Cubs' Wheeling And Dealing Nets Prospects

CHICAGO—The Cubs traded veterans Ted Lilly, Ryan Theriot, Mike Fontenot and Derrek Lee in a three-week span and picked up seven players, including six minor leaguers to beef up the farm system.

The July 31 Lilly/Theriot deal to the Dodgers for major league second baseman Blake DeWitt also brought righthanders Brett Wallach and Kyle Smit to the organization.

Wallach, 21, was 6-0, 3.72 with low Class A Great Lakes with 92 strikeouts in 85 innings.  Since coming to the Cubs, the 6-foot-2, 185-pound Wallach was 0-1, 4.34 in four starts with 18 strikeouts in 19 innings for low Class A Peoria. He's the son of former major league third baseman Tim Wallach.

Smit was 5-3, 2.35 with six saves in 53 combined innings with high Class A Inland Empire and Double-A Chattanooga. The 22-year old started his Cubs career 3-0, 1.59 in six appearances including two starts with Double-A Tennessee.

Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said Smit was making big strides and both hurlers are "upper-echelon prospects as to how we ranked their system."

The Cubs also dealt Fontenot to the Giants for 22-year-old outfielder Evan Crawford. Crawford had an eight-RBI performance in a game for short-season Salem-Keizer last year and was batting .254/.312/.362 between low Class A Augusta and high Class A Daytona.

The Cubs later dealt Lee to the Braves for righthanders Robinson Lopez and Ty'Relle Harris and lefthander Jeff Lorick.

The 19-year-old Lopez was considered the key to the deal. He was 3-8, 4.37 in 93 innings for low Class A Rome after the Dominican native sparkled last year with a 3-1, 1.29 record in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League.


• With so many veterans heading out of town, It felt like September came early for the Cubs. In an Aug. 18 loss to the Padres, the Cubs used 10 rookies, including six pitchers—Casey Coleman, James Russell, Justin Berg, Thomas Diamond, Andrew Cashner and Marcos Mateo. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no major league team had ever used that many rookie pitchers in a game before September.

• Righthander Trey McNutt went 4-0, 2.63 in 41 innings with Daytona, earning a promotion to Tennessee. He started the year in Peoria, where he was 6-0, 1.51 in 60 innings.