In the days leading up to the trade deadline there was a lot of talk concerning Matt Garza. Had he not gone down with a right triceps injury a couple of weeks prior, he would have almost certainly been traded. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have both said that Garza's injury definitely impacted his trade value and other teams' interest. However, all the reports that have circulated about Garza since the injury indicated that he was fine. He had a highly successful bullpen session and was fully expecting to pitch on Tuesday for the Cubs in San Diego.
Now, after Garza was diagnosed with a stress reaction in his right elbow, it appears he might miss the remainder of the season. While part of that might just be precaution (seeing as the Cubs are about 600 games out of first place), it's a far cry from being ready to pitch Tuesday night. As a Cubs fan, I hope Garza is able to make a full recovery and will be a major contributor in the years to come for the Cubs, but I'm just thinking about the "What if" scenarios. What if Garza had been traded (since everything appeared to be fine)? I would imagine Mr. Epstein would be fielding some less-than-polite phone calls and probably dealing with some major amounts of hate mail.
The one beneficial aspect of Garza being out is that the Cubs will get another good look at a young pitcher. This time it's Brooks Raley. He will serve as the 14th rookie to play for the Cubs this season --if that doesn't scream "rebuilding year," I don't know what does. Raley's numbers have been pretty strong of late while being named the organization's Pitcher of the Month for July --2.12 ERA over 29-plus innings, 12 walks and 28 strikeouts. We'll see if he can continue to have at least some success at the major league level. Manager Dale Sveum says that Raley is "a lot like Travis Wood with a breaking ball a work in progress." Great, Wood is 4-8 with a 4.77 ERA. I would specifically hope the guy isn't like Travis Wood.
The next two months will reveal a lot of the Cubs' talents (or lack thereof) hiding in the minors. I'm hoping there's more diamond than rough, but I'm not holding my breath.
Brian is a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan, having lived in Illinois his entire life and having followed Major League Baseball throughout.