12/06/07 11:30 AM ET
Cubs trade for top Rule 5 pick Lahey
Club sends cash to Tampa Bay for strong right-hander
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
The move was a reverse of what the Cubs did one year ago during the Draft, when they selected outfielder Josh Hamilton with the first pick, then traded the outfielder to the Cincinnati Reds for cash considerations.
Lahey spent most of last season with the Minnesota Twins' Double-A New Britain team, posting an 8-4 record with 13 saves and a 3.45 ERA in 50 games. He struck out 56 and walked 33 over 78 1/3 innings. Lahey appeared in two games for Triple-A Rochester, totaling three innings.
The selection rules of the Draft provide that a player taken must remain on the drafting team's active Major League roster during the following season or be offered back to the original club at half the original price. Players taken during the Major League phase of the Draft cost $50,000 each.
"We feel it's a good opportunity to add, again, to the bullpen candidates for the club," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said. "He's a young man who used to catch, a big strong guy. He was converted [to a pitcher] two years ago. He has tremendous life on his fastball, a great sinking fastball and the makings of a good slider."
Carlos Marmol is another catcher-turned-pitcher. The Cubs' scouts saw Lahey pitch on consecutive days, and got good reports.
"His stuff on paper seemed to play like you'd want at Wrigley Field -- a ground ball-type guy, a big strong fellow, throws up to 92, 93 [mph], and very durable," Hendry said. "The Twins people have said he has outstanding makeup, a hard worker, full throttle effort once the conversion was made.
"He's another guy we'll give a chance to make the bullpen," Hendry said. "He was the one guy we felt was worth the gamble, so we did what we did."
The Cubs had the 19th pick in the first round of the Draft, and gave the Rays the option to select a player, but they passed.
The Cubs lost one player in the Major League phase of the Draft, when Toronto selected pitcher Randy Wells. Wells was 5-6 with two saves and a 4.52 ERA in 40 games for Triple-A Iowa, striking out 101 over 95 2/3 innings.
The Cubs also lost Adalberto Mendez in the Double-A phase. Mendez was 3-4-1 with a 4.83 ERA in 40 games for Double-A Tennessee, and 0-2 with a 5.67 ERA in five games at Class A Daytona.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.