Tigers Acquire Zach McKinstry From Cubs

MLB Trade Rumors

The Cubs have informed reporters, including Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic, that they have traded infielder Zach McKinstry to the Tigers for right-hander Carlos Guzman. In order to make room on their 40-man roster for McKinstry, the Tigers have recalled Freddy Pacheco and placed him on the 60-day injured list, per Jason Beck of MLB.com.

McKinstry, 27, came to the Cubs in a 2022 trade that sent right-hander Chris Martin to the Dodgers. Chicago gave him plenty of reps down the stretch last year, but he responded with a tepid .206/.272/.361 batting line in 171 trips to the plate following the swap. Those numbers generally align with McKinstry’s career totals in Los Angeles; overall, he’s a career .208/.269/.384 hitter in 364 plate appearances at the MLB level.

In Triple-A, it’s been another story. McKinstry owns a .323/.401/.550 batting line in 489 plate appearances while appearing at every position other than first base, catcher and pitcher. He’ll give the Tigers a lefty-swinging bench option who can be plugged in just about anywhere. McKinstry doesn’t have minor league options remaining, so it looks as though he’ll make Detroit’s Opening Day roster.

In return, the Cubs will pick up a 24-year-old righty who split the 2022 season between High-A and Double-A (albeit just an inning and a third at the higher of the two). Guzman worked to a combined 4.11 ERA, striking out 20.6% of his opponents against a 7.8% walk rate with a 42.8% ground-ball rate. The 6’1″, 185-pound righty originally signed as a 16-year-old out of Venezuela back in 2015 and generally hasn’t ranked among the Tigers’ best prospects over the years. Guzman was Rule 5 eligible this past December but went unselected.

That said, Guzman has a 3.80 ERA across 317 minor league innings with strikeout and walk rates that are only slightly worse than average. He’ll give the Cubs an arm they can plug into their Double-A rotation and hope to mold into a potential option at the back of their rotation or perhaps as a middle or long reliever in the coming years.

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