There is no way to sugercoat the Zack Greinke trade and its effect on the NL Central – the Brewers are now formidable, in a division that was already looking like an uphill battle for the Chicago Cubs.
If they are to be competitive next year, most believe they’ll have to add a frontline starter to a rotation that currently has a couple number twos and a few number fours.
Although the Kerry Wood signing has solidified an already strong Cubs bullpen, general manger Jim Hendry now has to try to pull the trigger on a top-of-the-order pitcher via trade. Two pitchers who seem to be available are Tampa’s Matt Garza and Cleveland’s Fausto Carmona.
Both the Rays and Indians will want top prospects in return for their pitchers. The difficult part in the Cubs obtaining a pitcher of this caliber is the Yankees and Rangers are in the hunt for additional staring pitching.
The Rangers have a lot of top minor-league talent to trade, and new York has three top-flight young catchers in its organization: Jesus Montero, Gary Sanchez and Austin Romaine. Baseball America recently ranked Montero the Yankee’s No. 1 prospect, Sanchez No. 2 and Romaine No. 6 overall.
The Cubs also have good young talent. Multiple teams have inquired about the available of Double-A catcher Robinson Chirinos and shortstop Jae-Hak Lee (ed. – sic.? I honestly don’t know). ESPN Chicago.
The escapades of the Cubs and Matt Garza are well documented, but this is the first time we’ve heard the team connected to Fausto Carmona.
On the balance, Carmona’s numbers are slightly worse than Garza’s over the course of their similarly-tracked careers. After a breakout sophomore season (3.06 ERA in 215 innings), his walks and hits per nine spiked in 2008 and 2009, leading to the predictably commensurate spike in ERA (5.44 and 6.32). He turned things around a bit last year, putting up a 3.77 ERA in 210 innings, and his peripherals returned to something approximating his dominant 2007 season. Still, it was only good enough for a 102 ERA+, making him only slightly above average (the same conundrum from with Garza suffers). He also pulled in almost $5.1 million last year, his second in arbitration – so he’s likely to get over $6 million this year, an amount the Cubs would struggle to fit in their budget.