Tuesday night, word emerged that the Chicago Cubs were close to trading reliever Sean Marshall to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for starter Travis Wood and a pair of minor leaguers. And there's a funny thing about this rumor - it's apparently actually coming true. Bruce Levine:
Cubs and Reds agree in principle to trade sending Sean Marshall to cinci for lefty Travis Wood and 2 minor leaguers.
That isn't an official trade, but it's basically an official trade. It could become an official trade by Thursday morning.
What's the idea here for the Reds? The Reds think they see an opening in the NL Central, what with Albert Pujols going away and Prince Fielder probably going away, so they're adding a big-time reliever. The left-handed Marshall, while a year away from free agency, has run a 2.45 ERA the last two seasons with 10.1 strikeouts per nine innings. He'll be a big improvement to the Reds' bullpen, and Wood, though talented, was only depth.
And what's the idea here for the Cubs? The Cubs liked Marshall, but obviously Sean Marshall wasn't going to be the difference between a good Cubs team and a bad Cubs team in 2012. So they're shipping him away for a guy who could be a member of the rotation for a long time. Wood turns 25 in February, and he's been about a league-average pitcher in his limited major league experience. His minor league performances suggest that he could be more than that someday. He's a good and promising add, to say nothing of the other two minor leaguers, who haven't been named.
The Reds want to win. For them, this is something of a win-now move. The Cubs want to rebuild. For them, this is something of a rebuilding move. It all makes sense. Sometimes it doesn't all make sense, so I'm glad it all makes sense here.