With excess pitching depth after trading for Matt Garza, Jim Hendry was able to clean up some of the slop that will make up the back end of the 2011 rotation by trading Tom Gorzelanny to the Nationals for three prospects. While effective for the Cubs last year, Gorzelanny is the definition of diffidence on the mound, his 4.68 career ERA and 4.54 FIP reeking of "blah."
In return Hendry was actually able to grab a decent prospect in former 1st round pick Michael Burgess. An outfielder with a strong arm, Burgess is described by The Hardball Times as having "exciting power and does a solid job of taking walks. There is still concern he will hack his way to obscurity, but don't discount a 22-year old with downright dangerous power."
THT ranked Burgess as the National's 9th best prospect and while strikeouts have been an issue in the minors, he lowered his K-rate to 23.1% in A+ this year and tore up AA after 87 plate appearances to close the season.
Of the other two prospects, right-handed pitcher A.J. Morris looks interesting with a 3.02 career K/BB, 1.21 WHIP and 3.64 ERA in 128 innings.
As for the Cubs starting rotation, hopefully Andrew Cashner has developed his change-up enough to step up and take a rotation spot, leaving Randy Wells, Carlos Silva and lost cause Jeff Samardzija to battle it out for the final rotation slot.
Good move for the Cubs. I’m cautiously more optimistic for this upcoming season than most with the only real hole on the team appearing to be second base. If Carlos Pena is solid, Zambrano sane, and Garza improved by the league change, I think this team can compete in 2011.