After the Matt Garza to the Rangers trade rumors peaked on Friday only to hit a road bump just as quickly, the Cubs and Texas finally agreed to a potentially six player deal to send the right hander to Arlington. As mentioned on the Cubbies Crib Facebook page per multiple media sources, Garza had been pulled from his start late Monday afternoon after manager Dale Sveum had told reporters the day before that there was a 100% chance that his top of the rotation pitcher was going to make his start against the Diamondbacks.
Instead, what followed was gradual news of who and how the deal finally went down.
The main reason for the deal hitting a snag prior to the weekend was mentioned to be some concern over the medical reports of one of the players. It was assumed that the concern was not over that of the recently injured Garza, as negotiations would not have continued through the weekend if the Rangers were not liking what they saw in the reports. That leaves one of the prospects Texas was dangling as the suspect that delayed the deal from going down Friday.
So the question becomes who exactly? Interestingly enough the two names that have not changed since late last week are Mike Olt and C.J. Edwards. Olt is a former first round draft pick that plays third base, while Edwards is a right handed pitcher. Olt could be the one that drew the medical concerns, as he has apparently been dealing with vision problems this season according to MLB Trade Rumors. However GM Jed Hoyer had told the media on Monday that Olt was a player they actually tried to obtain last year, presumably in the Ryan Dempster deal. That would either imply that the Rangers third base prospect was no the one of concern or the Cubs insisted that the Rangers sweetened the package due to the vision issues.
Neil Ramirez is another righty that had his name included in the rumored deal from the start, but in the finalized edition he apparently is a player to be named later option. If the Cubs proceed to select Ramirez, there will be no further players involved in the trade. If Hoyer and Theo Epstein go another route from the short list of pitchers on the player to be named later list, they will actually be allowed two player to be named later selections. This interesting twist to the trade could be reason to believe that Ramirez’s physical may be the one that drew concern from the Cubs doctors.
Regardless, Edwards seems to be the head liner of the package coming to the North Siders, as he started the 2013 campaign as the number 14 prospect in the Texas system, per Baseball America. At age 21 he is younger than Ramirez and the other pitcher in the deal, righty Justin Grimm. Edwards currently is flashing a 1.83 ERA in Class A ball.
Grimm has spent time with the Rangers at the Major League level this season, but he has struggled, with a 7-7 record to show for it. He has served up 15 home runs in just 89 innings pitched and he is not considered a strikeout pitcher with a strikeouts per nine innings ratio at just 6.88. Regardless, he is projected to be a middle of the rotation type that may be able to get back on track with a no expectation for 2013 Cubs club or by even spending some time in Triple A Iowa.
Judging a trade winner always requires time to see how prospects pan out, and this deal will need even more time considering the interesting one or two player to be named later option that could include prospects of significance rather than just the throw in stereotype that is associated with the PTBNL label. Regardless, many see the deal as a plus for the Cubs, as they have added pitching prospect depth to a farm system that has been sorely lacking in the position. Epstein and Hoyer have also certainly maxed out the return for the two plus month rental that is Garza, while having to deal with the pressure of undoing the long term bone headed move by previous GM Jim Hendry.
The Rangers of course get the top of the rotation depth they seek for their playoff and World Series push. So at initial glance it would be fair to say that the trade is a win win, but Cubs fans will certainly be hoping that this deal goes down better than the one that shipped Tyler Colvin to the Rockies for Ian Stewart.