Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
The Chicago Cubs were involved with three major trades in the 2013 season, including a fourth one that was bizarre and a fifth one that was much-needed. Let’s start with the weirdest one first.
Outfielder David DeJesus was placed on waivers and claimed by the Washington Nationals on August 19, just as the Wild Card hopeful team was headed to the Friendly Confines to begin a three game set. What was most strange about his three game stint as a National is that he had three pinch-hits and finished with one sacrifice bunt.
The Tampa Bay Rays claimed him off waivers on the 23rd and he has appeared in 20 games for them since going 14 of 53, good enough for a .264 batting average and 2 RBIs.
The biggest trade involved sending pitcher Matt Garza to the Texas Rangers for four players, including pitcher Justin Grimm. The right-hander’s first start for the Rangers was a gem against the New York Yankees, earning his first win for the club as he went 7.1 innings, allowed no earned runs, and struck out five.
But it has been rough since then as his overall numbers with Texas would indicate: 3-4 in 66 2/3 innings with a 4.46 ERA. His strikeout numbers have been strong, with 63 K’s in his 10 starts for the playoff contenders.
Off the field issues have hurt Garza in his new surroundings as well. After an eight inning outing where he gave up four earned runs and took the loss against Oakland, the pitcher took to Twitter to attack A’s infielder Eric Sogard who hit a squeeze bunt to give Oakland an insurance run in a 4-2 win on August 3.
Garza attacked Sogard and his wife and later apologized on Twitter for what he had said. In last night’s contest against Oakland, Garza was ejected from the dugout in the eighth inning for arguing balls and strikes while the Rangers were trying to put together a late rally against the division-leading A’s. Oakland went on to win the game 9-8.
On the same day Garza was sent to Texas, trouble reliever and former closer Carlos Marmol was sent to the Los Angeles Dodgers for pitcher Matt Guerrier. He has been able to settle into middle relief with his ERA staying somewhere between 4.00 and 6.00 for much of the season.
His longest appearance as a Dodger came on August 14 against the New York Mets. He pitched two innings of work, starting in the top of the ninth with two outs and down by two runs. He struck out former teammate Marlon Byrd and went on to pitch two full innings, only allowing one hit in 25 pitches.
In Chicago’s first trade of the season, Scott Feldman was sent to Baltimore for Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop. Feldman has started 12 games for the Orioles, going 5-4 over 77 innings and striking out 54. The right-hander has come on lately for Baltimore, who still has a shot at the second wild card spot, going 1-1 with a 1.52 ERA, including a complete game shutout of the Chicago White Sox on September 6.
The final of the four major moves by the Cubs this season was sending left-fielder Alfonso Soriano back to New York on July 26. In his 46 games back in the pinstripes, he has hit .251 with 14 home runs and 45 RBI’s to get the Yankees back into the playoff hunt. He has gone hitless in 18 games for his new club, but has also given monster performances. In back-to-back home games against the Los Angeles Angels, Soriano went 6 for 9 with four home runs and 13 RBI’s to pace the Yankees in two wins, 14-7 on August 13 and 11-3 on August 14.
Even though Chicago isn’t in the playoff hunt, it will still be fun to see if these five players can provide enough of a boost to get their team in October. Marmol is the only one on a team that is a lock for the postseason with the remarkable second half run the Dodgers have experienced.
All four of the AL teams are in the wild card race, with none of them leading their respective divisions. DeJesus’ Rays have had a long hold on the first wild card spot, with Texas, New York, and Baltimore among a handful of teams trying to make that final push the second wild card spot.