The Cubs are reportedly closing in on a deal that would send left-handed reliever Sean Marshall to the Cincinnati Reds for pitcher Travis Wood and two minor leaguers, according to Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com. Marshall will make $3 million in 2012 and will be a free agent after the season.
Wood, who will be 25 next season, is 11-10 in 39 career appearances (35 starts) with a 4.18 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP. He struggled this past season keeping his walks down, posting the worst numbers of his professional career and his highest ERA since 2008.
He's made adjustments before, and Theo Epstein has kept an eye on Wood for some time. He will also cost the Cubs less over the next three years as opposed to Marshall who will be seeking a big raise after this season.
Marshall posted the best numbers of his career in 2011, going 6-6 with a 2.26 ERA and 79 strikeouts to just 17 walks. In two years since becoming a full-time reliever, Marshall has gone 13-11 with a 2.45 ERA and a K-to-BB ratio of 179-42. He also has a total 56 holds between the past two seasons.
Marshall is one of the league's top setup men, and his value is increased after holding lefties to a .206 batting average in 2011. He's coming into his own and is just 29 years old.
It will be interesting to see who the prospects are coming over with Wood, considering the Reds just traded three of their best prospects to the Padres. I can't imagine they are anything but low-level prospects.
With Jeff Samardzija and most likely Kerry Wood serving in the setup role, the Cubs will turn to lefties John Gaub, Scott Maine and James Russell to be the lefty specialists out of the bullpen.
Stay tuned for more details throughout the day.