Bruce Levine is reporting that the Chicago Cubs have officially traded for Matt Garza, sending top pitching prospect Chris Archer, top infield prospect Hak-Ju Lee, last year’s positional player of the year Brandon Guyer, and top catching prospect Robinson Chirinos in the deal. If that sounds like a lot – it is. A lot. The Cubs threw in Sam Fuld, too.
The only hope of salvaging this deal lies in the two players reportedly coming back to the Cubs, along with Garza. The players - yet unnamed – are reportedly an outfield and a pitcher.
UPDATE: You’ll note that I’ve said very little about the deal while the rest of the world is reacting (and if you’re on the Cubs side of the world, your reaction is likely to be hostile). I’m reserving judgment until we find out exactly who the two “minor leaguers” the Cubs are receiving from the Rays. Notice that the reports are using the term “minor leaguers” rather than prospects, which is a distinction with a weighty difference. Case in point, the reported outfielder in the deal is 27-year old non-prospect Fernando Perez, a reserve outfielder who is Sam Fuld two years ago. If Perez is indeed the outfielder, and the pitcher is a comparable player, my reaction will be – like yours – unkind. If, however, the pitcher is a nice prospect with some upside, I could be convinced this isn’t an absolute disaster of a trade.
For now, we can conclude only three things: (1) the Cubs are clearly going for it in 2011, rightly or wrongly; (2) the Cubs’ rotation is now at least in the discussion with the Brewers and Cardinals; and (3) the Cubs’ farm system has taken a massive hit.
SECOND UPDATE: So that the point isn’t lost – and, yes, despite a second update, I’m still reserving final judgment – it should be remembered that, according to most advanced metrics, Randy Wells was significantly better in 2010 than Matt Garza. Just let that bounce around your head for a bit as you consider this trade.