As the Chicago Cubs sell-off continues, the organization has begun to trade from their surplus of extremely talented relievers. Teams are always in need of late-inning relievers and there is an added value if one has closing experience or is left handed. Andrew Chafin fits all of the above and now will bolster Oakland’s reliever corps. The big lefty with an 80-grade mustache was everything you could have wanted in a free agent signing for the Cubs. He was a steady presence in the pen with a 2.06 ERA (2.67 FIP), 24.7 K%, and a 50% ground ball rate.
Any team could use the services of Andrew Chafin, but it was ultimately Oakland who put out a package that made the Cubs bite. It’s hard to imagine a better trading partner for the Cubs to identify undervalued assets than the organization that Chicago Cubs VP of Scouting, Dan Kantrovitz, spent several seasons as an Assistant GM. We have already seen the Cubs prioritze players from Oakland in recent moves. Both Alfonso Rivas and Dakota Chalmers are proving to be great pickups out of the Athletics’ system. Cubs fans are hoping the two players picked up in the Chafin deal prove to be even better.
Examining the return
Deichmann is 26, but also slashing .300/.432/.449 in 207 at bats in a hitter-friendly environment in Las Vegas. The ball really flies in Sin City, though the most surprising part of Greg Deichmann is the discrepancy between his raw power and his in-game power. Fangraphs rates him as having 45/50 in-game power (approximately average power), but with a 70 grade raw power (plus-plus). If the Cubs believe that working with the hitting infrastructure led by Justin Stone, could help Deichmann tap into even some of that raw power they could have an above-average major league rightfielder. Despite not hitting for much power this season, the former second-round pick out of LSU has put up a 127 wRC+, which suggests his performance has been 27% better than an average hitter after accounting for the league and hitting environments.
Palencia is a breakout prospect and represents high upside in this deal. This is not a Dan Kantrovitz selection in all likelihood as he signed with the Athletics several months after Kantrovitz joined the Cubs. This spring he’s featuring big time velocity. According to Fangraphs, Palencia throws 97-99 mph this year and feature a bat-missing breaking ball. He may be a future reliever with a Juan Cruz physique, but he has high leverage potential. The Athletics have been developing him as a starter. This is a classic lottery ticket selection, but one that has caught the attention of publications like Fangraphs and the Athletic. In a recent piece by Melissa Lockard, Palencia is creating quite a buzz.
Right-hander Daniel Palencia doesn’t have Juan’s size (listed at 5-11, 160), but his fastball has hit 100. The 21-year-old has been kept to two- or three-inning outings as he adjusts to full-season ball. His ERA is 6.91 in 14 1/3 innings, but he’s struck out 14 and has been overpowering at times.Melissa Lockard
This will hardly be the last move in the next few days for the Chicago Cubs and it bodes well for future deals that they were able to secure two players that offer good future projections. Deichmann will likely see big-league time later this season and Palencia offers a high risk/high reward proposition. In many ways this deal provides both safety and ceiling if all things go as planned. I’ll have a more in-depth look at the trade pickups after the deadline.