It’s no secret that the Chicago Cubs were going to deal Matt Garza before the trade deadline and in the last week it became apparent that the Texas Rangers were the most aggressive suitor for his services. The two teams were reportedly close to a deal late last week before things appeared to fall apart, reportedly over an “injury-related concern” that had presented itself as the two sides reviewed medical records. Suddenly that sure thing wasn’t quite so certain, and the weekend was filled with rumblings about a handful of teams entering the mix for Garza’s services.
Yet, the Cubs and Rangers persevered and completed a deal yesterday evening. Garza ultimately heads to Texas, where he’ll join Yu Darvish and Derek Holland atop the Rangers starting rotation. He’ll be a free agent at season’s end (unless the team signs him to a contract extension first), but the Rangers are banking on him helping them reach the postseason for the fourth year in a row. Garza missed time at the start of 2013 as he recovered from a shoulder injury, but has pitched well since his return. He’s 6-1 with a 3.17 ERA and 1.141 WHIP in 71.0 IP over 11 starts. If he can continue at that pace, it’d mark career bests in both ERA and WHIP.
Garza was easily one of the top arms believed to be available at this year’s trade deadline. He also has experience in the American League (two years with the Minnesota Twins and three with the Tampa Bay Rays before joining the Cubs) and experience in the postseason (2-1, 3.48 ERA, 5 GS).
Chicago will receive at least four players in the deal. Initial reaction was overwhelmingly in favor of the haul that the Cubs received in the deal – a clear win for GM Jed Hoyer and President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein. As such, let’s take a closer look at the pieces that the Cubs have acquired in the deal.