The Cubs were the latest NL Central team to upgrade by getting starter Matt Garza, but the Rays got four prospects from Chicago in return. Here's some more detailed information on this promising quartet reportedly headed to Tampa:
Chris Archer has been through the trade process before, getting sent from Cleveland to Chicago in the Mark DeRosa deal back at the end of 2008. The 2006 draftee repeated Class A ball during his first season in the Cubs organization, finishing with a 2.81 ERA and .202 batting average against in 109 innings with Peoria in the Midwest League.
His stock really rose during this past season. The right-hander split time between Class A Advanced Daytona and Double-A Tennessee, and was even better when he got up to the tougher Southern League. Combined, he won the organizational pitching triple crown with a 15-3 record, 2.34 ERA and 149 strikeouts in 142 1/3 innings. He capped things off by beating Cuba in a Pan Am qualifying tournament, earning him a nod from USA Baseball for the international performance of the year.
The key to Archer's success in 2010 was improved fastball command. He still did walk 65 in 2010, but he's improved his walk rate in each of the past two seasons. When he's able to locate his above-average to plus fastball, that's made his plus slider even better. He's also improved his changeup quite a bit, giving him a very effective three-pitch mix. Archer's a tremendous competitor with off-the-charts makeup. He could start the year in a very good Double-A Montgomery rotation and move from there.
Brandon Guyer is a toolsy outfielder who has really started to turn his tremendous athletic ability into on-field performance over the past couple of seasons. He really broke out in 2010, though he ended up with just 369 at-bats as he dealt with a shoulder issue. When he was playing, he was outstanding, earning Southern League All-Star honors and being named by MLB.com as the Cubs system's hitter of the year for batting .344/.398/.588 with 30 steals for Double-A Tennessee.
A former football standout in high school, Guyer brings that game's mentality to baseball with an all-out aggressive style on both sides of the ball. He's got very good speed and his power continues to develop. He can play anywhere in the outfield and could very well start the year with Triple-A Durham.
Hak-Ju Lee is a rare commodity: a pure shortstop who will undoubtedly be able to play the position defensively at the big league level. He is a plus defender with outstanding range and arm. He did make a lot of errors in the Midwest League, but that will improve as he matures and learns what's expected of him at the position.
There is some question about whether Lee's bat can keep up with his glove. The Futures Gamer has shown the ability to put the ball in play and use his plus speed to his advantage. Once he gets on, he's a threat, with 32 steals in 2010 and 25 in a half-season back in 2009. He'll never have big-time power, but he does have some bat speed that could make him an extra-base guy in the future. He'll play all season at age 20, likely in Class A Advanced Port Charlotte. His addition gives the Rays some depth at shortstop with Tim Beckham in Double-A and Derek Dietrich likely ticketed for Class A Bowling Green.
Robinson Chirinos made his debut with the Cubs back in 2001, as a 17-year-old signed out of Venezuela playing in the rookie-level Arizona League. Needless to say, the now 26-year-old backstop has moved slowly, spending parts of three seasons in the Class A Midwest League, then parts of four up just one spot to Class A Advanced Daytona. He finally made it up to Double-A in 2008 and actually started in Tennessee in 2010, eventually earning a promotion to Triple-A for the first time.
He's known more as a catch-and-throw guy with good overall defensive skills. Over the past two years, he's shown improvement with the bat as well. He hit .294/.396/.519 in 2009, then improved that to .326/.416/.583 a year ago. At the very least, he'll provide a valuable asset in working with the multiple pitching prospects in the Rays system, perhaps starting the season with Triple-A Durham. At most, he could become a solid backup or combination with John Jaso in Tampa.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.