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.
watching heyward attempt to hit a fastball is alarming. he's doing bad things with stuff he should be nailing...weak popups, grounders, late swing fouls...
it's going to be next to impossible to do worse than this season, but hopefully he can at least hit a fastball with authority next year.
He's an incredible defender, base-runner and takes great AB's. A .265 BABIP is highly likely to improve next year. That being said, his power numbers are down too which is certainly concerning so I'd certainly hedge my bets with him next year, but it would be surprising if this is his new normal.
I have no deep level of expertise or analysis here, but I still like Jason Heyward. I truly wish his bat was better, but I love the defense and the feel-good nature of his signing. I might be naive, but I think his offense will improve. I'm glad he's here, and I hope he doesn't make me regret saying that!
Pay the man his money...(MVP Talk)
Kris Bryant is going to own the Cubs himself in 6 years :)
Without doing any actual research because this is the Internets, I have a feeling Bryant will break every arbitration record there ever was unless TheJedi can literally use the Force to convince him and Boras to sign a multi-year deal.
Hammel was supposed to pitch Friday, Cubs said it'll be a bullpen day instead.
Tis either a valid excuse for Hammel's recent struggles or a PR game when they try to trade him this offseason. Or possibly both
#Cubs say Jason Hammel has been pitching through elbow tightness and could have started if the team was still playing meaningful games.
Finally made it to Pittsburgh, 6 hour drive can't wait to see the game ....WTF?!?!?
Being young does have its advantages. Not that it helps Addison Russell last season.
Keith Law chat
"Nick: Speaking of players you were wrong about, do you still like the Jason Heyward contract?
Klaw: Yes, actually."
I gives player a year to get acquainted w whole Cub thing,next year will be more telling.Love the d though.
Saw Tito's comment in the last thread. Thought it was a joke.
Bubble wrap the Cubs
that's not important.
the important thing is the cubs seem to have a new defensive whizz at 2nd base according to the stats...sample size warning and all that...but i have faith in him.
imagine him having to do this 20 times a season. 6.2 innings played, 20 assists, DEFENSE GOLD!
That little switcheroo with Zobrist and Rizzo cost me 2 points in the predictions game--damn it.
We'll always have 1985. Nothing else, but we'll always have that.
Nationals 2B Daniel Murphy likely to miss rest of regular season
RVIMPENY: It's raining today so the Cubs will probably play intrasquad game(s) tomorrow and/or Saturday, but it's pretty much a day-to-day proposition, and a lot of times it's decided at the last minute.
Best bet is to check in at Riverview in the morning and ask somebody what's going on that day.