Well slap me in the face and call me Susan
Goodbye Asheville, hello Chicago!
The Cubs have indeed pulled the trigger on Juan Pierre, firing two pitching prospects down to sunnier climes while welcoming in their new CF/lead-off man. It's true. The Cubs made a deal.
I've talked at great length about JP and our other options, so I won't go on at great length. I will however quote a couple of other excellent Cub resources (well, that implies I'm calling LB excellent, which it most certainly is not! Insert pity here) who have analyzed the trade at more depth.
First up is Derek Smart from the brilliant Cub Town:
"Still, the Cubs have adopted a solid approach with this deal. Your minor league system is there to funnel talent to your Major League squad, either directly or through trade, and in using the type of players they have in surplus to address an issue, they have attempted to do just that.
Pierre is far from perfect, and to my mind including the quantity of talent the Cubs did in this deal was overkill, but he does address a need better than the other available options, at least while staying realistic (rail all you like about the superiority of non-prototypical lead-off alternatives, the fact is, with Dusty at the helm, all attempts to go down that road lead to Neifi! getting 700 at bats at the top of the order).
This is not a great deal, this is not a terrible deal. It is, instead, a trade that makes something livable out of a potentially unlivable situation, and while that may not be a thrilling result, it has its value."
We have given up some current major league stars in recent times: Dontrelle Willis and Jon Garland to name just two. However, for every Dontrelle, there have been a thousand question marks, and I'm sure we can all agree that at the end of the day, disgruntled or otherwise, we have taken care of a massively important issue, one that, whether brilliant or average, can now be laid to rest. He may not have a season like 2003 or 2004, but even a 2005-type year will trump the collective efforts of what we did have. Short-term or long-term (I hear we have him for effectively a 1-year deal with arbitration included, and since the Cubs don't often go that route, he is a quick fix until Pie is ready for the bigs. This could all be wrong, but I'm just going on what I've heard), we have a lead-off man. We may now exhale.
I will leave with one further quote, taken from the same Cub Town article (sorry Derek if you ever read this. I am making sure everyone knows it wasn't me who wrote all this!), although written by another highly-informative source, Bryan Smith from Baseball Analysts:
"This new haul of Marlins minor leaguers is their weakest yet, but also their deepest. None of these players would grade above a straight B, but none would be lower than a B-. Pinto and Nolasco both pitched well in AA, however, it was their second time around. Pinto has control problems, and has stalled in now two attempts at AAA. I've compared him to a young Arthur Rhodes before, and like Rhodes, I think Pinto will thrive when moving to the bullpen.
The same could be true with Nolasco, though he has a bit more chance of succeeding in a starting role. Nolasco's groundball numbers were done last season while his strikeout numbers were up, oftentimes indicating an advancement in stuff. Like Pinto, Nolasco needs to prove it in AAA, but is on a similar timetable to Josh Johnson, the rich man's Nolasco."
Make of that what you will.