Kaplan: Cubs agree to deal with Rays for Garza


Kaplan: Cubs agree to deal with Rays for Garza

Friday, Jan. 7, 2011
10:14 AM Updated 11:12 AM

By David Kaplan

The Cubs made a move to shore up their rotation by trading five prospects for Tampa Bay Rays starter Matt Garza. The 27-year-old Garza comes at a very high price as the Cubs will send four of their better prospects to acquire a pitcher that many in baseball believe will be one of the game's elite over the next few years.

Sources tell CSN that the Cubs and Rays have consummated an eight-player deal that will send pitcher Chris Archer, shortstop Hak-Ju Lee, outfielder Brandon Guyer, catcher Robinson Chirinos, and minor league outfielder Sam Fuld to to the Rays for Garza and two prospects.

Two major league scouts I just spoke with believes that the Cubs made a very astute deal because none of the prospects are superstar level guys. "Sure the Cubs gave up a lot to land Garza who is not yet a star. However, he is on the path to being a dominant starter plus he is under the Cubs control for three more seasons Those types of guys come at a very high price. None of the players that the Cubs gave up are elite. Good players yes. Elite? No."

Jim Kallis, a Minor League expert from Baseball America agrees.

"Chris Archer is a very good prospect with excellent upside. Lee, Guyer, Chirinos are all nice players. Sam Fuld is ajourneyman. Garza has a chance to be a No. 1 starter. I like the dealfrom a Chicago perspective a lot."

Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospect also likes the deal and told me, "The Cubs gave up some good players and depth, but did not give up any elite stars. Garza is 27-years-old, is injury free and has the potential to be a No. 1 starter. Plus, you have him under cost control for three years. That's a very impressive trade by Jim Hendry."

Stayed tuned for more on this developing story and watch Chicago Tribune Live tonight at 5:30 p.m. for the latest.

David Kaplan is the host of Chicago Tribune Live on Comcast SportsNet. Follow him on Twitter @thekapman.

If you can't wait for baseball to be back, take a look at the Cubs' spring training schedule


If you can't wait for baseball to be back, take a look at the Cubs' spring training schedule

Set your alarm, there are only three more months till baseball is back.

The Cubs announced their spring training schedule Monday, getting folks all amped up for the 34 exhibition games in February and March.

Spring game action gets started Feb. 23 out in Arizona, with the Cubs taking on the Milwaukee Brewers to kick off Cactus League play. The Cubs' first home spring game at Sloan Park in Mesa comes the next day, Feb. 24.

In addition to a 32-game Cactus League slate, the Cubs will take on the Cleveland Indians in a pair of exhibition games in Las Vegas. That 2016 World Series rematch comes March 17 and 18.

And of course, there will be three meetings with the White Sox, as both Chicago teams play their spring schedule out in Arizona. Those "Cactus Crosstown" games will be played Feb. 27 and March 10 in Mesa and March 16 in Glendale.

Here's the full schedule:

What if Jake Arrieta stays in the NL Central and repeatedly haunts the Cubs?

What if Jake Arrieta stays in the NL Central and repeatedly haunts the Cubs?

Jake Arrieta in a Brewers uniform?

That's not a sight Cubs fans would like to see, but the North Siders' I-94 rivals are apparently keen on trying to add Arrieta, the free-agent pitcher who's been one of the National League's top arms for the past several seasons.

The Cubs have their own decision to make on whether or not they're going to pursue re-signing Arrieta, a guy who over the past three seasons has posted a 2.71 ERA and struck out 589 batters, winning 54 games in 94 starts for a team that won the 2016 World Series and has advanced to three consecutive NL Championship Series.

The downside to losing Arrieta is obvious, as the Cubs would lose a huge part of their formidable starting rotation, but there would be an added downside if Arrieta were to remain in the NL Central and repeatedly haunt his former team.

Given Arrieta's track record, adding him would make sense for any team in the majors, but the Brewers in particular could use a front-of-the-line starting pitcher to boost their chances of besting the Cubs for the Central crown. The Brew Crew staged a surprising threat to do just that in 2017, perhaps proving that their rebuilding effort has yielded fruit ahead of schedule.

But there are questions in that rotation, with Jimmy Nelson expected to miss time next season after having shoulder surgery. Chase Anderson was great last season, and Zach Davies was solid, too. Brewers starters posted an ERA of 4.10 on the season, good for fifth in the NL. The four teams ahead of them, including the Cubs, all made the playoffs. Adding an arm as good as Arrieta's could make the difference in jumping past the Cubs in the Central and getting the Crew to the postseason for the first time since 2011.

And it'd be a plus for the Brewers to make it so Arrieta couldn't shut down their hitters anymore. In 15 career starts against the Crew, Arrieta is 8-4 with a 2.74 ERA. However, they'd surely love to have him call Miller Park home. He's never lost there in five starts, boasting a 2.03 ERA with 30 strikeouts.

There's an argument to be made that Arrieta would be able to seek revenge on the Cubs no matter what team he ends up pitching for, be it an NL team facing off against the Cubs in the playoffs or an American League squad meeting the Cubs in the World Series. After all, as Scott Boras put it, signing Arrieta is a ticket to "Playoffville."

But should Arrieta make the short drive to Wisconsin and set up shop in America's Dairyland, turning the Brewers into a legitimate playoff contender and challenger to the Cubs' grip on the NL Central crown? Well, consider the Cubs-Brewers rivalry cranked up to 11.