05/08/2009 5:23 PM ET
Cubs acquire infielder/outfielder Ryan Freel and a cash consideration from Baltimore
Cubs send outfield Joey Gathright to the Orioles, recall right-handed pitcher Randy Wells from Triple-A Iowa
MILWAUKEE - The Chicago Cubs today acquired infielder/outfielder Ryan Freel and a cash consideration from the Baltimore Orioles for outfielder Joey Gathright, who had accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Iowa earlier in the day. In addition, right-handed pitcher Randy Wells has been recalled from Iowa and will make tonight's start against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Freel is expected to join the Cubs on Saturday.
Freel, 33, is a career .271 hitter (517-for-1910) with 98 doubles, 22 home runs, 118 RBI and a .357 on-base percentage in 562 major league games with Toronto (2001), Cincinnati (2003-2008) and Baltimore (2009). He has 142 stolen bases in 190 attempts, a 74.7 percent success rate, including a career-high 37 stolen bases in 2004 and 2006 with the Reds.
The versatile Freel has played five different defensive positions in his big league career, including 216 games (170 starts) in center field, 107 games (73 starts) in right field, 106 games (89 starts) at third base, 101 games (87 starts) at second base and 75 games (40 starts) in left field.
Freel, who bats and throws right-handed, played in 103 games or more in each season from 2004-06 before injuries limited him to 75 games in 2007 and 48 games in 2008. Last season with the Reds, Freel batted a career-best .298 (39-for-131) in 48 games before having his season end in early June due to injury.
The 5-foot-10, 184-pound Freel was acquired by Baltimore as part of the four-player trade that sent Ramon Hernandez to Cincinnati on December 9, 2008. He has played only nine games with the Orioles this season due to being struck in the head by a pickoff throw April 20 in Boston. He is currently on the 15-day disabled list and was on a rehab assignment with Baltimore's Double-A Bowie affiliate at the time of today's trade.
Wells, 26, went 3-0 with a 2.77 ERA (8 ER/26.0 IP) in five starts for Iowa to begin the season. The 6-foot-3 righthander has struck out 21 in 26.0 innings of work while issuing just seven walks. He has limited right-handed hitters to a .172 batting average (10-for-58).
Tonight will mark his first career big league start after making his major league debut last season with Toronto and Chicago. He was selected by the Blue Jays in the major league portion of the 2007 Rule 5 draft and made his first career appearance, April 5 vs. Boston (1.0 IP). He was returned to Chicago April 16 and later made his Cubs debut with three scoreless relief appearances, September 17-21. All told, Wells has not allowed a hit or a run in 5.1 big league innings.
Wells was named the Iowa Cubs 2008 Pitcher of the Year by the organization after he went 10-4 with a 4.02 ERA (53 ER/118.2 IP) in 27 games (19 starts) for Iowa prior to his September promotion. He led the club with 10 victories and 102 strikeouts (compared to 34 walks) while his 4.02 ERA was fifth in the Pacific Coast League.
The Belleville, Ill., native owns a 43-26 minor league record with six saves and a 3.75 ERA (247 ER/593.1 IP) in 184 career outings (82 starts). He has struck out 572 batters compared to just 191 walks in 593.1 innings pitched since he was selected by the Cubs in the 38th round of the 2002 Draft.
Gathright, 28, was signed by Chicago as a free agent last December and has batted .214 (3-for-14) with two runs scored and a stolen base in 20 games for Chicago this season. He owns a .262 career batting average (304-for-1,159) with 79 stolen bases in 428 contests for Tampa Bay (2004-06), Kansas City (2006-08) and the Cubs (2009).