Matt Garza is the newest Texas Ranger. He was dealt to the team less than an hour ago from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for 3B Mike Olt, RHP Justin Grimm, RHP CJ Edwards, and a player to be named later. Garza is a free agent at the end of the season and the Rangers cannot get a compensated draft pick for him.
There are the facts, at least so far. Truth is the Rangers needed to make this move, and I'm cautiously going to stick to that. From the slowed return of Colby Lewis and Neftali Feliz to the 80% of the starters on the DL a week ago. The Rangers NEEDED another starting pitcher.
And not just a starting pitcher, but a stud...an established arm...an ace/or almost ace...a Matt Garza. Jon Daniels said last week, "We have expectations and goals we would like to reward the club and help these guys, the way they've played." LOVE THAT! And it is very true, battling the pitching injury bug has been tough, and this trade counters that...big time! Many baseball experts who I highly respect have even gone as far to say that it's a mini miracle the Rangers are where they are. Especially with the uncertainity of what you will get from Lewis, Feliz, or Matt Harrison in 2013.
I said two weeks ago that unless David Price, James Shields, or Cliff Lee become available the only pitcher I cared to go after was Garza. Maybe Yovani Gallardo or Jake Peavy, but said with minimum passion. And since the Rays, Royals, and Phillies are still in contention (at the moment, right KC & Philly), Garza is the only one I'm interested in.
This isn't going to be as big of a move as the Lee Trade was in 2010, but it's more of an impact that the Ryan Dempster trade in 2012. Garza will fit in perfectly with what the Rangers already have established. In 2010, Texas needed an ace to help push the team over the top for an October run. In 2012, Texas had arms in place, but needed one more to make a playoff push for a third straight year. Though Texas was a Wild Card, the move didn't work out as envisioned. However the prospects were expendable (SP Kyle Hendricks and 3B Christian Villanueva).
The is different...Texas is in need of another established arm to help a terribly injury-riddled rotation...Lewis, Feliz, Harrison, Yu Darvish, Nicholas Tepesch, and even Martin Perez to start the year. It's been a bad injury-bug year for Texas...BUT, if Darvish can return to form...if Holland can continue to be July Derek...if Perez can continue to maintain as he has the past month...and now add in Garza, pictures looks a little clearer. And Texas goes from contender to outright favorite in the West, YES I DID JUST SAY THAT!!! I know we need a bat, and still nine days to address that, but I stand by that statement. Hitting upgrade...that's another day.
What can Ranger fans expect from Mr. Garza. Well, since returing from the DL to start the season Garza has been pitching like the ace he can be. In 71 IP this season Garza has a 3.17 ERA and 7.9 K/9 IP. That is the NL, and in the summer heat of Texas in the AL, I do expect that ERA to go a little. Garza at times does give up the long ball, so expect a few of those, but he's a gamer, he'll adjust. Positive side, Garza is an inning-eater, and because of that the Rangers' bullpen is the most excited about that. Garza has been to the postseason before, and I can't help but smile when thinking of potential playoff rotation of Darvish, Garza, Holland.
As for the exchange, I'm going to miss Mike Olt...terribly. I've been a huge fan of Olt's since he was at UConn. But I'm happy for his opportunity he now gets in Chicago and I truly hope he makes us regret it. Olt could be called up to Chicago in the very near future. The same goes for Grimm, he will likely head back to the rotation in Chicago and I wish him the best. Olt and Grimm is very similar to Justin Smoak and Blake Beaven in the Cliff Lee trade. CJ Edwards has been lighting up Low-A ball in Hickory, just flat out dominate. However, that is low-A and there is a reason he was a 48th round pick, still too much of a wild card. As for the PTBNL, I'll bet that will depend upon Olt and Grimm's health throughout the remainder of 2013.