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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.

  • http://tragicallyhipstamatic.wordpress.com xolager

    Reading all the scout’s takes that the Cubs minor system is deep but lacking high-end talent, I can’t say I’m opposed to moving a bunch of kids for a stud.

  • jonathan

    wow..if this were a divorce, the rays got the house, the car and half our money. we got the lawyers fee.

    • wax_eagle

      But she did leave us with a nice speed boat. Just 100 miles from a lake big enough to put her in.

    • Love it

      Let’s say the Cubs didn’t do this trade… Flash forward 5 years… Matt Garza – two time Cy Young Award winner. All of the Cubs prospects – busts, just like Felix Pie, Corey Patterson, etc. I love it. Get rid of “maybe they’ll be as good as Matt Garza some day” for the actual Matt Garza. Awesome trade.

  • marc

    balls……

  • Mike S

    I bet Gordon Wittenmeyer is just sitting on his couch laughing at us because we all doubted his knowledge! That’s funny.

    Chirinos and Fuld don’t bother me giving up, but Lee and Archer hurt. Guyer might be the biggest start coming out of this trade. He hit .344 in AA and is projected to be a solid player in the bigs. The Cubs still have Pierre LePage and Elliot Soto in the minors, one of whom will take over Lee’s spot in Peoria. We were able to keep Jackson, Carpenter, and McNutt. I think it was a good move for a Number 1 starter who will be with us for more than just 1 season. He’s under control for 3 years and there are already talks about signing him to an extension the year before free agency. I like the trade.

  • HotRuta

    Well, I guess we won’t have to be waiting around for any more trade news for a few years.

    Perhaps Jim Hendry didn’t understand that when people were telling him to “clean house” they were referring to the MAJOR League players …

  • ed

    Fucking nuts

  • Raymond Robert Koenig

    Fernando Perez. 27 year old OF. This trade just keeps getting better.

  • Dave

    It seems like a lot, but Garza has been a very good starter in the AL East, and guys to tend to improve their numbers moving from the AL to the NL, and facing the Pirates instead of the Yankees won’t hurt in the W column.

  • pfk (Peter F. Kempf)

    Fast forward to next November…headline and story, “Rays beat Phillies to win Championship! In stunning fashion the Rays finally did it. Rookie of the Year Brandon Guyer laid down a perfect bunt to score AL batting champion Hak-Ju Lee with the winning run to back the 3-hit shutout by Cy Young candidate, Chris Archer. Lee reached third on All-Star catcher Chirinos’ single. In a related story, former Ray’s pitcher Matt Garza underwent successful Tommy John surgery.”

    • Sam

      You are retarded. Do you think the Alphonso Soriano contract was a good deal too? seriously… Where to begin… Chrisnos never would have made it past Geo to start let alone Wellington Castillo, Hak Ju Lee was C+ prospect at best and he isn’t a very good hitter, I am a little disappointed about Archer, BUT he would have been a #3 starter at best while Garza is an ACE caliber pitcher in the NL. And Brandon Guyer is a double A player, and his numbers were good, but not good enough that he would make a big impact in the MLB in the next year. We have quality prospects that are better than all of the players we traded, except Archer still in the organization ( Starlin Castro, Brett Jackson, Wellington Castillo, Tyler Colvin, andTrey McNutt anmong others). This was a great deal especially since the Brewers just got Greinke.

      • pfk (Peter F. Kempf)

        I LOVE THE TRADE!! I was just joking around about the story. The more I think about it the more I love it. Solid rotation and still have dome great kids. Good move. Bold, but good.

  • Chirs

    none of these prospects graded any higher than 4’s out of 5’s or B+’s…this is a great deal!…Garza in the NL is a bonafide ACE and he will be locked up at a reasonable price for 3 seasons…read close on Archer and you will see he projects to a POSSIBLE # 3 starter….position prospects…please…dime a dozen…

  • Love it

    Let’s say the Cubs didn’t do this trade… Flash forward 5 years… Matt Garza – two time Cy Young Award winner. All of the Cubs prospects – busts, just like Felix Pie, Corey Patterson, etc. I love it. Get rid of “maybe they’ll be as good as Matt Garza some day” for the actual Matt Garza. Awesome trade.

  • Chirs

    not to mention the fact that Garza just turned 27….so we should get his prime years of 27-30…best trade in years….

  • pfk (Peter F. Kempf)

    I like the trade. Yes, I too was stunned at all the prospects but you have to give talent to get proven talent. This should be good for both teams. It makes the Cubs rotation much stronger and deeper. However, with an ERA of 3.91 he is not your shut down ace ala Halladay 2.44, Wainwright 2.42, Hudson 2.83, Santana 2.98, Lee 3.18 or Sabathia 3.18.
    Maybe someone steps forward to become an ace or they get one in free agency in 2012.
    I’d do this trade all day long – even though it stings to see good prospects leave…but they ain’t proven, they are just prospects and no 5-star ones either.

  • Jeff

    I would rather they didn’t trade Archer, but I think he projects with a Matt Garza type ceiling, and there’s no guarantee he is even that good. Chirinos is already 27 and Guyer is 25, so they aren’t really prospects anymore, they should be in the majors by now. Micah Hoffpauer tore up the minors too, so I’m not all that sad to see Guyer go. They didn’t have to deal Cashner, Brett Jackson, or Trey McNutt, so they don’t exactly leave the cupboard bare. I like the hype I heard on HJ Lee, but I’ve never seen him play, and I think the Castro position switch would have caused more problems for his development than people let on. The Cubs still have a lot of good arms in the minors and they dealt from positions of clear strength and depth, plus everyone they gave up is blocked at the major league level, if not in the minors. I don’t know who the pitcher is, but Fernando Perez could probably be a good 4th outfielder if they find someone to take Fukudome. Before he got hurt, he was supposed to be contributor for the division champ Rays, so he has more value than people are giving credit I think.

  • Chirs

    For all of you against this trade…I have a line-up for you….

    SS Ronnie Cedeno
    2B Bobby Hill
    1B Hee Seop Choi
    RF Ryan Harvey
    CF Corey Patterson
    3B Gary Scott
    LF Felix Pie
    C Rick Wilkins
    SP Mike Harkey, Bobby Brownlie, Ben”the butcher” Christenson,

    soon to join this roster will be Josh Vitters

    • mike

      You could do this with just about every team. Everybody over values their prospects because they fear giving up a Carlos Gonzalez. The fact is you should know your farm system inside and out so it should be much easier for the Cub to measure this trade then the Rays. With Cashner, McNutt and Simpson, the Cubs have arms in the system and can afford to give up Archer. Hopefully through their evaluation, the deemed Archer the least desirable amongst the 4. I really liked Lee from a speed, leadoff hitter standpoint, but they have their SS in Castro and Brett Jackson looks like he can be a leadoff hitter. Guyer and Chrinos should be easy toss ins.

    • art

      was josh vitters in this trade?

  • Jeff

    Matt Garza is currently the number four hot topic on google according to time newsfeed and is 5th on twitter. I guess if this move was for hype, it worked.

  • jim

    there goes the future.in two years it will be spoken in terms of brock broglio.

  • jim

    chirs, TB did not want vitters. any serious fan knows these are (were) the very best we had. i am going out to buy a bottle of bourbon. beware of GMs with two year contracts.
    i wanted jockety when he left StLu.

    • Chirs

      no one wants Vitters!…thats my point!

  • Chirs

    plus we wouldn’t have even had Archer to trade if Hendry didn’t trade Mark “Babe Ruth” DeRosa in a deal that many dumb Cub fans have been whining about for the last 3 years

  • One Who’s Style is Old

    Let’s all step back for a minute and analyze this.

    Chris Archer is a good prospect. He is about a year away and has two to three plus pitches with on and off command. In all honesty, I see his potential at Matt Garza levels.

    Lee could be hit or miss. His defense and speed are can’t miss; however, he needs to develop a stick. I could at least see him hitting .260 and being successful. We do have Starlin Castro though so losing Lee doesn’t hurt too much.

    Brandon Guyer and Robinson Chirinos are expected to be good backups at the MLB level. Valuable players, but nothing that you need to hold onto.

    Matt Garza, however, is a solid #2. Leaving the AL East will help his stats. I won’t expect him to put up a sub-1 WHIP; however, I could see him, in a general sense, being like a Dempster.

    Our system is very deep and can develop players very well since we changed staffs. Also, we have that high pick this year, we could make it into a decent pitcher.

  • http://none@none.com eryk

    Jim Hendry IS A FUC**** DUMB AS*

    • Philoe Beddoe

      maybe I am showing my age….but I don’t get all of the Hendry hate….I have lived through many a G.M. and Hendry ranks near the top(Dallas Green as well)…if you look at the years under his tenure you will see more play-off appearances and contending teams than any other period…the mega-bucks signings were just as much Sam Zell as it was Hendry…

      judge him on his tenure….not the 102 years of failure…

  • pfk (Peter F. Kempf)

    John Schuerholz and the Atlanta Braves built a dynasty by breeding their own talent, keeping only 1-2 prizes and trading all the others for proven players. The Phillies have been doing the same thing. They gave up incredible prospects but got great talent in return.

  • Bric

    I think it was a solid deal. If Hendry was gonna make it happen we knew it was gonna cost Lee and Chirinos. Guyers is a minor league flash in the pan, as is McNutts. I would be really happy if it were both Mcnutts and Jay Jackson (another Justin Berg/ Jeff grey/ Jeff Stevens type) instead of Archer but like I’ve said before, the Rays have scouts too. They’re only going to want quality, not quantity. Side note: not to tell you I told you so, but Vitters’ stock continues to drop, and McNutt’s will next year, too. Trade them too, while you can still get something for them.

  • jh

    My issue with this is not that any of the prospects were “A+” talent. They were also all blocked in the system in one way or another. My issue is that our beloved Cubbies realistically aren’t even division favorites with Garza this year. Hendry went after Garza as if he were Lee or Halliday to try to buy another few years as GM rather than looking out for the future of the organization. Hendry has aboslutely no trade leverage on teams because he’s always so desperate to fix his own mistakes (Bradley) or is one-tracked on a single deal and they know he has no choice. As soon as they said they were holding Garza until the trade deadline, I knew Archer & Lee were gone; just a matter of who else was going.

    We have a decent system so seeing these prospects go is not that painful (short of Archer who has the potential to be as good as Garza in a few years) but had we kept these prospects, we’d have a glut of talent & payroll to really make an impact in 2012 when this team can get (back?) on track. With this trade, we aren’t outlandishly better and will really have to gut the system to land a top free agent in 2012.

    • jh

      *to land a top trade deal or get stuck hugely overpaying for a free agent.*

    • Philoe Beddoe

      40 plus million comes off the books after this year…….don’t forget there could be another domino from this in that we now have a surplus of proven mlb starters….guys like wells, gorzelany and even silva…while they all may be number fives..they can all eat innings…and may be some for something useful..or somebody elses prospects…

    • Jeff

      I don’t know where you are getting that they will have to “gut the system” to land a top free agent next year. Like Philoe said, 40 plus million comes off the books next year. Besides, the only “top free agent” that the Cubs will want to look at Prince Fielder, since Pujols has reopened negotiations with STL. Garza only made 3.5 mill last year and is projected to make around 6 through arbitration. Carlos Silva alone makes up for that salary. Unless something surprising happens, Garza is the best pitcher that will be available through trade or free agency in the next year. I’m also kind of curious as to why everyone is on the Hendry can’t trade to save his life bandwagon. The only “bad” deal for a proven player that I can remember is the Juan Pierre deal, and that wouldn’t have been so bad if Pierre hadn’t decided to suck for the Cubs and play at his normal level.

      Ace, you’ve been kind of quiet about the whole thing, I’m curious to know what you and some of the other regular posters who are being quiet think about the deal.

  • Kyle Loyer

    Don’t have time to read through the comments but I want to make sure this is understood. The reason it took so much is because the Rays know his value at deadline could be astronomical. He’s the top pitcher expected to be available at the deadline. Being traded to the Cubs will not effect that value. Unless of course he gets hurt or has a really poor first half.

    Bottom line: If we’re out of contention, we can move him for prospects near or above the level of the ones we just gave up. If we’re still in contention, then the deal was probably worth it.

    • deej

      WOW!! Absolutely!! This is the most coherent and intelligent message made today! well put!

  • pfk (Peter F. Kempf)

    i repeat, I think its a great trade! In fact, the more I think of it, i LOVE it! In fact, Hendry did better getting Garza than the Brewers for Grienke (ERA over 4 last year, older, plus losing real stud prospects). The Cubs now have a young very good pitcher (career ERA under 4, 5 playoff starts 2-1 with a sub 4 ERA, a no-hitter, 200+ innings) they can count on for several years as they retool. They still have Cashner, Castro, Colvin, Jackson and a couple of others. They have a very solid staff and bullpen…and those alone will make you competitive. For the first time this off season, I’m excited. I’m starting to feel that they do indeed have a “plan.” And, I still think in “Q” they have that kind of fun, wacky, leader who will keep a team loose when the typical chicago media pressure builds. Francona is like that in Boston.

  • Mike Brumley

    I am pretty sure Garza’s numbers will improve as he will be facing the Astros and Pirates instead of the Yankees and Red Sox. The only players of real value that the Cubs gave up were Archer and Lee. I am sorry but I don’t see Archer becoming an ace (or even as good as Garza) as the latest thing that I read said he had some serious control problems. I know Archer’s ERA went down when he moved to AA last year, but if you read between the lines his numbers took a hit (his K/9 dropped and his BB/9 increased considerably). Obviously one would expect a regression in K/9 as one moves up the chain, but his BB/9 almost doubled. Huge red flag. The rest of the players are old and/or blocked. I don’t know how you cant love this trade if your a Cubs fan.

  • Ace

    I must say, I’m genuinely surprised that the reaction here has been 50/50. It’s pretty much been solidly negative everywhere else. I’m reserving judgement, but I definitely lean toward holy-crap-wow-that’s-more-than-the-Royals-got-for-Greinke-facepalm.

    • Bric

      That’s a good point, the Rays probably got more for Garza than the Royals got for Grienke. I also wouldn’t be shocked if Garza turns out to be the better all around player (in the same way that you could compare Carpenter to Dempster).

  • Raymond Robert Koenig

    The Trib’s poll is 60-40 in favor of the trade.

    • Ace

      Tribune readership skews … how shall I put it … not so farm system-savvy.

      • Raymond Robert Koenig

        Personally, I don’t like the trade. Not because of what the Cubs traded for Garza, but because I believe another starting pitcher wasn’t really a “need”. That being said, the deal is what it is. Now I think it’ll be interesting to see if the theory that moving from the AL East will result in better numbers holds water.

  • http://None Blinda

    The cubs do not really have that great of a farm system the best player (Brett Jackson) is rated to have B+ potential so giving up what would be just some decent prospects was worth it

    • pfk (Peter F. Kempf)

      I think Peter Gammons is one of the brightest people in the baseball media and here is what he had to say about what you say is a lousy Cubs farm system…
      “So by the beginning of this week, the Rays’ trade partners for a potential Garza deal had been narrowed down to the Rangers and Cubs, who own two of the deepest farm systems in the game.”…”This deal speaks volumes about the job general manager Jim Hendry and scouting director Tim Wilken have done building back the Cubs system, as Boston’s deal for Adrian Gonzalez spoke for its scouting and development.”
      One of the reasons Boston and Phiily do so well is that they have so many talented kids they have “currency” to make impact trades.

      • http://None Blinda

        I am not saying we dont have a good farm system just that our top prospects do not compare with many other teams. Look at the top 100 prospects and how many are cubs compared to others. I like the trade based on the 2011 free agent market.

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