Matt Garza to Texas: A Synopsis
In arguably the highest profile trade so far this season, Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Matt Garza was dealt to the Texas Rangers for a package of young prospects, including third baseman Mike Olt. As a Cubs enthusiast, I was very interested in this deal, and am quite pleased with the results.
On the surface, this trade appears to be a win for the Cubs, as the package obtained from the Rangers included the aforementioned Olt, in addition to right-handers Justin Grimm and C.J. Edwards, as well as potentially two players to be named later.
Olt is currently at AAA, and his stock has dropped some, but he is still highly regarded. His glove is considered major league ready, and the power potential is still in evidence.
Grimm has been part of the Rangers rotation for most of this season. He has struggled a bit, but the numbers may not be as ugly as they appear on the surface. Only 24, Grimm could benefit from a change of scenery, and could be a solid starter for years to come.
Edwards may be the true prize in this group. Only 21, he has been dominating in the low minors, and could navigate his way through the Cubs system relatively quickly. The players to be named later are intriguing, as it has been rumored that right-hander Neil Ramirez may be in the mix. He was mentioned in previous speculation, and would only add to the windfall. However, if Chicago does acquire Ramirez, it is believed they would not receive the second mystery player.
From the Rangers perspective, Garza is a quality addition in the short term. Texas is clearly in win now mode, and after two World Series losses in the past three years, they are willing to sacrifice part of their future for a ring this year. However, the playoffs are not a guarantee, and they did give up some quality talent in this exchange.
An important factor in this deal is the Rangers intentions toward Garza beyond this season. If Texas can work out an extension and lock him up long term, this trade will be more palatable for them. However, if Garza walks after the season, there would be even more pressure to win it all this year. Otherwise, these prospects were essentially unloaded for a 10-week rental.
For Chicago, this really does seem to be a solid deal. They were not going to extend Garza, so their options were limited. Garza had reached the apex of his trade value, and multiple teams were bidding on his services. The Cubs seem to have extracted maximum value for a pitcher who was very likely going elsewhere after the season.
In sharp contrast to Texas, the Cubs are in talent acquisition mode. The current priority is not necessarily winning now, but more about accumulating assets and building the farm system for a sustained run of success in the near future. Of course, there is always risk involved when trading a proven commodity for relative unknowns, but in this instance it was necessary.
As with all trades, they cannot be accurately judged in the short term, although this fact will not stop us from discussing them at length. Besides, idle speculation is fun.