The Chicago Cubs have a new first-baseman of the future. Chicago’s 670 The Score is reporting that the Cubs have traded Andrew Cashner and a minor league pitcher for young first baseman Anthony Rizzo and pitching prospect Zach Cates.
Rizzo is a 22-year-old prospect from Fort Lauderdale, who was drafted in 2007 by none other than Theo Epstein and the Red Sox. In Triple-A last season Rizzo hit .331 with 26 homers and 101 RBI’s. An unimpressive stint with the big club will ultimately land him in Iowa to begin the year. The Padres, who acquired another first baseman, Yonder Alonso, from the Reds in the Mat Latos trade, have been looking to move Rizzo and Epstein jumped on the opportunity.
The Cubs do give up Andrew Cashner in this deal, but first base was a much more pressing need. The Cubs will start 28-year-old Brian LaHair at first for the early part of the season to give Rizzo some extra time to develop. Cashner was a top pitcher in the organization, but he missed much of last season with injury.
Zach Cates was a third round pick in the 2010 draft. He is a power righty standing at 6’3″. Cates was 7-2 with a 2.54 ERA this year with Northeast Texas. He struck out 91 and walked 32 in 67 1/3 innings. A high walk rate is offset by impressive strikeout numbers.