after failing to re-sign Carlos Pena, who served the position for one season.
Hoyer said that the team will go to spring training with Bryan LaHair at first and Rizzo increasingly more seasoning at Triple-A.
“To be honest, I do not think I did any favors to Anthony when I was general manager of the Padres,” Hoyer said of Rizzo’s call-up last season. “It’s too soon, and it was an error on my part.”
LaHair had his own big year at Triple-A last season, winning the MVP of the Pacific Coast League.
LaHair did a slightly better than Rizzo in his major league call-up, hitting .288 with two homers and six RBIs in 59 at-bats with the Cubs. But LaHair also 29 years old, and Epstein has agreed to build for the long term.
Both players bat left-handed an area of need for the Cubs. If at any time during the season, Rizzo was being called to play first base, LaHair gained some experience in the outfield the last season and could get to bat there. Epstein has reportedly been talking to teams about trading Alfonso Soriano, but his big contract is an impediment to an agreement.