By Jim Callis
March 28, 2006
The Cubs have a surplus of pitchers competing for major league jobs, while the Marlins are looking for arms after their offseason fire sale. That made the two clubs natural trading partners, and they consummated a deal on Tuesday. Chicago sent Todd Wellemeyer to Florida for a pair of pitching prospects, Lincoln Holdzkom and Zach McCormack.
Wellemeyer, a 27-year-old righthander, was out of options. He split 2005 between Triple-A Iowa and the Cubs. He went 3-2, 3.02 in 12 Triple-A starts and 2-1, 6.12 in 22 big league relief apperances. With Chicago, he had a 32-22 K-BB ratio in 32 innings and permitted opponents to bat .264 with seven homers. Wellemeyer has a pair of quality fastballs, reaching the mid-90s with his four-seamer and achieving nice sink on his two-seamer. But he lacks a reliable secondary offering, as both his slider and changeup are inconsistent, and he doesn’t locate his pitches well. Wellemeyer should open the season in Florida’s bullpen. He had a career big league record of 5-3, 6.19 in 57 games.
Holdzkom, a 24-year-old righty, signed as a seventh-round pick out of Arizona Western JC in 2001. He missed all of 2004 following Tommy John surgery, and came back last year to pitch 13 innings between the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League and high Class A Jupiter. Holdzkom, who touched 97 mph before the operation, pitched at 90-92 and peaked at 94 last summer. His breaking ball was slurvy and he didn’t have much of a changeup. Holdzkom projects as a setup man and owns a career 3-15, 2.86 record in 110 minor league games (seven starts).
A 24-year-old lefty, McCormack was an 11th-round pick out of Sacramento CC in 2003. He doesn’t have an out pitch and projects as a possible southpaw specialist. He spent most of 2005 at low Class A Greensboro, where he went 4-2, 4.61 in 26 apppearances. He had a 33-17 K-BB ratio in 41 innings, while opponents hit .263 with two homers against him. He has a career 8-8, 4.88 mark in 86 pro games.