Uncomfortably Looking Back on the First Matt Garza Trade and Other Bullets

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Uncomfortably Looking Back on the First Matt Garza Trade and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

matt garza chinTwitter keeps breaking this morning! Ahhhh! Panic!!!

No, but seriously: it’s utterly absurd how reliant – both personally and professionally – I am on Twitter. When it goes down (which is a lot less frequent than it used to be), I feel like I’ve been locked inside an isolation chamber. Again, that’s absurd. I probably need to get a little more connected in other ways.

  • Five years ago, the Chicago Cubs made a really improvident deal with the Tampa Bay Rays for starter Matt Garza. I say that not because Garza didn’t prove to be good with the Cubs (he was very good for a time), and I say it not because the Cubs gave up too much to get him (more on that in a moment, but, at the time, it looked like a fair trade on its face). Instead, I say it because it felt like the classic reach trade: a team that did not look like it had a realistic shot to be contending in 2011 was trying to patch over a hole and get lucky. The Cubs of that era were desperately in need of a full rebuild (which would begin, mercifully, a year later), and the last thing they needed to be doing was trading away a cache of young talent – Chris Archer, Brandon Guyer, Robinson Chirinos, and Sam Fuld have all made very notable big league contributions. Even Hak-Ju Lee, who may not ever emerge as a big leaguer, was an extremely valuable young asset at that time. Going hard after Garza, at that time, was simply not something the Cubs ever should have considered.*
  • Back to the trade, itself: Beyond the Box Score has a great read on how the deal turned out five years later, and you probably think you know how ugly it was for the Cubs before you even click … but you should still click. Because holy crap is it ugly. The Cubs got some decent years out of Garza, and they then got some useful pieces for him in trade a couple years ago. Zac Rosscup might still be useful. But what the Cubs gave up? According to the calculations therein, the Cubs gave up almost six(!) times the surplus value in that trade. Wooooooooof.
  • *(And because I know one of you buttholes (I say that with love) would go find it if I didn’t, I dug up my initial reactions to that Garza trade. You can see my thoughts here and here, and I’m relieved to see that, even then, I didn’t like how much the Cubs gave up. I did, however, say some other stupid things that betray a less-nuanced understanding of baseball. What can I say? I wasn’t doing this gig full-time back then, and I’ve improved quite a bit over the past five years (I hope).)
  • A great interview at 1080 with new Cubs Baseball Operations Assistant John Baker.
  • Because BN’er DarthHater is a monster, he found a 2011 mention of the term “super utility pitcher” in this relatively obscure blog post. I guess I can’t say I invented the term anymore, even if I’m quite certain I’d never personally seen it before. I’ll still try to “popularize” the term, but now I will forever hate DarthHater for spoiling me. (I will also hate Michael, who prompted me to Darth’s comment, which I’d initially missed, and I’d have been able to forever live in a state of ignorant bliss. You’re both evil.)
  • For reasons that should be obvious, otherwise very nice Starlin Castro jerseys are 55% off at Amazon right now.
  • One. Month.

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.