The calendar now reads July, and the word that comes to mind for all baseball fans is “trades”. Regardless of whether your team is up or down, there is always trade speculation involving your team. That includes our beloved Cubs. While all of the talk revolves around which veterans from the list of Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza, Alfonso Soriano, Geovany Soto, and Carlos Marmol will be dealt, as we approach the halfway point of the 2012 season, it also is a good time to review some of the moves Theo Epstein and Company have already made so far.
Even Epstein wondered out loud to reporters at Spring Training when his honeymoon period with the media and fans would be up. Two years? Two months? Or two weeks? Although the Cubs may be on pace for a record losing season, I for one will not jump the gun on the Epstein era just yet. And I am sure most reasonable Cubs fans feel the same way. So with that in mind I kick of this series of reviews with the more than just the 2012 season in mind.
Today we continue the series with the free agent signing of reliever Manny Corpas in December. The pitcher is best remembered for his contributions to the miraculous Rockies late season run all the way to the 2007 World Series. Despite missing all of the 2011 season as he tried to bounce back from Tommy John surgery, he was signed to a Major League deal by Theo Epstein and Company with the target of having Corpas ready in time for Opening Day.
Unfortunately the plan got side tracked, as Corpas started the season in AAA. The right handed reliever had displayed fairly good command in Arizona, only walking one. Where he got in trouble was the number of hits and runs allowed. His control declined during his time in the minors, but due to injuries and ineffectiveness of the righties in the Cubs bullpen in the Majors, Corpas was called up in early June.
In an interesting twist, Corpas has been solid so far in his return to the big leagues. Through 16 appearances he has flashed a line of 1.69 ERA/1.32 WHIP. The WHIP is a bit inflated as the reliever still has a high walk count (six) to nine strikeouts. Regardless, he has become a nice option for manager Dale Sveum to turn to. His production so far should start to help ease some of the work load of fellow pen pal Shawn Camp, who has already registered 88 appearances so far this season.
With not much time remaining before the non waiver trade deadline at the end of this month, it is hard to see trade interest for Corpas generate by then. It will also be hard to trade him by the August deadline since his one year deal figures to be easily swallowed by teams looking to block trades with the waiver process.
Epstein’s midseason report card on this move is incomplete since Corpas’ start to the Major League season was delayed, but it will be interesting to see if there is mutual interest to keep Corpas in Cubs pinstripes beyond 2012 with a multiyear deal if Corpas can continue his solid efforts through the rest of this year.
2012 Grade: Incomplete
2013 and Beyond Grade: C+