The Matt Garza Deal from the Cubs Perspective

The rumors started gaining traction this week, and now we have a deal. The Cubs have acquired Matt Garza and two minor leaguers in exchange for five players, including Chris Archer, whom Baseball America recently ranked the Cubs No. 1 prospect. The move has a clear win-now bent, as the Cubs’ NL Central rivals have loaded up on talent this winter. But it this enough to put them back in the picture?

In terms of Garza himself, Dave expressed his thoughts not long ago, comparing him to Aaron Harang. I’m not sure I’d go that far. As Dave noted, Garza has “posted significantly better ERAs over the last several years in the more challenging league,” and I don’t think that’s a small consideration. At some point the ability to consistently out-perform your FIP and xFIP has to be a skill.

What troubles me most about Garza in Chicago is his fly-ball propensity. During the past three seasons only six pitchers have allowed fly balls at a rate greater than Garza. Since Wrigley Field is quite a bit more homer-friendly than Tropicana Field, we could see Garza allow a few more fly balls to leave the park. But other than that I have few concerns about Garza the pitcher.

In terms of Garza’s fit on the Cubs, there are a number of questions. The Cubs had something of a middling starting staff last year, finishing ninth in starter ERA and 10th in FIP and xFIP. But they did finish seventh in WAR, thanks to having five starters who produced 2 or more WAR. All five of those starters — Ryan Dempster, Randy Wells, Tom Gorzelanny, Carlos Zambrano, and Carlos Silva — will return for the 2011 season. They also have Andrew Cashner, who could start for the team at some point this season. Why, then, trade a few top prospects for a depth move?

The problem, it appears, is the uncertainty at the back of the rotation. Dempster and Wells are solid contributors, but neither is an ace in the traditional sense of the term. Zambrano has been that ace in the past, but he pitched only 113 innings last season due to various issues, and I’m sure the Cubs would rather not count on him in 2011. Silva bounced back to his pre-Seattle levels, but he also managed only 113 innings. In that way, Garza provides insurance for the Cubs. He’s a better bet than either of those guys to throw 200 innings, and the Cubs could certainly use another 200 innings of reliable pitching.

The only question left, then, is of whether the Cubs gave up too much. The most significant chip is Archer, who, again, ranked No. 1 on Baseball America’s Cubs prospects list. Kevin Goldstein ranked him No. 3. Both outlets love Archer’s stuff, but note that his control will continue holding him back if he can’t improve. Goldstein seems to lean towards him emerging as a relief pitcher. Maybe that’s how the Cubs ultimately view him as well, and therefore is why they included him and not one of their other top prospects such as Trey McNutt or Chris Carpenter.

Also included in the deal are SS Hak-Ju Lee, No. 4 on BA and No. 5 with Goldstein, OF Brandon Guyer, No. 10 with BA and No. 11 with Goldstein, C Robinson Chirinos, No. 12 on Goldstein’s list, and OF Sam Fuld, who has spent parts of the last three seasons with the Cubs. Overall that appears to be a solid package for Garza and a couple of return prospects. Lee, though the best prospect on the list, just turned 20 and is probably a ways off. Guyer will probably end up as a fourth outfielder. Chirinos might be the most interesting of the bunch. He’s a catcher, converted from the infield, and he has absolutely mashed the ball for the past two seasons. He’ll turn 27 in June, so he could get a long look this year.

Overall the Cubs gave up a solid package of prospects for a solid pitcher. It might have been a slight overpay, since the deal includes two top-five prospects and one really interesting 11-20 guy, but that’s the premium the Cubs have to pay in order to stay afloat in the NL Central. They now have a pitcher who can give them 200 innings and probably around 3 WAR — and perhaps more, if Garza does indeed posses the skill to outperform his FIP. The only problem is that he’s replacing a guy who produced more than 2 WAR last year. Still, considering what it will take the make the playoffs from that division, I’m sure the Cubs were happy to make the trade.




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Joe also writes about the Yankees at River Ave. Blues.


76 Responses to “The Matt Garza Deal from the Cubs Perspective”

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  1. this guy says:

    Couldn’t outperforming his FIP come from the fact that the Rays were good at fielding? Add good fielding to a fielding independent number and it stands to reason that it would be better.

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    • Nate says:

      FIP stands for “Fielding Independent Pitching”, and the 3 main components are K’s, BB’s, and HR’s, so in a word, no.

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      • Nate says:

        My bad, I completely misread/misunderstood your post. Yes, I’d say defense could certainly play a role in ERA being lower than FIP. Was the same true for Garza in Minnesota?

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      • this guy says:

        You missed the point.

        “At some point the ability to consistently out-perform your FIP and xFIP has to be a skill.”

        His ERA is consistently lower than his FIP. Maybe it’s a skill, but couldn’t that be his fielders’ skill?

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      • this guy says:

        Minnesota was a decent defensive team while he was there, but only pitched 133 innings, so I didn’t really pay attention to that as a whole.

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      • suicide squeeze says:

        “His ERA is consistently lower than his FIP. Maybe it’s a skill, but couldn’t that be his fielders’ skill?”

        Could be his fielders, could be skill (he has a fair % of IFFB), could be continued luck. It’s probably some combination of all 3.

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      • MC says:

        FIP seems to be a somewhat simplistic and misleading stat. You can’t just take BB/K/HRs and say that’s a pure measure of pitching skill because it doesn’t account for defensive skill.

        Walks done right work. Sometimes it’s better to give up HR’s with none on base than a walk.

        W/ Garza I think the stuff is great. He walks his fair share but it doesn’t get it in the way. I think if you’re looking at FIP with Garza that’s a huge mistake and you’d overlook a lot.

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      • Friedman says:

        @MC: giving up a walk with nobody on is not better than giving up a solo HR. a player on base isn’t guaranteed to score while a player who hits a solo HR has a 100% probability to score.

        I’m obviously not considering player ability when pitching from the stretch vs. wind up but still. And what defensive skill are you talking about? The players surrounding Garza? Because that is not his own skill.

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      • MC says:

        @Friedman

        “not his own defensive skill” sorry I worded that sentence awkwardly. Just delete it.

        No, I think with young pitchers, I would tell them, if I was coaching them: “Dude, I would much rather you give up a leadoff homerun than a leadoff walk.” Obviously a homerun has a 100% chance of scoring – that is just stating the obvious.

        What I am saying is, that when a pitcher PITCHES in a MANNER that would tend to lead to leadoff homeruns, RATHER THAN leadoff walks, this results in a lower probability of runs being scored.

        Why? Simply because: pitcher not afraid of homeruns –> pitcher throws strikes –> pitcher more likely to throw first pitch strikes –> first pitch strikes result in lower average BA’s over the course of an AB than first pitch balls –> lower average BA’s result in lower runs scored –> lower runs scored result in wins, etc.

        Basically I am saying that pitchers, especially young pitchers, should throw strikes. Sometimes I’d rather see guys give up leadoff homers than leadoff walks because it shows me they have the right MENTALITY; the right approach.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        Simply because: pitcher not afraid of homeruns –> pitcher throws strikes –> pitcher more likely to throw first pitch strikes –> first pitch strikes result in lower average BA’s over the course of an AB than first pitch balls –> lower average BA’s result in lower runs scored –> lower runs scored result in wins, etc.

        Ex: Schilling, Curt

        Seriously. HR/9 v. BB/9

        I was reading about Nolan Ryan the other day and his unwillingness to “give into the hitter”. This was the “good thing’ or “bad thing” about him, depending on your view.

        His starts featured a lot of walks, a lot of K’s, and not very many hits.

        Nolan Ryan Career:

        H/9: — 6.55
        BB/9: — 4.67
        K/9: — 9.55

        I can’t even imagine how many pitches he threw during some of those 300 IP, 10 K/9, 5 BB/9 seasons.

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  2. Kyle says:

    I’m sure the Cubs ARE happy to have made the trade. I think the point is that they should not be.

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    • Steve-o says:

      Why shouldn’t they be?

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      • Kyle says:

        I would say because their chances of making the playoffs in that division this season and the next are slim to none. Sure, anything can happen, but they’re sacrificing young, interesting, cost controlled players, for a second or third starter who is only going to get more expensive on a team that already has a payroll bloated by huge, irresponsible contracts. Not to mention that he liberally represents only something like a 1-2 WAR upgrade over what they took the mound with last season, and they had to deplete an already weak farm system in order to get him.

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      • Goose says:

        This is not a move for 2011, anyone who thinks it is is wrong. The Cubs traded for a SP that is under team control for 3 more years. Come 2012 when Fielder is inevitably gone from MIL (perhaps to CHC, coincidence Pena on 1-yr deal?), they will not be able to compete and will likely deal Greinke as they have no chance of re-signing him. As for STL, they will either lose Pujols or become Holliday, Pujols, and 23 guys making league minimum. Carpenter and Wainwright will be gone soon enough. CIN may be good for awhile, but they don’t have money to keep all of their players either.

        So startlooking at what this deal means for 2012 and beyond when Fukudome, Silva/Bradley, and ARam are off the books. Suddenly the Cubs are a huge player in next year’s FA market and they can see exactly where to sign players to compliment their still-deep farm system.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        Goose,

        You just described scenarios where “everything will come together in the Cubs favor”. IMO, that’s part of the problem. [1] It’s one-sided view, [2] it’s not realistic.

        You list the player losses that the other teams will experience, without realizing they may add more players or even better prospects.

        Young players on those 3 teams will also appear and develop. The other teams are not just going to be static except for their key losses … while the Cubs continue to get better and better.

        Again, i think that reasoning like this is part of the Cubs problem. Everything bad will happen to them, everything good will happen to us …. this time. (Very simply put)

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      • PJ says:

        The Cubs farm system at the start of the day was #8 from BP. One of the reasons teams stock talent is to have the ability to make moves like this. It’s not a bad deal for the Cubs… it’s just okay.

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      • Goose says:

        Fair enough CircleChange11. Yes, that is an idealistic forecast of what could happen in the NL Central so maybe it is best I stick to how I think this affects the Cubs alone.

        This comes down to the classic debate: potential vs. proven. Monetary issues aside (the Cubs should not have any as they scalp their own tickets, get 17% of rooftop revenues, have the highest average ticket prices in MLB, etc.) the Cubs get a #2 SP with three years of control. With Pena, ARam, Fukudome, and Silva coming off the books next year, and the Lilly and Lee contracts already shed, the Cubs make themselves free to play some younger players in 2011 as they will likely not compete with STL, MIL, or CIN.

        Next offseason, they could look to sign Prince Fielder or, at the very least, make St. Louis aware that they could offer Pujols big money if he ever hit free agency. May make them add a few million, just to be sure. Gamesmanship in the NL Central, who knew?

        Finally, having been able able to play a younger squad this season, they can determine where best to add other free agents to compliment their players that they feel are future everyday regulars.

        The Cubs cannot use the word rebuild in Chicago. They fear the fans would riot, so they are being smart and playing for future seasons. I like the move personally.

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    • DIVISION says:

      It’s a solid acquisition by the Cubs.

      It looks like a slight overpay, but when you factor in Garza switching leagues coming from the AL East, his numbers have a built-in escalator clause implicitly.

      If he’s pitching to a 3.91 ERA in the AL East, his ERA next year should be 3.41 by the most conservative estimate. I’d go further and predict him having an era closer to 3.

      What the Cubs gave up in quantity, they saved in quality as none of the prospects are high-end.

      If anything I wonder how the Rays expect to compete next year when they are losing players left and right.

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      • nitro2831 says:

        Except for the fact that, as other commenters have noted, he had one of the best defenses behind him in all the land. He has not outperformed his FIP at a level that does not seem explicable by his phenomenal defense. Give him an average to below average defense, and I think that at least makes up for the switch in leagues.

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      • redsfandan says:

        “If anything I wonder how the Rays expect to compete next year when they are losing players left and right.”

        It’s not like Tampa all of a sudden has a bunch of holes. The players they’ve said good bye to are all being replaced by players that have already been waiting for their turn. Tampa has also created some financial flexibility with these moves as well. And the offseason isn’t over yet.

        Let’s just agree that Boston will be the popular pick to win that division. I don’t think Tampa can be counted out for the Wild Card.

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      • Da says:

        He’s leaving the Rays defense to play in the bandbox that is Wrigley Field (and he already has a HR problem). You are dreaming if you think Garza will have a sub-4 ERA next year.

        But yeah, I guess he also gets to play against terrible offenses like the Brewers, Reds and Cardinals, right?

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  3. DWrek says:

    Why not take a year off and build up your system while STL and MIL deplete theirs in attempt to go for it all? Then when they have to take a step back, CHI’s young talent would be able to contribute (or be traded for other talent).

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    • Erik says:

      This as also my thought when JoePaw brought up the rest of the NL Central.

      I wonder if under-performing big-market teams are actually HAMPERED by the fact that they’re big-market teams. Fans (and ownership) of a smaller-market team, with a small payroll, have the expectation of mortgaging the present to be able to build a contender in the future. But what happens when a team has a Cubs-sized payroll and punts on a season? It’s admitting that you’ve failed, whereas in the smaller market you could simply say that it’s because you don’t have the resources to sign FAs or retain your own increasingly expensive vets. Ok, poorly expressed, but I hope you get the idea–that once a big-market club gets itself in a hole, it is perpetually mortgaging its future to avoid bottoming out in the present.

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      • Ted Lehman says:

        Garza is under control for three more seasons. So even if the Cubs did decide to “punt” the 2011 season, Garza is still a guy that can help them down the road. Considering what the Brewers gave up for Greinke and the difference in control/contracts for Greinek and Garza, I think this is a fair deal for the Cubs.

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      • --.--.-.--.- says:

        Interesting take. I like others think the cubs made this move with the future in mind also, but you do make a good point about large market teams. While it might not be completely true across the board, I can tell you that it definitely is true for the Cubs. With the way their fans are youre absolutely correct, they are so hungry for that title that they expect the FO to somehow magically make it happen. given that the FA contracts are so terrible, it would be best for the cubs to rebuild, but their fans wouldnt have it.

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    • jj says:

      Why do you think STL will ‘deplete’ their system. They are in a building stage of thier system so when Pujols gets paid starting in 2012, they will be able to fill a good portion of the team with ‘cheaper’ players. Plus although these guys were highly ranked for the cubs, I don’t think they are that highly ranked overall. Seems like a lot of Cubs fans are ready to throw in the towel for 2011, I’m not so sure I would. Any team in the NLC that finished above .500 could be in contention.

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      • DWrek says:

        I didnt mean STL ‘will’ deplete their system, they pretty much already did (Holliday, DeRosa, Westbrook, etc). I’m not saying thats bad, Ive agreed with most of what they have done recently.

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    • Squire says:

      I agree. The Cubs haven’t been to the WS in close to 60 years because of bad management, not luck. The Cubs need a change in organizational philosophy, but with Hendry at the helm, it won’t happen. The Garza trade seems like an unnecessary one for the Cubs at this stage in the team’s “contention cycle.” The Cub’s have too many problems, and Garza won’t be able to fix all of those.

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    • PJ says:

      Hendry isn’t employed to win for next year. That doesn’t fly in Chicago anymore… This is a move intended to save his face and give the fanbase a bit of hope for the next two years.

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    • chuckb says:

      My guess is b/c Hendry realizes he probably only has 1 more year if the Cubs don’t win.

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  4. Daniel says:

    Archer and Lee are decent prospects, but they’re not going to be troubling the upper reaches of the Top 100 league-wide (I don’t think). They’re ranked high within the Cubs system but that’s one which is depth (rather than talent) heavy, so the Cubs can afford to lose some guys from it. I’m glad they traded Archer and not McNutt or Jackson (oh that would have me hopping mad; I don’t see how Jackson is not their top prospect). And it’s not like they’re stuck at shortstop at the big league level. Lee is 2/3 years away and I’m not convinced that Castro will have to move to 2nd by then. His problems don’t seem to stem from his range or his arm, but rather from his mind, and he’s 20 years old, so we’ll let him away with that, for now. The most annoying aspect of this trade to me is that it further blocks Andrew Cashner, who should be given a shot in the rotation in 2011 but now probably won’t be. That issue serves as another reminder that the Cubs front office do not appear to be committed to any long-term strategy. They seem to think that they need to make these vague, non-committal efforts to show they want to win NOW in order to please the fans or the owners or the Great Big Cub in the Sky, I don’t know, in order to please somebody. And they’re pleasing nobody. They’re finishing fourth. With Cashner in the bullpen. That’s what sucks.

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  5. MC says:

    At the risk of frontrunning, this is a great deal for the Rays. They get a lot of useful pieces, they get a lot of depth.

    All of the players the Rays got have skills/potential; obviously Archer – who looks at least early on to potentially be an even better pitcher than Garza. Guyer had a great year in AA; Chirinos is sort of insurance possibly for Jaso and Sam Fuld – walks a lot and steals some bases, probably pretty good D, nothing wrong with that.

    It’s kind of tough to go wrong when you get 5 players for 1. This kind of reminds me of the Haren deal Oakland did a few years ago, in terms of the quantity, although maybe that deal had better quality. But overall it seems at first blush that the quality here is quite high also.

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    • Jim says:

      As Joe P. reported in the first sentence, it’s not 5 for 1, but rather 5 for 3.

      (And technically, the “Matt Garza and 2 minor leaguers” isn’t correct, as one of those additional 2 players is Fernando Perez, who’s seen significant MLB playing time already).

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    • Paul says:

      Um yeah, I’d say the quality part of the Haren trade comparison is pretty important.

      Do you seriously think there is a player in this deal remotely close to: Car-Go, Brett Anderson, OR Cris Carter?

      Comparing a deal to another based on number of players involved is just absurd.

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      • MC says:

        I think Archer could be comparable to Anderson. As for Carter, he’s proven nothing at this point. Finally I think there’s a possibility that one of the other players in the Rays deal could possibly be as good as CarGon. I mean, the thing about Cargon is home/away splits are awful. Away from Coors, he’s just an average hitter.

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      • MC says:

        @Paul “comparing a deal..based on number of players is absurd..”

        Paul actually it is not absurd at all. Maybe if that were the SOLE criterion…even then it wouldn’t be that absurd.

        So brash and yet so wrong. Gotta love fangraphs.

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  6. Daniel says:

    Guyer was great at AA with a 370 BAbip. He had a 6.6% walk rate. Sure he hammered the ball but he’s 24. Don’t get too excited is all I’m saying. Chirinos could be a good backup guy. The Cubs think Koyie Hill is a good back-up guy so it’s all too possible that they have misread this one.

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  7. CircleChange11 says:

    The Cubs are really trying to contend in 2011? I would have thought that now would have been a good time to continue rebuilding.

    Clearly MIL, StL, and CIN are ahead of them and perhaps by a decent margin. I think you go for it if you have to beat/pass 1 maybe 2 other teams. They have to pass 3 teams that are ahead of them.

    I think they are going to be relying on far too many things to “go their way” than what could reasonably occur. They are going to be relying on aging players bouncing back to reasonable levels of their former glory. Young players developing quickly, or maintaining their good/great performances over a SSS, as well as, their SP’s maintaining good 2010 performances or returning to their previously better seasons. Not to be ignorant, but it’s “typical Cub thinking”.

    What troubles me most about Garza in Chicago is his fly ball propensity. During the past three seasons only six pitchers have allowed fly balls at a rate greater than Garza. Since Wrigley Field is quite a bit more homer-friendly than Tropicana Field, we could see Garza allow a few more fly balls to leave the park.

    Which is relevant for a pitcher whose HR/FB rate has gone up in each of his last 3 years, and is no longer a positive for him.

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    • GiantHusker says:

      I thought the Giants should dump their older players and rebuild last season. Egg doesn’t taste nearly as good on my face.

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      • Franco says:

        The difference is the NL West has been in play for any team in the division every year for awhile now, including next year. It’s tough to purposely punt a season away there like the Pads have been trying.

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      • JayT says:

        You’d be hard pressed to convince me the NL Central is much better then the West.
        The Cardinals have done nothing to fix their problems this offseason, The Reds, who I think are the favorites, are going to regress some, and the Brewers, while improved are still no better then a 85-90 win team.
        I think 88 wins will take the Central.

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      • --.--.-.--.- says:

        My dad (a giants fan) and I (a reds fan, but giants are my 2nd favorite team) thought the exact same thing. Although I disagreed with him about some of their late season trades (I felt if you have the shot to go for it you definitely should, he thought they should just go young) neither of us saw the WS happening. goes to show you never know.

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    • GrouchoM says:

      Oh sure, because the wind blows out in every game, right? Wrigley Field is NOT the bandbox you think it is.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        Nobody said bandbox. Wind blows in for about half the year, wind blows out the other half. Air starts off cold as heck, hot and humid as hell for 3 monthes and then back to cold.

        Don’t like the windy conditions? Just wait 5 minutes, it’ll change.

        Wind is not the only factor in Wrigley. The dimensions heading toward CF are not as deep as some other parks. CF and the lines are fine.

        A flyball pitcher can succeed in Wrigley, just as a LHP can be successful in Fenway … just not that many do.

        Any issues with Garza’s performance will likely be due to HR/9 and team defense. I think the difference in LF play is going to be shocking for him. If the metrics were right, Crawford was like having 2 LF’s. Soriano is not. I have no idea how Soriano is +55 Defensive Runs in his 4 years as a Cub. Seriously, no idea.

        Garza should be basically fine, unless that HR/9 keeps increasing each year.

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    • chuckb says:

      What if the Cubs are able to turn around and trade Randy Wells to the D-backs for Kelly Johnson? That’s a 2-3 win upgrade at 2B and is probably neutral in the rotation due to the addition of Garza. I don’t know if the D-backs would be interested, but Wells has been a +3 win player for 2 years and has 4 years of team control. That would probably move the Cubs into the 85-87 win area and give them a legitimate shot at a division in which there are 3 other pretty good, but not great, teams.

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  8. Goose says:

    Ted Lilly was able to succeed in Chicago despite a high fly ball rate. I would venture to guess he is one of the 6 pitchers who have had a higher rate over the last 3 years.

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    • Joe Pawlikowski says:

      What’s odd about Lilly is that his FB% took a jump when he got to Chicago.

      And yes, he is No. 1 on that list.

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      • BassmanUW says:

        I think the key for Garza is going to have to be getting his K/9 rate back up closer to where it was in 2009 than where it was last year without having a corresponding BB/9 jump. When Lilly was a Cub he averaged a K/9 better than Garza did last year. If Garza can get a K/9 closer to 8, he should be able to succeed in Wrigley in my opinion. But if he’s got a 35% GB% and is only striking out only 6.60 batters/9 innings, I don’t see an ERA jump as very likely despite the league change. We’ll have to see if Riggins will have the same talent for increasing K rates of his pitchers that Rothschild did.

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      • jirish says:

        I don’t find that odd-the dimensions of most of the ballparks in the NL West help hold in an awful lot of fly balls. I’d assume Lilly worried less about letting the ball get put in the air.

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      • jirish says:

        Okay, I have no brain pan. I read and responded to your comment about Lilly’s fly ball % jumping when he got to Chicago mistakenly thinking the rate upped in LA-because I didn’t read too carefully.

        OOOPS!

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  9. Bob says:

    Perez has all of 107 appearances in the majors and he’s 27 so I would say he’s organizational filler equal to Sam Fuld.

    I agree with a lot of what Daniel wrote in terms of why the Cubs want to pretend they’re contenders to put butts in the seats, but I’m perplexed by the Cashner-as-starter love. The bullpen is where he belongs, long term, at least to me. That’s what Klaw thinks too, for what it’s worth.

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  10. CubsFan says:

    I also agree with a lot of Daniel’s post regarding what motivates the Cubs front office, but I’m in disagreement on Cashner. That guy was terrible last season, primarily b/c he relied on his fastball too heavily. I feel that Cashner should be fine tuning his other offerings as a starter in the minors.

    I don’t think this is a move for 2011 at all. The Cubs budget will allow them to absorb Garza’s arbitration salaries. Not the smartest way to do business, but I can’t say that I’m unhappy about getting a solid #2 or #3 starter for a package that didn’t include any can’t-miss guys.

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    • Jason says:

      I disagree with Cashner as “terrible” last season; he definitely started as such, but his K-rate increased, and walk rate decreased, every month of the season he got significant time in. I do want him to start, but I think he also has the stuff to relieve.

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    • Daniel says:

      I’m not at all sure that Cashner can make it as a starter. If he brought control like he showed last year then he definitely wouldn’t make it. His MiL stats do at least suggest that he could get his BB/9 below 4. He showed good groundball tendencies last year (48%) which didn’t tally with his 1.33 HR/FB rate so there’s reason to imagine he was unlucky. He’s worth a shot. The worst that could happen is he has a few terrible starts and he gets moved back to the minors. I think we’ll hear a lot of noises in the spring about how they’re giving him a chance and they might even do. Presumably we’ll see Gorzo traded, which is fine because he’s someone I think does belong in the ‘pen, but that still leaves six into five. There’s not much point moving Silva to the’pen, I suppose, but he won’t go 200 innings. I hope Wells doesn’t get traded. Oh, I don’t know, who knows what they’re at?

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      • Doug says:

        Cashner, as a relief pitcher who only threw about 50 innings, had two consecutive appearances that royally destroyed his numbers. I believe they were July 27 and 30th.

        He allowed, in those two appearances 12ER had 1K 1UIBB and 3HR in 1.1IP.

        Without those two appearances he otherwise had a season of:
        2.87ERA 4.30FIP and I have no idea how to do xFIP.

        All the same that’s far from terrible for a rookie. Sure it’s not spectacular and it’s coming from the pen, but it’s still a small sample size and he can certainly improve.

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  11. Dan says:

    Paid a little too much, but if this allows them to trade Gorzelanny and get a prospect or two in return, it might work out ok. I’m glad I didn’t see Brett Jackson or Cashner in the deal. A little upset about Archer and Lee as I could see them be solid contributors in the future, but overall ok in my opinion.

    I agree with a ton of the comments, but one I want to add is that the Cubs are not all that bad going into the year. This may be a lot of if’s, but if Pena can turn the corner a little bit with his avg and get it up to .230 with power, Aramis stays healthy and the pitching stays about the same as last year, I could see them contending for the division title pretty easily. On top of that, Garza is controlled for 3 years when they will be able to re-tool their roster with FA and the depth from their system.

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  12. MDB says:

    The Cubs would have been better off signing a free agent like Lily and keeping their prospects.

    Meanwhile the Rays got a haul that’s at least close to what the Royals got for Grienke no?

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  13. Paul says:

    So Hak-Ju Lee, the supposedly great future MLB SS struggled last year in low class A ball, but apparently his prospect status has not taken a hit. Meanwhile, advanced metrics dinged Garza for not striking out as many guys, while maintaining the same ERA, BABIP and LOB% from previous seasons, but folks are down on Garza?

    Isn’t it obvious that the Rays acquired Archer as a closer, which many folks think is necessary anyway given his high arm slot and poor command? Starting pitching is not a weakness in their system, but Archer could provide them plenty of value as a late innings reliever.

    However, even if he’s a top 10 closer, that’s a 1-1.5 WAR player. If you read the BA analysis of both players, McNutt is CLEARLY the better prospect, yet he’s ranked #3 while Archer is #1.

    The Cubs have one the best young players in baseball at SS, who is coming off a terrific rookie season (yes, 20 year olds have concentration lapses from time to time – surprise!). Lee, who in my opinion is hugely over-rated based on tools that have not so far translated to the field, is organizational filler with the presence of Castro.

    Is there any point really in discussing Fuld and Guyer?

    I think this is a huge win for the Cubs. The argument that they cannot compete next year is silly. How many folks on these very pages said the same thing about the Giants last year when they signed Huff? The fact is the Cubs acquired a legit #3 in the toughest division in baseball for a bunch of guys who are redundant in their system, hugely over-rated, and organizational players. In that context, you don’t ask yourself if your team can compete next year, you just improved it by trading a bunch of guys you truly don’t need/are not that good.

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    • GrouchoM says:

      Lee will be lucky to evolve into Alcides Escobar in 5 years. Hendry sold Archer at the absolute peak of his value. Guyer was 25 and only in AA. Fuld is a AAAA player. But the insane dreaming and wishcasting of Chirinos is incredible. Nobody has even mentioned his myriad of injuries he is as well. He hasn’t played over 100 games since 2007 and has never played more than 126 in any season. The Rays will be lucky if any of these players become an average player in the major leagues. Meanwhile, the Cubs picked up an above average and cost controlled starter for at least 3 years and most likely more if he pitches well. They will have plenty of money to sign him too. They only have $62.5 million obligated in ’12 and $19 from ’13 on. It’ll only take about $10M to sign all the arbitration eligible players in 2012 too.

      Anyone who thinks the Cubs got taken is just a hater and doesn’t know anything about prospects.

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    • CircleChange11 says:

      Reading about the Cubs prospects at THT vs. BA shows two different views.

      BA has them rated rather highly, THT not so much …. except for Brett Jackson.

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  14. Ender says:

    The deal is fine simply because they have Garza for at least 3 years and if he likes it in Chicago easily could be longer. Getting 3 years of a pitcher hitting his prime who can post a sub 4 ERA in the AL East is extremely valuable.

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  15. JRoss says:

    Even if this trade ends up going terrible wrong, which i don’t think it will. It can’t possibly end up as bad as the Pat Burrell signing can it?

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  16. Sox2727 says:

    There seems to be mixed opinions on the prospects involved: The Keith Law’s of the world seem to think the Rays got a better return for Garza than the Royals did for Greinke and I personally agree. I think if you’re going to trade 3 of your top 10 prospects you need to get a player of Greinke’s caliber and not Garza. Don’t mistake what I’m saying here, I think Garza will be good for the Cubs I personally believe it is an overpay. If you were going to deal 3 of your top 10 prospects, why not make a run at Greinke (I don’t know if they did or not)?

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    • Jonathan says:

      Because Garza had a better year than Greinke last year (look up the numbers if you dont believe me). And he was in a much tougher division.

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  17. Marktmurphy5 says:

    My impression of Garza is that when he’s on he’s nasty, but has trouble settling himself down when he hits a rough patch in a game. He seemed to be making a conscious effort to control that this past year. It’ll be interesting to see how he reacts to the ups and downs of adjusting to new league and smaller park.

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  18. 81 says:

    Cubs fans are morbidly optimistic about their prospects. As a marginally objective Cubs fan, I like this deal for the reasons listed above.

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  19. cjett says:

    Regardless of what prospects they gave up, I don’t see how this deal really makes the Cubs that much better. Garza is a decent piece, but the assumption is that now Wells or Gorzelanny will get traded. Both FIP and xFIP say that Wells and Gorzo had better years last year. Even if we want to project Garza’s numbers a little better because he’ll be moving out of the AL east, it seems unlikely he will be more than a 1 win upgrade over Wells or Gorzo, and he will cost lot more money. I just don’t see that getting the cubs past the brewers, cards, and reds. Not to mention the fact that if Gorzo is traded, they have a lefty-less rotation.

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  20. Jonathan says:

    What seems to be forgotten is that the Cubs traded away future, in terms of prospects, for future AND present. With Garza already an impact player at the age of 27, and still under team control for three more seasons at presumably reasonable salary, the Cubs have added talent for now and later. They traded away, what I consider, one valuable prospect to the organization and three prospects of minimal value (to the Cubs organization). Archer, assuming he stays a starter, is the obvious loss for the cubs, But that still goes without saying that he could end up being a closer in the majors and therefore is blocked by Marmol. Lee is blocked by Starlin. Chirinos is blocked by Soto, and Guyer is considered by most to be a future career fourth OFer. The Cubs got a solid 2nd starter (who in the NL could develop into an ace) for depth, not impact.

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  21. Smart Dude says:

    This is funny. Cubs and win in the same sentence…

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  22. Tigerdog says:

    Where does “THE GM NEEDS TO SAVE HIS JOB” enter the discussion, here?
    If the guy’s arse is on the line, he’ll gladly over pay in prospects to land the best starting pitcher that can be had via trade or free agency. See Brewers, Milwaukee, where the GM obliterated his farm system (not saying he shouldn’t have) for two pitchers for his rotation that will help him win before Cecil’s kid splits town.

    I’m just sayin- GM’s are under a great deal of pressure to win now, and it often forces them to make rash moves to do so. Such is the case here, IMO.

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  23. Sox27 says:

    Lee is just a marginal piece? This is a guy who is supposedly so talented defensively he was going to move Castro to second. So if Garza outperformed Greinke last year, we should just forget about the 2 years prior to that when Greinke outperformed Garza?

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  24. Mitchener says:

    Over the last four seasons (his last year with the Twins and his time with the Rays), he has bore down with runners in scoring position. Opponents have hit .213, .218, .214 and .197 against him in such situations. The combined .210 opponents’ batting average ranks among the very best in the sport, just ahead of Josh Johnson and Tim Lincecum.

    maybe thats why he outperforms his FIP

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