The Cubs received a gift this year, their prospect Jake Fox, a converted catcher, began lighting up the minor leagues. He was hitting the cover off the ball for power and average. A few injuries happened and the Cubs brought him up, but he has no real position on the team since Alfonso Soriano plays in left field. The Cubs had to trade him this off-season, did they get value for Jake Fox?
The deal was that Oakland sent RHP Jeff Gray, minor leaguer OF Matt Spender, and minor leaguer RHP Ronny Morla to the Cubs for Jake Fox, 2B Aaron Miles and cash. If you just look at the trade, this yields nothing instantly for the Cubs. This trade is addition by subtraction. Miles was very bad last year and they can get him off the books, which saves a roster spot and cash for a possible off-season second baseman signing. A lot of people think that they might go after a guy like Orlando Hudson or maybe going after Mark DeRosa again.
Jake Fox fits into what Billy Beane is all about, he’s a guy who will walk and hit for a high average. His ceiling could be Jack Cust with a better average. Jeff Gray is a player that the Cubs will use instantly, he was in 20 games last year for Oakland and had an ERA around 3.50. Morla is a very young prospect that could turn into something in a few seasons and Spencer is a nice prospect that could end up being a nice outfield prospect in a year or so, his highest minor league level is currently AA.
I think this is a nice trade, but not a trade that most Cubs fans would want. They are used to huge splashes in free agency and trades. They hated the Mark DeRosa trade last year, but the Cubs got three very good pitching prospects in the deal and time could favor the Cubs in that trade. Jake Fox was one of the trade pieces that Cubs had in a very small prospect pool. Chicago doesn’t have many prospects to trade, so they are a bad trading partner for most teams. I think the Cubs needed to get rid of Miles and the only way they could was to include Fox in the deal.