(Photo via wgntv.com)
Cubs sign 2-time all star second baseman Ben Zobrist to a 4 year, $56 million deal, according to ESPN. Zobrist hit .276 this past season, with 13 HR and 56 RBI with the A’s and Royals, and played a key part in the Royals’ World Series victory. The Cubs have also acquired SP John Lackey who posted a 13-10 record with an impressive 2.77 ERA last season. Chicago is inching closer and closer to becoming the biggest force in the strong NL Central division. These two acquisitions add a veteran, multi-tool infielder in Ben Zobrist that can really help the younger players excel, and a reliable arm in John Lackey who has plenty of postseason experience.
Diamondbacks acquire SP Shelby Miller from the Braves, according to MLB.com. Arizona sends #1 overall pick SS Dansby Swanson to Atlanta as a part of this deal. Miller posted a career best 3.02 ERA with a record of 6-17, which is very misleading considering his low ERA. Miller received minimal run support last season, making it very hard for him to win, even with his respectable ERA. Pitching on a team with as great of an offense as the Diamondbacks have will give Miller more confidence and more leads to work with. This deal puts the Diamondbacks as a legitimate contender for the 2016 season after signing Zach Greinke, one of the premier free-agents this offseason. Arizona gave up a lot in this deal, especially their first round pick from just six months ago, but the improved pitching staff will hopefully carry this Diamondback team late into the postseason.
The Yankees acquire SS/2B Starlin Castro from the Cubs for pitcher Adam Warren, according to MLB.com. After signing Zobrist to play second base and having an outstanding young shortstop in Addison Russell, Castro didn’t seem to have much value in Chicago anymore. As the Yankees were in need of a solid second baseman, the deal made perfect sense and was a win for both clubs. The Yankees gain a great, young infielder in Castro, being named to 3 all star games already at the young age of 25. Although the Cubs lose an everyday starter in Castro, the team looks more poised to make a postseason run with stronger pitching and a much needed veteran presence in the clubhouse.
– T. Ilardi