The Cubs, who have several high-end position players in or near the majors, are checking every avenue for arms to join those position players.
To that end, they sent two pitchers on Friday to the Marlins for Jacob Turner, a righthander who’s still just 23 and was the No. 9 overall pick by the Tigers in 2009. Turner was a key part of the deal that sent Anibal Sanchez to Detroit in 2012 and it was surprising that the Marlins, despite the significant rise in Turner’s ERA this season, would jettison an inexpensive and young pitcher so quickly.
The Cubs, who took a buy-low approach on Jake Arrieta, Jason Hammel and Scott Feldman and were successful, are hoping for similar success with Turner. They certainly bought low in this case, as they sent to the Marlins a pair of lesser prospects—both of whom are older than Turner, even though Turner has 53 big league starts—who’ve only gotten as high as high Class A.
Tyler Bremer, rhp
Bremer, who was drafted twice by the Cubs (36th round, 2010), signed in 2012 after he was drafted in the 27th round out of Baylor. He’s pitched well in relief this season, but at 24 in low Class A that’s not especially illuminating. One rival evaluator who saw Bremer at Kane County after his demotion from Daytona said the righthander is aggressive and can miss bats thanks to a combination of average velocity and deception, but projected him as nothing more than an organizational reliever.
|Kane County (MWL)||LoA||5||1||2.43||28||12||37||28||11||10||2||15||51|
Jose Arias, rhp
The Cubs signed Arias as an international free agent from the Dominican in 2010 and while’s he posted solid SO/9 and BB/9 rates and WHIP, he hasn’t moved beyond low Class A in five seasons in the organization, partly because he missed most of last year with an elbow issue. Arias, like Bremer, is projected by scouts as a useful organizational arm, but is unlikely to have a lengthy big league career.
|Kane County (MWL)||LoA||1||1||1.77||25||3||41||24||13||8||1||17||51|
Jacob Turner, rhp
Though Turner’s ERA has gone from 3.74 in 118 innings in 2013 to 5.97 this season (78 1/3 innings), his SO/9 rate improved, his BB/9 rate dropped and he’s showing better velocity and swing-and-miss rates.
Some of that improvement comes from his transition to a relief role (14 Ks in 15 IP), but he’s also pitched better than shown, as his xFIP (3.93) indicates.
Another plus for the Cubs, beyond the negligible cost in two non-premium prospects, is that Turner is under team control through 2018 and since he signed a major league deal upon being drafted by the Tigers, has a $1 million option for next season.