Evaluating the Prospects Chicago Cubs Received in Fire Sale Trades


After the San Diego Padres sold off everyone who was good on their 1992-93 teams, they had to do SOMETHING to market the 1994 squad. So they ran ticket sales campaigns that showed two dudes talking about the current team, and basically asking “who are these players we’ve never heard of?”

It was like a family friendly version of the scene in Major League, where the construction workers look at the Cleveland Indians roster as say “heyo, who are dese fucking guys!?” The Padres ad concludes with the sales slogan “hey, it’s baseball.” It was such a refreshingly honest promo that even though I can’t find it anywhere online today, I still remember it nearly three decades later.

That’s where we are now, Chicago Cubs fans. From now, until awhile, it’s going to be a lot of obscurity. Think back to 2011-2013, the days when Darwin Barney and Bryan LaHair were the team’s “stars.” Except, we’re never going to get any kind of honest messaging from the team itself.

Everything Tom Ricketts has said about the direction of the club since 2018-19 has just been useless word vomit. His public statement on Friday after the fire sale was officially complete was just empty rhetoric, and just-going-through-the-motions platitudes that we never felt the need to ever copy and paste it in any way shape or form.

Nor should anyone else.

Ricketts belongs to the family that founded and sold TD Ameritrade to Charles Schwab for $29 billion, at the same time that the first clues emerged of an imminent white flag fire sale.

Yes, $29 BILLION, but hey, as Ricketts will tell you, they just don’t any money for payroll right now. The bottom line is this- don’t expect the Cubs to be contenders again until at least 2025. Dig your heels in because this is going to one long, ugly, brutal rebuild.

The franchise may lapse back into the state (from a W-L perspective) that they were in during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Now that we’ve had a couple days to process all this, and/or get nostalgic about 2016, let’s look at what’s ahead.

In doing our assessments of the sell-off trades, we’re only going to look at the prospects, not the veterans who came back the other way.

Jettisoned:  Yu Darvish   

Prospects Received in Return: Owen Caissie, Reggie Preciado, Ismael Mena, SS Yeison Santana (20)

We’re not just looking at the deals from this past week, but the overall entire body of work by GM Jed Hoyer, starting when they picked a lane.

Outfielder Caissie, 18, was drafted in the 2nd round (45th overall) by the San Diego Padres in 2020 and signed for $1,200,004. He’s just at Rookie Ball level now, plying his trade in the Arizona Complex League (which must be way more difficult than the Arizona Simplistic League- hey hey!) He is tearing it up though right now, as he’s sporting a 1.210 OPS, .667 slugging percentage, .543 OBP and .373 BA. 
His teammate Preciado, just turned 18 a couple months ago. The shortstop is currently sporting a .361/.434/.500/.934 slash line.
Also on the ACL Cubs is another 18-year-old, outfielder Ismael Mena, whose numbers aren’t looking good right now. Actually, they’re pretty brutal at this point.
Santana is a 20-year-old SS who recently got promoted from the ACL Cubs, where he did very well, to Low A Myrtle Beach, where he’s still struggling with a step up in class. He’s only hitting .147 in 75 at bats right now.

Jettisoned:  Joc Pederson

Prospects Received in Return: Bryce Ball 

Letting Kyle Schwarber (who is now on pace to have his best season ever) go, the Cubs replaced him with Pederson, and then dealt him for Ball who is currently at High A South Bend, where he’s .171 in 41 at bats. On the season, he’s only batting .199 in 211 at bats.

Jettisoned:  Ryan Tepera

Prospects Received in Return: Bailey Horn

Horn was 1-1 with a 13.09 ERA and 2.09 WHIP at High A Winston-Salem before the trade. In 38 innings of professional work, the 5th round draft pick has a 5.63 ERA. He’s now with the South Bend Cubs.

Jettisoned:  Andrew Chafin

Prospects Received in Return: Greg Deichmann, Daniel Palencia

Deichmann, 26, is hitting 300 with 13 doubles, three triples, four home runs and 34 RBI in 59 games for Triple-A Las Vegas. Out of all the fire sale trades, the 2017 second round pick out (LSU) might be the prospect who is closest to reaching the Majors right now.


Will we see him in September?

Oakland is an organization known for being great and building and developing, and he’s rated the 9th best prospect in their system.

Palencia has made six starts for Low-A Stockton this season, going 0-2 with a 6.91 ERA- yikes!

anthony-rizzo cubs convention

Jettisoned: Anthony Rizzo

Prospects Received in Return: Alexander Vizcaíno, Kevin Alcántara

The cornerstone of the rebuild and team captain, he was dealt to the New York Yankees for two minor league prospects. We covered them in much more detail here.

It’s really not the Cubs anymore without Bryzzo. It’s like a hollow shell and terrible joke version of what it used to be- kind of like Deadspin. Vizcaíno is the ninth-ranked prospect in the Yankees farm system according to Major League Baseball’s official site.

Alcántara is the 12th-ranked prospect in the Yankees farm system according to MLB.

Jettisoned: Javy Baez, Trevor Williams 

Prospects Received in Return: Pete Crow-Armstrong

Crow-Armstrong, 19, is ranked as the fifth-best prospect in the Mets organization by MLB.com

Crow-Armstrong played six games this season with Single-A St. Lucie, hitting .417 (10-for-24) with two doubles, four RBI, two stolen bases and seven walks compared to six strikeouts prior to suffering a right shoulder injury in May. He was ranked as MLB Pipeline’s No. 20 prospect heading into the 2020 Draft.

kris bryant

Jettisoned: Kris Bryant 

Prospects Received in Return: Caleb Kilian, Alexander Canario

In looking at who the franchise got in return for Sparkles, Canario has hit .235 with 14 doubles, three triples, nine home runs and 29 RBI in 65 games for Single-A San Jose this season. He is the number nine ranked prospect in the Giants system according to MLB.com

Kilian was selected by the Giants in the eighth round of the 2019 draft out of Texas Tech and this season is 6-2 with a 2.13 ERA in 15 starts between Single-A Eugene and Double-A Richmond.

kris bryant

Additionally, minor league pitcher Anderson Espinoza was acquired from the San Diego Padres in exchange for outfielder Jake Marisnick.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports Illustrated and the  Chicago Tribune.

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