Chicago hopes they solved the back end of their rotation on Friday acquiring right-hander Dan Haren from the Marlins in exchange for shortstop Elliot Soto and right-handed pitcher Ivan Pineyro, both playing at Double-A Tennessee. They also added bullpen arm Tommy Hunter from Baltimore for Iowa outfielder Junior Lake.
With the fifth starter spot up for grabs the entire season, Haren fills the void left when Tsuyoshi Wada went on the DL after making seven starts for the North Siders. Travis Wood’s toed the rubber for seven starts while Dallas Beeler, Clayton Richard and Donn Roach have all filled in. Haren’s ability to eat innings will also help the Cubs bullpen stay fresh down the stretch.
The Cubs are Haren’s eighth club as he was drafted by the Cardinals in the 2nd round in 2001 out of Pepperdine. He debuted with the Redbirds in 2003 and spent two years in St. Louis before being traded to Oakland as part of a deal for Mark Mulder. He spent three seasons with the A’s, was dealt to the Diamondbacks, and then traded to the Angels near the deadline in 2010. He spent one year in Washington after signing as a free agent and then inked a two-year deal with the Dodgers after the 2013 season. During the off-season the 34-year-old was shipped to Florida along with Dee Gordon in a seven-player deal.
The 13-year veteran has made 21 starts for the Marlins, logging 129 innings with a 3.42 ERA and a 1.09 WHOP, 11th best in NL. He’s averaged 7.5 K/9 during his career (6.1 this season) and 1.9 BB/9 (1.7).
Soto was the Cubs 15th round pick out of Creighton University and spent six seasons in the organization, reaching AAA last year after missing the first 50 games of the season due to a drug suspension. A career .252/.328/.304 slash, Soto, 25, is an above average defender at short and was hitting a career best .274/.388/.314 in 88 games for the Smokies.
Pineyro was acquired by the Cubs in 2013 from Washington in exchange for outfielder Scott Hairston. The 23-year-old miss part of last year due to an arm injury and has made 19 starts in AA this season, logging 107 IP with a 3.69 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. His 92 strikeouts is second-best among all Cubs minor leaguers.
The Cubs also added relief pitcher Tommy Hunter from Baltimore for outfielder Junior Lake. Hunter gives the Cubs another dependable bullpen arm after Neil Ramirez landed on the DL for the second time this season.Hunter, 29, has eight years of MLB experience with five years in Baltimore and part of four seasons with the Rangers, who drafted the right-hander in the first round in 2007 out of the University of Alabama. Hunter recorded a career-high 11 saves for the O’s last year, going 3-2 with a 2.97 ERA in 60 games (60.2 IP). Hunter started his career as a starter and has excelled the past three years for Baltimore out of the bullpen. In 39 games this year, he’s tossed 44.2 innings with 32 K, 11 BB and a 1.16 WHIP.
Junior Lake was signed as a free agent by the Cubs back in 2007 and worked his way through the system as a shortstop, before making his debut in 2013 as an outfielder. Lake’s physical tools were never in question but his plate discipline and swing had him bouncing between Chicago and Iowa the past three seasons. Lake did show a new approach during winter ball and his .404 OBP in 58 games in Iowa is a career high.
To make room on the 40-man roster for the additions, RHP Ben Rowen has been designated for assignment. The side-winding Rowen was added to the Cubs 25-man roster on Wednesday but didn’t pitch. He was signed as a minor league free agent on July 4.