Quite a lot has taken place within the last twenty-four hours. If everything reported is actually true, the Cubs have traded Jason Marquis and Mark DeRosa and in return received Jose Viscaino and three minor league prospects, and calling them prospects is a bit generous. Here's my take on what has taken place so far:
What I'd like to believe is that these three minor league pitchers will be flipped in a newly structured Jake Peavy deal, but I can't get past the fact that none of those three pitchers are noteworthy. I see no reason why San Diego would have interest in any of them, at least in a deal involving Peavy. Yes, Marquis leaving opens up a hole in the rotation, but just because we have an opening at the back of the rotation doesn't mean we are going to trade for Peavy. A more likely scenario involves a competition between Angel Guzman, Rich Hill, Sean Marshall and Jeff Samardzija for that spot, with Marshall being the favorite and Hill being the dark horse. Remember, Hill was our best pitcher just two short seasons ago.
On the other side of the ball, things are a bit muddied as well, particularly the middle infield. I fully expect Ryan Theriot to be our starting shortstop next year, whether I like it or not. At second base, we lost a very, very good player in Mark DeRosa. Lucky for us, we have a pretty good little guy to replace him, at least against right handed pitching. From a statistical standpoint we don't lose much against right handers, which make up the majority of starting pitchers. DeRo hit .265/.367/.475 against righties, while Fontenot hit .302/.393/.518. Let that slash line sink in a bit. Against right handers, we had a little version of Chase Utley hitting for us. Even when you account for the possible regression, there's no reason to be upset about Fontenot getting say, 450-500 AB's at second base. Where the drop off comes is against lefties, against which DeRo posted a .894 OPS while Fontenot posted a .893 OPS. You might look at that and think thats not much of a dropoff, but Mike only had 21 at-bats against southpaws last year, and has a career .683 OPS against 'em, albeit in a minuscule 73 at bats. I'll just assume he's somewhere in-between those two figures, at about .770 or so. Either way, it's not like he's garbage against lefties. Anyhow, he probably won't get those AB's, as those will go to the newly acquired Aaron Miles, who has a career line of .284/.352/.352 line against lefties, which is pretty similar to Ryan Theriot's career line.
From a performance perspective, we don't seem to be losing that much, if anything at all. What this looks like is that Hendry has been told he won't be given any more cash to spend and therefore if he wants a new toy to throw into right field he's going have to get a bit creative, which is what he has done. While he did lose a great guy and clubhouse presence in DeRo, I think the Cubs will get by just fine. What he ended up with is a very solid platoon at second base, a cheaper alternative in the rotation and enough cash to go out and get that left handed hitting right fielder Lou has presumably been crying for since Fukudome went into his tailspin. What hurts is that one would think that Hendry could have gotten more than three no-name prospects for one of our better offensive players, but hey, maybe Hendry's scouts know a little more about those guys than I have given them credit for.