Yankees send two prospects to Indians to complete Kerry Wood trade

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Just prior to the July 31 trading deadline the Yankees acquired Kerry Wood from the Indians for what was believed to be a player to be named later or cash. Today the two sides completed the trade and it turns out Cleveland gets two players: Right-hander Andrew Shive and infielder Matt Cusick.

Cusick was the Astros’ 10th-round pick in 2007 and came to the Yankees in a mid-2008 trade for LaTroy Hawkins. He hit just .243/.318/.342 in 88 games between Double-A and Triple-A as a 24-year-old this season, so he’s a long shot to have any sort of big-league career.

Shive was the Yankees’ 35th-round pick in 2008, but missed all of 2009 following arm surgery and struggled at Single-A in his return this season. He posted some nice numbers in the low minors prior to the injury, but like Cusick the 6-foot-6, 260-pound right-hander is far from a significant prospect. Cleveland also saved about $1.5 million in the swap.

As for Wood, he posted a 0.69 ERA in 26 innings for the Yankees in the regular season and has allowed one run in six innings so far this postseason. His contract has a sure-to-be-declined $11 million option for 2011.

The Nationals have inquired about Kris Bryant

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The Washington Nationals, fresh off signing Stephen Strasburg to a $245 million deal, are now turning their attention to their third base hole. Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports that they have made inquiries to the Chicago Cubs about trading for Kris Bryant.

Emphasis on the word “inquiry” because it’d be premature for the Cubs to trade Bryant at the moment, even if they are reported to be considering the possibility.

Bryant and the Cubs are awaiting word from an arbitrator about Bryant’s years-old service time grievance. If Bryant wins, he becomes a free agent after the 2020 season. If the Cubs win they control him for two more years. The team may or may not choose to trade him in either case as they are reportedly trying to cut payroll, but the price for him will vary pretty significantly depending on whether or not the acquiring club will receive one or two years of control over the former MVP.

For Washington, this would be a means of replacing free agent third baseman Anthony Rendon. Or, perhaps, the inquiries are a means of creating a tad more leverage for the Nats as they talk to Rendon’s agent about re-signing him.

Which, in the past, the Nats said they could not do if they also re-signed Strasburg, though I suspect that’s just posturing too. They may not want to spend big money to keep their World Series core together, but they can afford it. They’re going to see, I suspect, an eight-figure uptick in revenue by virtue of being the defending World Series champs. They are poised to receive a significant payout as a result of recent rulings in their own multi-year dispute with the Orioles and the MASN network. They are, of course, owned by billionaire real estate moguls. All of that taken together means that, if they choose to, they can bring back Rendon. Assuming he chooses to come back too.

But, if that doesn’t happen, they appear to be giving themselves options at the hot corner.