Cubs send Effross to Yanks; no word on moving Contreras
As the trade deadline hit its stretch run, the Cubs pulled a bit of a surprise, sending reliever Scott Effross to the New York Yankees for right-handed pitcher Hayden Wesneski.
For the time being, there's still no news on a new home for Willson Contreras, Ian Happ, David Robertson or anyone else. The MLB trade deadline arrives Tuesday at 5 p.m. Central.
Effross has been one of the team's best success stories. After switching to a sidearm delivery in 2019, he earned a full-time job in the majors this year and has been one of the most reliable relievers in MLB. Heading into Monday's action, he's tied for second with 47 appearances, while posting a 2.66 ERA.
Effross, 28, was a 15th-round draft pick of the Cubs in 2015 from Indiana, where he was a college teammate of Kyle Schwarber. The Yankees are obviously looking for immediate bullpen help and Effross will get a chance to make a postseason run.
Wesneski, 24, might have the potential to be a rotation starter. He's been playing at Triple A Scranton-Wilkes Barre this season, posting a 3.51 ERA with 83 strikeouts and 28 walks in 90 innings. In his four most recent starts, the ERA was 1.37.
Before the season, FanGraphs rated Wesneski as the Yankees' No. 19 prospect. MLB Pipeline had him ranked No. 15 last year, then plugged him in as the Cubs' No. 8 prospect Monday, between Jordan Wicks and Owen Caissie.
The Houston native was a sixth-round draft pick in 2019 out of Sam Houston State. He's said to throw a sweeper slider, which is somewhat unique. The Cubs have had some success recently developing sliders with guys like Justin Steele, Adbert Alzolay and Matt Swarmer.
According to Fangraphs.com, the 6-foot-3 Wesneski throws his four-seam fastball in the 92-95 mph range and the slider is his highest-rated pitch, followed by the fastball and cutter/curve.
Another eye-opening trade to arrive Monday was division rival Milwaukee sending closer Josh Hader, an impending free agent, to San Diego. The Padres have been rumored to be involved in Cubs top trade candidates.
One notable catcher did change teams Monday, with Boston's Christian Vasquez going to Houston a few minutes before those two teams played each other. This move presumably removes the Astros from any Contreras sweepstakes. Things might move slowly, with teams also focused on what could happen with Washington's Juan Soto on the trade market.
Is there a scenario where Contreras is not traded? Probably not, but maybe there's a slight chance a perfect storm of events could prompt the Cubs to stand pat. It's more likely there are some empty lockers when the Cubs play in St. Louis on Tuesday.
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