Cubs wave goodbye to Campana; pick up two pitching prospects

Cubs wave goodbye to Campana; pick up two pitching prospects
February 18, 2013, 4:45 pm
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MESA, Ariz. – Tony Campana paid money to get into the batting cage and a gym while waiting to find out where he would be heading next.

Campana felt like he was on the bubble, so he wasn’t surprised when the Cubs designated him for assignment eight days ago. He got the answer on Monday, when he was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks for two 17-year-old pitching prospects who spent last season in the Dominican Summer League.

“I’m glad to actually be able to go and hit and lift for free now,” Campana said.

That sense of humor made Campana popular among teammates, and he said his goodbyes while cleaning out his locker, packing up a box and getting ready for a meeting with the Diamondbacks later that afternoon.

The 5-foot-8-inch outfielder – who overcame Hodgkin’s lymphoma as a kid – became a fan favorite on the North Side. There was outrage in certain corners of the Internet, wondering how the Cubs could give up on someone so fast.

Campana’s speed – 54-for-59 in stolen-base attempts the past two seasons – makes him an ideal 25th man for a contending team.  

“I was drafted here and I got to come up through the organization,” Campana said. “The fans here are awesome (and) the Cubs have been awesome to me. I’m kind of sad to go, but excited to start a new thing with the D-Backs.”

The Cubs viewed Campana as a one-dimensional player who became expendable once Scott Hairston signed his two-year, $5 million deal and needed a spot on the 40-man roster.

In exchange, the Cubs received Erick Leal and Jesus Castillo, two teenagers from Venezuela. The likely scenario is that Leal will come to the United States this year, while Castillo will spend another summer in the Dominican Republic.  

“We feel very good about getting two projectable arms for Tony,” general manager Jed Hoyer said. “Obviously, it’s difficult to lose Tony from the organization. He’s a great person, a fantastic base-stealer and a guy we really enjoyed getting to know. But, ultimately, you can only protect 40 guys on the roster. He got caught up in that roster crunch.”