There was a lot of hype this offseason about the Cubs trading Matt Garza and there were a lot of names thrown around. Much of it was speculation, so we can't know for certain if these were the players the Cubs were talking about (if they were talking at all). Even though it's early and it's looking more and more like the Cubs are leaning toward giving Garza an extenstion, I decided to take a peek and see how the prospects traded for Garza are doing as well as some of the rumored/speculated names we heard in the offseason.
First off, here Matt Garza's early numbers...
1-0, 1.23 ERA (2.48 FIP), 1.84 walk ratio/ 8.59 strikeout ratio.
Players traded for Matt Garza
- Chris Archer, RHP, (AAA): 1-1, 10.38 ERA, 9.35 walk rate, 10.38 K Rate,
- Hak-Ju Lee, SS, (AA): .204/.291/.245. 2 doubles, 6 walks, 12 strikeouts, 2 SBs
- Brandon Guyer, OF (AAA): .186/.300/.349, 1 2B, 2 HRS, 6 walks, 10 strikeouts
- Robinson Chirinos, C (Rays): .218/.283/.309, 2 2Bs, 1 HR, 5 walks, 13 strikeouts
- Sam Fuld: Injured
While it's early, there has to be concern with Archer's control/command issues and you have to think he's getting that much closer to being converted into a reliever. Lee, meanwhile, has struggled for parts of two seasons at AA. Combined he's hitting .195 and slugging just .289 in 169 combined PAs. It's still a pretty small sample size, but it's worth noting that he has yet to adjust to more advanced pitching. Like many of the Cubs own infield prospects, slugging is the key for Lee to hit that next level and Lee did slug a very respectable .443 last season in high A ball, so it could be just a matter of him adjusting to AA pitching. Guyer and Chirinos are backup types and the Cubs seem to be doing fine with backup OF'er types and catchers in their system.
Players rumored/speculated as coming to the Cubs
- Jacob Turner, RHP (AAA): Injured. Lost velocity this spring and the Tigers have held him back since.
- Andy Oliver, LHP (AAA): 0-1, 2.79, 8.38 walk rate, 12.10 strikeout rate
- Casey Crosby, LHP (AAA):, 0-2, 9.00, 7., 71 walk rate, 9.00 strikeout rate
- Drew Smyly, LHP (Tigers): 4 IP, 2.25 ERA, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts
- Nick Castellanos, 3B (A+): .372/.404/.512, 3 2Bs, 1 HR, 3 walks/12 strikeouts
Castellanos and Smyly are off to decent starts. Smyly had one horrendous start in AAA but pitched fairly well in his debut. Oliver has a nice ERA but that walk rate indicates he's still struggling with command and will likely end up a reliever.
- Martin Perez, LHP (AAA): 1-1, 2.60 ERA, 3.12 walk rate/6.23 strikeout rate
- Neil Ramirez, RHP (AAA): 0-1, 5.00 ERA, 3.00 walk rate/10.00 K rate
- Mike Olt, 3B, (AA): .209/.277/.419, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 4 walks/15 Ks
I didn't put Jurickson Profar on this list because I didn't think the Cubs had a chance of getting him but if you're curious, he's off to a slow start with a .214 average and 3 HRs. I was also hesitant to put Perez on this list because I don't think Texas will part with him, but you'd think the Cubs would insist on Perez if they were to trade Garza, which seems unlikely at this point.
- Manny Banuelos, LHP (AAA): 0-1, 10.13 ERA, 11.81 walk rate/3.38 K rate
- Jesus Montero, C/DH (Seattle): .286/.270/.400, 1 2B, 1 HR, 0 walks/6 strikeouts
- Delin Betances, RHP (AAA): 0-2, 10.38 ERA, 7.62 walk rate/9.00 K rate
So far, not so good. Serious control problems for both "frontline" pitchers, particularly Banuelos. You have to wonder if these guys, like Archer, wind up as bullpen arms. Montero has a nice bat but he should be a DH.
From Red Sox
- Will Middlebrooks, 3B, (AAA): .333/.347/.538, 3 2B, 3 HRs, 1 walk
- /9 Ks
- Anthony Raunado, RHP (AA): Injured. Reportedly not serious, but has yet to pitch in 2012
- Xander Bogaerts, SS, (A+): .289/.357/.444, 3 2Bs, 1 HR, 3 walks/9 Ks
I doubt the Red Sox would part with Bogaerts, but I mentioned him because he's a guy the Cubs would almost certainly ask for. Middlebrooks is off to a nice start with the bat and there's a sense that Kevin Youkilis won't be in Boston much longer. Also, in case you're wondering, compensation arm Aaron Kurcz is at AA where he has an 0-1 record with an 8.22 ERA in 4 relief appearances. He has 5 walks vs. 9 strikeouts in 7.2 IP.
From Blue Jays
- Anthony Gose, CF (AAA): .163/.263/.180, 1 extra base hit (double), 6 walks/12 strikeouts, 3 SBs in 6 attempts
- Travis D'Arnaud, C, (AAA): .222/.317/.306, 3 2Bs, 5 walks/6 strikeouts
- Drew Hutchinson, RHP (AA): 2-1, 2.16 ERA, 1.62 walks/6.48 strikeouts
- Deck McGuire, RHP (AA): 0-2, 9.90 ERA, 1.80 walks/9.90 strikeouts, has given 11 hits, 5 have been HRs
- Jake Marisnick, CF (A+): .238/.400/.429, 4 2Bs, 2 3Bs, 7 walks/11 strikeouts, 3 sBs in 4 attempts
- Noah Syndergaard, RHP (A-): 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 3 walks/14 strikeouts in 9 IP (2 starts)
- Justin Nicolino, RHP, (A-): 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1.5 walks/12.00 Ks in 6 IP (1 start)
The lower level Blue Jay pitchers are off to great starts. Hutchinson is also performing well in AA while Marsinick has a hit for some extra base power and has a solid OBP despite a low batting average. As always, I'm not suggesting these names are actually in play. It's doubtful right now that Toronto would part with some of these prospects (particularly Syndegaard) at this point.
I'm not advocating trading or not trading Garza here. I'm simply following up on some of the rumors/speculations we heard during the winter. My impression is that a Garza trade is not being discussed at this point, but I thought it'd fun to look at what might have been in terms of former and would-be prospects are doing early in the season.