Cubs trade Sean Marshall to Reds for Travis Wood, Dave Sappelt, and Ronald Torreyes

13 Comments

UPDATE: It’s a done deal.

==========

It’s been a couple days since the Cubs and Reds reportedly agreed to a deal that would send Sean Marshall from Chicago to Cincinnati for Travis Wood and two unnamed prospects, and now Keith Law of ESPN.com says the trade will be announced at some point today.

Law also has the details, reporting that the Cubs will receive prospects Dave Sappelt and Ronald Torreyes in addition to Marshall, who’s expected to fill a setup role in Cincinnati despite the Reds’ current lack of a closer.

Marshall has emerged as one of the league’s elite relievers since moving to the bullpen full time in 2010, throwing 150 innings with a 2.45 ERA and 169/42 K/BB ratio. He’s the best player in the deal, but is also just one season away from free agency.

Wood’s upside isn’t as high, but he projects as a solid mid-rotation starter and at age 24 is under team control through 2016. Neither Torreyes nor Sappelt were among the Reds’ top 10 prospects according to Baseball America, so the swap is definitely built around Marshall for Wood, but Sappelt is an MLB-ready outfielder and Torreyes is a 19-year-old infielder who posted some big numbers at Single-A.

If the Reds can get Marshall signed beyond 2012 that would change things, but from the Cubs’ point of view getting a young, cheap mid-rotation starter and a pair of solid prospects for a reliever one year away from free agency is pretty nice work.

Seattle Mariners to make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a team-sponsored podcast the other day that the M’s will make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani. To that end, Dipoto said that the M’s would be willing to let the two-way star to pitch and to hit, which is something Ohtani is interested in doing in the United States. Not all clubs are likely to let him do this, with most likely seeing him as a starting pitcher only.

Ohtani, who is expected to be posted by his Japanese team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, possibly as early as today, can sign with anyone he wants. He is, however, subject to the international bonus pool caps, so the bids on him will be somewhat limited. The Texas Rangers and New York Yankees have the most money available: $3.535 million for the Rangers and $3.5 million for the Yankees. The Twins ($3.245 million), Pirates ($2.266 million), Marlins ($1.74 million) and Mariners ($1.57 million) are the only other teams with more than $1 million left. Twelve teams — including the Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals and Astros — are limited to a maximum of $300,000, having met or exceeded their caps for this signing period already.

Ohtani, however, is said to be less motivated by money than he is by finding the right situation. While a lot of guys say that, the fact that Ohtani is coming over to the U.S. now, when his financial prospects are limited, as opposed to waiting for two years when he is not subject to the bonus caps and could sign for nine figures, suggests that he is telling the truth. As such, a team like the Mariners that is willing to allow him to hit and pitch could make up for the couple of million less they have in bonus money to spend.

As for how that might work logistically, Dipoto said that the team would be willing to play DH Nelson Cruz a few days in the outfield to accommodate Ohtani, allowing him to DH on the days he’s not pitching. That might be . . . interesting to see, but given how badly the Mariners could use a good starting pitcher, they have an incentive to be creative.

Ohtani, 23, suffered some injuries in 2017, limiting him to just five starts and 65 games as a hitter. In 2016, however, he hit .289/.356/.547 with 22 homers in 342 at-bats and went 11-3 with a 3.24 ERA, and a K/BB ratio of 146/51 in 133.1 innings as a starter.

Five clubs have more money to spend on Ohtani than the Mariners do. None of those teams are on the west coast, which some Asian players have said in the past they preferred due to faster travel back home. The Mariners, owned for a long time by a Japanese company which still retains a minority interest in the club, and long the home for high-profile Japanese players such as Ichiro and Hisashi Iwakuma, likely have a better media and marketing reach in Japan than most other teams as well, which might be a factor in his decision making process. Is all that enough to sway Ohtani?

We’ll find out over the next couple of weeks.