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After month of rumors, Garza shipped to Rangers

Published: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 12:10 a.m. CDT
Caption
(AP)
After weeks of speculations, the Cubs traded Matt Garza to the Rangers on Monday for four minor league prospects.

The Rangers are still mad about Game 6 in 2011, and here's how you know it.

They just handed the Cubs 21-year-old right-hander C.J. Edwards, who has the potential to turn into something the Rangers have never had – a Cy Young winner.

Or maybe he'll just be a solid big-league starter for a long time.

Had Nelson Cruz caught that David Freese drive to nail down a World Series for Texas, there's no way Jon Daniels would deal a wunderkind like Edwards, who in two seasons has gone from 48th-round draft pick to one of the most intriguing pitching prospects in baseball.

But the ball escaped Cruz's grasp, the Cards rolled in Game 7.

The Orioles won the one-and-done wild card game in Texas last October and a run of pitching injuries has left the Rangers on the outside looking in at the 2013 playoffs.

So Daniels decided he had to get the best arm available, which was the Cubs’ Matt Garza, who will probably leave as a free agent at the year’s end.

To get Edwards and up to four other prospects – blurry-eyed third baseman Mike Olt, 24-year-old right-hander Justin Grimm and two players to be named later (possibly 24-year-old pitching prospect Neil Ramirez) – for Garza was good work by Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer.

None of these are going to make a difference on the Cubs now, although Grimm would figure to get a look this season and Olt might as well, provided he addresses the .213 average he’s sporting in Triple-A.

But all four of these guys are pieces that could help in 2 or 3 years, when the wave of hitting arrives from the minors, and Tom Ricketts finally turns Epstein and Hoyer loose in chasing top-tier free agents.

The Cubs were in better shape than many second-division teams because they have impact hitters on the way.

That’s a commodity scouts tell you that you can’t find in the minor leagues or on the amateur market. You can find power pitchers; the key is to get those who can really pitch.

Edwards, it would be appear, is one of those.

A kid from South Carolina, he throws in the high-90s and has both command and bite on his pitches. He’s only thrown 160 innings as a pro, but has numbers (1.68 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 11.8 strikeouts-per-nine innings and a 3.6-1 ratio of strikeouts to walks) that scream “Just don’t mess me up!’’

Garza could help the Cubs, or he could combust. There’s never been much middle ground with him. But he worked hard this year to get back and re-establish his value, which should help him a lot when it’s time to sign a long-term deal in the winter.

Yes, the Cubs could have written that contract for him.

But he’d be 32 in the third year of a 5-year deal and that’s too much of a risk for the Cubs to take, especially given that they’ve already made a commitment to a guy the same age (Edwin Jackson).

It made sense for the Cubs to trade Garza. When the Rangers were willing to trade Edwards, it would have been crazy to hang onto him.

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