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.

  • Cheryl

    I think we should reserve judgment on this deal. I was all for keeping Lee before but the one thing that most agree on is Garza is a quality pitcher. If Perez is part of this I don’t think he will be of value unless he is part of another deal with G being dealt. The third player to be named is still a mystery. This deal leaves the Cubs with 38 on their roster. I wouldn’t be surprised if another deal or two are in the works.

  • Mike Brumley

    Hendry usually does pretty well with getting good throw-ins.

    He got Fontenot when he traded Sammy.
    He got Matt Murton along with Nomar.
    He got Archer along with Jeff Stevens for DeRosa.

    I am guessing that he got something useful with that third player.

    Sorry Raymond Robert Koenig but I have to respectfully disagree. I am not sure how the Cubs were going to compete with the…

    Cardinals (Wainwright, Carpenter, Garcia)
    Brewers (Gallardo, Greinke, Marcum, Wolf)
    Reds (Cueto, Volquez, Leake, Wood, Chapman)

    …without making this trade. Even if they can’t compete this year Garza gives them a very good young pitcher to build around.

  • eryk

    I’m still really angry about this trade. Jim Hendry needs to be fired for this.

  • curt

    i dont know what 2 think, on one hand ricketts handicaps hendry by telling him he cant spend the money nescessary 2 be acontender, then basically gives hendry no alternative but 2 make atrade, whether this is agood dealor a bad deal is yet 2 be determined , but if this could have been avoided by letting hendry spend some money, shame on you tom ricketts, and i really hope that hendrys not done yet, wheres silva going 2 pitch, is cashner in the rotation or bullpen, we need some kind of bench, this trade is just confusing, mixed signals all around, thought we were building through the farm system, or is this hendry trying 2 save his job

  • Cardfan

    The Sporting News, June 27,1964, page 12…

    “Those who feel Cub Veep Holland got the better of the deal – and there are many of those – point to the fact that Broglio is a proved winner whose age, 28, is hardly against him, whereas Brock still has not made it big after great early promise.”

    “Mr. Wrigley and the rest of us in the official family believe we owe it to the fans, the players and the coaches to make the bold move that might win for us.”

    “And the bold move, from the point of the Wrigley brass, was to sacrifice a great young prospect like Brock and go for experienced pitching.”

    Ernie Broglio, 21 game winner with the Cardinals, goes 7-19 with a 5.40 ERA over the next three seasons with the Cubs. I can’t remember what happened to the Brock guy.

    Couldn’t resist just having some fun wit ya…

  • art

    most people, media, fans, etc. say Lee will be a very good ML SS, but can’t hit. guess cause of his no power in minors.

    there was a guy who people said couldn’t hit, very good SS, very good D, life time 28 homers, 262 BA, made the HOF, his name was Ozzie Smith. I’m not saying Lee will be a HOF player, but neither did anyone say that of Smith early in his career. for people who say he can’t hit, he’s still young and developing. when he’s up here a few years and doesn’t hit, then I’ll agree.

    I don’t like this trade, Hendry panicked. for a guy (Ricky) who wants to go young, give the kids a chance, and from within, this really sucks. a top pitching prospect, top position player, and last years minor league player of the year for a guy who isn’t taking us anywhere. funny, i knew Hendry would give in.

    • Philoe Beddoe

      Ah Art……Hak-Ju(Ozzie Smith) Lee had 34 errors last year at single A Peoria…hit .282..

      just look at Garza’s postseason numbers for crying out loud…they are pretty good….

      Garza, Wood, Pena…….vast vast improvements…

  • umpirejim

    Hendry has got to go ! Archer will be just as good as Garza in 2 years. An a lot cheaper. The Great Cub Convention isn’t sold out yet so (GM of the Year) LoL… had to do something. He did . OVERPAID for a .500 pitcher . That word OVERPAID keeps coming back like a bad toothache.

  • ROKMarine

    With all the Hee Seop Choi references… He is enjoying monster success in the KBO. Honestly i would have loved to see the DP combo with Hak-Ju and Castro. My thoughts are still kinda iffy on this trade tho.

  • marc

    I guess your opinion on whether you like or dislike this trade depends on what kinda cub fan you are. I can only speak for myself, and i would consider myself as a patient cub fan (prolly cause im young). As much as I would love to see the cubs win now, I would rather see them build a farm system and produce monster prospects ( like the rays have the last few years), than sign big free agents and trade everything away and creating a false sense of urgency.
    This trade reeks of urgency. Cubs fans will always be around. Hell if we are here 102 years without winning a championship, im sure we can wait a few more for a win. If we do make the playoffs, I hope we can at least win a game.
    I am excited to watch garza on opening day though : )

  • CubsFanatic

    Well to be honest guys, I’m half half on this trade. Losing Archer really stings, but other than him, did we really have any proven talent? I mean the guys we gave up were level B and C prospects. Plus there was no room for Guyer or Fuld with Jackson being the top outfielder. Lee may have been good on defense, but he had no bat. Chirinos was another good defensive player, but yet again, the bat wasn’t there. And lets not forget that this clears payroll as well. They could be gearing up for a full force 2012 FA signing spree. Or they could be ready to make one major signing, and get Soriano out of there and have some money to pay on his contract and ship him out. I’ll wait and see if this is final. And if it is, I’ll wait and see how Garza does before I’ll judge.

    • Steve

      Ummmm, hey CubsFanatic…check the stats before you make another ridiculous comment. Chirinos can hit. In fact, that was his major up-side. And no, this deal doesn’t clear payroll. You don’t clear payroll at the major league level by trading kids in the minors. By taking on Garza, Jim Hendry ADDED payroll. All be it, low dollars for a decent pitcher. In terms of value, the money is well spent.
      I still say that Jim overpaid here, in terms of prospects. Garza was the best available, and Jim paid like he was an elite guy. Jim wanted Garza badly, and the Rays new it. They waited, and got paid. My question is now, what did Kansas City ask for Grenkie that made Hendry say no. It just couldn’t have been that much more. No chance.
      Someone said the deal stinks of.desperation. I totally agree. Although, not a terrible deal, it is an addition that a contender makes…not a team in rebuild mode. I still see the Cubs as 3rd or 4th in the division, and out of the wild card by mid-August.
      No a bad deal. But, not a great one, either. Right now, this team needs to “win” it’s trades. I’d say this is a draw, at very best…

      • CubsFanatic

        I’m saying those stats were not a AAA ball. If they had been there, and hit well there, I would’t have said it. Maybe I worded it wrong. But I’m saying that they were not proven gold. If they were at AAA then I wouldn’t say that. And its does help payroll a little. When I say that I mean we’re not in as deep a debt .

        • Mike S

          I’m completely lost with your comments CubsFanatic

  • Philoe Beddoe

    all this talk about giving up the “future”….the future looks brighter with a proven MLB starter(no-hitter, post-season success) who just turned 27 and is under team control for another 3 years..

    I love that we finally got a guy on the upside of his career…as opposed to:

    Alfonso Soriano at 31 (36.5 in United States years)
    MIlton Bradley at 34 (with the bat speed of a 40 year old due to his bat-shit craziness)
    Moises Alou at 35 (had the U.S. age factor plus urine soaked prune hands)
    Jaques Jones at 33 (was so done when we got him, he honestly didn’t pull a ball all year, and had the arm of a 70 year old….throwing with their opposite hand)

    also I hear that the minor league pitcher in the deal is Chad Fox…

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