You can’t knock the Padres for resting on their laurels this offseason. After trading away Mat Latos for a package of prospects from the Reds, including first baseman Yonder Alonso, the Friars have dealt last year’s top power prospect to the Cubs.
After bashing the Pacific Coast League to the tune of .331/.404/.652, Rizzo looked good upon first reaching San Diego, hitting .429/.667/1.286 through his first three games. Sadly, things like sample size warnings exist for a reason and Rizzo finished the year at a forgettable .141/.281/.242, getting sent back down in the process. Though Rizzo should still have a bright future, with John Sickels thinking he is still a .260-.280, 25 HR first baseman, it should be noted that this is the second time he has been traded in a year. The Padres also included Zach Cates, a 2010 third-rounder who disappointed in 2011, but has plenty of time to grow.
On the Cubs side, they are giving up Andrew Cashner and speedy-yet-powerless outfielder Kyung-min Na. The real key to the deal is Cashner who was ranked as the 95th best prospect before the 2010 season when he pitched 54 innings out of the bullpen. Shoulder injuries limited his time last year, but if healthy could contend for a spot in the Padres rotation.
Clearly, Theo Epstein is a big fan of Rizzo, re-acquiring him now that he’s with the Cubs, and assuming Rizzo’s 153 plate appearances were just your average rookie struggling to adjust, it looks that the Cubs have come out on top. Perhaps Rizzo will never cut it as a Major League first sacker and perhaps Cashner’s arm problems are behind him and he will blossom into a rotation stalwart, but Rizzo could and should have commanded a better return.
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