The Colorado Rockies have traded LHP Rex Brothers to the Chicago Cubs, in exchange for another LHP, minor leaguer Wander Cabrera. Cabrera, 18, just finished his first season of professional baseball in 2015, playing for the Cubs' Dominican Summer League affiliate.
The Rockies first announced the news on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon:
Brothers, of course, was one of the Rockies' best relievers from 2011 through 2013, including striking out 10.2 batters per nine innings in 2013, while allowing just 6.8 H/9 and earning 19 saves to go along with a 1.74 ERA in what is thus far the best year of his career.
Brothers' command betrayed him in 2014, where he saw his walk rate jump to 6.2 batters per nine innings, and he spent much of 2015 in Triple-A Albuquerque, never quite able to iron out his command to the point where the Rockies could trust him in important late-inning situations in Denver.
Cabrera is an interesting return, having turned 18 less than three weeks ago and just finishing his first professional season in the Cubs' organization. The Cubs signed Cabrera for a quarter of a million dollars out of the Dominican Republic in July of 2014, according to Baseball America:
The Cubs have signed Dominican lefthander Wander Cabrera for $250,000. Cabrera is 6-foot-2, 190 pounds and has shown solid arm strength for a 16-year-old lefty, though his delivery and strike-throwing ability will need take a step forward ... Cabrera’s contract also includes $50,000 in college scholarship money, which doesn’t count against the Cubs’ bonus pool.
In 2015, Cabrera allowed 30 hits (6.4 H/9) and 23 walks (4.9 BB/9) in 42 ⅓ innings pitched, but he did strike out 47 batters (10.0 K/9) and finished 4-3 with a 2.34 ERA in 14 games (seven starts).
Obviously, at 18 years old, the lefty is an interesting—if not very far away—prospect who now must transition to the United States (presumably Grand Junction) next summer.
Baseball America's JJ Cooper on Cabrera:
Wander Cabrera (Rockies' acquisition) signed for $250K last year. 6-foot-2 lefty in DSL with 92 mph FB and usable curveball.— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) November 25, 2015
Best of luck to Brothers as he joins a new organization.
As we do with all prospects and minor leaguers here at Purple Row, we'll keep you abreast on Cabrera's development with the Rockies as the teenager looks to successfully transition into rookie and/or short-season ball over the next year.
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In another transaction tangentially related to the 40-man roster moves that went on last week, John Axford is now an unrestricted free agent:
John Axford has cleared waivers after #Rockies DFA'd him. He is now officially a free-agent.— Nick Groke (@nickgroke) November 25, 2015
Axford may now sign with any team.
That leaves only Wilin Rosario in DFA limbo with the Rockies right now, after Brothers' trade, Axford's free agency, and Tommy Kahnle's trade to the Chicago White Sox earlier this week.