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Cubs Trade Mike Kickham To Mariners For Class-A RHP Lars Huijer

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This isn't a big transaction, but hey, it's a slow news day.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Cubs claimed lefthander Mike Kickham from the Giants on December 23. Last Friday they designated him for assignment in order to make room for Chris Denorfia on the 40-man roster.

And today, Kickham is gone (insert "kicked to the curb" joke here):

Huijer is a native of the Netherlands who was signed as an international free agent by the Mariners in 2011 at age 17. He's been mostly a starter in the Seattle system, peaking at High-A last year at age 20. As you can see on his baseball-reference page, his results have been mediocre-to-poor.

However, he's listed at 6-4, 203 and just turned 21 last September. As such, there's still potential upside in Huijer. He was listed as the Mariners' 17th-best prospect by MLB.com last year. Here's what that link says about Huijer:

Scouting grades: Fastball: 50 | Curveball: 50 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 45

The Mariners have long been active in Europe, with Huijer's signing out of the Netherlands in 2011 a recent example.

Huijer has an interesting three-pitch mix to go along with some projectability. He throws a sinking fastball -- mostly in the upper-80s -- that generates a lot of ground balls. He can also throw his mid-70s curve and upper-70s changeup for strikes. Huijer does a good job of keeping the ball down in the zone.

So, why not? Take a chance on a pitching lottery ticket. I imagine he'll pitch at Myrtle Beach this year. He'll need better velocity to make the major leagues, even with that ground-ball tendency.

And I thought you'd like one more look at this Mike Kickham photo, which a lot of you... got a, uh, kick out of.