Trade 2: The Chicago Cubs trade LHP Drew Smyly to the Toronto Blue Jays for RHP Hagen Danner, LHP Jimmy Burnette, and INF Riley Tirotta
This trade was so good that I decided to leave it completely alone and change nothing. Still extremely believable even after nearly two months.
The 33-year-old Smyly is under contract through 2024 and has a mutual option for 2025 making him a valuable piece to a team in contention. He’s enjoying his best season in about a decade and if not for Yan Gomes spear-tackling him in the 8th inning, he may have thrown the 24th Perfect Game in major league history earlier this year.
That being said, while he could be a valuable piece for the Cubs moving forward as well, he is likely more valuable to them in terms of what they can get in return. The Cubs have Jameson Taillon, and Justin Steele under team control through 2026 and 2027 respectively, along with Kyle Hendricks through 2024 and players like Hayden Wesneski, Ben Brown, and Jordan Wicks that could join the rotation as early as later this season. They also hope to be bidders in the Julio Urías/Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes this winter and therefore a player like Drew Smyly becomes a little superfluous.
For the return the Cubs would be looking to improve a bullpen that has been, in a word, terrible.
Insert Hagen Danner and Jimmy Burnette. Both are 24 in AA right now, both have over 15 K/9, and both have incredible mustaches. Danner is an RHP that ranks as the 22nd-best prospect in the Blue Jays system while Burnette is not currently ranked in the top 30 according to MLB pipeline. The Cubs' biggest problem with the bullpen this season has been an inability to miss bats, and these two solve that problem.
The last piece doesn’t bring a ton to the table as a 24-year-old in High A but he’s currently carrying a slash line of .317/.424/.573 with three homers and five stolen bases. He’s never played a level of minor league baseball where he was younger than the average player for that level and yet has also never had an OPS over .775, so there’s not a ton going on here, but a player with defensive positional flexibility in the infield has benefits.