COMMENTARY | In January of 2011, the Chicago Cubs made a significant trade for Tampa Bay Rays' pitcher Matt Garza. The idea at the time was that Garza would come in and help anchor the Cubs' starting rotation. Garza's durability was questioned even as the trade was in the works, but the consensus was that he was recovered from his injuries and was ready to be the ace so many people presumed he could be.
As is per usual for the Chicago Cubs, that hasn't happened. While Garza still shows signs of dominance and could still be either a mainstay in the rotation or trade bait in the next two months, the Cubs surrendered a lot to bring in Garza. Was it worth it? We won't know for years, but here is what it looks like so far. I'll let you decide.
Tampa Bay Rays Received:
Chris Archer - Starting PitcherArcher was one of the core parts to this deal. Thus far, he has seen little action at the major-league level. However, his most-recent start was glorious -- seven innings, one run, two hits -- and was by far his most significant contribution to the Rays. Archer remains only 24 years old and still looks to have a fairly high ceiling. The Cubs may have let a good one get away here.
Brandon Guyer - OutfieldGuyer has seen even less major-league action than Archer and hasn't produced either. In short stints with the Rays in 2011 and 2012, Guyer hit .188 (48 at-bats). He is putting up decent numbers in Triple-A here in 2013, though. He currently sports a line of .279 AVG, 5 HRs, 29 RBIs in 49 games -- quite a step up from the paltry numbers he's put up in the majors. His career numbers in the minors (.295 AVG) are solid, he just hasn't shown the ability make the jump to the majors. At only 27, he still has a little time.
Hak-Ju Lee - ShortstopLee was another core piece of this trade. At only 22, it isn't surprising that he hasn't been promoted to the majors yet. However, after tearing knee ligaments, Lee is likely out for the 2013 season. This is especially tough to swallow for the Rays because Lee was putting up stellar numbers through 15 games -- .422 AVG, 1 HR, 7 RBIs, 6 SB. His nineteen percent walk rate was also significant. It's unlikely Lee would have continued those types of numbers all season, but it was shaping up to be Lee's potential breakout season in the minors.
Sam Fuld - Outfield
Fuld had been a part of the Cubs' major-league roster when he was traded --bouncing back and forth between Triple-A in 2010. Other than his explosion out of the gate in the 2011 season that saw his average spike to .396 in mid-April, Fuld has done just about what he did with the Cubs -- just in an occasionally expanded role. He plays electric defense, steals bases, and carries below-average batting numbers (except for an above-average walk-to-strikeout ratio).
Robinson Chirinos - CatcherChirinos didn't play in Tampa very long. After splitting time between Triple-A and the majors in 2011, Chirinos missed the entire 2012 season because of an ill-timed concussion during his attempt to make the opening day roster. On April 7, 2013, he was traded to the Texas Rangers.
The Chicago Cubs Received:
Matt Garza - Starting Pitcher
Since arriving in Chicago before the 2011 season, Garza has only started in 53 games. His consistent injury trouble has helped disguise the fact that Garza has actually pitched fairly well for the Cubs. He has a 3.56 ERA and has only given up 294 hits in 324 innings. When Garza has pitched, he has been generally what the Cubs thought they were getting. However, when Garza has pitched has been few and far between after the 2011 season.
Fernando Perez - Outfield
The Cubs acquired Perez in January 2011 and he was released in July of the same year. The New York Mets signed him shortly after but was not re-signed by the team. He is currently playing for the Sugar Land Skeeters in the independent Atlantic League.
Zach Rosscup - Relief PitcherI don't see Rosscup play, so I can't say much about him beyond his numbers. But here in 2013, his numbers are spectacular. In 18 appearances he has a 1.14 ERA. He also has 37 strikeouts in 23-plus innings. He has had strong strikeout totals his entire minor league career (which started in 2009) and has had decent success at every level. He is currently in Double-A, so it remains to be seen what he can do at the upper levels, but so far so good.
Brian is a lifelong Chicago Cubs follower. Living in Illinois his entire life has given him a chance to closely follow and report Chicago sports as a freelance writer through Yahoo! Contributor and Yahoo! Sports. He is also a senior in college majoring in English and Creative Writing.
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