OK, so it's a minor deal. But at least it's a deal!
- The Chicago Cubs traded Aaron Miles and Jake Fox to the Oakland A's for right-handed pitcher Jeff Gray and minor-leaguers Ronny Morla and Matt Spencer, according to ESPNChicago.com reporter Bruce Levine.
The Cubs will absorb $1 million of the $2.7 million owed to Miles.
Gray pitched in five games for the A's in 2008 and 24 games last season, when he had a 3.76 ERA.
For three years running, Fox has been a monster in the high minors.
In 2007, he batted .284/.331/.511 in Double- and Triple-A.
In 2008, he batted .287/.364/.556 in Double- and Triple-A.
Granted, that was just the minor leagues and Fox wasn't particularly young for those levels (he's now 27).
In 2009, he batted .409/.495/.841 in 45 Triple-A games, in the midst of which people like me started screaming for the Cubs to give him a shot with the big club. Which they soon did, though in a limited role.
Defensively, ol' Jake is a jack of most trades but a master of none. He can play anywhere but the middle of the infield, but not well enough to play regularly. I suppose he might make a good platoon partner with DH Jack Cust, though the A's are already sort of loaded with players on the left end of the defensive spectrum. I think Billy Beane just couldn't resist a player who seems to be undervalued by his old club, even if there's no obvious place for him to play.
Morla and Spencer are both interesting prospects, but neither ranks near the top of anyone's list. Essentially, this deal was about the A's getting Fox and the Cubs saving $1.7 million of Miles' ridiculous contract. Whether that $1.7 million and the two prospects are worth Fox depends on Bob Geren finding 300 plate appearances for Fox.