AP Wire | 03/25/2004 | Cubs trade Cruz, Smyth to Braves

Two prospects go each way, but the deal is essentially Andy Pratt for Juan Cruz. Pratt had been impressive in spring and was supposedly all but on the roster. The Cubs needed a lefty, plus with Mark Prior hurting they needed rotation insurance.

Cruz was a hot prospect three years ago, looking great in 2001. But he wasn’t great in 2002, and Dusty Baker took a dislike to him and banished him to Iowa, where he was good, and the end of the pen, where he stank, last season. He has great stuff, but so do lots of guys. The Braves keep talking about Alfonseca’s great stuff and Almanza’s great stuff, and look at them. But it’s worth a gamble; Pratt doesn’t project to be anything more than a serviceable major leaguer, while Cruz has the ability to be much more.

The Braves also gave up infielder Richard Lewis in the deal. Lewis is not very good, one of the Braves’ many failed high draft picks.. Steve Smyth, whom the Braves received, is a nobody minor league lefty who is unlikely to ever have much of a major league career.

Brad likes the deal.

(Thanks to Snellville Jones for pointing this out.)