the cubs have concluded a deal with the white sox, dealing david aardsma and double-a pitching prospect carlos vasquez for lefthanded reliever neal cotts.
aardsma's quality season -- his 53 innings of 4.08 era was good for 11.0 vorp in 2006 -- was taken by some to be a harbinger of better things to come for the control-afflicted fireballer. but, for all the promise of that stint, this page has a hard time imagining that the 25-year-old aardsma will improve much on that level of production, which is that of a mop-up reliever.
vasquez, for his part, was 23 at west tenn in 2006 and -- despite managing 10.7 k/9 in his second season as a reliever, having been removed from an unpromising starting role -- also walked 5.7 per nine compiling a 1.44 whip and a very unimpressive southern league era of 3.55.
if they have lost nothing, the cubs have also gained nothing in cotts. probably a better pitcher than either of the players he was traded for, but famous for his one good professional season in which he helped the 2005 white sox to the glory of a world championship, cotts returned to earth in 2006 -- allowing 64 hits and walking 24 in 54 innings, good for a 1.63 whip and 5.17 era. this means little in and of itself, but cotts' career line as a reliever -- 4.52 era, 1.44 whip in 193 innings -- is only slightly less comforting.
the cubs are almost certainly indicating that another trade is in the works here -- cotts would be the third lefthanded reliever on the club with scott eyre and will ohman. rumors of discussions with the indians over jake westbrook and cliff lee may have materialized, and the price would seem to have included either ohman or eyre. stay tuned.