The Chicago Cubs have traded their best starting pitcher, Ted Lilly, and starting second baseman Ryan Theriot to the Los Angeles Dodgers for second baseman Blake DeWitt and minor league pitchers Kyle Smit and Brett Wallach, according to ESPN’s Jayson Stark.
The deal earns an “amen” from this baseball business junkie/desperate Cubs fan who only want to see the team improve. It is a little bittersweet, though, as Lilly’s been one of the best Cubs players in my lifetime, and Theriot, uh, had a cool name. I could honestly take him or leave him, but I know female Cubs fans everywhere will be pissed.
However, it’s a good deal for all involved, because Lilly, who will be a free agent after the season, certainly wasn’t going to have a shot at the playoffs with the awful, awful Cubs, who are 11 games under .500 after last night’s 17-2 drubbing by the Rockies. Lilly’s 3-8 record could easily be reversed if the team scored any runs for him, but he has the second-worst run support in all of baseball, but with his taste for big games and level-headed approach to pitching, the Dodgers should get their money’s worth out of him.
As for Theriot, 30, he’s contributed — seriously, would it hurt to take a walk? — to the yearlong offensive swoon the Northsiders have been dealing with, but he is fast on the basepaths and provides depth at the middle infield spots, so L.A. looks to have a serviceable player in him.
The haul for the Cubs looks moderatly promising, as the 24-year-old, lefty-swinging DeWitt replaces Theriot as the starting second baseman and provides depth at third base for Aramis Ramirez, as he’s split his time in the majors at those positions. He’s having a modestly good year with a .270 batting average, but his .352 on-base percentage shows the guy knows how to work the count and will gladly take a walk, something the Cubs do not do well. And he’s a lefty, another thing Chicago needs in the lineup.
The minor league pitchers, 21-year-old Brett Wallach and 22-year-old Kyle Smit, are both enjoying good years in the Dodgers’ minor league system, with starter Wallach posting a 6-0 record while striking out more than a batter an inning in Single-A, and Smit, a reliever, having a good year with a 2.35 ERA at two levels. They’re still at least a couple years away but could certainly help the major league team at some point in the future.