Cubs acquire Marcelo Carreno from Tigers

Earlier today the Cubs completed the Jeff Baker trade with the Tigers as they acquired Marcelo Carreno. Fangraphs uses his first name, Josue, rather than the middle name, which I would guess is what he uses. The trade was announced on August 5th and it was reported at the time that the Cubs would receive 2 players to be named later. I'm not sure if that was incorrect as the deal appears to be complete. The Cubs also were given cash considerations though I would imagine it's a meaningless amount of money.

Carreno just completed his 2nd year in the Midwest League, which is Low A. He's 21 years old so he's a bit old for his level. In his first year in Low A, he threw 124.2 innings, struckout 21.3% of the batters faced and walked only 7.6%. His ERA was an average or below average 4.55 though his FIP was a solid 3.19. We'd expect him to be better in his second year and he was. He threw 139.1 innings, struckout 21.2% and walked an even more impressive 5% of the batters faced. His ERA dropped to 3.23 and had a great 2.63 FIP.

Back in 2010 Fangraphs said he might be able to develop into a number 3 starter. That seems like wishful thinking at this point. Jim Callis has said he's a future bullpen arm and I'm inclined to agree.

While his strikeout rate is OK, it's not as high as you'd like in the lower levels of the minors. Add to that his advanced age and it's difficult seeing him miss all that many bats at the MLB level as a starter. He's got low 90s stuff and a move to the bullpen should bump that up a couple mph. He showed outstanding control this past season so if he can maintain that at a higher velocity he very well could have a decent future in the bullpen.

Considering the Cubs traded Jeff Baker, it's difficult to not like the trade, but at the same time it's nothing to get excited about. He doesn't appear to have the potential you think of when you think of someone who might be able to close games in the future and he just hasn't pitched well enough at his age and level to believe he'll have much of any future as a starter. It seems his ceiling at this point might be as a setup man. In this organization, that's pretty damn good.

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