MLB Trade Deadline 2014: Recap and Report Cards for Every Deal
The 2014 MLB non-waiver trade deadline has concluded, and it didn't come and go quietly.
On Wednesday, only one major trade transpired, as the St. Louis Cardinals upgraded their starting rotation by acquiring right-hander Justin Masterson from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for outfield prospect James Ramsey. We broke down that trade here.
However, things heated up Thursday, including the Cardinals landing another marquee piece for their starting rotation and the likes of Jon Lester and David Price moving in an arms race between the Detroit Tigers and Oakland A's.
Whether it was a small, under-the-radar deal or a headline-grabbing blockbuster, we've broken down Thursday's action here.
Trade Deadline Recap (July 31)
— The Detroit Tigers have acquired LHP David Price from the Tampa Bay Rays as part of a three-team trade with the Seattle Mariners. The deal was the final one to be made Thursday and came in just before the 4 p.m. ET deadline, as first reported by Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal.
As for the other pieces in the deal: OF Austin Jackson will head the Mariners, while the Rays will receive LHP Drew Smyly and IF Nick Franklin, as well as prospect SS Willy Adames.
— The Red Sox traded LHP Jon Lester and OF Jonny Gomes to the A's in exchange for OF Yoenis Cespedes.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports added that the Sox also received a competitive balance draft pick from Oakland, while the Red Sox will send under $1 million in cash back to Oakland, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
— The St. Louis Cardinals acquired veteran RHP John Lackey and $1.75 million from the Boston Red Sox, as well as minor leaguer pitcher Corey Littrell. Boston will also receive RHP Joe Kelly and OF/1B Allen Craig in the deal.
— The Atlanta Braves acquired LHP James Russell and 2B Emilio Bonifacio from the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs receive cash and catching prospect Victor Caratini from the Braves in the deal.
— The Miami Marlins acquired RHP Jarred Cosart, SS Enrique Hernandez and RHP Francis Martes from the Houston Astros. In return, the Astros receive a pair of highly touted prospects in OF Jake Marisnick, OF Austin Wates and 3B Colin Moran, as well as a compensation pick.
— The New York Yankees acquired UTIL Martin Prado from the Diamondbacks. Meanwhile, Arizona receives catching prospect Peter O'Brien and a player to be named later (or cash considerations), according to MLB.com's Steve Gilbert.
— The Washington Nationals acquired SS Asdrubal Cabrera from the Cleveland Indians. The Indians will receive IF Zach Walters in return.
— The Baltimore Orioles acquired reliever LHP Andrew Miller from the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox received prospect LHP Eduardo Rodriguez in return for Miller.
— The Seattle Mariners acquired OF Chris Denorfia from the San Diego Padres in exchange for OF Abraham Almonte and RHP Stephen Kohlscheen.
— The Arizona Diamondbacks and Milwaukee Brewers agreed on a trade that will send OF Gerardo Parra to Milwaukee. Arizona will receive prospects OF Mitch Haniger and LHP Anthony Banda in return.
— The Minnesota Twins acquired LHP Tommy Milone from the Oakland A's. In return for Milone, the A's will receive OF Sam Fuld from the Twins.
All trade information confirmed by teams' official Twitter accounts or by MLB, unless otherwise noted.
Detroit Tigers Acquire David Price in Three-Team Trade
Holy bleepin' blockbuster!
The Detroit Tigers have acquired LHP David Price from the Tampa Bay Rays as part of a three-team trade with the Seattle Mariners, reports Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
As for the other pieces in the deal: OF Austin Jackson will head the Mariners, per Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter), while the Rays will receive LHP Drew Smyly and infielder Nick Franklin, according to Bob Dutton of the News Tribune (via Twitter), as well as prospect SS Willy Adames, per Rosenthal.
Tampa Bay Rays
I have to say that I'm baffled by the Rays' return for Price, as it seemed to be a foregone conclusion that the 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner would generate a greater return for the Rays than they received last year for James Shields (Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi plus two other prospects).
Along those same lines, Price also was expected to fetch more than than the Cubs received from the A's for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel (Addison Russell, Billy McKinney, Dan Straily). So...what the heck happened?
That being said, they did replace Price with another big league starter in Drew Smyly and bolstered their future infield with the acquisition of Nick Franklin. Meanwhile, Adames is one of the more intriguing shortstop prospects in the low minors, as the 18-year-old is batting .269/.346/.428 with 32 extra-base hits and 50 RBI this season at Low-A Midwest.
The Mariners were in the market for a right-handed hitting outfielder, and they got a good one from the Tigers in Austin Jackson. Better yet, it basically only cost them infielder Nick Franklin, who has spent a majority of the season at Triple-A Tacoma.
The Detroit Tigers now boast a starting rotation with three former Cy Young Award winners in Price, Verlander and Scherzer, and I like the team's chances of reaching an extension with Price.
A's Acquire Jon Lester, Jonny Gomes; Red Sox Acquire Yoenis Cespedes
In a deadline blockbuster, the Red Sox have traded LHP Jon Lester and OF Jonny Gomes to the A's in exchange for OF Yoenis Cespedes, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com (via Twitter).
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter) added that the Red Sox also will receive a competitive balance draft pick from Boston, while the Red Sox will send under $1 million in cash back to Oakland, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter).
By acquiring Lester, the A's now arguably have the best starting rotation in the American League, as he's set to join Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, who were acquired earlier in the month from the Cubs, along with Scott Kazmir, Sonny Gray and Jesse Chavez. However, the acquisition of Lester is likely to force either Hammel or Chavez out of the rotation.
Lester, 30, is enjoying the finest season of his nine-year career, with a 2.52 ERA (2.62 FIP), 1.119 WHIP, 9.4 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9. The left-hander is a three-time All-Star and finished fourth in the AL Cy Young Award voting in 2010. In terms of playoff experience, Lester is a two-time World Series champion with a 6-4 record to go along with a 2.11 ERA, 1.043 WHIP, 8.0 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 76.2 career postseason innings. He is set to become a free agent following the season.
The A's will also receive outfielder Jonny Gomes, who likely will work in a platoon in left field given his .302/.400/.431 batting line against left-handed pitching this season. The 33-year-old spent the 2012 season with the A's, batting .262/.377/.491 with 18 home runs and 47 RBI in 99 games while helping them reach the postseason.
Boston Red Sox
Boston's outfield has posted a .344 slugging percentage this season, the lowest among all MLB outfields, so the fact that it was able to land the power-hitting Cespedes rather than a prospect package is a huge win for the organization. This season, the 28-year-old is batting .256/.303/.464 with 17 home runs, 26 doubles and 67 RBI through 101 games.
Signed to a four-year, $36 million contract before the 2012 season, Cespedes is earning $10.5 million and will earn the same amount in 2015 before hitting the open market.
Overall, the blockbuster trade fits both teams' respective timelines. The A's are now officially "all-in" this season, while Boston's acquisition of Cespedes should immediately improve the team's offense. Furthermore, it's only natural to think the Red Sox will attempt to extend him before he becomes a free agent.
Braves Acquire James Russell, Emilio Bonifacio
The Braves have acquired LHP James Russell and 2B Emilio Bonifacio from the Chicago Cubs, reports Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times (via Twitter). The Cubs will receive cash and catching prospect Victor Caratini from the Braves in the deal, per Peter Gammons (via Twitter).
The Braves' acquisition of both Russell and Bonifacio addresses the team's current needs in anticipation of the final two months of the season. Russell, 28, was one of the more sought-after left-handers leading up to the deadline, as he owns a 3.51 ERA in 33.1 innings this season. Meanwhile, Bonifacio gives the Braves depth off the bench, as the 29-year-old has turned in a strong season with a .279/.318/.373 batting line and 14 stolen bases in 69 games.
In return for their two players, the Cubs will receive catching prospect Victor Caratini from the Braves. Caratini, 20, was the Braves' second-round draft pick in 2013 and is batting .279/.352/.406 with 27 extra-base hits in 365 plate appearances this season at Low-A Rome.
Marlins Acquire Jarred Cosart; Astros Acquire Jake Marisnick, Colin Moran
The Miami Marlins have acquired RHP Jarred Cosart, SS Enrique Hernandez and RHP Francis Martes from the Houston Astros, per Brian McTaggart of MLB.com (via Twitter). In return, the Astros are receiving some highly touted prospects in OF Jake Marisnick, OF Austin Wates and 3B Colin Moran, as well as a compensation pick, according to Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter).
The Marlins added a nice piece to their future rotation in Jarred Cosart, a 24-year-old right-hander who is under team control through 2019. This season, Cosart has pitched to a 4.41 ERA (4.02 FIP), 5.8 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 in 116.1 innings for the Astros. In 2013, the right-hander posted a 1.95 ERA (4.35 FIP) in 60 innings.
Meanwhile, Hernandez is a versatile player who can play a variety of positions, including shortstop and center field. The 22-year-old made his MLB debut on July 1 and since has batted .284/.348/.420 with seven extra-base hits in 89 plate appearances.
The Astros continued their stockpiling of prospects Thursday by acquiring OF Jake Marisnick and 3B Colin Moran from the Marlins. Marisnick, 23, has always shown loud tools but has yet to make an impact at the major league level, with a .178/.226/.223 batting line, four extra-base hits and a 49-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 169 plate appearances over the last two seasons.
Moran, 21, was the No. 6 overall pick in the 2013 draft out of North Carolina. The left-handed-hitting third baseman is batting .294/.342/.393 with five home runs and 21 doubles in 392 plate appearances this season at High-A Jupiter.
Yankees Acquire Martin Prado; DBacks Acquire Peter O'Brien
The New York Yankees have acquired UTIL Martin Prado from the Diamondbacks, reports Jack Curry of the YES Network (via Twitter). Meanwhile, Arizona will receive catching prospect Peter O'Brien and a player to be named later (or cash considerations), according to MLB.com's Steve Gilbert.
New York Yankees
Landing Prado is a great move for the Yankees, as the combination of his bat and defensive versatility immediately improves the team's infield situation. The 30-year-old is batting .270/.317/.370 in 436 plate appearances for the DBacks this season, and I imagine he'll receive playing time at both second and third base with his new team, perhaps even right field.
In return for sending Prado to the Yankees, the Diamondbacks will receive prospect C/1B/RF Peter O'Brien, who possesses some of the best power in the minor leagues. This season, the 24-year-old is batting .267/.312/.593 with 33 home runs in 413 plate appearances between High-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton. He's not going to be a big league catcher, but O'Brien has a similar offensive profile to that of current DBack Mark Trumbo. They will also receive a player to be named later.
Yankees Acquire Stephen Drew; Red Sox Acquire Kelly Johnson
The New York Yankees have acquired SS Stephen Drew from the Red Sox, according to Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com (via Twitter). The Red Sox will receive INF Kelly Johnson in return, per WEEI's Alex Speier (via Twitter).
New York Yankees
The Yankees are shoring up their infield by acquiring the 31-year-old Drew, who is batting .176/.255/.328 with 11 extra-base hits in 145 plate appearances this season. He's unlikely to see regular playing time but should be a solid part-time option at both shortstop and second base for the Bronx Bombers.
Boston Red Sox
By trading Drew, who was signed on May 21 to a one-year, $10.1 million contract, the Red Sox can now move youngster Xander Bogaerts back to shortstop and give Will Middlebrooks another audition at the hot corner.
Orioles Acquire Andrew Miller; Red Sox Acquire Prospect Eduardo Rodriguez
The Orioles have acquired left-handed reliever Andrew Miller from the Boston Red Sox, reports ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter). The Red Sox will receive prospect Eduardo Rodriguez in return for Miller, per Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com (via Twitter).
In Miller, the Orioles are getting one of the top left-handed relievers in baseball. The 29-year-old Miller has posted a 2.34 ERA (1.69 FIP) and 14.7 K/9 this season in 42.1 innings spanning 50 appearances. More importantly, the southpaw has proved to be more than simply a left-handed specialist, as he's fared nearly as well against right-handed batters (.537 OPS) this year as he has versus lefties (.420 OPS).
While trading left-handed prospect Eduardo Rodriguez is a steep price for renting Miller, who will become a free agent after the season, the move fits the team's needs and timeline.
Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox received a legitimate pitching prospect in return for Miller, as Rodriguez was widely viewed as the Orioles' fourth-best pitching prospect headed into the season behind Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey. That said, the 21-year-old Rodriguez hasn't progressed this season as hoped after his 2013 breakout campaign, as he's pitched to a 4.79 ERA, 7.5 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 82.2 innings at Double-A Bowie.
Nationals Acquire Asdrubal Cabrera; Indians Acquire Zach Walters
The Washington Nationals have acquired SS Asdrubal Cabrera from the Cleveland Indians, reports MLB.com's Jordan Bastian (via Twitter). The Indians will receive infielder Zach Walters in return, per Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer.
The Nationals have been looking to upgrade their infield situation after receiving news that third baseman Ryan Zimmerman will likely miss most, if not all, of the regular season with a severe hamstring strain.
Cabrera has played mostly shortstop during his tenure with the Tribe. One would think that the 28-year-old will handle the keystone with his new club, with Anthony Rendon shifting to third base. This season, Cabrera is batting .246/.305/.386 with nine home runs in 416 plate appearances. The two-time All-Star has roughly $3.44 million remaining on his 2014 salary and will become a free agent after the season.
The Indians are receiving infielder Zach Walters in exchange for Cabrera, who's posted a .234/.308/.489 with three home runs in 52 plate appearances over the last two seasons. The 24-year-old won't be arbitration eligible until after the 2019 season and therefore gives the Tribe cheap infield depth for the foreseeable future.
More significantly, by dealing Cabrera with two months remaining in the regular season, the Indians are now free to break in top prospect SS Francisco Lindor in the major leagues down the stretch in anticipation of him taking over full time in 2015.
Brewers Acquire Gerardo Parra; Diamondbacks Acquire Prospect Mitch Haniger
The Arizona Diamondbacks and Milwaukee Brewers have agreed on a trade that will send outfielder Gerardo Parra to Milwaukee, reports Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. John Gambadoro of KTAR added that Arizona will receive prospects Mitch Haniger and left-hander Anthony Banda in return.
The DBacks are receiving a pair of prospects from Milwaukee in the deal, the most notable being outfielder Mitch Haniger, who is batting .255/.316/.416 with 10 home runs in 271 plate appearances this season at Double-A Huntsville.
Here's a video I shot last year of Haniger hitting a home run and double in an Arizona Fall League game. Banda, 20, was selected in the 10th round of the 2012 draft by Arizona and owns a 3.66 ERA and 8.9 K/9 in 83.2 innings this season for Low-A Wisconsin.
The Diamondbacks have floated Parra in previous years, so it's not surprising that the organization finally moved him. In six seasons with Arizona, Parra has batted .274/.326/.395 with 212 extra-base hits in nearly 3,000 plate appearances.
The 27-year-old outfielder has won a Gold Glove Award in two of the last three years. Parra is earning $4.85 million this season as a second-year arbitration-eligible player and will become a free agent after 2015. The left-handed hitter will provide the Brewers with quality outfield depth.
Cardinals Acquire John Lackey; Red Sox Acquire Joe Kelly, Allen Craig
The St. Louis Cardinals have acquired veteran right-hander John Lackey and $1.75 million from the Boston Red Sox, per Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, as well as minor leaguer pitcher Corey Littrell, per WEEI's Alex Speier. Peter Gammons of MLB Network added (via Twitter) that Boston will receive right-hander Joe Kelly and OF/1B Allen Craig in the deal.
St. Louis Cardinals
After acquiring Justin Masterson from the Indians on Wednesday, the Cardinals continued to bolster their starting rotation in the hours before the deadline by trading for Lackey.
This season, Lackey, 35, has posted a 3.60 ERA, 7.6 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in 137.1 innings for the Red Sox. He has more than $5 million remaining on his 2014 salary but will earn only $500,000 next season due to a stipulation in his contract. The right-hander likely will serve as the Cardinals' No. 3 starter ahead of Masterson.
The trade saves St. Louis a lot of money moving forward given Craig's contract, but it's shocking it was willing to part with two key pieces from its 25-man roster.
Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox received a great return for Lackey in Kelly and Craig—a much better return than I was expecting.
Kelly, 26, has spent most of the season on the disabled list with a hamstring injury but owns a solid 3.25 ERA in 266 innings over the last three seasons with St. Louis. The right-hander won't become a free agent until after the 2018 season.
The Cardinals signed Craig to a five-year, $31 million contract before the 2013 season, but the 29-year-old has been mired in a season-long slump this year with a dismal .237/.291/.346 batting line and just seven home runs in 97 games. He also had lost significant playing time in right field over the last month to top prospect Oscar Taveras. The Red Sox hope the change of scenery will help Craig get his career back on track.
Minnesota Twins Acquire Tommy Milone from the A's
The Minnesota Twins have acquired left-hander Tommy Milone from the Oakland A's, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports (via Twitter). In return for Milone, the A's will receive outfielder Sam Fuld from the Twins, reports Jerry Crasnick of ESPN (via Twitter).
Acquired from the Nationals prior to the 2012 season, Milone, 27, posted a 31-22 record, 3.84 ERA (4.17 FIP), 1.263 WHIP, 6.6 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in 442.2 innings over the last three years. The southpaw is 6-3 with a 3.55 ERA (4.42 FIP) in 96.1 innings spanning 16 starts this season, but he has made just one start for the A's since the team's acquisition of Samardzija and Hammel from the Cubs.
On July 21, Rosenthal reported that Milone had requested a trade from the A's. He will be arbitration eligible for the first time this winter.
Fuld was designated for assignment by the A's earlier this season and claimed off waivers by the Twins. The left-handed hitting outfielder batted .200 in 33 plate appearances over seven games with the A's before his release.
The 32-year-old Fuld fared much better this season as a member of the Twins, batting .274/.370/.354 with 11 extra-base hits and 12 stolen bases in 53 games. In his seven-year career, Fuld owns a .240/.323/.337 batting line in 426 games.
With Craig Gentry on the disabled list and Coco Crisp dealing with a neck issue, Fuld provides the A's with flexibility in their outfield, as he's capable of playing all three positions and represents a serviceable platoon option as a left-handed hitter.
Cubs Acquire Felix Doubront; Red Sox Acquire PTBNL
The Chicago Cubs acquired left-hander Felix Doubront from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for a player to be named later.
The acquisition of Doubront, who is under team control through 2017, gives the Cubs much-needed rotational depth for upcoming seasons. Plus, due to the team's success with buying low on Jake Arrieta, the Cubs likely are hoping for something similar with the 26-year-old Doubront.
Cardinals Acquire Justin Masterson; Indians Acquire James Ramsey
The St. Louis Cardinals acquired Justin Masterson from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for prospect James Ramsey.
St. Louis Cardinals
Given the Cardinals' current rotation of Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly, Masterson figures to slide in as the team's No. 3 or 4 starter once he comes off the disabled list. Of course, that projection doesn’t factor in right-handers Shelby Miller and Carlos Martinez, both of whom have endured their struggles in the rotation, as well as phenom Michael Wacha, whom the organization believes will be fully healthy come September.
Even if Masterson doesn’t meet expectations with his new team, it still gives the Cardinals the flexibility to manage the workloads of its young arms more cautiously.
At the time of the trade, the 24-year-old Ramsey, a left-handed batter, was enjoying a breakout campaign at Double-A Springfield—where he played 93 games in 2013—with a vastly improved .300/.389/.527 batting line, 13 home runs and 14 doubles through 67 games. However, despite his impressive numbers this season, Ramsey still projects as more of a fourth outfielder than an everyday player, due to his lack of consistent power and struggles against left-handed pitching.
Giants Acquire Jake Peavy; Red Sox Acquire Prospects
The San Francisco Giants acquired veteran right-hander Jake Peavy from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for pitching prospects Edwin Escobar and Heath Hembree.
San Francisco Giants
With Matt Cain out indefinitely with an elbow injury, the Giants decided to replace him in the starting rotation with Jake Peavy, who was acquired from the Red Sox over the weekend. Peavy has had a rough season, with a 4.71 ERA in 130 innings, but should fare well pitching in some of the spacious ballparks in the NL West.
Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox were able to get two of San Francisco's better pitching prospects in Escobar and Hembree. Escobar, a 22-year-old left-hander, has had a disappointing campaign at Triple-A Fresno, but is only a year removed from an impressive breakout performance. Meanwhile, Hembree gives the Red Sox a future setup man with previous MLB experience, albeit just 7.2 innings of work late last season.
Tigers Acquire Joakim Soria; Rangers Acquire Prospects
The Detroit Tigers acquired reliever Joakim Soria from the Texas Rangers in exchange for pitching prospects Jake Thompson and Corey Knebel.
The acquisition of Joakim Soria from the Rangers gives Detroit’s bullpen much-needed depth and stability moving forward. Plus, the right-hander’s track record as closer makes him an option to assume ninth-inning duties should Nathan continue to struggle during the second half.
In return for Soria, the Rangers were able to land the Tigers' top two pitching prospects in right-handers Jake Thompson and Corey Knebel. Thompson, 20, has seen his stock take off this season thanks to a strong showing between the High-A and Double-A levels, while Knebel, who has logged 8.2 innings with the Tigers this season, profiles as a solid late-inning reliever and possible closer for his new team.
Yankees Acquire Chase Headley; Padres Acquire Yangervis Solarte and RHP Prospect
The New York Yankees acquired Chase Headley from the San Diego Padres in exchange for Yangervis Solarte, right-handed pitching prospect Rafael De Paula and cash.
New York Yankees
It goes without saying that Headley is a huge upgrade at third base for the Yankees, even if he's no longer the MVP-caliber player he was in 2012. Since joining the Bronx Bombers, the 30-year-old switch-hitter is batting .303/.361/.455 with three extra-base hits and and four RBI through his first nine games.
San Diego Padres
While the Padres received decent value in Solarte and De Paula in return for Headley, it's nothing compared to what it could have gotten if the team dealt him when his stock was soaring after the 2012 season. That being said, Solarte offers the Padres a cost-controlled hitter to replace Headley, even if only temporarily, while De Paula gives the organization yet another hard-throwing right-hander.
Yankees Acquire Brandon McCarthy; Diamondbacks Acquire Vidal Nuno
The New York Yankees acquire right-hander Brandon McCarthy from the Diamondbacks in exchange for left-hander Vidal Nuno.
New York Yankees
With Masahiro Tanaka and CC Sabathia on the disabled list and a postseason berth still within reach, the Yankees opted to take a low-risk gamble by trading for McCarthy. The 30-year-old right-hander has been a revelation for the Yankees after a disappointing first half of the season with Arizona, as he's gone 3-0 with a 2.55 ERA and 20-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 24.2 innings spanning four starts.
Even though Nuno, 26, is yet to establish himself as a legitimate big league starter, with a 4.52 ERA in 121.1 career innings, he won't be arbitration eligible until 2017 and will become a free agent after the 2019 season.
A's Acquire Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel; Cubs Acquire Prospects
The Chicago Cubs traded RHPs Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the A's for prospects SS Addison Russell and OF Billy McKinney and RHP Dan Straily.
The A's acquisition of Samardzija and Hammel drastically improved the team's starting rotation in the short term, while Samardzija comes with an extra season of team control through 2015. Hammel will become a free agent following the season.
The Cubs already had one of the top farm systems in baseball with top-ranked prospects Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Arismendy Alcantara, Jorge Soler, Albert Almora and Kyle Schwarber. However, the acquisition of Russell and McKinney means the Cubs now have baseball's best system as well as the potential to produce one of the better homegrown lineups in recent memory within a few years.