A trio of former Myrtle Beach Pelicans will see things from a different vantage point starting Thursday evening.
With a void in the Chicago Cubs’ starting rotation, the ball club shipped rights to a trio of its Class A-Advanced prospects — infielders Matt Rose and Bryant Flete, as well as the top player in its farm system, Eloy Jimenez — and Low-A right-hander Dylan Cease to the crosstown rival Chicago White Sox.
In return, the Cubs add an arm in left-hander Jose Quintana. Thus far in 2017, he has a 4.49 ERA in 18 starts, this after posting a career-best 3.20 ERA a season ago.
Flete, Jimenez and Rose may be eligible to play Thursday night for the Winston-Salem Dash, the White Sox’s High-A affiliate, when the club takes on the Pelicans in the second of a four-game set.
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According to Myrtle Beach Pelicans general manager Andy Milovich, such moves are simply part of the game.
“From our standpoint, it is well known that guys can get promoted or traded at any time,” he said. “It kind of underscores the urgency of taking advantage of seeing these guys while they’re here. You never know when they’ll be promoted or traded.”
Last season, the Cubs traded top prospect Gleyber Torres to the New York Yankees, allowing them to bolster their bullpen by acquiring Aroldis Chapman. By letting go of Jimenez, the club hopes it yields much the same.
A native of the Dominican Republic, Jimenez is currently ranked as the No. 8 overall prospect in the MLB farm system. In 42 games with Myrtle Beach, he hit .271 with eight homers and 32 RBIs, with 23 runs scored.
We’d love to have a great prospect like (Eloy Jimenez) for the whole season. But the goal is to help the Cubs in one way or another, whether it be through promotion or through a trade that helps the big league club get better.
Myrtle Beach Pelicans general manager Andy Milovich
As for Flete, no player was swinging a hotter bat for the Pelicans, his .305 batting average best on the club. He also had six homers and 37 RBIs.
Rose was batting .227 for the club, while leading the team with 14 home runs. His best contribution came in the field, however, where his skills at first base received rave reviews.
The other piece of the trade, Cease was 1-2 in Low-A South Bend this season, with a 2.79 ERA. According to Milovich, he was to be a late call-up to Myrtle Beach prior to the end of the 2017 campaign.
Neither of the three former Pelicans were in the lineup Wednesday night, kind of tipping off the fact a trade could be in the works.
“This time of year, if you watch for prospects that are out of the lineup or get pulled mid-game for no reason, that probably means something is up,” Milovich said. “We’d love to have a great prospect like (Jimenez) for the whole season. But the goal is to help the Cubs in one way or another, whether it be through promotion or through a trade that helps the big league club get better.”
As for how the Pelicans may fare with three of their top contributors now elsewhere, Milovich best describes that as a mixed bag.
“This may not be good for us in the short term,” he said. “Guys like (Jimenez) don’t stick around the entire season anyway. But you also never know how things will shape up for us.
“Last year, we had the best middle infield in bases in Ian Happ and Gleyber Torres. One got promoted and another traded, but we rallied to win 22 of 26 games in August. While you hate to see anyone go, it also provides an opportunity for someone else to contribute to the organization.”