|It’s a new week, so that must mean another trade by the Cubs. Seemingly shopping every tradable part, the Cubs hit the market again on Monday in making two trades, one of which dealt struggling lefthander Rich Hill to the Orioles for a player to be named. Desperately in need of pitching, Baltimore will offer Hill every chance to crack its rotation. To make room on the 40-man, the O’s designated lefty Brian Burres for assignment.
In their other Monday trade, the Cubs dealt reliever Michael Wuertz to the Athletics in return for a pair of minor leaguers, 2004 first-round pick Richie Robnett and Double-A shortstop Justin Sellers.
|The Young Player|
|We’ll analyze the player to be named when he is announced.|
|Not long ago, 2006 actually, BA rated Rich Hill as the Cubs’ No. 5 prospect. Of course, that’s back when Hill flanked his knockout curveball with renewed focus on his other offerings and emerged from the 2005 season leading the minors in strikeouts per nine innings (13.4). He even started a game for the Cubs in the 2007 NL Division Series against the Diamondbacks. But a rash of control problems re-emerged in 2008, sending Hill all the way to the Rookie-level Arizona League in hastily arranged move to help regain his control. He opened the year in Chicago but was 1-0, 4.12 with 18 strikeouts and 15 walks, a precursor to the rest of his season. He issued 28 walks and struck out 32 in 26 innings at Triple-A Iowa, moved on to the AZL and finished with high Class A Daytona. Hill wasn’t much better in the Venezuelan League, walking 23 and striking out 16 in 21 innings.
In landing with Baltimore, Hill, 28, is reunited with two of his former Cubs minor league pitching coaches, Rick Kranitz and Alan Dunn. Dunn, now the Orioles’ bullpen coach, was Hill’s Double-A pitching coach in 2005 and has a no-nonsense approach when it comes to motivating pitchers. For the Orioles, it’s a low-risk trade but probably to be expected of an organization that is razor-thin of quality arms in its big league rotation.