Cubs Get a Big Return From the Rangers For Matt Garza

The Chicago Cubs traded Matt Garza to the Texas Rangers today, first reported by Ken Rosenthal. The initial deal from Rosenthal looked big.

Jess Passan added the third piece going to Chicago, and said there’s also a player to be named later.

The end result is that the Cubs will get Mike Olt, C.J. Edwards, Justin Grimm, and a PTBNL for two months of Garza. Let’s take a look at where each of those players stood this year to get an idea how big the return was.

Mike Olt, 3B - He was the number 44 prospect in Baseball America’s mid-season top 50 that was released a few weeks ago. A similar value from the Pirates would be Alen Hanson, who was the #39 prospect on the same list.

C.J. Edwards, RHP - John Sickels graded him a Grade C+ pitcher prior to the year. He has been dominating in low-A this year, with a 1.83 ERA and a 122:34 K/BB ratio in 93.1 innings. He can sit 94-96 MPH at times, and has touched as high as 98, but is usually 90-94. I wouldn’t say he’s equal to Tyler Glasnow, but I think he can safely be upgraded to a Grade B pitching prospect.

Justin Grimm, RHP - He was a Grade B pitcher at the start of the year and is close to the majors. Baseball America had him as the fifth best prospect in the Rangers system at the start of the year. He made 17 starts in the majors this year, with a 6.37 ERA in 89 innings, along with a 6.9 K/9 and a 3.1 BB/9 ratio. He’s 24 this year, and could be a potential middle of the rotation starter. I don’t know if he’d still be a Grade B pitcher with his struggles this year in the majors.

Yesterday I was joking at how some Cubs fans were saying a deal would have to include Tyler Glasnow, Nick Kingham, and Luis Heredia to get Garza. It turns out the Pirates might have needed more than that trio of pitchers to beat the Rangers. They probably would have needed to deal Hanson, and two of those pitchers, plus whatever value comes from the PTBNL. I estimate the return for Garza to be anywhere from $27 M to $33 M, depending on whether you view Grimm as a Grade B or C prospect.

By comparison, I estimated that Garza only had $2.8 M in surplus value for the rest of the year. That value is what he brings beyond his salary. Even if you don’t care about the money and just look at his value, he’s worth about 1.5 wins, or about $7 M over the rest of the season. So just giving Mike Olt is a big return for a rental pitcher.

I wrote the other day that MLB should move back the trade deadline, as you’ve got very few teams who are currently sellers. I also wrote over the weekend about how the trade market looks weak. Garza was definitely the top name on the market. That weak market, plus the lack of teams selling and the increase in teams that are buying means we’re probably looking at a huge seller’s market. It definitely appears that way when two months of Garza lands a top 50 prospect, plus two more talented pitching prospects.

Keep that in mind for any past or future trade values. If the Pirates — or any other team trading this year — want a player, they’re probably going to have to pay more than what his value is worth to get him.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • CalipariFan506

    Well personally I would prefer to see a seller’s market generally speaking. It helps with the overall parity around MLB.

    but I’m glad the Pirates didn’t ante up enough to get this deal done.

  • Stephen Brooks

    Figures it would be a sellers’ market just when the Pirates become buyers.

    Can we find out what it will take to get Adam Lind?

    • jg941

      Not a bad idea. Gotta move Jones, though, if you do that.

  • emjayinTN

    Mike Olt would have grown Olt waiting to get into the lineup in Texas. The Rangers have Adrian Beltre at 3B signed for 2 more years and another year as a club option, and Jurickson Profar who is now playing 2B and utility IF relief. The pitching is a tossup. Nice move by both GM’s, and I am glad to see Garza out of the NL Central.

  • rburgh

    Soooooo glad to see Garza go elsewhere if this was the price. Rangers overpaid big time unless you buy into the Olt doubters, who have grown in quantity and volume with the year he’s had, both pre- and post-Lasik (I presume that’s what they did to him, no positive info).

    Of course, this doesn’t bode well for getting Peavy either. Rangers must have been very desperate, although they have 3 years to grow another 3B in the minors – I’m sure they think they can do it with their stable of minor league IFs.

    • Y2JGQ2

      Good thing we don’t need a starting pitcher- moving on.

      • Michael Caldwell

        There is no such thing as to much pitching.

    • Michael Caldwell

      The Rangers paid what the market would bare, and if the Cubs could’ve gotten a better deal elsewhere, they would have. Depth, which the Pirates have thanks to an excellent FO, is what allows the Rangers to do what they did. Lack of depth is why Baltimore settled for Scott Feldman.

      Texas’ system is still stocked, though not as well as it once was, but they didn’t give up anything they couldn’t afford to give up.

  • csnumber23

    Texas gave way too much!! Thankfully the Pirates did not.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD

    Garza is a very good starting pitcher, who would help any team. But, to get him for just 2 months as a rental, I am glad the Pirates did not do what the Rangers just did.

    It may pay off for Texas this year, as they needed another starting pitcher to get in the playoffs – but, in 3-5 years, they may be sorry they made this deal.

  • NickP

    I agree that Olt more or less equals Hanson, but I don’t think Leslie+Grim=Kingham+Heredia at all. Still, the Rangers overpaid

  • buccotime57

    It makes no sense at all why teams do this…its so tunnel vision look at the rays during the offseason trading james shields for will myers, once again who is in contention?

    • IC Bob

      You say its tunnel vision but looking at the Rangers recently would suggest they know what thy are doing more so then our Pirates. The Rangers are playing for the WS. Until otherwise proven the Bucs are playing for a +500 record.

      • Y2JGQ2

        well Bob “knowing what you are doing” has nothing to do with throwing barrels of cash at people. They have the ability to blow their prospect well bone dry and then use free agency to recoop. We can’t. Economically speaking, the Rangers would be far better off to follow our lead at this point.

  • IC Bob

    As for the Market being a sellers market I am not sure thats the case. Maybe for top of the line starters but I think there will be a good amount of RFs available for minimal salary. I want Morse from Seattle. That guy just mashes and he is also clutch. If he can get healthy he would be a HUGE offensive upgrade.

    • NickP

      I agree. I’m a big Morse fan

  • jg941

    $33 million in prospect value (Grimm is a B prospect – he’s was the #5 guy in their very good system before he came up) for $2.8 million in surplus value on Garza.

    Hate to say it, but……brilliant deal for the Cubs. Well played, Theo.

  • CalipariFan506

    The reason the market is good for sellers is that teams like San Francisco, Toronto, Philadelphia and Kansas City refuse to give up on lost seasons.

  • TNBucs

    Dave Cameron posted in his trade value series that he’s finally been convinced by friends inside front offices that teams value having exclusive negotiating rights. That almost has to be a factor for the Rangers to justify this deal (and they have the money to extend him).

    • rburgh

      This is surely true – but what value the negotiating rights? Suppose you get him to extend for 3 years at $40 million.

      Assuming that the going rate for 1 WAR is $5 million, you need to get 8 WAR back from him over those 3 years to break even. You need to get 14 WAR over those 3 years to cover the value of the prospects you gave up to get him.

      From 2008 to 2010, he totaled 8.5 WAR; his peak year there was 3.5 (from bbref). So IF he manages to match his best consecutive 3 year WAR total, 3 years at $40 million nets you a “profit” of about $2.5 million. If he matches his best year ever, 3 times in a row, he is at 10.5 WAR and you are up $12.5 million.

      Good luck Rangers. Give me the Rays’ philosophy every time.

  • George Hareras

    Good trade for both sides… The Cubs get a pretty good haul for Garza and the Rangers get the prize of the trade market. One thing the Rangers have going for them is the more payroll flexibility they have. Someone commented above about how the trade could come back to bite the Rangers in a few years, well Texas has the money to go out and bring in a FA after Beltre’s contract expires. Win-Win for both teams IMO

  • Y2JGQ2

    We, if we are smart, will wait till the waiver deadline, which occurs later, and will have more people in the selling market. We usually see some pretty high ranking players get through and the cost will be far less

    • smurph

      You are correct Y2JG. I believe the Cubbies had a deal with the Rangers a few days ago, but wanted to see if the Pirates would up the ante. Good job by Theo. Sellers will become more accommodating at the deadline. Besides, the Pirates need is a hitter, not a SP.

  • Jeremy J Stein

    Replacing Grim with Garza in the rotation might be enough for the Rangers to win the division but Oakland has been pretty good this year. Wild card spot might be even tougher to get with the way Boston, Tampa and Baltimore are playing.
    It remains a posibility that the Rangers miss the playoffs.
    If the Rangers are able to resign Garza, then the trade is probably a decent one for them.

  • buster09

    Well said Jeremy. That trade guarantees the Rangers nothing but a little better chance to make the playoffs,and I do mean little.

  • IC Bob

    I think the Rangers have done quite well for themselves. Their ability to find and develop prospects is second to none. I think asking a team who has been to the WS twice in the last three years and was one out away from being champions to follow the lead of a team who hasn’t had a winning record in 20 years is kind of laughable. I get what you are saying but it could be that you are way over rating their prospects and way under rating Garza.

  • Michael Caldwell

    As a Cubs fan, I’m very pleased with the return, but I’d have rather Garza been helping the Pirates beat the Deadbirds and the Reds. There is some speculation the Pirates might be interested in some other Cubs assets.

    Nate Schierholtz (.272/.331/.506 in 288 PA) would definitely help you. He’s solid, and he’s battle tested.

    Luis Valbuena (.236/.347/.402 in 301 PA) could prove useful as well. He’d probably make your infield defense better by allowing Alvarez to slide over to first, and you don’t lose much offense as Valbuena has .749 OPS as compared to a .756 OPS for Garrett Jones. He can also play a solid second base.

    Also, if Grilli is going to be down any significant amount of time, you all might consider Kevin Gregg as a cheap substitute. He’s pitched very respectably with and ERA/FIP/xFIP of 2.80/3.73/3.60 and a K/9 of 8.92 versus a BB/9 of 3.57.

    Something else to consider. Schierholtz and Valbuena wouldn’t be rentals. Schierholtz isn’t a FA until after 2014, and Valbuena 2016.

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