No DeRo...No Problem. Cubs Make a Trade


Posted by Lionel on July 2, 2009.
UPDATED at 1:56 PM CT

While a lot of Cubs fans envisioned the return of Mark DeRosa to supply the Cubs with a utility-man, JH had other ideas. JH's return fire to the Card's DeRo trade?

Jeff Baker. The Cubs announced today that they have traded Alberto Albuquerque for Colorado's Jeff Baker, and in a corresponding move, they designated Ryan Freel for assignment. More on Albuquerque and Freel in a moment. Jeff Baker was hitting .130 for the Rockies...3 hits in 23 AB's, before a wrist injury sidelined him in late April. He has been on the D.L. since then, but is near the end of his rehab.

So why did the Cubs trade for him? I don't know. I guess they felt his utility-ness was more favorable than Ryan Freel's. Baker's natural position is third base, but he's played both other sacks (1 and 2) as well as the outfield. The confusing part for me is that the Cubs continue to stockpile utility players, yet none of them can play SS. Andre White is the only player who can realistically play SS other than The Riot. I guess Aaron Miles can play there in a pinch, but I just can't fathom bringing in guy after guy who is a good 2-sack and/or 3-sack and ignoring the fact that Lou is always saying how he'd like to get The Riot some rest.

Maybe JH feels Baker can produce like he did in '08, where he hit 12 HR's and drove in 48 in 333 AB's. I doubt anyone will be surprised to hear 8 of those HR's and 30 of the RBI's were at Coor's Field. In fact, his career .257 BA is really .295 at home, .205 on the road.

Not surprisingly, the Rockies were more than willing to get rid of him, given that they still have a plethora of infielders as well. Plus, Baker was moved to the 60 day D.L. because the team was at it's 40 man maximum, so they would've had to let someone when he returned.

So what did the Cubs surrender to get a career .205 hitter away from Coor's? Alberto Albuquerque (AA from now on...it's dizzying to write to type Albuquerque) was 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in 24 games of relief for the D-Cubs and righties were hitting a mere .174 off him. AA wasn't really considered a Cubs prospect because he didn't pitch at all last season (I assume it was based on an injury, but googling it did no good). So, the Cubs didn't give up much in this deal, at least on the surface.
Freel's tenure with the Cubs was brief in actual active duty. When he was acquired (from the Orioles for Joey Gathright), he was on the D.L. (yes, JH seems to like making trades for players currently hurt). He played in 10 games in May before heading back to the D.L. He played in 4 games since his second return from the D.L. He hit .143 for the Cubs with 1 run and 1 RBI.



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