Matt Garza was traded to the Chicago Cubs from the Tampa Bay Rays. This will be the first time that Garza will be in the National League since he was drafted by the Minnesota Twins as the 25th overall pick in the 2005 amateur draft. He debuted just the next year at the tender age of 22.
Although Garza has shown some solid numbers in the past three seasons with the Rays, it seems as though that he is getting a little lucky. In 2008, he had a 3.70 ERA; in 2009, it was 3.95; and in 2010, it was 3.91. But in those same years, he seemed to be a little funky:
2008: xFIP: 4.48; 41.7 GB%; 6.24 K/9; 2.88 BB/9
2009: xFIP: 4.21; 39.7 GB%; 8.38 K/9; 3.50 BB/9
2010: xFIP: 4.51; 35.8 GB%; 6.60 K/9; 2.77 BB/9
There are definitely some things wrong with this stat line. First off, his inconsistent strikeout and walk rate are somewhat scary. You really can't expect what you might get and the fact that his xFIP in those three years is, for the most part, is not very good. In Tampa Bay, Tropicana Field, Garza kept his ERA down because it is a very good pitchers park. On the other hand, Wrigley Field is the third best hitters park in the major leagues according to 2010 MLB Park Factors. Garza had a 1.23 HR/9 in 2010 and it has been getting higher since '08 so that means that Garza will finally meet up with his xFIP and his home run rate will explode. This is not a good situation for Garza. Garza will join a rotation that contains Ryan Dempster, Tom Gorzelanny, Randy Wells, Carlos Zambrano and Carlos Silva. Keep in mind that Garza will be moving out of the American League East and into the National League. Garza will have a rough year and might turn in around a 4.35 ERA and win about 13 games and striking out about 135 batters in about 190 innings.
I think that in a few years, this trade will be looked back on and everyone is gonna think that the Cubs got a little ripped off considering that the Rays got some good prospects. The Rays got top pitching prospect Chris Archer, outfielder Brandon Guyer, infielders Robinson Chirinos and Hak-Ju Lee and major league outfielder Sam Fuld. The Cubs acquired Matt Garza, obviously, as well as speedy outfielder Fernando Perez as well as minor leaguer Zach Rosscup. Hak-Ju Lee's defense is exceptional but his offensive production is very much in question. The big name prospect in this trade is Chris Archer. Archer was 15-3 with a 2.34 ERA in 142.1 innings at the age of 21.
The Rays really seem to be the winners in this trade and we should see some of these players within the next few years. It looks like Chris Archer has a shot at debuting in the upcoming 2011 season.
(Statistics in courtesy of: espn.com, baseball-reference.com, fangraphs.com)