— Matt Eddy (@eddymk) December 10, 2012
Followed by this response:
@eddymk into Myers, Odorizzi, Montgomery, Leonard, Lee, Archer, Chirinos, Fuld, Guyer, Rodriguez, Torres, Sweeney, Joyce. aka 2014 div chmp?
— Chuck Ruether (@Section211) December 10, 2012
This got me thinking. Obviously, 2008 was an incredibly exciting year for the I-94 rivalry. The Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers made big deadline deals for Rich Harden and CC Sabathia (the former being the bigger one) and both made the playoffs, with the Brewers clinching in a victory against Angel Guzman and the Cubs at the end of the season.
As you can see above, the Tampa Bay Rays turned their rotation into an impressive package of players and prospects, the most recent additions being Wil Meyers and company from the Kansas City Royals. My question is: whatever became of the starting rotations which lead the Cubs and Brewers to the 2008 postseason?
First, a look at each rotation. The Brewers:
And the Cubs:
Ten pitchers, none of whom are still with their 2008 clubs. But who lives on in each organization as legacy players from the subsequent deals? Let’s take a look, in the order they were released / traded / not resigned.
Left MIL: Granted free agency on October 30th, 2008. Signed with the Oakland Athletics on January 26th, 2010.
MIL return: Zero.
Current Team: Retired while with the Atlanta Braves on October 3rd, 2012.
Notes: Although Sheets was a Type A free agent after the 2008 season, his injury history scared off any teams who may have showed interest. Thus, the Brewers got nothing for him.
Left MIL: Granted free agency on November 1st, 2008. Signed with the New York Yankees on December 20th, 2008.
MIL return: OFs Kentrail Davis and Max Walla, via compensation picks from the Yankees, selected 39th and 73rd overall, respectively.
Current Team: Still pitching for the New York Yankees.
Notes: Brewers GM Doug Melvin said he did his due diligence trying to bring Sabathia back, and I believe him. But it was too little in comparison to the record breaking seven year, $161 million contract offered by the Yankees. The two outfielders selected as compensation picks are still with the Brewers. Davis hit AA in 2012, while Walla made his A debut. Davis is listed as the #11 prospect in the Brewers system by Jonathan Mayo as of this season’s end (eta 2014).
Left CHC: Traded to the Colorado Rockies on January 6th, 2009.
CHC return: Luis Vizcaino, pitcher.
Current Team: Signed on with the San Diego Padres this offseason.
Notes: Vizcaino did not hang around for long in the Cubs organization. He was designated for assignment and later released on April 23rd, 2009. He later signed with the Cleveland Indians on a minor league deal.
Left CHC: Granted free agency on November 5th, 2009. Signed with the Texas Rangers on December 10th, 2009.
CHC return: Zero.
Current Team: Currently a free agent, said to be pursuing work.
Notes: Rich Harden qualified as a Type B free agent back in 2009, but the Cubs did not offer him arbitration. Thus, they received nothing in return.
Left MIL: Released on June 7th, 2010. Signed with the St. Louis Cardinals a week later.
MIL return: Zero.
Current Team: Currently a free agent.
Notes: When Suppan was released, Brewers fans were rejoicing. He’s bounced around a few minor league teams since then but appears to be all but done.
Left CHC: Traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers alongside Ryan Theriot on July 30th, 2010.
CHC return: IF/OF Blake DeWitt, minor leaguers Brett Wallach and Kyle Smit.
Current Team: Still pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Notes: Blake DeWitt, the primary return for Lilly, never truly impressed in Chicago and was granted minor league free agency in October. He later signed with the Atlanta Braves. Kyle Smit gave up 6 runs in 6 games for the 2011 Iowa Cubs and has been released. Wallach appears to still be with the organization, but struggled in Daytona as a 24 year old in 2012.
Left MIL: Granted free agency on November 1st, 2010. Signed with the Texas Rangers on January 30th, 2011.
MIL return: Zero.
Current Team: Currently pitching in Korea.
Notes: Not much to say about Dave Bush. After an okay season in 2008, Bush went on to post a 5.27 ERA with 22 losses in 2009 and 2010 before leaving as a free agent.
Left CHC: Traded to the Miami Marlins on January 5th, 2012.
CHC return: Starting pitcher Chris Volstad.
Current Team: Currently a free agent, although didn’t he say he was going to retire after this contract?
Notes: Dumping Zambrano was successful in that they removed his clubhouse issues from the equation, but Chris Volstad turned into a whole pile of nothing. Actually, he was probably a whole pile of nothing all along. Volstad lost 12 games and had an ERA north of 6.00 during 2012.
Left CHC: Traded to the Texas Rangers on July 31st, 2012.
CHC return: 3B Christian Villanueva and pitcher Kyle Hendricks, both minor leaguers.
Current Team: Just signed with the Boston Red Sox on a two year deal.
Notes: Although he is not as nice of a return as major league starting pitcher Randall Delgado, prospect Villanueva will be on a good number of the Cubs’ top ten prospect lists heading into 2013. He scored the #8 spot on Minor League Ball’s preliminary 2013 list.
Left MIL: Non-tendered November 30th, 2012.
MIL return: Zero.
Current Team: A free agent who has gathered interest from the Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, and New York Mets, among others.
Notes: Just as James Shields was the last piece to be removed from the Rays’ 2008 rotation this offseason, Manny Parra is the last to go from the Brewers. Manny’s struggles in the bullpen for Doug Melvin and his rising price tag in arbitration didn’t net him a new contract.
To summarize, five prospects remain in the I-94 rivalry as legacy players to these rotations: Davis and Walla for Milwaukee, and Wallach, Villanueva, and Hendricks for Chicago. Major league players who returned for each team Luis Vizcaino, Blake DeWitt, and Chris Volstad, all for the Cubs. They totalled for -2.o WAR according to Baseball-Reference during their time with the Cubs. Of the starting pitchers, 4 are still pitching in other organizations, 3 are free agents seeking work, 1 is in Korea, 1 is officially retired, and 2 probably should be retired. All in all, not as good as the Rays, but interesting to see how things shook out.