Cubs send Matt Garza to Texas

The first major domino of the 2013 Trade Deadline has fallen. The Cubs shipped Matt Garza down to Texas in exchange for 3B Mike Olt, RHP Justin Grimm, RHP C.J. Edwards and 2 players to be named later. Olt and Grimm will report to AAA Iowa and High A Daytona.

First, let’s look at Garza and how he’s pitched against teams in the AL West. Over his career, Garza has made a total of 25 starts and logged 154.1 innings against teams in the AL West. Over that span, he has a 4.26 ERA and a 1.399 WHIP. His strikeout percentage against AL West teams is 17.92% which is 2 percentage points below his career mark of 20%. His AL West 7.98% walk percentage is right in line with his career 8% rate. Another percentage stat worth noting, especially in the historically home run friendly Ballpark in Arlington, his HR% against AL West teams is 3.16% while his career rate is 2.7%.

I’m not saying that he will not be successful pitching for the Rangers, but if you got excited that he was moving to a much better ballclub, you need to remember the environment in which he’ll be pitching. It’s July 22 and the home run hitting climate in North Texas is already on, and will only get more friendly to the long ball. I’m fairly certain that Garza will fare better than former Cubs trading chip Ryan Dempster did last season after the Cubs sent him to the Rangers in a trade deadline deal. In 12 starts, he popped a 5.09 ERA and a 1.435 WHIP. He did manage 7 wins and about a strikeout per inning over that stretch, but even that can’t really make up for the rough ratios.

My recommendation for Garza is to sell if he posts a strong outing. He’s pitching better than he ever has before and chances are that his skills won’t play as well in Texas as they have in Chicago.

I would venture to bet that Matt Garza is owned in your league. The guys who are headed to the Cubs are most likely not owned in your league. If you’re in a dynasty league or a league with minor league rosters, Mike Olt is owned, or he should be. He’s a plus defender who has plus power potential. The question with him is about his hit tool. Will it play at the highest level? He spent 16 games with the Rangers in 2012 and only managed a .152/.250/.182 slash line with no home runs. Not a great showing. He’s had some vision problems this season, and has posted a .756 OPS in 68 games (spread over AA and AAA). He will probably see some time in the big leagues this season and the Cubs will be able to see how his offense has progressed.

Grimm, and Edwards are likely not owned. Should they be? I don’t think so. Justin Grimm is a warm body. He’s shown flashes of competence this season and will likely spend time in the Cubs rotation this season, but he will┬álikely end up in the bullpen. Of course, the Cubs have shown the ability to turn middling starters into valuable assets (see Travis Wood, Scott Feldman and Paul Maholm).

C.J. Edwards is a good prospect, and he has the chance to move quickly in a pitching poor Cubs system. It would be a touch early to jump on him in anything but a deep dynasty league with a lot of room on your minor league roster. He does have some appeal because he’s a strikeout machine, posting a K% of 32% at High A Hickory. He’s maintained his ability to miss bats at every level he’s been at, so it will be interesting to watch him eventually make the jump to AA and see if he can handle that jump.

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