Chicago Cubs: Texas Rangers
In July 2013, Daniels knew the Rangers needed some pitching help to bolster the rotation down the stretch, and he acquired Matt Garza from the Cubs, trading away four prospects. So what does Daniels think of that deal now?
To land Garza, Daniels dealt third baseman Mike Olt, right-handed pitcher C.J. Edwards, right-handed starter Justin Grimm and right-handed pitcher Neil Ramirez, who was the player to be named later.
As expected, Garza became a free agent after the season and signed with the Brewers.
Garza had pitched well in Chicago, and the Rangers were desperate for pitching help to make a push. But the same Garza never showed up in Texas. In 13 starts in a Rangers uniform, Garza was 4-5 with a 4.38 ERA in 84 1/3 innings, and Texas didn’t make the postseason, losing to the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 163, the one-game playoff to determine a wild-card postseason spot.
Olt is competing for the starting third-base job with the Cubs this spring. Edwards had a terrific 2013, split between the Rangers and Cubs, and continues to progress toward the big leagues. Add in Grimm and Ramirez, and the Cubs got a nice foursome of prospects for Garza.
That's why Daniels says it could haunt him.
The Cubs claimed Ramirez off waivers and then the clubs decided he would be the player to finish the deal that brought pitchers Justin Grimm and CJ Edwards to Chicago along with infielder Mike Olt.
Ramirez, 24, was 9-3 with a 3.84 ERA with Double-A Frisco this season. The Cubs assigned him to Double-A Tennessee.
The Rangers' need for a starter had become desperate, as their alternative to acquiring Garza was calling David Clyde to ask if he had anything left. Garza replaces Grimm in the rotation, which would be something on the order of a 4-5 win upgrade over the course of a full season (in terms of wins above replacement), and maybe as much as 2 WAR from now until the end of the season.
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The Cubs acquired Triple-A infielder Mike Olt, Class-A right-hander C.J. Edwards and right-hander Justin Grimm from the Rangers. The Cubs also will receive one or two players to be named later, depending on who is taken, as part of the deal.
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The Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays remain the front-runners for a trade with Chicago, according to industry sources. The Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians and San Francisco Giants have also expressed strong interest in the pitcher.
"He is extremely impressive," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "Tonight, he was missing by a half a ball, and there were huge pitches in the game that cost him [extra] pitches, too. His last five or six starts have been extremely impressive."
The Cubs will have a different schedule for Garza if he is not traded during the All-Star break. The plan is for him to be passed up next weekend when play resumes for Chicago against the Colorado Rockies in Denver. The way it stands now, Garza will have eight days between starts. His next scheduled outing will be in Phoenix on July 22 against the Arizona Diamondbacks. If for some reason he has not been traded by then, his last start before the non-waiver trading deadline passes will be in San Francisco on July 27.
"I know exactly what is going to happen," Garza said after his fifth straight quality start. "I am going to come in tomorrow and get my day-after workout. I am going to enjoy the All-Star break and see if I can catch that flight on Thursday or Friday to Denver."
On Friday, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein admitted that Garza's situation is still up in the air.
"He is throwing the ball extremely well, and he is very healthy," Epstein said. "There are teams out there looking for pitching that are going to call and try and acquire him. He is helping us win games right now, and there is a chance to possibly retain him beyond this year. We will just balance it all out and do what is best for the organization."
After his last start against the Chicago White Sox on July 8, Garza said negotiations for an extension were ongoing between the Cubs and his agent. Garza called the final outcome of his situation 50-50 as to whether he would be traded or sign an extension. Garza did not have much to add on the contract front after his Saturday start.
The game was originally scheduled for April 17 but was postponed due to weather. Tickets for that day are good for the make-up game on May 6.
The Cubs also announced the June 7 game against the Pittsburgh Pirates and the June 21 game against the Houston Astros will start at 1:20 p.m.
"That series -- the Cubs and Sox is special,” he said before Tuesday's game. “For that, the city turns it up a notch. Everyone here is either a Cub or Sox fan. You are on one side or another, you can’t walk down the middle. It was always fun to come here, it was always fun to play on the other side of town. It was a special series.”
Pierzynski had some big games against the Cubs in the past. That included a game-winning home run off of Ryan Dempster and a fistfight with Cubs catcher Michael Barrett after a home-plate collision.
“It was always very special when you were on the White Sox side coming here," he said. “That was especially true when I first got here because the Cubs were really good. When both of us were really good, it was really fun to play these games. Everyone expected something special to happen, and most of the time it involved something that I had to do. People were just waiting for something to happen.”
The Cubs fans always seemed to save their loudest jeers for Pierzynski when he played for the crosstown Sox. “It was always great and always very fun,” he said. “The fans here have always been great to me. Yeah, they boo, they yell and stuff, but they never cross the line here. They were always very cordial and fun. I expect nothing less.”
With lefty Derek Holland starting for the Rangers, Sveum will start Dave Sappelt in center field and Scott Hairston in right. That means .343 hitter Nate Schierholtz starts on the bench. He leads the team with an-on base percentage of .410.
Second baseman Darwin Barney makes his season debut coming off a knee injury, and Alberto Gonzalez starts at third base. Here's the entire lineup:
1. Sappelt, CF
2. Starlin Castro, SS
3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
4. Alfonso Soriano, LF
5. Hairston, RF
6. Welington Castillo, C
7. Barney, 2B
8. Gonzalez, 3B
9. Travis Wood, P
Sveum hasn't budged from his pledge to load up on right-handed hitters when a lefty is on the mound, though that kind of lineup is 0-3 this season with the starting nine producing just one run. They have a batting average of .208 against lefties so far with an on-base percentage of .292.
Players from both teams will wear No. 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson. Major League Baseball celebrated "Jackie Robinson Day" on Monday but both teams were off.
Beliveau, 25, was recently dropped from the Cubs' 40-man roster and designated for assignment to make room for the return of third baseman Ian Stewart. Beliveau appeared in 22 games in 2012 going 1-0 with a 4.58 ERA.
The San Francisco Giants claimed right-handed picther Sandy Rosario off waivers as well. The Cubs had claimed Roasrio off the waiver wire earlier this month.
The Cubs hoped to get back at least three upper-level prospects that they could project in 2014 and beyond. Toronto had at least three pitchers at Single-A Lansing that the Cubs like and scouted on several times.
“A healthy Matt Garza would have been a very sought-after player at this deadline,” Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said Wednesday. “You never want to see your guys get hurt, but the timing was bad because we did not get a chance to fully explore that opportunity.”
The Cubs tried earlier this year to sign Garza to a long-term contract without getting close to an agreement. Garza is seeking a contract in the neighborhood of a five-year, $90 million deal, according to industry sources. Garza has one more year under team control until possible free agency in 2014.
The Rangers and Blue Jays had scouts watching Garza’s side session on Monday and were not impressed, according to major league sources.
“When buying teams’ last data point is seeing a guy walk off a mound holding his elbow, it is not the type of thing they want to act upon,” Epstein said.
The Cubs may now decide to wait until the offseason to take offers for Garza since making waiver deals this time of year is tricky at best in getting maximum talent in return for top players.
“We just did not get the opportunity to fully explore the market for him,” Epstein said. “I am not saying we would have traded him.”
Manager Dale Sveum is targeting Garza to return to the rotation on Tuesday against the San Diego Padres.
With the 3 p.m. CT deadline approaching, Dempster may be the wild card because of his 10-5 veto rights.
As it stands, the Dodgers' offers for Dempster and Alfonso Soriano changed after L.A. picked up Shane Victorino from the Phillies late Monday night. The Dodgers no longer need Soriano.
The prospects the Cubs have been hoping to get from L.A. have not materialized. The Cubs may ask Dempster to name other teams at the last moment in order to get a deal done.
Texas and the New York Yankees are lurking in the background for the 35-year-old pitcher.
The Garza derby now appears to be centered around three teams: the Rangers, Blue Jays and Reds. The fact that he has a minor injury -- fluid in his right triceps -- will not put the Cubs in a defensive mode as they are asking for top prospects or they will keep the 28-year-old pitcher.
Toronto appears to be the most aggressive team, but Texas loves the upside of the power pitcher. Texas refuses to part with power hitting third baseman Mike Olt who is the top position prospect in the organization, sources said. Toronto has three young power pitchers at Single-A Lansing who the Cubs love and have scouted extensively, according to sources.
Soto, 29, is hitting .195 with six homers and 14 RBIs in 51 games this season.
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CHICAGO -- Like his teammate Ryan Dempster, Chicago Cubs starter Matt Garza saved his best outing since April for some of baseball’s top talent evaluators to watch during Sunday’s 3-1 win over Arizona.
The Cubs have talented starting pitching to trade, and Garza, who can be had for the right group of prospects, certainly increased his value by throwing seven shutout innings against the Diamondbacks. The New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates all had scouts watching the righty.
What intrigues some teams about Garza is that he is under contract control through 2013. (Dempster, the team’s other frontline starter, is a free agent after 2012.) The Cubs are looking for young pitching in return for Garza and would love a third baseman they can develop for the future as well.
That’s not to say clubs aren’t going to voice concerns about Garza, who is on the trading block for, essentially, the third time in five years. In addition to that, Garza has had some major issues fielding from the pitchers’ mound.
Garza seems unfazed by the fact he has been the subject of trade talks.
“We can’t control that,” said Garza. “All that we can control is what we do between the lines and how we prepare. I have a wife that is due in 22 days, so the rumor mill can wait. That is the last thing on my mind, I got a wife who is ready to pop, so I really don’t care about where I am going to be because when she calls, I will be right their next to her.”
According to multiple major league sources, the Tigers have asked about both Garza and Dempster as well as second baseman Darwin Barney. Detroit’s interest in Barney began over a month ago.
“Being a Cub since I was drafted, you don’t want to hear those things,” Barney said. “It is nice to know people are interested, but I want to be here. Whatever happens, happens. It is a business and that is the way it works. You don’t look too deep into it until something happens and then you go from there.”
Garza is no shoe-in to be moved. He has one year of arbitration left before his free agency kicks in, and the Cubs have shown interest in exploring the possibility of keeping Garza in Chicago long term. The price will be steep, however. He will be seeking a long-term deal that most likely would have to average between $15-17 million a year.
“I said it before, and I will say it again, I love it here,” Garza said. “The kids love it here, so I am open to it. Like I said before, it is not my choice if stuff happens, so I will just get ready for the next (start).”