Cubs deal Campana to desert for two righty prospects
MESA, Ariz. -- Tony Campana has spent the last week paying to hit at a batting cage in the Phoenix area. Now, the Diamondbacks will pay him.
The Cubs dealt the popular speedster to the Diamondbacks on Monday for a pair of 17-year-old Venezuelan right-handed pitchers: Erick Leal and Jesus Castillo.
"I had a feeling," Campana said as he packed his Cubs gear into a box. "I'm excited that I get to go somewhere else and try it out. I'm excited to go over there."
Campana, 26, led the Cubs with 30 stolen bases last season, but he didn't get on base consistently enough to utilize his speed. He was designated for assignment on Feb. 10. In 89 games last season, Campana batted .264 with a .308 on-base percentage.
"It's difficult to lose Tony from the organization," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. "Great person, he's a fantastic base stealer and a guy we really enjoyed getting to know. But ultimately you can only protect 40 guys on the roster, and he got caught up in the roster crunch. We have a little bit of depth in the outfield and less depth in pitching, and given that, it led us to designate Tony for assignment."
There was simply no room in the Cubs outfield for Campana.
"It's a little crowded here," Campana said. "It's good to get over there."
It's been a long week as he waited for some decision.
"I found a cage -- I was paying to hit in a cage and paying for a gym for the last week," Campana said. "I'm glad to be able to go hit and lift for free now.
"I knew there was a chance of this happening," he said about being designated. "I kind of made myself ready just in case it happened. I was glad there was a team out there that wanted to go get me. I'm excited now."
Campana was a hot topic at the Cubs Convention in January as fans asked Hoyer and others where the outfielder would play.
"It was kind of crazy," Campana said of the support. "I wasn't expecting that. I kind of expected [to be designated]. When [the fans] got so mad, it was a humbling experience for me."
Leal could play in the U.S. this year, but Castillo will likely stay in the Dominican Republic and play in the Dominican Summer League. Leal was 6-2 with a 2.44 ERA in 14 appearances for the DSL last season, striking out 70 over 70 innings. Castillo was 2-4 with a 5.40 ERA in 14 appearances in the DSL.