Cubs officially complete Gorzelanny trade
Club trades left-hander to Nationals for two pitchers, outfielder
Left-hander Tom Gorzelanny passed a physical exam in Washington on Wednesday, completing the trade that sent him to the Nationals for a trio of Minor League prospects.
In a swap that was put in place Monday, pending Gorzelanny's physical, the Cubs received 22-year-old outfielder Michael Burgess, 24-year-old right-hander A.J. Morris and 20-year-old lefty Graham Hicks. Chicago's 40-man roster now stands at 38 players.
Gorzelanny, 29 next season, became expendable when Matt Garza was acquired from the Rays a little more than a week ago. Chicago feels comfortable with its rotation, even though it isn't guaranteed to have a left-handed starter next season, and the farm system needed replenishing after it took a package of five players to land Garza.
While none of the prospects Chicago is receiving may necessarily compare to 2010 Pitcher of the Year Chris Archer and shortstop Hak-Ju Lee, both sent over to the Rays, they do come with positive reviews. Burgess hit .265 with 18 home runs and 85 RBIs between Class A and Double-A last season, and his home run totals the previous two years were 19 and 24, respectively. Burgess was a supplemental-round Draft pick in 2007.
Morris, 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds, was a fourth-rounder in 2009 and went 5-3 with a 3.77 ERA in 86 innings last season between Rookie ball and Class A, striking out 71 and walking 28. Sixteen of his 27 appearances were starts.
At Kansas State University, Morris was a 2009 Golden Spikes Award Finalist and a runner-up to winner Stephen Strasburg for amateur baseball's highest honor.
Hicks was also a fourth-round pick, in 2008, out of George Jenkins High School in Florida. In 2010, in his third professional season, he went 2-6 with a 5.02 ERA in 71 2/3 innings over 16 starts. All but one of those starts were for Class A Hagerstown. The other was with the Vermont Lake Monsters of the New York-Penn League.
It's no surprise that the Cubs found a trading partner in the Nationals. Though considered a fringe player in the sweepstakes, Washington nonetheless kicked the tires on Cliff Lee before he signed with Philadelphia, and the Nationals also struck a deal for Zack Greinke but were rebuffed by him as well.
Born in Evergreen Park, Ill., Gorzelanny improved on the prior year in 2010 by going 7-9 with a 4.09 ERA and striking out 119 in 136 1/3 innings. He was traded to the Cubs from the Pirates at the Trade Deadline in 2009, and he finished his time in Chicago 11-11 with a 4.43 ERA in 42 appearances, 30 of them starts.
Gorzelanny avoided arbitration on Tuesday when he signed for $2.1 million, an agreement struck with the Cubs but reportedly approved by the Nationals. He isn't to be a free agent until after the 2013 season.