Before I start, one thing seems important to say about Andrew Chafin. Back in the day, Johnny Carson was the king of late-night television. Whether in New York or California, his show resonated with people across the country. Among his gifts was being very self-deprecating. He rarely took credit for being any good at a crafted he'd about perfected. While Chafin isn't the Carson of southpaw relievers, he has the self-deprecating thing down. If you cried a bit at his leaving the Cubs, here's a glass for you to toast his season.
This was a fantastic trade by Jed Hoyer. We have no idea how any of the three players will perform, but I'd have been ecstatic with just Greg Deichmann for Chafin. Deichmann mashed against SEC pitching at LSU, and has had success in Triple-A with a .300 average, and good plate discipline (59 walks to 69 strikeouts). I'd have expected more power so far, but his OPS is .881, even without the home run power showing up yet (just four this year).
On the 40-man roster, he could well be on the MLB active roster in 2022, or even September if there are more trades. (The recently acquired Johneshwy Fargas would be the better center-field play, and Deichmann would likely be the better right field option, in my opinion. Deichmann has no center field starts this season.) He ought to be able to "hit like a corner outfielder," and will have (at least) two more option seasons remaining. Deichmann could be considered a better hitter than Jason Heyward by 2022. (Merely putting a sentence in on the topic.) While not a burner on the bases, he ought to be able to take extra bases at least adequately.
Here are three reports from our friends at the SB Nation A’s site Athletics Nation on Deichmann: Pre-2020, pre-2021 and mid-season 2021.
Regarding the second player in the trade, if Daniel Palencia had been the first player named, with another to be named later, I'd have been almost equally ecstatic. First off, the grumble for quite awhile has been lack of velocity from the pitching staff. Palencia has sat rather regularly 98 and 99. This is his first pro season. I've been listening to a few of the Stockton Ports games recently (more on that in a few), and they've been hideous recently. Losing streaks galore. Which can crush morale.
In his first pro season, Palencia has been fine. His hits and innings are close. Innings and strikeouts are very similar. His walks are lower than I'd have expected. His ERA is high, but he's a year younger than most of the hitters he's faced, and his first game this season was his first pro game with a box score. And no Power Four Conference games, here. He’s a bit like a few already in Myrtle Beach.
I sent out the Bat Signal that I was happy that the Venezuelan Palencia would have the Venezuelan Pablo Aliendo to catch him. The situation wasn't lost on Aliendo, who responded in less than five minutes.
I like to occasionally put myself into an imaginary discussion of executives regarding a trade. Basically, who do I think blinked, and how did it go? The Yu Darvish scenario still brings nightmares, even as a few players climb the Cubs prospect rankings.
Seeing two 40-plus types (per Fangraphs) for Chafin hints that Billy Beane might have caved. My hunch is Beane was willing to give either Deichmann or Palencia, with a slighter piece. My hunch is Jed Hoyer wanted Brayan Buelvas (Buelvas is a Fangraphs 45 outfielder, the big piece in Stockton, and the reason I was listening ) and a piece in the 40 range. Until either side caved, nothing would happen. In my view, Beane says, "Scrap Buelvas, and we'll give you two 40-plus types." With only five eligible to be traded, it was about complete.
On occasion, people sometimes like to toss off the "he'll never get much in return" trope. The first trade of the day was the Yankees trading two professional baseball players for Clay Holmes. As I'm now a devotee of Fangraphs' player rankings, anyone that's a 35-plus is "of value" in Fangraphs’ eyes. Every year, organizations have guys pop up from unrated to rated. For me to say a player is "of no realistic value" is rather presumptive, unless I'm fairly familiar with them.
It's likely Deichmann plays at least one game with the Cubs this year. It's very possible he gets regular looks in Mesa in spring training 2022 in a role akin to that of Mark Zagunis not long ago. The chance will be there, depending on how he handles it.
Palencia should have a rotation spot in Myrtle Beach, and any future trades ought to upgrade the pipeline, at at least one level, in some way, shape, or fashion. Palencia will be the hardest thrower in the Pelcans' rotation. Into the future, I'd expect Palencia to be a reliever, but starters innings now ought to upgrade his secondary pitches in the future. And, maybe, he figures out starting.
It's hard to find a hole in this. A rental piece that might be interested in a return engagement in 2022, for a guy who should get MLB swings in September. Or, maybe sooner. Toss in a lively arm, and even in neither one flourishes, the logic on the day of the trade was solid.
For an iconic reliever.
Jed Hoyer did really well here. Not only did he seemingly have more patience than Beane, he had way more patience than I did.