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July 30: Traded Reed Johnson, Paul Maholm and cash to the Atlanta Braves for minor leaguer Jaye Chapman and Arodys Vizcaino.
July 31: Traded Geovany Soto and cash to the Texas Rangers for minor leaguer Jacob Brigham and a player to be named or cash.
July 31: Traded Ryan Dempster to the Texas Rangers for minor leaguers Christian Villanueva and Kyle Hendricks.
Aug 5: Traded Jeff Baker to the Detroit Tigers for two players to be named later.
When Theo Epstein assumed the role of president of baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs last fall, he knew he had his work cut out for him. He knew, as he did with the Boston Red Sox, that he had to reverse years upon years of losing and missed opportunities. He recruited a team of executives with high baseball I.Q.s to help mold the Cubs into a winner.
One person who he brought to his team was Jed Hoyer, who he served as a mentor to during his days in Boston.
The Epstein/Hoyer team had an active week leading up to the trade deadline. The Cubs traded away several contributors, including the long-standing backstop Geovany Soto. However, they would make the most trade deadline noise by sending co-ace Ryan Dempster to the Texas Rangers.
In return, they picked up several players who could prove vital in the Cubs rebuilding process. Arodys Vizcaino, 20, could prove to be the steal of the Reed Johnson, Paul Maholm trade with the Atlanta Braves. He averaged more than a strikeout (279) per innings pitched (268.2) in the minors. He had also put up respectable numbers with the Braves last season, posting a 1-1 record with a 4.67 ERA in 17 games. He is recovering from Tommy John surgery and won't be available until next season.
Epstein and Hoyer will be examined most closely for the Dempster trade—obviously. Both Villanueva and Hendricks have shown promise in the low minors. Villanueva has shown versatility, playing several infield positions. He also has shown some pop, hitting 17 home runs for the Class-A Hickory Crawdads of the South Atlantic League last season.
Hendricks has a career 2.64 ERA in the minors and has been utilized mostly as a starter of late.
The Cubs seem to be dedicated to bringing championship-caliber baseball to the corner of Clack and Addison. It just may take a few years for Theo and company to accomplish that task.