The Oakland Athletics acquired utility player Chris Coghlan from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for right-handed pitcher Aaron Brooks, the team announced.
By trading away Coghlan, the Cubs have opened up room for utility man Javier Baez. Joe Maddon, the manager of the Cubs, has been hoping to get Baez as many at-bats as possible and this trade guarantees the 23-year-old will get more looks during the 2016 season than last year.
Baez will serve as a backup to Dexter Fowler, Jason Heyward and Jorge Soler in the outfield. Meanwhile, he will also backup Addison Russell at shortstop and Ben Zobrist at second base. Baez, the ninth pick of the 2011 MLB Draft by the Cubs, slashed .289/.325/.408 with one home run and four RBI across 28 games played at the big league level in 2015.
In the outfield, Chicago has Fowler, Heyward, Soler and Kyle Schwarber ahead of Baez. While Baez is closer to getting more at-bats, it would make sense that the Cubs turn around and make another trade to deal away Soler in the near future. Theo Epstein, the President of Baseball Operations for the Cubs, told Tony Andracki of CSNChicago that Chicago will not make any more outfield trades, which Soler will stay in the Windy City. It will be interesting to see how the outfield situation plays out this season.
Brooks, the player who will be wearing a Cubs uniform in 2016, went 3-4 with a 6.67 ERA across 13 games between the Kansas City Royals and Athletics in 2015, which he started nine games. Brooks, 25, logged a 1.572 WHIP and a 2.71 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The California State University San Bernardino graduate spent most of 2015 in Triple-A, registering a 3.56 ERA in 118.2 innings pitched.
The pitcher who tossed 4.1 innings for Oakland last season was part of the return when Ben Zobrist was sent to Kansas City. Now, Brooks will be playing with Zobrist in Chicago with the Cubs. He lacks overpowering stuff and gets slammed when he misses his spots. Brooks, a 6-foot-4, 220 pounder, has allowed five or more runs in more than half of his big league starts.
Coghlan, 30, was drafted by the Miami Marlins as a 36th pick in the 2006 MLB Draft. The outfielder and infielder has played with the Marlins (2009-2013) and the Cubs (2014-2015) across his seven-year major league career. In 666 all-time games, Coghlan has slashed .268/.340/.411 with 46 home runs and 199 RBI.
With the Cubs in 2015, the left-handed hitter owned a .250 batting average with an impressive 16 home runs and 41 RBI across 440 at-bats. Coghlan will be a free agent after this season and is earning $4.8 million in his final year of arbitration.
By adding Coghlan, the Athletics roster is very crowded, so it is quite possible that another trade is made to clear space. It will be more clear in mid-April where the newly acquired utility player will find himself on a day-to-day basis.