Garza trade to Cubs also helps Hellickson
After months of speculation, the Tampa Bay Rays traded Matt Garza to the Chicago Cubs on Friday for a slew of prospects that, frankly, fantasy baseball owners don't need to worry about for 2011 (although colleague Jason Grey will discuss further below). Garza is a statistical winner in this deal, a power right-hander who should lower his WHIP and add to his strikeout rate simply by moving to the National League Central, where there's a heavy dose of Pittsburgh Pirates and Houston Astros instead of New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.
However, the bigger winner here is Jeremy Hellickson, the young Rays right-hander who should earn a rotation spot, joining David Price, James Shields, Wade Davis and Jeff Niemann, with Jake McGee waiting in the wings. Although tempted, I can't say I would choose Hellickson over Garza in a 2011 single-year draft yet -- Garza's stock rises, too -- or in a keeper league, because we still need to see Hellickson actually perform for a full major league season. But this is an elite prospect, now 23, one who might have been the Rays' No. 3 starter last season if they had chosen to let him.
For more of Eric's thoughts on the deal that helps Matt Garza and Jeremy Hellickson, plus other notes on the prospects in the trade, you must be an ESPN Insider!
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