Cubs send Chafin to Oakland for 2 players

Chicago acquires OF prospect Deichmann, RHP Palencia for veteran lefty

July 27th, 2021

CHICAGO -- The Cubs had the makings of an October-ready trio with setup men and providing the bridge to closer . Chicago's month-long struggles have now made them trade chips.

Now, Chafin is the first of the Cubs' late-inning arms to move.

Cubs get: OF Greg Deichmann, RHP Daniel Palencia
A's get: LHP Andrew Chafin

The Cubs sent Chafin to the A's in exchange for outfielder Greg Deichmann (Oakland's No. 9 prospect per MLB Pipeline) and Minor League right-hander Daniel Palencia, Chicago announced late Monday night.

"This guy's a culture changer. This guy's been a leader in the bullpen," Cubs manager David Ross said of Chafin. "The way he takes the ball, right or left, it doesn't matter what situation I bring him in. It's the same stuff. It's the same heartbeat. It's strikes. It's a secondary pitch that's really good.

"Oakland's getting a really nice pitcher and a really nice human being that goes out and does his job, and is a really good teammate. We're going to miss him."

In Deichmann, the Cubs are getting a 26-year-old corner outfielder who has hit .300/.433/.452 with 21 extra-base hits through 60 games for Triple-A Las Vegas. The lefty-swinging Deichmann was a second-round pick by the A's in 2017, when current Cubs vice president of scouting Dan Kantrovitz was helping lead Oakland's Draft process as an assistant general manager.

The 21-year-old Palencia features an upper-90s fastball and has 14 strikeouts against six walks in 14 1/3 innings across six starts (6.91 ERA) for Low-A Stockton this season.

The deal comes as the Cubs are considering a wide range of scenarios in the days and hours leading up to Friday's 3 p.m. CT Trade Deadline. The focus has centered on core players like Kris Bryant, Javier Báez and Anthony Rizzo, but Chicago has a dozen-plus players who could be free agents next offseason.

In 43 appearances for the Cubs this year, the 31-year-old Chafin has a 2.06 ERA with 37 strikeouts against 12 walks in 39 1/3 innings. He allowed three runs against the D-backs on Saturday, ending a 24 1/3-inning scoreless streak. That had been the longest active streak in the Majors and the longest scoreless run by an MLB reliever this season.

When Ross spoke with Chafin after Monday's news broke, the affable lefty with the curly hair, signature mustache and a big, fun-loving personality had a one-liner ready for his manager.

"He told me, one bad outing and he gets traded?" Ross said. "He made me laugh pretty good at that one."

Chafin, who had a 1.11 ERA in his last 27 games going back to May 8, is under contract for $2.75 million this season. His deal includes a $5.25 million mutual option for 2022.

This season, Ross leaned heavily on Chafin and Tepera as his primary arms for the seventh and eighth innings. Their effectiveness has made things easier on Kimbrel, who lowered his ERA to 0.49 on the season with his three-strikeout performance in the ninth inning of Monday's 6-5 win over the Reds.

The veteran Kimbrel -- whose deal includes a $16 million team option for '22 -- provides the Cubs with one of the most valuable trade possibilities on the market. Tepera (2.91 ERA through 43 games) is poised to become a free agent next offseason.

"You know, we've all had it in the back of our heads, obviously," Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks said of the trades happening. "[Winning is] still our focus. It's day to day, trying to win ballgames. But yeah, when stuff like this happens, it's the nature of baseball. You're going to miss a lot of guys."