It should be noted, however, that the "four for five" alluded to in the title has nothing to do with how he did with this package. If it did, it would read "five for five" because Matt really knocked it out of the park here. Rather, since this padded mailer contained four (excellent) cards and I'm covering it on the same day as the Rule 5 draft. You'll see why these two things are related by the end of this post.
But first, allow me to show off my gifts - starting with something super, duper shiny!
Zeke DeVoss was a third round draft pick by the Cubs in 2011 out of high school - unfortunately for Ezekiel, he was the only one of the first four Chicago picks not to reach the Bigs. Javy Baez and Dan Vogelbach were selected before him and Tony Zych was called right after. Mr. DeVoss only made it as high as AA in 2014, where he batted a measly .120 and was given his walking papers.
Regardless of his play on the field, this is an absolutely beautiful card - blue chrome on a Cubs card AND a blue ink signature? I will take any and all of these BoChro's!
This is actually the second John Lackey framed parallel from this year's GQ set that I've received in a trade package - the first being a blue one from Marcus of This Way to the Clubhouse. Matt, for his part, is trying to get me the full rainbow!
These framed parallels look pretty spiffy, no matter the color; however, purple is my fiancee's favorite of the rainbow. Major bonus points there. It's also numbered /250 - so, that's pretty darn cool too.
Speaking of numbers, the rest of the cards from here on out are all serially numbered, including this 2016 Bowman parallel featuring '15 fourth-rounder D.J. Wilson. It purports to be a blue parallel, going by it's numbering to 150; however, in hand it looks more rainbow-ish. Either way - it's quite nice!
D.J. spent the 2016 campaign at shortstop for the short-season Eugene Emeralds, batting .257 with little power. Of course, it was also his first full season, so he's still adapting to the professional life. Here's hoping he can get himself back on track and make his way into my CATRC someday.
We wrap up with the second autograph in the package (hot dog!) on another Bowman Chrome insert, this one numbered to 499. This is a card that I was kind of nervous about, not gonna lie.
Well, it had nothing to do with the card itself - rather, it had everything to do with the fact that Corey Black was eligible for the Rule 5 Draft, which took place this morning. The live-armed reliever has been knocking on MLB's door for a little while now and I was convinced he'd be lost to a rebuilding team. False alarm though - Black remains property of the Cubs and, with the jumbling in the 2017 pen, I'd say there's still a good chance that I'll get to add this lovely autograph to my CATRC binder.
That said, while we're on the topic, I didn't get a card of him from Matt, but the Cubs did lose a different arm in Armando Rivero, to the Braves, in the Rule 5 proceedings:
Rivero has been on the cusp of a call-up for what seems like forever and it felt almost inevitable that someone would take a flyer on him. The 28-year old Cuban import posted a stellar 2.13 ERA in 43 games in his third go-round at AAA; it's kind of sh!t or get off the pot time for Rivero. He may very well end up back in Chicago if he doesn't stick with Atlanta, but I think he'll make a good back of pen presence. Good luck, Armando!
The Cubs didn't make a selection themselves in round 30 - instead, they traded Milwaukee for their 9th rounder, Caleb Smith, in what I assume was a pre-arranged deal.
The lefty comes from the Yankees organization, making seven starts and 20 relief appearances with a 3.96 ERA in AA. He'll compete for either a long relief or a LOOGY spot in the bullpen. Will he actually make the club? I'd say the odds are stacked against him and I'd put my money on the Cubs bringing in some more established arms before camp breaks. But, it's always good to have plenty of options. Depth is key.
I do not have a card of Smith, seeing as he's never appeared in a mainstream product, so I had to swipe this scan from Ebay. With that in mind, if any generous Yankee collectors have an extra Caleb laying around, I'd be happy to take it off your hands. Preparation is also key.
Caleb dealing with the Trenton Thunder, image courtesy of MiLB.com
Anyway, back to the trade package at hand, Matt truly put together a winner here - two autographs (of which, I don't have many) and three numbered cards, three of which were lovely, colorful parallels that look absolutely phenomenal in hand. I tip my cap to you, good sir! Furthermore, I'll make sure to volley some quality return fire in the near future, in thanks for your troubles.
This "four for five" was a perfect ten in my book.