Why Cubs’ Scott Effross-Hayden Wesneski Trades the Smartest TNZT Deal?

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The Smartest Trading Cubs Made on the 2022 TNZT Originally Appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Despite all the criticism the Cubs received after holding Ian Happ and Willson Contreras on the TNZT, it was a smart move to trade Scott Effross to the Yankees.

Yes, fielding one of David Ross’ most trusted and oft-used relievers hurts the Cubs in the present.

But Hayden Wesneski, a promising pitcher, is a move that could pay off in the near future and years to come – for both sides.

“A tough trade to make, in the sense that I really think Scott is an excellent pitcher and we’ve controlled him for five years,” team president Jed Hoyer said of the deal that sent 24-year-old Wesneski to the Cubs.

“At the same time, given what we’re trying to build here, I thought that deal really made sense for the Cubs.”

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The Cubs could have kept Effross, who is under the control of the club until 2027 and is an organizational success story after transitioning to sidearm in 2019 and quickly climbing the organizational ranks.

One thing they have shown year after year is that they have a knack for putting together good bullpens with homegrown relievers and clever free agent additions. The Effross move is a sign of confidence they have in developing relievers.

They’ve struggled to develop homegrown pitching, and while they’ve gone against that trend, moving Effross has added a potential long-term rotational piece to an already burgeoning pitching pipeline.

“Teams are always much more willing to sacrifice value when it comes to a player who has been in control for a number of years, and he clearly had a great year,” said Hoyer, calling Effross’s market “aggressive”.

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“I think Scott’s world,” Hoyer added. “He’s been in the organization for a long time, has been through a lot of ups and downs – obviously dropping his arm to continue his career and it couldn’t have worked out better.

“I really respect his journey. But for us, we felt it made a lot of sense to add a really talented starting pitcher.”

Wesneski was the Yankees’ number 7 overall and ranks number 8 in the Cubs system, according to MLB Pipeline. He was ranked fourth overall and the Yankees’ best pitching prospect by Baseball America.

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The Cubs know him as assistant pitching coach Daniel Moskos was Wesneski’s Double-A pitching coach in 2021.

The Cubs assigned Wesneski to the Iowa Cubs, and he’s had a good year in Triple-A: 19 starts, 3.51 ERA, 1,149 WHIP, 83 strikeouts, 28 walks, 89 2/3 innings.

Hoyer did not speculate whether he could make his debut in the Dutch big league this season. But what the right-hander has been up to this year shows he’s not that far off the mark.

“I don’t want to go there yet,” Hoyer said. “But we’ll definitely keep a close eye on him in Iowa.”

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