UPDATE 2: The deal is official, and the Cubs are getting minor league righty Raynel Espinal back in the deal. As expected, it’s not a significant return – in fact, it’s close to the pitching equivalent of Dixon Machado!
Espinal, 30 (like Machado), has seen no success in a small amount of big league action (like Machado), but has generally been pretty useful at Triple-A (like Machado). Espinal was mostly with the Yankees over the years, and despite his success in the upper minors – some good peripherals, too – he never got a chance to pitch for the big league team. Then the Pandemic season happened, and when baseball returned, Espinal signed a minor league deal with the Red Sox, where he was again solid, if unspectacular, at Triple-A. He was with the Giants’ Triple-A team this year, and wasn’t having as much success (5.29 ERA, 5.51 FIP – Lotta strikeouts, Lotta walks, Lotta homers).
Basically, the Cubs are getting back a guy they can give a look at Triple-A – maybe eat some innings there after the deadline maneuverings all shake out – and have a first crack at signing him to a new minor league deal after the season if they think they can work with him. In other words, the Cubs got an early crack at one of their many pitching reclamation projects. Sounds about right in a deal like this.
Good luck to Dixon Machado the rest of the way, and happy to see him get his new shot in the big leagues.
*original post and update follows*
UPDATE: The trade is officially happening, by Jon Morosi. So now we just wait on the details. Again, I wouldn’t expect a significant return for the Cubs, since Machado wasn’t coming up to the Cubs, is a minor league free agent after the season, and is a depth guy. However, this is a great opportunity to do something good for a player who has earned some time in the big leagues. Being seen as an organization that does right by these minor league free agents is going to help the Cubs continue to be able to sign preferred minor league free agents.
*original post follows*
The timing on this, and how it came to pass, is a little awkward, but the Chicago Cubs are in a position to help out the San Francisco Giants right now. So they might work out a little trade.
Here’s the report:
What’s the deal with that? Well, remember, last night, Giants shortstop Thairo Estrada took a Mark Leiter Jr. pitch off the head, and may have suffered a concussion. The Giants are woefully short on shortstops at the moment – Estrada was filling in for the injured Brandon Crawford – and the Cubs happen to have an extra shortstop there at Triple-A Iowa in Dixon Machado. If Machado wasn’t going to get a second half look from the Cubs, he deserves a shot at the big leagues – so maybe the Cubs and Giants can coordinate to make that happen.
Like I said, it’s a little awkward that it was a Cubs pitcher who plunked a Giants batter that now makes the Giants have to trade for a shortstop from the Cubs. It happens. It’s no one’s fault. But it’s an oddity.
Machado, 30, is hitting .312/.402/.394/121 wRC+ at Iowa, while playing great defense. He’s not on the 40-man roster, and is out of minor league options, so he was going to be a tough retention for the Cubs anyway. If they can get a little something in return from the Giants right now, I say jump on it.
Bonus? It’s nice to be able to get a guy to the big leagues after you signed him to a minor league deal. It could help the next time you’re trying to sign a guy who has multiple options in minor league free agency – “Hey, we can help get you back to the big leagues, even if it’s not with us.” It’s just a nice way to be.
Don’t expect this to be a BIG deal, but it might be mildly interesting. Or it could be virtually nothing. Stay tuned.