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.
My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.
Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.
Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.
How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?
Call me lost.
Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.
I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:
Carl Crawford $20MM
Brandon McCarthy $17MM
Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
Darwin B $2.2MM
Dan Haren $10MM
Matt Kemp $18MM
Brian Wilson $10MM
Ryan Webb $2.2MM
Dee Gordon $2.5MM
So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.
And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):
i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.
there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.
I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.
O & B: I like the one-game Wild Card heart attack game, but I'd actually like to see a best two-out-of-three LDS played in the home parks of the two division winners with the best records, and then the LCS as a best two-out-of-three in the home park of the division winner left standing with the best record, and then let's get to the World Series already.
I...don't know. If chanting would help the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the next series or ultimately the World Series I think I'd be ok with it lol. I'm not supportive of saying insulting things to opposing fans or throwing things but loud noise and chanting seems appropriate to me.
I also grew up in France though and that kind of thing is par for the course at soccer and rugby matches and I love it. I find crowds too passive here.
Enjoyable read on David Ross.
Er, they won the first one. My bad. Carry on.
With last night's win in Pittsburgh, the Cubs have tied the Pirates with 98 wins, and are only 2-1/2 games behind the Cardinals. No reason why the Cubs can't finish the post-season with the best winning percentage in baseball (regular season & post-season combined).
BOB: I doubt very much that Matt Szczur will be on the Cubs LDS roster.
If he wasn't on the Wild Card roster (when the Cubs went with 15 position players), he won't be on the LDS roster (when the Cubs will go with 13 or 14 position players).
As it is, at least one of the three RH hitting outfielders who were on the Cubs WC roster (Denorfia, Jackson, and Soler) could get bumped off the LDS roster (probably Soler).
I want my baseball team to win by playing better baseball. I don't want umps, fields, or fans to have anything to do with it.