Cubs get pitching prospects in Robertson, Givens trades

August 3rd, 2022

ST. LOUIS -- Mychal Givens kept his phone on him while in the outfield at Busch Stadium during batting practice Tuesday afternoon. The message the veteran reliever was anticipating arrived, and he walked off the field and headed inside.

Givens had been traded to the Mets ahead of Tuesday’s 5 p.m. CT Deadline, which also included a deal that shipped veteran closer David Robertson to the Phillies. Chicago reeled in a pair of pitching prospects, Ben Brown from Philadelphia and Saúl González from New York, in the trades.

“The Cubs have been first class with me,” Givens said before heading to his new ballclub. “They’ve been doing a great job with their push of rebuilding. It's been a great opportunity to play here.”

Going into this season, the Cubs added Robertson, Givens and Chris Martin on short-term deals to give the bullpen a veteran presence. Once Chicago fell out of contention, the North Siders now had a trio of trade chips on their hands.

Chicago’s Deadline activity began Saturday with the deal that sent Martin to the Dodgers in exchange for versatile utility man Zach McKinstry. The Cubs then made a surprising move Monday, trading sidearmer Scott Effross to the Yankees for highly touted pitching prospect Hayden Wesneski.

Wesneski (the new No. 8 on Pipeline’s Top 30 Cubs prospects list), Brown (No. 11) and González added three more pitching prospects to a Chicago club looking to bulk up its inventory of arms. In last month’s MLB Draft, the Cubs used 16 of their 20 picks on pitchers.

“We were trying to add power arms in every deal,” Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said during a Zoom call Tuesday evening. “I'm looking forward to getting all those guys in Cubs uniforms at various levels. We'll sit down after this, we'll sit down with player development, talk through their plans and where we want to go with them.”

With High-A Jersey Shore this season, the 22-year-old Brown posted a 3.08 ERA with 105 strikeouts against 23 walks in 73 innings (15 starts and one relief outing). The 6-foot-6 righty has a fastball that can touch 94-98 mph, plus a slider and curveball. He was a 33rd-round selection in the 2017 MLB Draft.

The 22-year-old González racked up 29 strikeouts against seven walks in 25 2/3 innings this season with Single-A St. Lucie for the Mets. The righty posted a 2.81 ERA in 14 games.

The earlier addition of Wesneski gave the Cubs a starting prospect who is on the cusp of the Majors. In 19 starts for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this year, the righty had a 3.51 ERA with 83 strikeouts and 28 walks in 89 2/3 innings.

“Obviously, the most high-profile guy was Wesneski,” Hoyer said. “We love the fact that it's a four-pitch mix. He's already competed in Triple-A at a high level and he was a guy that we had had discussions about him going back a ways.”

Hoyer was asked if Wesneski might reach the Majors later this season.

“I don't want to go there yet,” Hoyer said. “But, certainly we're going to be watching him carefully in Iowa.”

Robertson, 37, heads to the Phillies with a 2.23 ERA, 14 saves and 51 strikeouts in 40 1/3 innings (36 games) this season for the Cubs. The 32-year-old Givens carries a 2.66 ERA with 51 strikeouts in 40 2/3 innings (40 games) to the Mets.

“I think the Cubs did great job in signing me and Chris Martin and David Robertson,” Givens said. “Veteran guys who gave [the younger pitchers] knowledge we could give them to help them. Again, they’re the future. I'm really happy with what they’ve been doing, the progress of what they’ve been doing this year.”