Monday, July 22, 2013
Matt Garza for Kids
So Texas acquired Matt Garza today for a pretty steep package: Mike Olt, Justin Grimm, CJ Edwards, and PTBNL. The relative pain of the package depends entirely on the last item. Could it be a high ceiling, high risk flyer (Alfaro)? Or and injured player contingent upon health at end of year (maybe they take Brigham back?)? Odor? Sardinas?
Basically, there is a lot of risk with Olt as he has had a terrible year (.193 vs RHP) and has some seemingly unresolved vision/mental issues. But, as he is blocked in Texas for the next few years, unless you wanted to see him at 1B or LF, then getting a mid-roto starter for him is exactly how you'd expect his value to be cashed in. As for Grimm, he had lots of buzz from some about being a solid #3 type starter, while many, including myself, thought he seemed more like a #4 (given his terrible struggles in AAA in '12, changeup, flat FB) and he has pitched like a # 4 this year, err, badly, this year, but I can see why people might still think of him as a # 3 with 2 plus pitches and nice command.
I've heard folks like the two Jasons (Parks and Cole) pin a likely #4 ceiling on Edwards though I'm not exactly clear why. Maybe his secs (stuff/feel) don't profile as plus offerings or it is his complete lack of physical projection, or difficulty maintaining velo after the 5th inning, I don't know. But if he is 3 years away as a #4, I can live with that, although his loss hurts given the complete preponderance of #5/LR profiles throughout the system due to poor drafting (thus far), and previous trades, etc.
So yeah, the PTBNL will make or break this deal for me. The loss of any of the three could make you wince in retrospect a few years down the line, possible as soon as next year with Grimm/Olt, especially considering that those two might have been used to trade for a COF next year given that we will need two.
The biggest question about Texas' current quandaries at the deadline, is that 2 of the 3 gambles that Texas took in April have failed (Pen, Roto, Lineup), necessitating a big package (still one to come for a hitter?) to close the holes. Texas gambled that they had the rotation depth necessary to avoid signing a mid-rotation arm during FA, or perhaps traded for one with the SAME prospect package (for 33 starts), while also gambling on their lineup by assuming that they could get by with Murphy (and Moreland) as starters and that Berkman would be healthy. Moreland was fine pre-injury, while Murphy and Berkman have been busts. Those are the kind of gambles that cost you all of your upper tier prospects and we're just waiting for the other shoe to drop when a hitter is acquired (kiss Sardinas or Odor + goodbye?).
It is all good and fine that Texas pinned its hopes on internal development (Perez, Grimm, Tepesch, Scheppers, Martin, Ortiz, Moreland, Ross) and hole-plugging (Pryz, Berkman) while hoping for bounce-back years from vets (and we got those from Kinz, Cruz) but an argument could be made that the price for filling the current holes on the roster will strip a good chunk of the upper level talent in the system when it could have been avoided during the off-season/Spring.
Couple of twitter updates from, well, twitter:
#Texas didn't include Odor after some concerns arose from TX re Garcia's elbow. So they got Grimm instead. Is Odor more highly rated than Grimm? Had Grimm been that bad? Who know....twitter gossip.
#As for the PTBNL, it could be NeRa, but if it isn't the Cubs can select two other prospects. WOW! If true, man, this could be a 5 prospect deal. Rich.
#and now twitterverse tells us that Olt's concussion issues and Garcia's elbow cancelled out or something...
#The twitter-reported refusal to inlcude Jackson in any deal suggests that Texas scouts think that Jackson is a likely mid-rotation starter, which runs counter to some prospect writers pegging him as a likely pen arm. But then Don Welke probably still loves Jordan Akins so who's to say....
I will say that I say the NeRa-like pen profile for Jackson is because, like NeRa, he has been a 5ip/100pitch guy, inefficient enough with the approach and the mechanics and the command to firmly move the dial in the scouts imagination firmly towards the pen and away from the roto. However, after skipping 3 starts over late may to late June (not due to injury to my knowlege), Jackson might have been tweaked a bit to improve his efficiency and command, pitching into the 6th inning in 5 straight starts. Food for thought. If you think he is a # 3 then he is the only #3 currently in full-season ball in the Texas system (think about that for a second...WOW!) so he might very well be worth holding onto for that reason alone.
So until the Player(s) TBNL are, well, named later, the upper levels of the Texas system have only three starting-caliber prospects: Odor, Sardinas, and Jackson (with some still suggesting they see him as a late-innings guy). NeRa is almost universally regarded as a pen arm (and an interesting one to be sure, a possible closer?).
Maintaining a good reputation with your trading partner is important. Remember when Jake Brigham landed on the DL last season shortly after being traded to the Cubs for Soto? Well, the Cubs might have been none to happy as they preferred Loux and got an injured Brigham in his stead. At the end of the year, Texas rectified that situation and returned Brigham in exchange for Loux and a PTBNL. Now Texas was either overcompensating the Cubs, essentially admitting that Brigham's issue might have been more serious (or something), or they already knew that Brigham had some red flags from last year and had already made this arrangement with the Cubs in case Brigham faltered. What makes me think Texas was admitting some fault and desired to make amends to keep from injuring their rep on the trade market, rather than simple consummating a variation of the trade already agreed upon, is that there was complete radio silence about he matter from both the Cubs, the Rangers, and the beat writers about the issue. Texas seems to have simply said, sorry, let's work this out so that there are not aggrieved parties or unintended consequences, like, say, having the Cubs boycott TX from future prospect-laden deals. That whole thing was handled strangely, quietly, but amicably in the end.
The deal likely just got worse with NeRa going on the DL today with a biceps injury per Scott Lucas. So this now becomes a 5 for 1 deal; cross your fingers that no high-ceiling position players aren't thrown into the deal.