Ever since the Padres acquired Yonder Alonso from the Reds on December 17, there has been rumors that the Cubs were after the Padres other first base prospect Anthony Rizzo.
Well today, the Cubs finally landed him and righthander Zach Cates in exchange for Andrew Cashner and Kyung-Min Na.
Rizzo was ranked as the Padres top prospect by Baseball America after hitting .331/.404/.652 in 356 Ab's at AAA Tuscon this year. However, he struggled in his first taste of the majors, hitting only .141/.281/.242 in 128 AB's. The move to Wrigley should help his power numbers (he hit only 1 HR with the Padres, after hitting 26 at Tuscon).
Jed Hoyer was quoted as saying that Rizzo will start the season in AAA while Bryan LaHair will start at first for the Cubs. However, it should only be temporary, as Rizzo is definitely the Cubs future at first. If LaHair struggles, look for Rizzo to get a mid-season callup.
Hoyer is quite familiar with Rizzo, as Hoyer was the Padres GM when they traded Adrian Gonzalez for Rizzo (and others). So, its obvious that Hoyer likes Rizzo.
Cates was a 3rd round pick in 2010 who probably projects best as a reliever. Na has decent speed, but projects to be a 4th outfielder.
Overall, I like the move. Cashner has not proven himself to be durable enough to be a starter and the Padres apparently agree, saying that Cashner will setup closer Huston Street in 2012. Rizzo, on the other hand, is projected to be a .270 hitter capable of hitting 30 homers a season, according to Baseball America. He has a career .296/.366/.514 line in 5 minor league seasons.
With all the positions apparently set, the Cubs will now shift their attention to their pitching, as Hoyer says they want to gather "as many quality arms as we can".