CHICAGO -- Trading Yu Darvish the offseason after he placed second for the National League Cy Young Award sent a clear message. The Cubs are concentrating on the future of the franchise.
The deal that sent Darvish and catcher Victor Caratini to the Padres on Tuesday night netted big league pitcher Zach Davies, but it was the package of four young prospects that sealed the deal for Chicago. It was a way for new president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer to enhance the farm system with the long-term vision in mind.
"By acquiring really talented but young players," Hoyer said, "I think we were able to infuse that much more depth into the organization. So, that was something that we definitely weighed during that process."
Here is a breakdown of the four prospects acquired by the Cubs:
SS Reginald Preciado
Cubs Top 30 ranking: 10th
The switch-hitting Preciado, who will turn 18 in May, was signed by the Padres on July 2, 2019, out of Panama for $1.3 million. That was a record deal for an international prospect from his home country.
MLB Pipeline scouting report: "Preciado drives the ball with hard contact from the right side and sprays the ball gap to gap from the left side. ... Preciado is a decent runner with long and easy strides and an extra gear when he needs it. As a shortstop, he has soft hands and is light on his feet in all directions."
Hoyer: "Preciado was a high-profile signing out of Panama. He's a switch-hitting shortstop. He's grown a lot in the last year, and like I'll say probably with each of these guys, I think he probably needs to add some strength. But, his actions are really good. At the outset, he can certainly stay at shortstop. But, certainly, he was a guy that was very highly regarded and important to this deal."
OF Owen Caissie
Cubs Top 30 ranking: 11th
The 18-year-old Caissie was selected by San Diego in the second round of the 2020 MLB Draft and signed for $1.2 million. He was the top Canadian prospect in the Draft, and the Padres made him the highest-picked outfielder ever from his country.
MLB Pipeline scouting report: "Caissie has the tools to fit the right-field profile very well, starting with his plus raw power. He has legit pop from the left side of the plate, with the ability to drive the ball to all fields. ... He's at least an above-average runner, one who gets to 'plus' once underway."
Hoyer: "Caissie was a guy that we liked in the Draft. He was hard to scout. He's a Canadian kid, and obviously this year was kind of short. But, we really liked what we evaluated during the Draft, and we really liked what we saw briefly in instructional league on the backfields. He's an athletic left-handed hitter with a really good swing. I think he has the ability to add some real strength. We were excited to add him to the organization."
OF Ismael Mena
Cubs Top 30 ranking: 16th
The Padres signed Mena out of the Dominican Republic for $2.2 million on July 2, 2019. At the time of his signing, Mena (now 18 years old) was ranked 15th on MLB Pipeline's Top 30 international prospects list.
MLB Pipeline scouting report: "Mena covers the strike zone well and hits everything hard from the left side of the plate. He has a knack for barreling up balls and has the potential for future average power. ... [Has] plus-plus speed, which makes him a basestealing threat. Mena is already viewed as an above-average defender who has a talent for reading and picking up balls off the bat."
Hoyer: "We've really liked what we saw in instructional league. We thought he played really well given his age and his first time in the States. We liked him on the international market. Obviously, he signed with the Padres for a significant amount of money and we weren't able to sign him. But, we liked him on the international market. We liked what we saw in instructional league. We're excited to work with him."
SS Yeison Santana
Cubs Top 30 ranking: 17th
The 20-year-old Santana is the lone prospect acquired with professional at-bats under his belt. Signed on July 2, 2017, out of the Dominican Republic, the righty-swinging infielder hit .346 with 13 extra-base hits, 30 RBIs and a .923 OPS in 41 games in Rookie ball in '19.
MLB Pipeline scouting report: "He has a solid foundation for development, possessing a blend of bat speed, patience and feel for the barrel, with remaining physical projection that points toward future power gains. Santana has proven difficult to strike out early in his career, showing a penchant for quality opposite-field contact. Defensively, Santana looks like a future big league shortstop: he’s twitchy and athletic, with smooth actions, plus arm strength and plenty of range."
Hoyer: "Santana is the older guy in the group, but he really performed in the [Arizona League] the year before. His bat-to-ball skills are really good. He's got really good actions at shortstop and certainly can stay on the dirt."