The deal is done. Rumors have been circulating for hours, but there are now multiple reports confirming that the Chicago Cubs are trading right-handed starting pitcher Yu Darvish and switch-hitting catcher Victor Caratini to the San Diego Padres.
Cubs Trade Darvish and Caratini
The Cubs are trading Darvish and Caratini to the Padres in exchange for starting pitcher Zach Davies and four prospects.
Sources confirm to @dennistlin, @PJ_Mooney and me that the full deal is Yu Darvish and Victor Caratini going to the Padres and the Cubs receiving Zach Davies and prospects Reginald Preciado, Owen Caissie, Yeison Santana, Ismael Mena
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) December 29, 2020
Darvish, 34, has three years remaining on his six-year contract. He is owed $59 million through the 2023 season and will earn an additional $1 million in each of the next three years after a bonus kicked in following his Cy Young runner up finish in 2020.
Caratini, 27, is under team control for three more years, with 2021 being his first arbitration eligible season.
In three seasons with the Cubs, Darvish made 51 starts and had a win-loss record of 15-14. He threw 294.2 innings, posting a 3.60 ERA and 1.11 WHIP. Meanwhile, Caratini played in 246 games in parts of four seasons with the Cubs. He has a career slash line of .250/.327/.372, with 15 home runs and 73 RBIs in 600 at-bats. Caratini’s best season came in 2019, when he posted a .266/.348/.447 slash line in 244 at-bats. He hit 11 home runs that year, leading to a .794 OPS, the only season in his career in which his OPS was above the .700 mark.
The right-handed starting pitcher will be a free agent following the 2021 season. He will make somewhere in the $10 million range next season. The 27-year-old made his MLB debut in 2015 with the Brewers. During his six-year career in the majors Davies has made 123 starts, posting a 3.79 ERA in 683.2 innings.
In 2020, Davies made 12 starts for the Padres and recorded a 2.73 ERA in 69.1 innings.
SS Prospects: Reginald Preciado, Yeison Santana
Along with Davies the Cubs are receiving a pair of shortstop prospects in Yeison Santana and Reginald Preciado.
Reginald Preciado scouting report via MLB.com.
At the plate, the switch-hitting Preciado drives the ball with hard contact from the right side and sprays the ball from gap to gap from the left side. He has a good rhythm and body control from both sides of the plate. For a player so young, Preciado has an excellent feel for hitting and getting bat to ball with authority. There’s good bat speed and the potential for power in the future as he adds strength to his highly projectable, 6-foot-4, 185-pound frame.
Preciado is a decent runner with long and easy strides and an extra gear when he needs it. As a shortstop, he has soft hands and is light on his feet in all directions. He has shown a quick first step and a strong and accurate arm that projects to be above average in the future. If Preciado continues to grow, he would probably shift away from shortstop, but scouts are confident his athleticism would translate to third base or the outfield. Preciado will need considerable time to develop in the Minors, but the final product could be a player who makes a serious impact on both sides of the ball.
Yeison Santana scouting report from MLB.com.
Santana’s selectively aggressive approach is advanced for a player his age, and he has already shown that he can do damage on pitches in the zone. He has a solid foundation for development, possessing a blend of bat speed, patience and feel for the barrel, with remaining physical projection that points toward future power gains. Santana has proven difficult to strike out early in his career, showing a penchant for quality opposite-field contact.
Defensively, Santana looks like a future big league shortstop: he’s twitchy and athletic, with smooth actions, plus arm strength and plenty of range, and he already plays the position with confidence. Those qualities all give Santana realistic floor value in the big leagues, and there’s everyday-shortstop upside in the profile should his hitting ability and power both reach fruition.
Outfield Prospects: Ismael Mena, Owen Caissie
Owen Caissie Scouting report via MLB.com.
Caissie has the tools to fit the right field profile very well, starting with his plus raw power. He has legit pop from the left side of the plate, with the ability to drive the ball to all fields. Some scouts have questioned his bat path, leading to some concerns about his ability to get to that power, but he has shown the ability to make adjustments in the past. He’s at least an above-average runner, one who gets to plus once underway.
Defensively, Caissie played a corner outfield spot for the Canadian junior national team in deference to David Calabrese in center. With an arm that delivers low-90s throws from the outfield and his power potential, he fits the corner profile very well. But as one of the youngest players in the entire 2020 Draft class — he turned 18 on July 8 — he may also require some extra time to develop in the Minor Leagues.
Ismael Mena scouting report via MLB.com.
Mena covers the strike zone well and hits everything hard from the left side of the plate. He has a knack for barreling up balls and has future average power. He projects to hit second or third in the lineup but could eventually be a leadoff hitter because of his hit tool and plus running abilities. He projects to steal between 15 and 25 bases in the big leagues.
Mena is already viewed as an above-average defender who has a talent for reading and picking up balls off the bat. He gets good jumps and takes great angles and routes, utilizing his plus-plus speed, and his arm strength has above-average potential. He’s also been praised for his makeup and baseball IQ. Mena, based on his remaining physical projection, could end up at 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds if he continues to develop at a normal pace.
Cubs Fans Should Be Furious
Let’s be real here, trading Yu Darvish was always going to look bad, but fans were at least hoping the team would get some real valuable players that were either MLB-ready or close to being in the majors by 2022. Instead, this was a slap to the face of all Cubs fans, as the trade of Darvish is nothing more than a salary dump.
The Cubs couldn’t get a single top-100 prospect for the guy who just finished as the Cy Young runner up. They couldn’t even get a single top-10 prospect from the Padres’ farm system, let alone a top-five prospect from them. We started the day speculating about a possible Jake Cronenworth and Luis Campusano package with a couple more prospects and the best the Cubs could do was a starting pitcher with one more of control and four high-risk prospects, none of which have even played above rookie ball.
And this isn’t to go in on the prospects, maybe one or more work out with the Cubs, but don’t get it twisted, the Cubs are a laughing stock right now because of this trade and should be embarrassed. We’re talking about a team in the third largest market that just dumped their best pitcher because he was making almost $20 million a year.
Again, for Yu Darvish, that’s a bargain, but apparently way too much for the Ricketts.
For Cubs fans who are still somehow OK with this, you’re going to be waiting for a while for any of the prospects to play for the team.
#Cubs get #Padres’ Nos. 11, 13, 15 & 16 prospects — SS Reginald Preciado, OF Owen Caissie, OF Ismael Mena and SS Yeison Santana — along with Zach Davies in exchange for Yu Darvish and Victor Caratini: https://t.co/dZL6KIQulV pic.twitter.com/TdhiqX22u5
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) December 29, 2020