Matt Garza, Texas Ranger
Rumors be the Cubs were just waiting to see if the news on Clay Bucholz turned for the worst in a hope to get the Red Sox heavily involved. That didn't happen and now Garza is headed to Texas, a team he had nearly joined two other times (before being initially traded to Cubs and last trade deadline).
This is what we know..the Cubs are getting 3b Mike Olt and SP C.J. Edwards. They are also getting a third player that will be a pitcher and if you believe Jeff Passan's tweet, a fourth "player-to-be named later" is also part of the deal. Jeff Wilson of the Ft. Worth Star Telegram name dropped reliever Joe Ortiz at one point, but that yet to be confirmed. As we've learned many times over the last few seasons, nothing is for certain until there's hugging in the dugout.
Olt was the #22 prospect in all of baseball heading into the season according to Baseball America (Sickels gave him an A- grade, the same as Baez), but had a rough go of it in 2013. Many of his troubles were said to be rooted in a vision problem and he has hit a little better since returning from a lengthy disabled list visit, but still not quite as well as expected or hoped. Obviously the Cubs are banking on him hitting again, but he's also a skilled defender at the hot corner. In a bit of serendipity, Olt was selected by the Rangers with the compensation pick they received when Jim Hendry signed Marlon Byrd.
Edwards was a 48th round pick of the Rangers in 2011 out of high school in South Carolina. He's struck out over 11 per 9 with a walk rate around 3 over the course of 3 shortened minor league seasons. He's now with their A affiliate in the South Atlantic League (Kane County equivalent) and is playing his age 21 season. He's starting right now and features a mid 90's fastball with a "plus curve".
UPDATE #1: Passan says the third player is Justin Grimm and a 4th player will be added later. Grimm's no world beater, but he's 24 and with major league experience. A strikeout pitcher he is not, but Sickels had him at #5 on his top 20 preseason Rangers list.
Stuff has never been the issue: Grimm's fastball can hit 96 MPH and averages 92. Scouts also like his curveball, rating it a plus pitch, and his changeup, while still inconsistent, is much better than it used to be. He is very athletic, an attribute which should help him stay healthy, especially with his improved mechanics.
Grimm's three-pitch mix and ability to throw strikes could make him a nice number three starter. He could also thrive in a relief role if the Rangers choose to go that route. I had him as a Grade B- pre-season and that still seems reasonable, with some chance for a straight B.
UPDATE #2: Olt, Edwards, Grimm and a PTBNL for 2 months of Garza whom the Cubs could resign if they really wanted to next offseason. Hard not to like the deal. If you wish to extrapolate it even further, Cubs moved Chris Archer, Hak-Ju Lee, Sam Fuld, Brandon Guyer, Robinson Chirinos for just over 2 years worth of Garza starts, Fernando Perez, Zach Rosscup, Olt, Edwards, Grimm and a PTBNL. Hard to say if the Cubs are losing on the deal, they'd certainly like a pitcher with Archer's capabilities and service time around right now and Lee still could be a decent regular, but it does appear that it's close to a zero-sum movement at this point...other than the last 3 seasons, but they were lost anyway.
UPDATE #3: Wittenmyer tweeted that RHP Neil Ramirez is among the pool of players that the Cubs could choose as the player to be named later. The deal gets even better. I suppose Joe Ortiz may be one of those players as well, along with others.
UPDATE #4: it's actually 2 players to be named later coming the Cubs way.
#Cubs today acquired INF Mike Olt, RHP Justin Grimm, RHP C.J. Edwards and two players to be named from the Texas Rangers for RHP Matt Garza.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 22, 2013
UPDATE #5: According to the Rangers GM, the numbers of PTBNL's headed to the Cubs depends on whom the Cubs choose...could be one, could be two.
UPDATE #6: Slight modification to the PTBNL deal according to Wittenmyer, Cubs either choose Neil Ramirez or they choose 2 pitchers from an agreed upon pool of players.
Jake Arrieta gives up first inning run
For the first time in a year, 33 starts.
Old news, sorry if it's 3/44-
J-Hey being classy by repaying an old teammate:
With Paredes moving to 3B, how do you see playing time shaking out between him and Galindo? Do you think Galindo gets starts at 1B? Galindo is more of a prospect than Paniagua, right?
Phil, your knowledge of the Cubs Minor League system is unbelievable.
This kid would be a key piece in a trade for a pitcher, imo.
This might be old news but Hammel was on ESPN 1000 and said that he changed his diet and workout routine over the off season and tweaked his delivery so it'd be more repeatable so he'd have a better second half. So...some cause for optimism anyway.
CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now.
LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.
RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.
AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).
I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):
* bats or throws left
# bats both
Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.
Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)
E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.
Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.
More on the Cub Way.
Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.
Send Soler down!
Awesome thanks AZ
Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.
Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!