In dealing away arguably the best relief pitcher in the game in Sean Marshall, the Cubs had to be getting something good in return.
While the two prospects were a definite plus, Travis Wood was the biggest part of the deal coming back to Chicago.
"The organization needs more starting pitching, both at the big-league level and in the minor leagues," Cubs president Theo Epstein said in a conference call Friday after the trade became official. "You've got to start somewhere. We're really happy to acquire Travis Wood.
"Twenty-four-year-old left-handed starters who have already had success in the big leagues don't grow on trees. We had to give up a great relief pitcher in Sean Marshall, somebody we were proud to call a Cub. We think to acquire Wood and the two young guys, it was worth doing."
Wood found success right away in the big leagues in 2010, compiling a 3.51 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 17 starts. He even put up a near-perfect game in a duel with perennial Cy Young winner Roy Halladay.
He struggled in 2011, however, bouncing between the Reds and their Triple-A affiliate last season. He struggled to the tune of a 4.84 ERA and 1.49 WHIP while giving up 10 hits per nine innings.
"We still think all the ingredients are there to make him an excellent starting pitcher in the big leagues," Epstein said. "You're not be able to get guys like that after their strong rookie years. Sometimes, you have a chance to get them after they take a little bit of their lumps on the learning curve and that was how we see last year.
"It was a good developmental year for him. Hopefully he can come in and learn from what he went through last year and pick up where he left off in 2010."
When the Reds traded for Mat Latos last weekend, Wood was kind of the odd man out in the Cincinnati rotation.
"This trade is a great opportunity for me," the Arkansas native said his southern twang. "The Reds do have a lot of depth in their rotation, whether they'd fit me in there or not. I was kind of back and forth between the rotation and starting in 2011, so hopefully I'll get to Chicago and be able to make a difference."
Besides the opportunity to have an impact in the rotation, Wood will probably benefit just from leaving Cincinnati.
In 15 career games (13 starts) at Great American Ballpark -- a notorious hitter's paradise -- Wood has a 5.30 ERA, 1.49 WHIP and .294 batting average against. In 24 games (22 starts) on the road, those numbers drop to 3.58, 1.18 and .237.
He also boasts a 3.38 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and .133 batting average against in two games at Wrigley Field.
"I think I'm feeling very comfortable," Wood said. "I like Wrigley Field and everything, so we're just going to go out there and take it a day at a time and see what happens."
The former second-round pick will turn 25 in February, but is under team control through 2016, a point that was very important to Epstein and his front office staff.
"I believe this fits what we're trying to do in the bigger picture," Epstein said. "Age is one thing, but years of control is another important factor."