It is finally over.
After months of speculation, the Chicago Cubs have traded pitcher Matt Garza to the Texas Rangers. Although many other teams were involved, the Rangers were the front-runners all along. Texas has had many injuries occur to their starting rotation this season and needed to deal for a starter before the July 31 trade deadline.
Garza has been fantastic this season, posting a 6-1 record to go along with his 3.17 ERA. As a Cubs fan, I am sad to see him leave. That being said, with Garza being a free agent at the end of the season, he simply did not fit into the future plans for the Cubs, who are in the middle of a rebuild. He was an obvious trade candidate and was the best arm on the market.
Last Friday, there were many reports that the Cubs and Rangers were very close to a Garza trade, but the deal fell through after medical charts were exchanged between the two teams. Interest in Garza picked up over the weekend from an array of teams, including the Oakland Athletics. With the AL West-leading A’s being involved, the Rangers felt it was necessary to up their offer to get their guy.
In exchange for Garza, the Cubs received third baseman Mike Olt, RHPs Justin Grimm and C.J. Edwards, along with potentially two players to be named later. I think the Cubs did very well in this deal.
Olt is the centerpiece of this trade. He is a power-hitting third baseman that was ranked as the 22nd best prospect in all of baseball by Baseball America at the beginning of the 2013 season. He is a solid defender at a premium position that did see some time in the big leagues last season.
He has struggled this year, hitting for a triple-slash line of .219/.318/.438, but still has 12 home runs in only 68 games. He has had some vision problems that are now reportedly fixed. Hopefully, The 24-year-old slugger can start hitting like he did before this season. He will probably never he a high-average hitter, but he is good defensively and has some serious pop in his bat.
Grimm is a nice addition to the deal for the Cubs. He was ranked the fifth-best prospect in the Rangers’ system by Baseball America before the season. Grimm has been pitching in the major leagues this year and has struggled with a 6.37 ERA.
Even with his big-league struggles, the 24-year old is still considered to be a potential fourth or fifth starter. His 2.81 ERA and 3.43 strikeouts per walk between Double-A and Triple-A in 2012 were definitely encouraging. It appears that both Olt and Grimm will start out in Triple-A for the Cubs and will likely see the big leagues by the end of the season.
Edwards has been dominant in the lower level of the minor leagues in his short time as a professional pitcher. He is a right hander with a mid-90s fastball and a very good curveball. In 2013, Edwards has a record of 8-2, a 1.83 ERA and an incredible 11.8 K/9 in 18 Low-A starts in the Rangers system.
Edwards has not allowed a home run in over 160 career minor league innings. While the Cubs will not see Edwards on the big league team any time soon, it is safe to say that the upside on him is huge. Edwards will begin his Cubs career in High-A and has the potential to be a no. 2 starter in the big leagues some day.
I think the Cubs did great in this trade. They added a premium bat and two legitimate starting pitching prospects. This trade makes an already-impressive minor league system even better.
The Cubs are doing a great job of stockpiling talent in the minor leagues. Obviously prospects are tricky and many never reach their potential, but with the sheer amount of the talent that the Cubs are acquiring, the future is starting to look very bright on the North Side.