Cubs deal Mike Kickham to Mariners for prospect Lars Huijer


The musical chairs of the Chicago Cubs roster continues, as they dealt recently claimed Mike Kickham to the Seattle Mariners for pitching prospect Lars Huijer. Kickham was claimed off waivers prior to Christmas, and has spent his entire career with the San Francisco Giants. He was designated for assignment on Jan. 9 to make room for Chris Denorfia.

The Mariners have made a consistent effort in past years in scouting European talent, and Huijer is a product of that commitment. Huijer, 21, didn’t pitch above Class A last season as he split time between the Class A Midwest Clinton, and Class A Advanced High Desert. He went 6-9 in a combined 28 games (24 starts), posting a 5.08 ERA with 76 strikeouts in 124 innings. In 2013 at Class A Everett, he went 8-2 with a 3.03 ERA in 14 games (13 starts).

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The scouting report on Huijer is he has an interesting three-pitch mix, with a fastball that tops out in the upper-80’s with a lot of sinking action. He also throws a big, slow breaking curve in the mid-70’s to go along with a changeup that hits the upper-70’s. In 2014, he averaged 4.4 BB/9 innings, but the hope is as he develops, and adds strength and experience his command will improve and he will cut down on his walk total. The current projection for Huijer is a mid-rotation starter, per Jonathan Mayo.

What we can learn from this trade is that if the Cubs acquire a player between now and Opening Day, don’t get too comfortable with them. The front office continues to make moves, interchanging pieces within the system to help build up where they are thin, or in this case get just a little bit younger.

The moves will continue, as many Cubs fans are still waiting on the “elephant in the room” Welington Castillo to be traded. I would be surprised to see him make it to spring training, as I can only imagine how awkward that would be for all parties involved.

Next: Is the Cubs price for Castillo to high for the Diamondbacks?