As we head into the Thanksgiving holiday, I wanted to give everyone a quick heads up on schedule for the site. Tomorrow there will be no morning news. Instead, we’ll have a Thanksgiving Stat of the Week courtesy of John Dewan and the good people at Acta Sports.
Out with the Old, In with the New – The Cubs made a series of roster moves yesterday, one of the more notable ones being the move involving Bryan LaHair. The Cubs parted ways with the 2012 All-Star (how did that happen again?), designating him for assignment. The understanding between the two is that the Cubs will assist in finding him employment not with another team, but in Japan. What bothers me about this move is not the fact that LaHair is moving on, though I thought he could have a role on this team, but the fact that he’s moving on when his value is at it’s lowest instead of his peak. For the most part, I’ve not been critical of the Theo / Jed regime so far. We did what we could with the situations that were Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza. We decided to back out on the Carlos Marmol for Dan Haren deal at the last minute for medical reasons. On the whole, they’ve made good decisions moving guys not part of the future and getting good returns for them. When it comes to LaHair, I think they pulled a Brant Brown.
We knew going into the 2012 team that LaHair’s role on this team one that involved looking over his shoulder at Anthony Rizzo, and that he would be at first base as long as Rizzo would be in the minors. Instead of crying in his milk, LaHair came out and hit the ball well and earned him an All Star nod. As of June 1, he had a split line of .313 / .400 / .592 with 10 HR and 22 RBI. Also as of June 1, the Cubs were 18-33, in last place in the division by 11 games. Essentially that was the time to make the move, trade LaHair, and promote Rizzo. Obviously, as Doc Raker can attest, hindsight is always 20/20, but it’s hard not to be upset that no move was made at anytime. We can’t see or hear the conversations that took place, so there is no way to know if someone was interested in LaHair at that point, but I find it hard to believe that no one in the Majors would take a chance and give us a warm body for LaHair at this point.
As far as the in with the new aspect of the moves, the Cubs made a trade and added a few names to the 40 man roster. With the Rule 5 draft coming up, the deadline to protect players eligible was last night. As a result, Trey McNutt, Christian Villanueva, Logan Watkins, and Robert Whitenack were all added to the 40 man roster to protect them from being selected in the rule 5 draft. A name not protected was Nick Struck, who had a nice year last year for the Cubs and earned pitcher of the year honors. The 40 man roster now sits at 40, so the Cubs will not be selecting in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 draft unless something changes.
Finally, in a probable re-negotiation of the Geovany Soto trade, the Cubs got a jump on the after Christmas return lines and shipped their broken toy, Jake Brigham, back to Texas in exchange for Barret Loux and a PTBNL. From the Cubs press release, we learn this about Loux:
Loux, 23, was named the 2012 Double-A Texas League Pitcher of the Year after going 14-1 with a 3.47 ERA (49 ER/127.0 IP) in 25 regular season starts with Frisco, helping his club advance to the Texas League Championship Series. The righthander led the league in wins and finished sixth in ERA while striking out 100 batters and walking only 41 in 127.0 innings. Loux began the season with 10 wins in his first 10 starts through the end of May and was the starting pitcher for the North squad in the Texas League All-Star Game.
The 6-foot-5, 215-pound Loux was originally selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks with the sixth overall pick of the 2010 Draft. Loux was declared a free agent by Major League Baseball and signed with the Rangers on November 18, 2010. In his first pro season in 2011, Loux went 8-5 with a 3.80 ERA (46 ER/109.0 IP) in 21 starts for Single-A Myrtle Beach. He struck out 127 batters in 109.0 innings. In two minor league seasons, Loux is 22-6 with a 3.62 ERA (95 ER/236.0 IP) in 46 professional starts.
Loux was selected by the Diamondbacks out of Texas A&M, where as a junior he earned First Team All-American honors by Baseball America and was a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award given annually to the nation’s top amateur player.