While the Detroit Tigers and Oakland Athletics were busy loading up for a World Series title, the Astros and Cubs continue to be part of a different contest.
Whether it be the 2016 or 2017 World Series they are aiming for, both teams continued to add fuel for those runs as baseball reached its Thursday trade deadline.
The Astros traded 24-year-old starter Jarred Cosart for a pitching prospect while the Cubs sent outfielder Emilio Bonifacio and James Russell to the Braves for prospect Victor Caratini a day after trading for Boston Red Sox lefty Felix Doubront.
Cubs have a plan
Both teams have gone through the process of being bad, really bad, and collecting picks.
The Cubs, however, have continued to collect hitters while seemingly ignoring pitching for now.
The Caratini acquisition continued that. The catcher will be headed to Single-A Kane County.
Doubront, who headed to the disabled list on Thursday and is a long term project, fits the mold of a guy who was once considered a prospect but has yet to pan out. He's another player in the mold of Jake Arrieta, Jason Hammel and Dan Straily that the team hopes can be productive.
"The way the organization has been going and acquiring players and drafting and developing kids in the system, I would hope it comes to the point where it shifts in a different direction," Cubs manager Rick Renteria told MLB.com. "All of us are hopeful that will be the case in the near future. That's been the hope and desire of the organization to get to a point like that. Things happen over the course of seasons and things change. Right now, we're hopefully moving in the right direction."
Astros might have a better one
Houston, on the other hand, has been paying less for its on-field product than any team in baseball and will continue that. The Astros have used plenty of top picks on pitching and went that direction instead of choosing third base prospect Colin Moran with the No. 1 overall pick last season. Instead, they selected Mark Appel out of Stanford, who has struggled but was also recently somewhat controversially promoted to Double-A despite an ERA above 9.00 at Single-A.
Now, the Astros have both after sending Cosart, infielder Kike Hernandez and minor league outfielder Justin Waites to the Marlins. The Astros expect the 21-year-old Moran to be the long-term solution at third base while also acquiring minor league pitcher Francis Martes, an 18-year-old who can throw 97 mph, and outfielder Jake Marisnick.
The Astros also acquired a competitive balance pick in the trade, meaning next year they will have their own top pick (via being so bad), the No. 2 overall pick (compensation for not signing their No. 1 overall pick this year) and the pick acquired Thursday, which will fall between the first and second rounds of the 2015 draft.
"(Moran)'s still young," Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow told MLB.com. "He's still the age of most of the guys coming out of the Draft this year, and he's had success. He was banged up a little in Spring Training and missed about a month of the season, but we think he's going to be a special player. He's a left-handed hitter who's going to hit a lot of doubles and some home runs as well. He has a really good eye, and he'll be the kind of hitter who fits well into our lineup."
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