Friday, January 7, 2011

Cubs Get Garza: Finally Good News in Wrigleyville

For the first time this offseason I can write about some good news coming from the north side of Chicago.  The Cubs finally acquired starting pitcher Matt Garza from the Rays for Chris Archer, Brandon Guyer, Robinson Chirinos, Hak-Ju Lee and Sam Fuld.  Some people are panning this trade because the Cubs gave up a few of their most talented prospects (Here are the Cubs' top prospects according to Baseball America).  Archer was the Cubs' top prospect, Lee was ranked fourth, and Guyer tenth.  Yeah, its a bummer to lose some good prospects, but you have to give up talent in order to get it.  Also, we shouldn't forget that Lee was never going to see the big leagues as a Cub anyway because of another young shortstop named Starlin Castro (yeah, he's pretty freakin' ridiculous).

I think Garza will thrive pitching in the NL Central intstead of the AL East.  Over the past three seasons in Tampa, Garza has posted a 3.86 ERA in an average of 31 starts per season.  He posted a WHIP of 1.251 and averaged 7.1 strikeouts per nine innings.  Yeah, he can be a little inconsistent and he tends to give up a decent amount of home runs (which doesn't bode well if the wind is blowing out of Wrigley), but we shouldn't forget that, at his best, he has ridiculous stuff.  Last July, Garza threw the first no-hitter in Rays history in a 5-0 win over the Tigers and coming within one walk of a perfect game.  He's only twenty seven and he was one of the better pitchers in the AL East.  With his stuff, he should be a great top-of-the-rotation guy in Chicago.

This move definitely upgrades the Cubs' rotation (the Cubs' other options are Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Tom Gorzelanny, Randy Wells, Carlos Silva, and possibly Andrew Cashner) and with a bounce back year from the offense, the Cubs should be competitive in the NL Central.  This definitely doesn't make them favorites, that will be a battle between the defending NL Central Champion Reds, the Cardinals, and the upgraded Brewers.  However, look for the Cubs to be a sleeper next season (again, this only happens if the offense isn't horrendous again).

Lastly, the trade is also great because it gives outfielder Sam Fuld a chance to make the big league club in Tampa.  He could have been a great fourth outfielder for the Cubs, but the circumstances always prevented it as the Cubs' always had a stockpile of outfielders (and not necessarily good ones, example: Xavier Nady).  Now, he has a better shot at making the big club in Tampa Bay and sticking around for an entire season instead of just short call ups to the show.  He plays great defense and has a great knack for getting on base.  Hopefully, he gets the chance he never really got in Chicago.

No comments:

Post a Comment