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Cubs make two additions to prospect mix

CHICAGO -- Depending on who is doing the analysis, the Chicago Cubs’ return from the Texas Rangers in the Ryan Dempster trade was either a disappointment or a solid way of salvaging things.

Few seem to think that the acquisition of Single-A third baseman Christian Villanueva and Single-A pitcher Kyle Hendricks Tuesday from the Rangers was better than what the Cubs would have received in a deal last week with the Atlanta Braves.

Dempster used his veto rights to nix a deal with the Braves last week and in the process the Cubs lost out on right-hander Randall Delgado, one of the top ranked prospects in Atlanta’s system.

Left with little leverage since Dempster only wanted to be traded to the Dodgers, the Cubs' front office put in the time in an attempt to make a deal happen. With the clock winding down, though, Dempster relented, reportedly agreeing to be dealt to the Yankees and Rangers.

The Rangers swooped in with what Hoyer suggested to be a package considerably better than what the Dodgers or Yankees were offering.

Hendricks, 22, has made a name for himself with control. He isn’t a plus-velocity guy like the Cubs are seeking, but the Southern California native, who went to Dartmouth, turned accuracy into a spot on the Carolina League midseason All-Star team.

Hendricks has gone 5-8 this season with a 2.82 ERA in 20 starts. He has 112 walks in 130 2/3 innings, with just 15 walks.

“He’s performed in college and he’s certainly performing now,” Hoyer said. “He’s not a hard thrower but not a soft tosser either. Reports had him up to 93 (mph), pitching around 90 but he really mixes pitches well and when you look at his performance he’s done a nice job.”

Over two professional seasons, the 2010 eighth-round draft pick has posted a combined 2.65 ERA.

Villanueva is higher regarded of the two prospects. He entered the season ranked by Baseball America as the ninth best prospect in the Rangers’ system.

The native of Mexico, who is known as a solid defender, was batting .285 with 10 home runs and 59 RBIs in 100 games as Hendricks’ teammate at Single-A Myrtle Beach.

Villanueva was a midseason and postseason All-Star in the South Atlantic League last season, finishing the year with 17 home runs and 84 RBIs in 126 games. He has a compact swing and reports on his potential to develop a big power game are mixed.

“Villanueva is a guy we’ve liked for quite a while,” Hoyer said. “He plays third base well, has a good approach at the plate, has some power. Both guys we’re excited to add to our system and add to that group we’re trying to build moving forward.”