Garza with elbow stress reaction injury; Cubs to call up LHP Brooks Raley

Garza with elbow stress reaction injury; Cubs to call up LHP Brooks Raley
Brooks Raley

UPDATE: Matt Garza has a stress reaction on his elbow.  That's a relatively rare injury, but is becoming an increasingly common diagnosis.  Twins pitcher Anthony Slama had a similar issue.

The good news is that there appears to be no ligament damage but the injury does require a lot of rest.  We may not see Garza for the rest of this season.

According to Carrie Muskat, the Cubs will be calling up LHP Brooks Raley.

If you've been following my recaps and prospect updates, you know I've been a fan of Raley and have been speculating about his call-up for a couple of weeks now...

Here's what I wrote about him back on June 27th...

Raley would have been a 2nd round pick or so had teams considered him signable in the 2009 draft, receiving the 2nd highest bonus ($750,000) that year after Brett Jackson.  I'm giving him the edge over a guy like Rusin because of his athleticism and also because to me he repeats his delivery better. Additionally, I think his slider has a chance to be a solid out pitch and his slight uptick in strikeouts (7.4 at the AAA level, though it's a small sample size) is encouraging in that regard.  His stuff, particularly his breaking pitch, is a bit better than that of either Rusin or Jokisch, in my opinion, though none of these guys will overwhelm MLB hitters.  They're all, to some degree, mix and match, hit your spots type pitchers.   Raley  pitches at about 88-91 with some sinking action, though he can reach 93 with his 4 seamer if he needs to.  He throws a good slider and has a solid change.  He  has always had good control (2.2 walks/9 IP).  In some ways, he resembles current Cubs lefty Travis Wood because he has the tremendous athleticism to develop the good command that will help his average stuff play up more.  His upside is that of a #4 starter.  Raley is 4-2 with a 4.14 ERA at AAA (3.68 FIP).

Raley's ERA has since dropped to 3.62 even though he has lost his last 6 decisions.  His strikeout rate has also increased to 7.6 per 9 innings while keeping his walk rate constant.

The youth movement continues...

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  • Love to see the rotation with two lefties. I am excited to see the new kids and hope Sveum can bring out their best.

  • In reply to IVYADDICT:

    Really been wanting to see this kid as well. Think he has the chance to be as good as Maholm down the road.

  • John, Raley didn't show up on your top 20 prospect list that you put out after the lastest trades. Where would you put him at?

    Also, I'm excited to see Vitters and Jackson in the lineup tonight, do you think at this point there is any consideration by the FO to play guys like Jackson and VItters to spin the message back towards the future? Or is it purely the right time based on their performance and of those they are replacing?

  • In reply to Abe Froman:

    He was under consideration. Off the top of my head, I had guys like Jose Paniagua, Brooks Raley (my favorite of the Cubs collection of finesse lefties), Dustin Geiger, Marcus Hatley, Michael Jensen all on the edge there.

  • This doesn't bode well for maximizing Garza's remaining trade value.

    It begs the question of whether they'll consider moving Castro. I just get the feeling that these guys want to cash in a marketable player for a nice package of young arms. I don't necessarily advocate it but I don't get the impression that Theo & Jed are enamored with him.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    I get that impression about Castro from the FO as well. But the city has already gotten pretty attached to him, and with continuing questions regarding his overall mental makeup, it doesn't seem like they would be able to get enough back for him at this point to justify it to fans.

    I'm still in 'trust in Theo' mode, so if they trade him I won't be up in arms.

  • In reply to adamlweber:

    People we've talked to would take Castro in a heartbeat. It's not a matter of teams buying low, it's a matter of trying to put a package that's equal value for a 22 year old, cost-controlled, good defensive SS with tremendous bat potential. The cost is simply prohibitive.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    The other side of this, though: Theo and Jed have a serious problem right now. The plan, as far as i can see it, was to trade Dempster and Garza for good young pitchers that they could develop to start making runs in 2014. That plan is in tatters. So, they either have to go the free agent market -- and which FA pitchers out there do you want with Hamels off the market -- or find another asset to turn into pitching. Who, other than Castro or Rizzo, could conceivably bring top end pitching talent in return?

    I guess the other option is to put off being competitive until 2016 or so -- when the recently drafted pitcher develop -- but that's risky on several fronts.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Good thoughts Mike, I'd just add that I personally never thought that Theo and Jed were going to be able to avoid using the FA market to plug some holes. Patience on the North Side (even for our boy wonder FO) is going run out well before they can grow a team from scratch through the draft and minor leagues. Just my $0.02....

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I agree that it shouldn't shock us if they pull some blockbuster and trade him a la Miguel Cabrera traded from the Marlins to the Tigers. When it happened, people thought the Marlins got the better end of the deal as they got a couple of big time prospects in Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller, and some more.

    Although, IMO, (I think I stated this earlier) that Arizona is really looking for a short stop as stephew drew has really fallen out of favor w management. I wouldn't mind a package of Bauer/Skaggs/Corbin ( doubt they would trade Miley) and AJ Pollack/Ryan Wheeler (big time 3b prospect) along w some other low levels. We get 1 of those pitchers and 1 of those hitters, we should be ecstatic.

    Although I wouldn't put it past Theo to pull the big trade and bring Justin Upton over here somehow someway involving Castro or not. He's going to do something to get everyone talking about him real soon!

  • If Garza doesn't get some starts in before the end of the season, it diminishes his value in the offseason the same way not getting starts in before the trade deadline did.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    It sure wouldn't help his trade value any. Of course, putting a positive spin on it, it might just allow the Cubs to sign him to a more budget-friendly extension this winter. Probably more likely, Garza would refuse to sign an extension after this season and bank on his health and his numbers in 2013 helping him land a more lucrative deal close to what Hamels recently obtained. That wouldn't be bad at all for the Cubs though.....Garza has a big first half and they trade him next July for a boatload of young arms.....Blue Jays come to mind.

  • In reply to WSorBust:

    That's a good point. He comes out and lights it up in a contract year, teams might be willing to give up as much for him with only half a year left as they would have this year with his injury. My hope though is that they can squeeze a couple of good starts out of him by the end of the year and still deal him this offseason.

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    Re: Garza. What other organization in the history of sports would this happen to? Unbelievable.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    ummm, plenty?
    lets step back from the persecuted, woe-is-me angle for a second and realize that this is a pitcher with an arm injury. pretty sure the cubs aren't the only organization to experience such an occurrence.

  • In reply to Jack Collins:

    The timing of it couldn't be worse, though...his last start before the deadline when many GMs thought he had the most value of any SP on the market.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    And the booby prize would have been to trade him this winter when he still had some value because of his age and the year left on his contract. But the severity of the injury may prevent that, too.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    And he's been on the DL twice before this, so it's not like he's an injury prone pitcher.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    True...they think he might be back. Best news is that it isn't really any kind of structural damage. Maybe he pitches a little in winter ball to prove he's healthy they way Carlos Zambrano did last year.

  • I wouldn't have thought at the beginning of this season that we'd have a chance to see Raley on the Cubs this year, but he's had a very good year. To me, the increased K rate at AAA is very encouraging. It looks like he's starting to catch up a bit after having essentially started out at Daytona and being in over his head a bit last year in AA. Ideally, you'd give a guy like him another half season or so of AAA, but we don't really have a whole lot of rotation candidates at this point.

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    I've always been a big Garza fan. Love the energy and attitude he brings everyday. This whole situation could work out for the best if he's out for an extended period because that gives the Cubs an opportunity to audition several prospects and see exactly what they need to go out and get this winter.

    Maybe Raley does well and factors into the 2013 rotation. Same for Volstad v3.0. Wood continues to develop as does Samardzija. At least FO would know what they need and who they don't in 2013.

    I think the presence of a solid veteran to anchor the rotation is vital. Not a good thing to throw the staff on Shark's shoulders for next year.
    Garza would be back 100% in the spring, and if he stays healthy, could be a key piece for next year's team.

  • Can't wait to see this lineup tonight...

    Jackson, CF
    Barney, 2B
    Rizzo, 1B
    Alfonso Soriano, LF
    Castro, SS
    Castillo, C
    Vitters, 3B
    Mather, RF
    Travis Wood, P

  • In reply to adamlweber:

    Agreed. Looking forward to seeing what these kids can do.

  • Lendy with a 1,2 ,3 inning in the first. . Future Watch .

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    He only pitched 2 innings. Makes me think, since his rehab time is almost up, that he'll come back in the pen. Maybe they revisit the starter issue later.

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    Garza is killing me. I drafted him in my big fantasy league in the 5th round and was really looking forward to starting him this week in big Petco! He also lined up for 2 starts this week too! When I lose this week and somehow don't make the playoffs, I am going to be real upset w you Matt Garza! just playing, you were my favorite cub going into this year (just in case he's reading :) )

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I believe he is changing the baby's diapers now.

  • Options on Garza are -

    * Rest him until next year Spring Training
    * Trade him in the off season (highly unlikely now)
    * make him pitch two more time this season ( highly unlikely)
    * sign him to a long term contract (not in Theo's plan)
    * trade him next July ( most likely)
    * offer him a one year contract ( which Garza will reject) after 2013 to get a draft pick

    If Garza gets traded next July, his new team will not get a draft pick if he leaves them. And the Cubs might get less of a value, unless many teams need pitching and Garza is pitching great and healthy.

    One good aspect on trading Garza....he is not a 10-5 player.

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    God I hope the Cubs can score or Dale is really going to be double guessed on his lineup vs the mighty Eric Stultz !

  • Not good timing for Garza to go to DL. Unless he surprises people and comes back sooner than expected and pitches this season again. Somewhat surprised to hear Castro mentioned here as possible trade candidate, I wouldn't mind if they moved him if he brought back what the team needs to contend in a couple of years. Not sure how widely that view would be shared by other cubs fans, does makeup matter that much. Seemed to have in Rizzo's case, maybe it will factor in with castro.too. I think you have to look at everyone as being "in play". Unless waiting another generation or two for a championship is ok with everyone. Make take some patience with some players like Garza, and some bold moves with other players like Castro to get it done.

  • As much as I'd like to see Raley achieve his ceiling as a #4 starter (the Cubs seem to only have a lot of back-of-the-rotation hopefuls, a woeful situation), the real story here is Garza's trade value. During the off season, I hoped that the Cubs would trade high on Garza, but they gambled with their best asset for the rebuild and tried to squeeze maximum value out of him. Gambling like that from a position of weakness was a mistake. I'd guess that whatever teams were offering for Garza during last year's trade deadline, and during the off season, would look pretty good right now. The FO insisted on three super duper prospects for Garza (if Bruce Levine is to be believed in his chats from that time) and now we'll be lucky to get one.
    The front office gambled and got unlucky.

  • The Cubs need pitching and Graza is already a pretty good one. He has top of the rotation stuff and bottom of the ratation presents. I would think that with this injury that Graza should be concerned about financial security and sign an extention without breaking the bank. He is only 28 so he could have another big contact in his future and the Cubs could look elsewhere for a top rotation guy. He likes Chicago and will become less hyper with age. Good fit?

  • I think people are looking at this all the wrong way. Instead of looking at this as a zero-sum game, are opponents loss is are gain or vice versa, an enormous opportunity just opened up for the Cubs. If Garza is unable to pitch the rest of the season, which based on the orthopedic expertise of Crockett is looking like a real possibility, Garza will go into the offseason with a lot of question marks, which will reduce his value to other teams in the trade market. This leaves the Cubs with an enormous opportunity to resign Garza. Assuming Garza and his agent logical, the Cubs could offer Garza an extension of 3-4 years at 7.5-10 million dollars with incentives if he pitches well. The Cubs will have all the leverage in this situation for Garza. If Garza chooses to walk away from the contract he will go into 2013 making 9.5 and will half to prove he is completely healthy in order to command full market value in free agency. Assuming he is a rational person it would be tough to walk away 34 to 40 million dollars and it leave his with the opportunity to get one last big contract before he leaves his prime at 32. This leaves the cubs with a cost controlled asset that has extra years of control, which makes him valuable in the trade market if they want to go that direction, and has manageable contract.

    Suddenly the Cubs would have a rotation for the next years of #1, Garza, Viczaino, Wood, Samardzija, and with a top 3 pick in next years draft the Cubs will have the opportunity to take one of the top flight pitchers in next year’s draft (Stanek, Appel, Manea). With a growing core of prospects that seemed to be blocked at certain positions (Vogelbach, Canderilio, Torreyes, Szucur, Amaya, and possibly Vitters). Will have the ability to Trade for a number 1. All in all, lots of opportunities for the Cubs.

  • In reply to sdwyer11:

    Interesting way to look at it. I can see something very much like that going down. Perhaps they just re-sign Garza to a reasonable contract and it keeps their options open

  • I've always thought the reason why they wanted to trade Garza is that after his last year of arbitration Garza is going to get very expensive, in the range of 14-18 million a year for 5-6 years. Especially the way the Market has played out for premium to TOR pitching. Look at Danks and Hamels specifically. Danks got a 5 year 65 million dollar contract and Hamels who got a 7 year 156 million dollar extension. Garza falls in between these two players when looking at his contract, before the injury. Better than Danks and not quite as good as Hamels, so the Cubs where looking at a contract of anywhere from 75-100 million extension over 4-7 years. Which did not fit the Cubs plans because some of these young players (Castro, Rizzo, Jackson) if the pan out are going to get very expensive in the coming years. But the injury changes if I'm Matt Garza's agent I would tell him to take the money on the table if the Cubs came with a offer I would tell hi to take it. Because look at a similar pitcher at a similar age, Ben Sheets, elbow injury didn't pitch again for 2 years. Personally I don't think that pitchers are worth the risk of spending 60+ million dollars on. Pitching is so easy to replace look at guys that are not heralded the Brandon Beachy's of the world and look what the do. Spending money on a pitcher is a huge risk because of the attrition and shelf life on pitchers is so low, and they only play in 30 games a year.

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