Revisiting the Garza Trade | The Process Report

Revisiting the Garza Trade

On Monday, the Cubs traded Matt Garza to the Rangers for a five-player package highlighted by Mike Olt and Justin Grimm. The trade comes two and a half years after the Cubs acquired Garza, Fernando Perez, and Zachary Rosscup from the Rays in exchange for five players, thus providing an opportunity to review the standing of those players.

Chris Archer has become the crown jewel of the deal—at least so far—and perhaps it’s fitting that the excitable right-hander’s best big-league start occurred eight days before the trade. The shiny ERA has overshadowed some deeper issues still in need of attention. Archer’s future is in the rotation, but the development of his command and changeup will determine how far he goes. In a sense he bears some resemblance to Garza as a middle-of-the-rotation arm whose stuff may exceed his results.

Before tearing knee ligaments in a collision earlier this season, Hak-Ju Lee appeared on route to reach the majors sometime over the next year. Unfortunately the injury’s unknown effects have cast doubt on Lee’s future. His game is predicated on three plus-to-double-plus tools: His speed, glove, and arm. If the injury has a long-standing impact on his ability to range or run then he’s unlikely to live up to his billing as a potential above-average everyday shortstop. Of course it’s too early to know for certain whether that’ll be the case.

Brandon Guyer has dealt with injuries of his own as well, and missed most of last season due to shoulder surgery. Guyer continues to work his way back to the majors behind a tantalizing power-speed combination. Ultimately, though, it appears he’s missed his window to become a legitimate starting option for the Rays, and will have to settle for reserve work instead. That’s fine; Guyer should be an asset in the role. The question is when he’ll break in the majors for good; the answer might be next spring if the Rays don’t receive a fourth option year.

Sam Fuld was the first player covered in the original piece due to his proximity to the majors. While the original evaluation of his game—He’s not going to hit for much power, but he’s almost a perfect fit for the Rays’ lineup … he walks, puts the bat on the ball, plays good defense across the outfield, and can run the bases— remains true, the opening-day left-fielder prediction proved overzealous (though he did become a starter early in the season). Fuld has since proven himself to be a useful reserve outfielder, in addition to being an active member of the community—he should be praised in particular for his diabetes awareness work.

Robinson Chirinos is the only member of the trade no longer in the org. He too dealt with injuries, and missed the 2012 season due to a concussion. Chirinos has since been traded to the Rangers, with whom he’s taken to playing other positions again. He’ll turn 30 next June and thus far he’s yet to carve out a big-league niche. Time is not on his side, though the added versatile may put him position to claim a bench spot.

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