Cubs make unexpected trade, sending Scott Effross to the Yankees

(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

OK, who had Scott Effross going to the Yankees in exchange for minor league pitching prospect Hayden Wesneski on their Chicago Cubs trade deadline bingo card? No one? Me, neither.

We all headed into this year’s MLB trade deadline knowing the Cubs were going to, once again, sell hard on veteran relievers. After jettisoning the likes of Andrew Chafin, Ryan Tepera and Craig Kimbrel a year ago, it made sense the team would do the same this time around with guys like Mychal Givens, Chris Martin and David Robertson.

While trades involving any or all of those guys have been expected for some time, I don’t think anybody expected Jed Hoyer to trade his team’s most valuable reliever in Effross. But that’s exactly what he did on Monday, sending the 28-year-old sidearmer to New York in exchange for Wesnecki, who MLB Pipeline has already ranked as the Cubs’ #8 overall prospect.

A seller dumping an arm in and of itself isn’t surprising. But the fact Effross comes with five more years of team control immediately drew the ire of Cubs Twitter. Throw in the fact the sidearmer carries a 2.66 ERA and 2.19 FIP on the year in 47 appearances and it was like spraying a forest fire with kerosene.

Cubs betting heavily on their ability to develop pitching moving forward

After the initial reaction, things calmed a bit – but the gut reaction from Cubs fans was that this was a tell tale sign the team had no intentions of competing in 2023. How I view this move, however, is a bet on the internal pitching infrastructure – and its ability to continue to churn out arms in the years to come.

In Wesnecki, Chicago adds a former sixth-round pick who could make his big league debut later this summer. Through 19 starts at Triple-A this year, the right-hander boasts a 3.51 ERA – although he’s struggled in the strikeout-to-walk department at this level.

Here’s what MLB Pipeline has to say about the 24-year-old:

"Wesneski pounded the strike zone throughout his college career and has continued to do so in pro ball, even as his stuff has made a leap forward. He’s deceptive, too, and hitters don’t get good swings against him and struggle to lift the ball when they do make contact. His competitive demeanor is another asset and he could help Chicago in the big leagues in the near future."

Next. This is a can't-miss deadline for the Cubs front office. dark

Much the same as the Cubs bet their future on position player prospects under Theo Epstein, they’re betting on young arms this time around. That’s not to say the position player talent Jed Hoyer has assembled is a bunch of slouches by any stretch – but there’s clearly a very heavy focus on young pitching, which is precisely why adding a guy like Wesnecki, who’s knocking on the door already, makes perfect sense for this club.