Matt Garza has been the subject of trade speculation for months, so nobody can claim to have been blindsided by Monday's news: Garza has finally been dealt to the Rangers in exchange for a package of prospects.
Chicago will receive Triple-A third baseman Mike Olt, starter Justin Grimm, Single-A right-hander C.J. Edwards, plus a player to be named later. Yahoo!'s Jeff Passan and Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal were all over this deal on Monday, and various others have doggedly tracked this thing through the rumor stage.
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Without question, Garza is a nice boost for a Texas rotation swimming in injuries. The Rangers have been forced to rely on Grimm and Josh Lindblom for a combined 22 starts this season, yet they still only trail the division-leading A's by three games. We don't have the usual N.L.-to-A.L. fears with Garza, because he's already been a successful starter in the junior circuit over multiple seasons. He gave us three useful fantasy campaigns with the Rays not so long ago...
2008 – 30 GS, 184.2 IP, 128 Ks, 3.70 ERA, 1.24 WHIP
2009 – 32 GS, 203.0 IP, 189 Ks, 3.95 ERA, 1.26 WHIP
2010 – 32 GS, 204.2 IP, 150 Ks, 3.91 ERA, 1.25 WHIP
...and, at age 29, he's pitching as well as ever.
Obviously Texas in mid-summer isn't the friendliest environment, but Garza has won his last five starts for the Cubs (no small achievement), and he hasn't allowed more than two earned runs in any game since June 11. It seems reasonable to expect good-not-great ratios the rest of the way from Garza — think 3.90 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 7.3 K/9 — and a decent win total. Go chase him, A.L.-only owners. It may not get much better than this at the deadline.
Chicago received a respectable prospect haul, as the team dealt two-and-a-half months of Garza for a handful of notable maybes. Olt, 24, is perhaps the most familiar name in fantasy circles, because he made a cameo appearance in the big leagues last season. He entered 2013 ranked by Baseball America as the game's No. 22 overall prospect, second only to Jurickson Profar in Texas' system. However, after having a terrific year in the Texas League in 2012 (28 HR, .288/.398/.579), Olt has struggled at Triple-A Round Rock. He's hitting just .213/.317/.422 with 11 homers and 89 Ks, although his difficulties can be partially attributed to an eye disorder for which he's received treatment.
Olt has also been taking tips from Manny Ramirez, and he's homered in three of his last five games. The kid remains a legit prospect at a talent-scarce roster spot. If he puts together a few solid weeks, we'll see him in a Cubs uniform this season. Consider him a lottery ticket in the power cat's, certainly worth a bid in N.L.-only.
Edwards, 21, is having a phenomenal year in the Sally League — 8-2, 1.83 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 122 Ks in 93.1 IP — and he hasn't allowed a home run in any of his 18 starts, an impressive feat at any level. And apparently he has giant hands, if you're into that sort of thing. Grimm has been lit up in the majors this season (6.37 ERA, 1.65 WHIP), and Triple-A hasn't been a picnic for him, either (career 4.29 ERA, 1.32 WHIP). His ceiling is probably No. 3 or 4 starter. Classic Cub, basically.
No need to declare a winner or loser in this deal, as it seems like a reasonable move on both sides. Texas upgraded its big league rotation, with the division flag within reach. Chicago enhanced an already well-stocked farm system (Baez, Almora, Soler, Bryant, et al). Well done, by both teams — a model for our future fantasy dealings.
You may now return to your Ryan Braun freakout, already in progress...
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