Cubs trade Andrew Cashner to Padres for Anthony Rizzo

From MLBTR: The Cubs have acquired first baseman Anthony Rizzo and right-hander Zach Cates from the Padres for right-hander Andrew Cashner and outfielder Kyung-Min Na, the teams announced. The move provides the Cubs with a potential long-term first baseman and clears up first base in San Diego.

Here’s my quick take on the trade. I don’t think as highly of Rizzo as a lot of people do and I didn’t think as highly of Cashner as some did. I know little about the prospects as I begin writing this. An every day first baseman for a guy who might be a starter with injury troubles seems like a pretty good deal. When you factor in Cashner’s workload over the last 6 years, the injury he’s coming back from, it may even be likely that he’s a future reliever. Cashner didn’t have great numbers at the minor league, but was pretty good. Let’s look at the numbers now.

CAIRO is not a fan of Rizzo. It projects just over 400 PA and has him hitting .213/.289/.363, which is good for a .289 wOBA and 0.1 WAR. Oliver projects a .254/.325/.461 line over 562 PA. That’s good for a .339 wOBA and 0.8 WAR. Bill James projects a .318 wOBA. The average here is about .5 WAR.

CAIRO projects .2 WAR for Cashner while Oliver projects 1.1 WAR for Cashner and Bill James projects a ridiculous 3.36 FIP. That’s getting thrown out because it’s nowhere near a reasonable projection. Cashner had a 4.45 average projection a year ago so it’s ridiculous that one could come back at 3.36 this year. Between the other two, it’s an average .7 WAR.

Oliver has Cashner being worth 5 WAR over the 5 remaining years he’s under club control. It has Rizzo being worth 5.9 WAR. The Cubs and Padres swapped league minimum players with similar service time who are projected to be worth nearly the same amount of the next 5 years. Let’s just call this a wash. Maybe a slight edge to the Cubs given that Rizzo can play every day.

Kyung-Min Na reached AA at the age of 19, but so far in his career the outfielder has hit just .244/.335/.284. Cates doesn’t appear to be a lot better than that either. Neither prospect has much value going forward so the deal is basically this:

Cashner and his potential upside as a starting pitcher for Rizzo and his potential upside as an every day 1st baseman. Rizzo had the better minor league career and he’s younger. Despite that, this is a trade I neither like nor dislike. I’m not convinced that Bryan LaHair wouldn’t be more valuable over the next 5 years than Rizzo will be. In fact, Oliver has LaHair being worth 5.2 WAR over the next 5 years so just barely worse than Rizzo.