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Cubs make out well in trading Matt Garza to Rangers

Jul 22, 2013, 6:54 PM EDT

Matt Garza AP

The new rules that took effect last year made trading quality free-agents-to-be to be trickier than ever. That’s because the deal itself makes a supplemental first-round pick just disappear into the ether. The acquiring team is forced to offer extra compensation for something it’s not going to get back in return, while the seller knows it will get something in return if things fall through.

The Cubs, though, had too much to gain to let Matt Garza walk away for only a draft pick this winter. Since there’s been little hint of Cliff Lee or Chris Sale being available, Garza was clearly the top pitcher up for grabs in trade talks at the moment. The Rangers had to stay ahead of the A’s, Dodgers and others in trade talks.

In the end, the Rangers pulled off the deal without having to part with Jurickson Profar. Surrendered instead were three prospects ranked second (Mike Olt), fifth (Justin Grimm) and 14th (C.J. Edwards) in their system by Baseball America at the beginning of the season, plus two players to be named.

Olt, 24, was always the obvious piece to be included in a Rangers-Cubs trade. Texas, of course, has Adrian Beltre at third base, while the Cubs never have anyone there. Luis Valbuena is their current stopgap. Olt could have been a long-term answer at first or in an outfield spot for Texas, but he projects best at the hot corner. A disappointment earlier this year after battling vision problems, he was hitting .213/.317/.422 with 11 homers in 230 at-bats for Triple-A Round Rock. Throw out his April and that improves to .253/.352/.524 in 170 at-bats. Last year, he came in at .288/.398/.579 with 28 homers in Double-A. If he remains hot in Triple-A, the Cubs will likely give him a shot to replace Valbuena next month.

Grimm, a 24-year-old right-hander, had spent most of the season in the Texas rotation, going 7-7 with a 6.37 ERA. That he’s allowed 15 homers in 89 innings has taken quite a toll, but his 68/31 K/BB ratio is pretty good and the jump to the NL should help. He has the solid three-pitch arsenal to be a No. 3 starter going forward. He should step right into the Cubs’ rotation in Garza’s place.

Edwards, a 48th-round find for the Rangers in 2011, had seen his stock jump this year after an 8-2 start with low Single-A Hickory. The 21-year-old has a 1.83 ERA and a 122/34 K/BB ratio in 93 1/3 innings. In a Cubs system much stronger offensively than from the mound, he may well rate as the team’s top pitching prospect.

Even without factoring in the PTBNs, that’s an ample return for a guy who was going to make about 12 more starts as a Cub. They don’t get a sure star in the bunch, but Olt and Grimm are both nice assets and Edwards brings a lot of upside to the table. The Rangers can get away with it since they have a star locked up at Olt’s position, but it still hurts a bit to bleed that much talent for a guy who could depart this winter.

  1. flamethrower101 - Jul 22, 2013 at 6:57 PM

    Good for the Rangers! That’s two years now they’ve gone and gotten a great, top-of-the-rotation pitcher who can whether the storm of Arlington Park.

    Oh wait…last year they got Ryan Dempster. Never mind.

  2. tbutler704 - Jul 22, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    Theo Epstein is on steroids.

  3. wpjohnson - Jul 22, 2013 at 7:01 PM

    “Cubs make out well in trading Garza to Rangers”. Well, that has to be the understatement of the year. Olt, Grimm, Edwards, and another player for a two month rental of Garza? A starting third baseman, two possible additions to your rotation, and another player for two months of a middle of the rotation starter who tends to be injury prone?

    Yep. I’d say the Cubs pulled the heist of the season. Poor dumb Rangers.

    • rpb1234 - Jul 22, 2013 at 7:21 PM

      If the Garza helps the Rangers win the WS, it is a win for the Rangers as well. They are rightfully focused on winning a championship.

    • bendover09 - Jul 22, 2013 at 7:38 PM

      Okay, let me break this down … Olt at best is a .280 hitter in the minors. Average third basemen at fielding. Dealing with injuries at age 24. Hmm, okay. Let’s look at Edwards , he is 21 and throwing well in Low Class A, not too bad. But, this article fails to say that Edwards has been battling arm & shoulder problems. You say he can heal ? Okay okay, but not good when a curveball pitcher is already going through problems. Now you have Justin “2face” Grimm , I don’t even know where to begin with this guy … Good luck ! … Let’s talk about the Rangers.. they picked up a solid #3-5 pitcher with playoff experience ( actually held rangers to 1 run ) but let’s shh shh about that. Garza had a injury not injury prone, difference. Yes he is a rental but the Cubs in all honestly did not even come close to the thick part of the Rangers farm system.

      • wpjohnson - Jul 22, 2013 at 10:41 PM

        I guess we can conclude that bendover09 is actually Jon Daniels. Surely, there is no knowledgeable baseball fan who would make such homer-based conclusions.

        Thank you, Jon. However, history will prove you wrong.

  4. wpjohnson - Jul 22, 2013 at 7:07 PM

    Does this article imply that the Rangers did well under the circumstances because they didn’t have to trade Profar? That is like a player going 0-20 and being complimented because he only struck out 19 times.

    Garza should be another Dempster. When you trade multiple top prospects, you should get a Peavy or a Shields. Not a dud like Garza.

    At least Olt will now get a real chance to play and the Rangers will most likely be able to begin their winter break in very early October.

    • bigmeechy74 - Jul 22, 2013 at 7:29 PM

      Wow. What a moronic comment.

      • wpjohnson - Jul 23, 2013 at 10:59 AM

        I suspect that your opinion will mature when you finish elementary school.

      • bigmeechy74 - Jul 23, 2013 at 1:18 PM

        good one

    • eightyraw - Jul 22, 2013 at 8:00 PM

      1. “Multiple top prospects” – Rangers didn’t give up a single impact talent. Mike Olt is about to turn 25. Grimm and Edwards have back-of-the-rotation ceilings. These are useful pieces, but the Cubs getting four players in return should point to the fact that the Rangers kept their most valuable prospects

      2. “A Peavy or a Shields. Not a dud like Garza.” – Only one of those pitchers has posted a sub-100 ERA- every season from 2007 to present.

      • wpjohnson - Jul 22, 2013 at 10:42 PM

        Well, eightyraw, we shall see, won’t we?

      • eightyraw - Jul 23, 2013 at 12:23 AM

        We shall see? I’m not talking about the future. I am offering up corrections to your misinformation on the present.

  5. uscg674 - Jul 22, 2013 at 7:23 PM

    Low A is Hickory currently. It was formerly Clinton.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Jul 22, 2013 at 8:44 PM

      Whoops. Thanks!

  6. eightyraw - Jul 22, 2013 at 7:50 PM

    Grimm should absolutely not step into the Cubs rotation. He needs to be back on the minors refining his secondary pitches. That is what the Rangers ideally would’ve done with him this season if it weren’t for the injuries (despite being the 7th best SP option, he started 17 games).

  7. mophatici - Jul 22, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    considering who the cubs gave up to get garza in the first place, they probably won’t recover their losses. Chris archer and hak-ju lee are both better than any piece of this trade.

  8. sdelmonte - Jul 22, 2013 at 8:00 PM

    So what other parts will Theo sell off, how quickly, and how well? This could be the start of the Cubs’ rebirth.

  9. royalintx - Jul 22, 2013 at 8:10 PM

    I am stunned by everyone claiming the Rangers got fleeced.
    Have any of you seen a Mike Olt AB?
    Cubs will give him 1500 abs and he will be off to coach at a high school somewhere.

    Rangers have given up nothing here but a couple of lottery tickets.

  10. donkeydrew - Jul 22, 2013 at 8:57 PM

    Edwards ceiling is not back of the rotation, not close. low floor, no doubt, but still an ignorant comment

    • eightyraw - Jul 22, 2013 at 9:21 PM

      Multiple credible prospect mavens (see Jason Parks) rate his ceiling as a no.4 starter. How is my comment ignorant?

      • wpjohnson - Jul 22, 2013 at 10:44 PM

        Are you saying he is about the same level as Garza?

      • eightyraw - Jul 23, 2013 at 12:26 AM

        How dense are you? Garza has been a mid-rotation starter for 5+ years now. Edwards probably has less than 5% chance of ever achieving Garza’s level. Surely you understand how ceilings work.

  11. boyofzimmer - Jul 22, 2013 at 9:03 PM

    No doubt Archer would be better, but that trade was made under different circumstances; Tribune company was owner and Hendry was GM. This is a whole new era with Ricketts as owner and Epstein & Hoyer captaining the ship. The golden age is coming and it will be glorious!

  12. tashkalucy - Jul 22, 2013 at 11:29 PM

    – Sigh –

    On December for the better part of a week I read the insightful leader of this meeting room in his parents basement just pounding on Jon Daniels for not beating a 5 year offer to Josh Hamilton for $125M. Tonight Daniels added a starting pitcher for the stretch run and he still has plenty of money left……and isn’t burdened with one of the worst contracts in MLB for another 4-plus years.

    And when I said in December that Daniels was leaving powder dry that he would use near the trading deadline, I was burned on here by some more kids.

    Am working on starting a national sports blog for real MLB fans that don’t twist things around to discuss non-issues….but rather enjoy the sport and celebrate the players that play it cleanly and correctly.

    Class wins out. And National Enquirer writings show themselves fairly easily…..not that they don’t have readers.

  13. reeggss - Jul 23, 2013 at 10:30 AM

    Well put royal, this season was mike olt’s last chance, time for Texas to move on. Not like they don’t have a stud at the corner. Hopefully for the cubs this turns into a Chris Davis story and not a Justin Smoak story.

  14. artisan3m - Jul 23, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    The Rangers need experienced pitching in the rotation. There is no assurance that Ogando, Harrison, or Lewis will return from DL in top form. Garza brings that experience and if he has a good second half in Texas, they will try to keep him in the stable. Olt has always been trade bait and the team suffered no loss in trading Grimm or Edwards. But at the rate the Rangers are scoring right now, whoever gets the start will have to throw a no-hitter because he will get no bat support. All is not well in ‘Nolanville’ at the moment.

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