Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Breaking down the Matt Garza deal

Monday, the Cubs made a huge trade by sending Matt Garza to the Texas Rangers.  In case you have been living under a rock, here are the details of the trade:

Rangers Receive
RHP Matt Garza

Cubs Receive
3B Mike Olt 
RHP CJ Edwards
RHP Justin Grimm
1 player to be named later from Group A or 2 players to be named later from groups B and C

On Friday, I projected that the Cubs would receive a package of Olt, Luke Jackson, and Neil Ramirez from the Rangers.  After a ton of news on Twitter, the trade looked to be done, but never happened.  The weekend was kind of stagnant, but on Monday, the two teams got the deal done.  It seems the Cubs actually did a bit better than what I predicted on Friday.  The cubs receive Olt along with Edwards, who will head to High A, and Grimm who has pitched with the big club this year, but will report to AAA.  The Cubs will then get a PTBNL, which will either be one player from group A (which is rumored to contain Neil Ramirez), or they will receive 2 PTBNL from groups B and C, which are lesser prospects.  Before I share my thoughts on the deal, let's look at what some of the experts thought about it.

As you can see, the general consensus is that the Cubs did really well here.  Let me break down the players that the Cubs got in return for Garza.

Third Baseman Mike Olt
Olt has been a highly regarded third baseman for the last couple years, but he has taken a step back this year.  Olt started the year in AAA, and really struggled, due in part to some eye issues.  He was having blurred vision and even said that when he blinked it felt like he was rubbing sandpaper on his eye.  During the vision problems, Olt's K rate was close to 40%, but since fixing the problem, it has dropped to 33%, which is still not good, but it's a good sign.  Olt has loads of power and is very good with the glove at the third.  You can expect to get a glimpse of Olt in Chicago probably sometime in late 2013.

Right Handed Pitcher CJ Edwards
Edwards is actually a really cool story.  He was drafted in the 48th round in 2011 and has quickly made a name for himself in A ball.  This year, Edwards has 122 strikeouts in only 93 and a third innings.  He has also only walked 34 batters, which is a great sign.  Edwards has a 1.83 ERA and his FIP is actually lower than that, sitting at 1.78.  One astonishing stat is that Edwards has yet to give up a home run in his just over 150 innings of pro ball.  Edwards is tall and very thin and his fastball sits in the low 90s and can rush up to the mid 90s.  He has a very good curveball and a decent changeup.  Edwards is a solid candidate to be a middle of the rotation starter, but his stuff could lead him the bullpen.  Edwards will get a promotion and head to high A Daytona.

Right Handed Pitcher Justin Grimm
Grimm will turn 25 in August and already comes with some big league experience.  In 17 starts with the Rangers this year, Grimm has a huge ERA at 6.37, but his FIP of 4.79 suggests that he has been better than that.  Grimm has a fastball that sits in the low 90s with a good curve and a developing changeup.  He projects to be a solid number 4 starter and due to some forearm issues of late, he will head to AAA to get some work before he possibly gets called up to the big league club later in the year.

Overall, the Cubs made out great here, especially if they can also land Neil Ramirez as a PTBNL.  While I will sorely miss Garza (He's one of my favorite Cubs), the Cubs got a return that will definitely help them in the future.  They didn't get the front line pitching prospect that they were looking for, but Mike Olt has been a highly regarded prospects no less than a year ago.  Garza should perform well for Texas down the stretch and for now, it looks like both teams made out great in this deal.  Texas gets to hold on to high end guys like Jorge Alfaro, Luke Jackson, and Luis Sardinas, while the Cubs get 3 and possible 4 quality guys in return for Garza.