I say this without any sarcasm or exaggeration; If Theo Epstein ran for President in 2020, I would be the first person at the ballot box to vote for him. Theo is an absolute wizard and he proved it again last night by bringing in Tigers closer Justin Wilson to be our setup man and Catcher Alex Avila to serve as a veteran backup to Willson Contreras’s electric self. After trading the Cubs top 2 prospects for Jose Quintana and his absurdly club friendly contract, Theo brought in the remaining pieces necessary for another World Series run. Unlike the Quintana deal, the Cubs didn’t give up any incredibly valuable pieces in this trade. Jeimer Candelario and Issac Paredes are headed to Detroit in exchange for Wilson and Avila and that is a pretty low price. Candelario was the “top prospect” in the Cubs system but he doesn’t really hold a ton of value. The Candy Man has had a cup of coffee or two in the last couple years and he has been underwhelming. I just don’t see it with him. He has never really shown me that he was excellent at any one thing and I didn’t really see any raw talent that can develop into a stud player. Candelario may be an average player in this league, but with Rizzo and Bryant blocking his way, he was an unneeded asset. Paredes on the other hand is more of a lottery ticket. At only 18 years old, he is playing shortstop every day in Single A. Paredes could very well turn into a star, but they have no reason to wait the years it will take for that to come to fruition.
Wilson has been a quality left handed closer for the Tigers this year and should slide into the setup role seamlessly. Many people are saying he will be the Cubs closer next year since he is under club control through next year and Wade Davis is a Free Agent, so there is another plus to Wilson’s value. While I disagree that he will close for the Cubs next year, Carl Edwards Jr. will command that role in my opinion, it is still great to stockpile high quality arms for the back end of the pen.
Alex Avila has been a quality catcher throughout his career, and should be a great veteran backup to Contreras. While I like Victor Caratini, it is a risky move going into a post season with two young catchers. Having a veteran catcher on the roster is an overlooked luxury that the Cubs now have. Fun fact, Alex Avila’s father is the GM of the Tigers. Yes, Al Avila just traded away his own son, which should make for a very interesting Thanksgiving at the Avila household. In Al’s defense, if my father was able to trade me, he would’ve done so years ago so I don’t blame Al Avila one bit.
The Cubs now seem to be running on all cylinders, they’ve been dominant since the break and now they just filled their two greatest needs. While things looked bleak before the All-Star break, they seem to be looking up now. Turn on cruise control and lets coast our way into another World Series. See ya in October, haters.