The drama surrounding the trade deadline and the Chicago Cubs is over and after trading three players on Monday night the Cubs made an additional move on Tuesday, trading pitcher Ryan Dempster to the Texas Rangers for two prospects.
Pitcher Kyle Hendricks and third baseman Christian Villanueva are both in Single-A and are considered just average prospects by several evaluators that I spoke with this afternoon.
"Hendricks is an okay pitcher who projects as a back-of-the-rotation starter or middle reliever. He has outstanding command and a plus curveball, but the rest of his pitches are just okay. He does not have a lot of upside as a high-end starter, but he should make the big leagues," one scout who has seen him multiple times told me.
As for Villanueva, he comes with better credentials, but he is not a big-time prospect either. The scouts I spoke with are unsure if he will have the offensive credentials to make it as an everyday player on a contending team.
"Villanueva has a very good glove, but he is a bit undersized for a third baseman and I am not sure he can be an everyday guy on the type of team that Theo is trying to build there in Chicago. He should make the big leagues but I see him as more of a utility guy or a third baseman who always leaves you wanting more," one scout told me.
A former GM I spoke with was fairly critical of what the Cubs received back in the deal, but empathized with the position that Epstein and Jed Hoyer were put in when Dempster blocked a deal to the Atlanta Braves.
"To go from getting Randall Delgado to two Class-A prospects who are big question marks is a major setback for the Cubs front office," he said. "It isn't their fault because they made a great deal with Atlanta but the 10-and-5 rights killed the trade and they got a lot less back from Texas. Randall Delgado would have been pitching in the big leagues and there is no guarantee either guy they traded for from the Rangers will ever make it. This is a lopsided deal for Texas."
One other evaluator I spoke with also understood the position that the Cubs front office was in, but feels that the aborted trade with the Braves is a significant loss for a team as starved for pitching as the Cubs are.
"This is absolutely a huge difference in the quality of the two deals," he said. "Delgado would have been an impact starter and a major addition with huge upside, and instead the Cubs get two maybes who are a long way away. At least they still have Garza, who they absolutely have to move this off season to add in multiple players who could make an impact.
"Theo had his hands tied and while the Yankees were interested, they weren't offering enough and the Dodgers were unwilling to meet the Cubs' price so Theo sent him to Texas."