In case you haven't figured it out already, as important as baseball games are to me, music is my version of therapy. Sometimes I'm up for symphonic or operatic strains. Other days, garage music is the satellite option. One night a week, at least, I'll catch up on the blues podcast I frequent. However, until I returned to my musical roots, I'd mentally written this about eight times with no success. Which song?
Before I get there, I did some research on Tony Campana, as there were some facts about him I wasn't totally clear on. Campana was the Cubs' choice in the 13th round of the 2008 MLB draft. According to baseball-reference.com, two others from that round have played in the majors, with Campana being the most successful of the trio. To make room for Campana Arizona moved Daniel Hudson to the 60-day disabled list. Since the 60-day is now in play, the Cubs could actually add someone to the 40-man roster by placing Arodys Vizcaino on that list. There is a possibility that Campana might not outplay all the Diamondbacks non-roster invitees, and get run through waivers again before the season starts. No, I'm not calling it, just stating the possibility.
As for the right-handed arms coming to the Cubs, much has already been written. If you haven't watched already, The Cubs Den has some video of both Erick Leal and Jesus Castillo, both 17-year-olds from Venezuela. Castillo signed for a larger bonus ($250,000), but Leal ($75,000) had a better 2012 campaign. Someone at The Cub Reporter floated that both might be with the Cubs' new Venezuelan Summer League team. While that could turn out to be true, I don't see Leal improving much on a sub - 1.00 WHIP, so I think he'll soon be Mesa-bound. He seems to be of the Matt Garza fielding school, with three errors in twelve pro chances. Castillo may come in handy in Venezuela, as the Cubs used to rotate players between their two Dominican League squads. I doubt the team wants many flights from the Dominican to Venezuela for a two-inning relief stint, so having starting pitching options aplenty in both locales will be beneficial.
My shot-in-the-dark guess would be that both have around a three-percent chance of reaching the majors, with a barely-under-one percent chance of a WAR of five or more. If required to bet, I would take the under on both, but both are solid, though very young, prospects. Our siblings at AZ Snake Pit ranked Leal their 35th best prospect in August.
Before I get to the song that wrote this article (and, yes, it was just about like that), there were two similar trades Theo Epstein made that got me thinking along these lines. The first was the initial big splash by the new brass. When Sean Marshall went to Cincinnati for Travis Wood, the first rumors stated that the deal was going to be Wood and a player or players. We wondered which ones. Now, we know it was Dave Sappelt and Ronald Torreyes coming back. What led to that?
The second hint of how Theo trades was the Marlon Byrd deal. Byrd, like Campana, had been designated for assignment. Epstein and friends managed to extract Michael Bowden and Hunter Cervenka for the center fielder. When aligned with the Campana trade, what question encompasses all four: Torreyes, Cervenka, Castillo, and Leal?
For one, you have likely determined the song now. For those of you not familiar with The Moody Blues, you've missed something in your musical development. A rock band, they melded classical instruments, harmonies, and sensibilities to their 40-plus-year career. The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame will finally induct them this coming May. When I thought of their song "Question", I knew why I had to write yet another Campana trade article.
I've figured out (for me, at least) the question the Cubs front office asks before pulling off a trade. It's a rather all-encompassing question, showing trust in coaches, scouts, medical staff, video technicians, and everyone else along the line. Epstein has either hired or retained all of them, while letting others leave. What question explains the Marshall, Byrd, and Campana trades, as well as ones that haven't happened yet?
"How deep into your system do we have to go to find someone I really want?"
The Cubs were a bit soft at second base last year in Daytona until Torreyes was added. As for Cervenka, the Cubs are still short of lefty pitching, but adding him helped system depth. As for the most recent swap, the Cubs had a mild disincentive to want someone major-league ready in the pen. Each added reliever Arizona decides to keep in their major-league bullpen adds to the likelihood that Rule 5 selection Starling Peralta gets returned. Adding a seventh-inning type from the Snakes wasn't a goal. The front office delved deep, relying on scouting reports, and from the memories of whichever scouts tried to sign Leal and Castillo before. Since guys far from the majors take a value charge due to what can still go wrong, the risk was very acceptable. After all, Campana was leaving anyway.
You'll be talking with a buddy at work this summer. He'll ask about what the Cubs front office will take for David DeJesus, Alfonso Soriano, Shawn Camp, or Scott Baker. If you want to think like it seems the Cubs front office is, answer a question with another question.
How far do we have to go to get someone we really want?
Otherwise, the front office will still be answering the phone tomorrow.