Trade Acquisition Nick Madrigal Excites The Cubs
Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer was too sleep-deprived to go in depth on the 12 new players in the organization. The emotions were still raw after saying goodbye to Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, Kris Bryant and Craig Kimbrel in a flurry of deals.
“Right now, I barely know my name,” Hoyer said three hours after the trade deadline. “But with each trade, we targeted players we really liked, and we wouldn’t sort of move from that position.”
The first name that popped into Hoyer’s head was telling
The White Sox selected Nick Madrigal out of Oregon State with the No. 4 pick in the 2018 draft, 20 spots ahead of where the Cubs grabbed Stanford shortstop Nico Hoerner.
“To get a player like Nick Madrigal, he just really fits what we’re trying to do going forward really well," Hoyer said. "I love how he plays the game. I’ve loved how he plays the game since college. I was envious of the White Sox to get a player like that who fit so well with their boppers in the middle of the lineup.”
The White Sox gave up the 24-year-old Madrigal—who is recovering from season-ending surgery to repair a torn right hamstring—to pair Kimbrel with all-star closer Liam Hendriks.
The Cubs flipped nine big league players this summer, essentially condensing what they did in 2012, 2013 and 2014 into one frenzied period, hoping it leads to the payoff they received in 2016.
Madrigal, a 5-foot-8, 175-pound hitting machine, was the biggest name the Cubs received in return. He exhausted his prospect eligibility this season, but most of the players Chicago acquired have not.
That prospect group includes outfielders Pete Crow-Armstrong, Alexander Canario, Kevin Alcantara and righthanders Alexander Vizcaino and Caleb Kilian.
“You know that when you make all these different bets on prospects, you know that you’re not going to hit on every one," Hoyer said.
"But we hope that we can hit on a couple guys in trades and maybe one or two can be the next (Jake) Arrieta, the next (Kyle) Hendricks, the next (Pedro) Strop, whoever that might be."
— Trying to stick to the best player available philosophy and addressing the organization’s biggest, long-running need is a difficult needle to thread in the draft. But the Cubs felt they did it with the No. 21 pick, getting what they graded as a top 10 talent in Kansas State lefthander Jordan Wicks, who already has a big league-caliber changeup and an example to follow in Hendricks.
“I’ve loved watching (Hendricks) pitch for a while because he does what you would consider unconventional for today,” Wicks said. “He knows who he is. He knows what he does best. He knows how to tunnel pitches. He knows how to use the changeup. I’m definitely going to try to pick his brain as much as possible because I want to hear what he has to say."
— This is shaping up to be another lost developmental year for lefthander Brailyn Marquez, who was slowed by Covid-19 protocols in spring training and has been sidelined by a left shoulder strain. The hope is that Marquez can accumulate some innings in the Arizona Fall League or at instructional league after the minor league season ends.