C.J. Edwards Rumors

NL Central Notes: Brewers, Lutz, Edwards

The Brewers‘ decision to designate Luis Jimenez for assignment was mostly the result of Jimenez’s poor fit for the team’s current situation, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports. The team had hoped to use Jimenez as a late-inning defensive replacement for the aging Aramis Ramirez, but there turned out to be few situations in which he came in handy. “Unfortunately, we thought the season would go differently so far and I would use him in a different role,” says manager Ron Roenicke. “Because we’re always behind, his role hasn’t become important.” Here’s more from the NL Central.

  • The Reds have announced that outfielder/first baseman Donald Lutz has had Tommy John surgery after sustaining an elbow injury last week. The 26-year-old Lutz was hitting .190/.292/.262 in 48 plate appearances for Triple-A Louisville and struggled in brief stints with the Reds in 2013 and 2014, although he’s generally hit for good power in the minor leagues. He remains on the Reds’ 40-man roster.
  • The Cubs are having pitching prospect C.J. Edwards (a key component of the 2013 Matt Garza deal) begin his season in the bullpen, Gordon Wittenmyer writes for Baseball America (subscription-only). The Cubs still could use Edwards as a starter in the future, however. “We certainly in no way, shape or form have given up on him as a starter, but we also realize we’ll probably have to manage his innings a little bit this year,” says GM Jed Hoyer. Edwards pitched only 53 2/3 innings last season while dealing with a shoulder issue (although he added 15 innings in the Arizona Fall League), and his innings will be limited again in 2015. Having him begin his season in the bullpen will allow the Cubs to determine later in the season whether to move him back into a starting role. Edwards has struggled so far at Double-A Tennessee, striking out 11 batters but walking ten in 9 2/3 innings.

Quick Hits: Workman, Ogando, Rockies, Loria

Twins outfielder Byron Buxton is the top prospect in baseball, per MLB.com’s top 100 prospects. The Cubs have two prospects in the top five – Kris Bryant (second) and Addison Russell (fifth). The Dodgers have three in the top 13 – Corey Seager (seventh), Julio Urias (eighth), and Joc Pederson (13th). The Cubs and Twins are the two teams with five prospects in the top 50. Here’s more news from around the league.

Players Added To The 40-Man Roster

Midnight EST is the deadline for teams to add players to their 40-man roster in order to protect them from being selected in next month’s Rule 5 Draft. Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com lists the notable prospects who are newly Rule 5 eligible. Of course, the decision whether or not to protect a player has as much to do with roster flexibility and his expected ability to stick on a big league roster for a full season as it does the player’s overall prospect value.

We’ll keep tabs on the day’s 40-man additions here, and you can also check Baseball America’s running updates, which includes breakdowns of the players added.

  • The Rays have yet to announce their full list of roster moves, but Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper tweets that second baseman Ryan Brett will be added to the 40-man.
  • Following their trade with the Dodgers, the Rays announced that they have added Brett (as Cooper tweeted), right-hander Matt Andriese, left-hander Grayson Garvin, outfielder Mikie Mahtook and catcher Justin O’Conner to the 40-man roster.
  • The Dodgers announced that lefty Adam Liberatore, acquired in the trade with the Rays, has been added to the 40-man roster.

Earlier Updates

  • The Astros have made one final 40-man roster move, announcing the addition of right-hander Michael Feliz. Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper was among those to express surprise that Feliz had not previously been added to the roster, with some executives telling him they’d be shocked if Feliz wasn’t the No. 1 pick in the Rule 5 Draft (Twitter link).
  • The Rangers announced that they’ve added righties Luke Jackson and Jerad Eickhoff, infielder Hanser Alberto and catcher Jorge Alfaro to the 40-man roster.


Quick Hits: Edwards, Red Sox, Beckham, Blue Jays

A recent MRI showed that C.J. Edwards‘ shoulder has no structural damage, but the Cubs prospect could still miss over a month, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Sun-Times reports. For the Cubs, this is good news — manager Rich Renteria tells the Tribune’s Mark Gonzales (via Twitter) that Edwards’ diagnosis provides “a tremendous sigh of relief.” Edwards had “tightness” while pitching in a side session earlier this week. Baseball America’s Prospect Handbook 2014 ranked Edwards the Cubs’ third-best prospect in a strong system, behind only Javier Baez and Kris Bryant. He pitched brilliantly down the stretch for Class A+ Daytona last season after arriving from the Rangers in the Matt Garza trade. Here are more notes from around baseball.

  • The Red Sox‘ recent success has been driven, in part, by a turn away from expensive veteran free agents, Joshua Green of Bloomberg BusinessWeek explains in a long profile of Sox owner John Henry. The trend of players signing pre-free agency extensions has made free agents less valuable, according to GM Ben Cherington. “There are fewer and fewer players getting to free agency, or even close, in their prime-age seasons,” he says. “The average age of a free agent has continued to increase. It used to be 30. It’s now north of 32.” Henry thinks Jacoby Ellsbury‘s departure from the Red Sox to the Yankees this offseason was a key indicator of the two teams’ differences in outlook. “It is a wildly different approach,” Henry says. “We haven’t participated in this latest feeding frenzy of bidding up stars.”
  • With the emergence of Marcus Semien and a number of other potential future options at second base (Leury Garcia, Carlos Sanchez, Micah Johnson), Gordon Beckham could become a trade chip for the White Sox, ESPN Chicago’s Doug Padilla writes. Until they deal Beckham (or if they don’t deal him), the White Sox could keep Semien in the lineup by giving him occasional starts at shortstop and third base. Beckham is set to make $4.175MM this year.
  • The Blue Jays‘ key question marks include the back of their rotation and second base, GM Alex Anthopoulos tells ESPN’s Buster Olney in the Baseball Tonight Podcast. (Anthopoulos’ segment begins about 30 minutes in.) The Jays currently have Dustin McGowan in the fifth spot in their rotation, and Ryan Goins at second. Anthopoulos mentions that he likes Goins’ defense, but feels the team can upgrade on him offensively.
  • Union chief Tony Clark has expressed concern regarding the Mets‘ payroll, but MLB commissioner Bud Selig isn’t worried, Newsday’s Steven Marcus tweets. Selig says that he has confidence in the Mets’ ownership.

Cubs Notes: Selig, Ownership, Edwards

Here’s the latest from Wrigleyville…

  • Within the last year, at least one major Cubs creditor has suggested that the Ricketts family should sell all or part of the team due to ongoing financial concerns, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports.  The Ricketts family may be hamstrung by the debts taken on in their initial purchase of the team, Wittenmyer explains, and the ongoing legal battle with local rooftop owners over proposed upgrades to Wrigley Field could be a “red herring” in regards to the Cubs’ revenue issues, sources say.
  • Commissioner Bud Selig told reporters (including Wittenmyer) that he isn’t worried about the Cubs’ lack of spending in recent years.  “The fact of the matter is this [ownership] group is more than capable economically. I have no concerns about their economic viability,” Selig said.
  • Right-hander C.J. Edwards, the Cubs’ top pitching prospect, will undergo an MRI on Friday to investigate the source of tightness in his right shoulder (Wittenmyer has the details).  Edwards has posted a 1.81 ERA, 11.5 K/9 and 3.51 K/BB rate over 204 career minor league innings and was one of the key pieces of the trade package the Cubs received from the Rangers in exchange for Matt Garza last summer.  The 22-year-old was cited as one of the game’s top prospects in preseason rankings from Baseball America (which rated Edwards 28th overall), MLB.com (40th) and ESPN’s Keith Law (67th).

Rangers Acquire Matt Garza

9:05pm: Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports (via Twitter) that the Cubs can select right-hander Neil Ramirez as the PTBNL in the deal. However, if the Cubs select Ramirez, they will not receive a second PTBNL. Otherwise, they can select two other pitchers from the agreed upon list of names.

6:20pm: The Rangers aren't afraid to make splashes and add pitching help if they feel they have a shot at the World Series. In 2010, it was Cliff Lee. In 2011, it was Mike Adams and Koji Uehara. In 2012, it was Ryan Dempster. This season, it's Matt Garza. The Rangers and Cubs have officially announced a trade that will send Garza to Texas for third baseman Mike Oltright-hander Justin Grimm, right-hander C.J. Edwards and at least one player to be named later, although Rangers GM Jon Daniels noted that the Cubs can also receive a second PTBNL depending on who they select as the first. The Cubs will be choosing the PTBNL(s) from a list entirely composed of pitchers, GM Jed Hoyer said Monday.Garza

Garza, 29, has been tremendous for the Cubs in limited action this season. Though he began the year on the disabled list, he's shown little signs of rust since being activated on May 21. In 71 innings, Garza has pitched to a 3.17 ERA with 7.9 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9. He will join the front of a loaded Rangers rotation that also features Derek Holland and Yu Darvish, who is set to return from the DL tonight. Garza is a free agent at season's end and therefore cannot be tied to draft pick compensation, meaning that he is strictly a rental for the Rangers, barring a long-term extension. He currently ranks fifth on Tim Dierkes' Free Agent Power Rankings.

Olt, 24, entered the season as the No. 22 prospect in baseball according to both Baseball America and MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo, while ESPN's Keith Law ranked him 71st. Olt batted .288/.398/.579 at Double-A Frisco last season and made his Major League debut with the Rangers. He's battled vision problems in 2013, however, which could be the reason his production has tumbled to .218/.318/.438 at Triple-A Round Rock. Prior to the season, BA praised his plus raw power and advanced hitting approach, calling him "a threat to go deep anytime he steps to the plate." BA, Law and Mayo all agree that he's a plus defender at third though Law questions whether or not he will make enough contact to hit at the big league level with any consistency.

Grimm, also 24, has made 17 starts for the Rangers this season but posted an ugly 6.37 ERA in 17 starts. However, Grimm posted a 3.93 ERA through his first nine starts, and advanced metrics like FIP (4.79), xFIP (4.25) and SIERA (4.34) all suggest that his ERA should be substantially lower. Prior to the season, BA ranked Grimm fifth among Rangers prospects, calling him a potential mid-rotation starter. He's averaged 91.4 mph on his heater this season, also mixing in a 12-to-6 curveball and a changeup.

Edwards, 21, ranked as Texas' No. 14 prospect prior to the season, according to BA, whose scouting report notes that the South Carolina native fell to the 48th round of the draft and signed for just $50K because he didn't pitch in any high-profile showcases prior to the 2011 draft. Edwards' stock has skyrocketed in 2013, as he's pitched to a pristine 1.83 ERA with 11.8 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 93 1/3 innings for Class A Hickory.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported that the two sides were nearing a new deal for Garza (Twitter link). Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports was the first to break that a deal had been reached, and he also was the first to report Olt's inclusion (Twitter links). Rosenthal tweeted that Edwards and a third player would be going to the Cubs, and Passan reported that the package included Grimm and a PTBNL (on Twitter). Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest reported that the Cubs could receive one or two PTBNLs, depending on who they selected as the first (on Twitter).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Reactions To The Matt Garza Trade

Earlier this afternoon, the Rangers acquired Matt Garza from the Cubs in exchange for Mike Olt, C.J. Edwards, Justin Grimm and at least one player to be named later (the Cubs could also receive two PTBNLs, depending on who they select as the first from a list of pitchers). Here are some quotes from both general managers, reactions from scouts and media members, as well as some more details surrounding the initial trade that fell apart last Friday…

  • The Athletics made a late push for Garza, which is what caused the Rangers to up their offer at the last minute, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter).
  • For Cubs fans who would like more info on what they received for Garza, Baseball America's Matt Eddy provides scouting info on Olt, Edwards and Grimm.
  • The Cubs had to accept Grimm instead of second baseman Rougned Odor when the Rangers raised questions about Garza's elbow, tweets Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.
  • The Cubs tried to acquire Olt at the deadline last year, GM Jed Hoyer told reporters (including the Daily Herald's Bruce Miles).
  • The Rangers felt that Garza was the best pitcher available on the market, GM Jon Daniels told reporters, including Scott Miller of CBS Sports. Miller's piece is loaded with quotes from Daniels, who feels that the addition of Garza may give the Rangers as strong of a pitching staff they've ever had.
  • The Rangers overpaid to get Garza, but all teams do so in order to acquire the top rental on the market, writes Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com. Durrett adds that the Rangers needed to make this move and it's a worthwhile gamble given their minor league depth.
  • In an Insider-only piece, ESPN's Keith Law writes that both sides did well in the trade, as Garza could represent a two WAR upgrade over Grimm through the end of the season, and the Cubs received a nice package of players in return. Olt and Edwards alone would've been a good return, in Law's opinion, making the addition of Grimm and at least one PTBNL even better.
  • Garza never should have been a Cub, opines Jon Greenberg of ESPNChicago.com. He writes that the acquisition of Garza was a poorly timed win-now move by former GM Jim Hendry that was made when the team wasn't in a position to win. Dealing Garza for a strong package from Texas was the right move, adds Greenberg, who notes that better days are ahead for Cubs fans.
  • With Garza off the market, trade talks for Bud Norris will likely now heat up, writes MLB.com's Brian McTaggart. Astros GM Jeff Luhnow told McTaggart that the Garza trade may "start a series of different types of talks."

Garza Trade From Cubs To Rangers No Longer Imminent

For a while earlier today, it looked like the top available starting pitcher on the trade market could pack his bags for Texas. The Cubs and Rangers reached the point of exchanging medical information on six players who were apparently ready to change teams, most prominent among them the Cubs' Matt Garza.

Cubs GM Jed Hoyer and president Theo Epstein have already been active on the trade front this summer, dealing Scott Feldman and Steve Clevenger to the Orioles, sending Scott Hairston to the Nats, swapping Carlos Marmol and an international bonus slot for Matt Guerrier, and sending Ronald Torreyes to the Astros for international bonus money. A Garza deal would be the duo's highest-profile trade of the summer and arguably the highest-profile trade of their tenure with the Cubs. It could also have the most impact of any 2013 trade deadline deal.

With the Cubs now reportedly looking to open talks back up with other clubs, even as they continue to talk with the Rangers, let's take stock of where we're at and track new updates right here:

  • The prospective trade broke down over the medicals of one player, tweets Bowden. He says that the clubs are "working hard" to re-formulate the deal with a replacement piece. Quite the opposite is true, according to Sullivan, who writes that "right now there is nothing happening" and that "tonight is not the night."
  • The loss of momentum between the Cubs and Rangers occured after the teams had swapped medical information on the players that were to be involved, writes Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. If medical concerns are to blame, Passan says it was likely not an issue with Garza, since the Rangers are apparently continuing to pursue him. 
  • Some of the deal's apparent urgency may have come from the fact that the Rangers hoped that Garza would pitch for the club tomorrow, explains Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star Telegram. While the team thought at one point that a deal could have been locked down as early as yesterday, Wilson says that club officials now do not believe an agreement is likely tonight.
  • While various trade packages were discussed and reported, the Rangers prospects believed to be potentially in play at this point are third baseman Mike Olt and starters Neil Ramirez and C.J. Edwards. As Passan also reported, the Rangers also inquired about Cubs reliever James Russell, though it is not known whether he was a part of the trade that almost went through. (MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan first reported that the deal under consideration likely included Ramirez, Olt and Edwards.)
  • As for other teams that could jump in, we learned earlier of a possible "mystery team" that was rumored to play in the National League. Previous National League clubs that have been connected to Garza include the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Rockies and Pirates. The Cubs have not re-engaged the Dodgers at this point, however, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
  • While the Cardinals have been connected to Garza as well, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times tweets that they are not the unnamed team in the mix. The Nationals also appear to be out of the race, both Wittenmyer and ESPN's Jim Bowden (Twitter link) report. Of course, at this point, it seems that negotiations could pick up with any club — American or National League — that has the need and the means for Garza.

Earlier Updates (reverse chronological order)

  • Garza's agent (Nez Balelo of CAA Sports) has reportedly been notified by the Cubs that a trade could be coming, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times (free registration required). Garza himself confirmed that notification, though he downplayed its significance given his seemingly annual involvement in trade rumors.
  • A deal sending Garza to the Rangers "will get done," according to a source of Jim Bowden of ESPN (Twitter link). He says that Neil Ramirez is expected to be the featured piece going back to the Cubs. While Ramirez was reported to have been scratched from his minor league start today, according to a Bowden tweet, Bowden retracted that information shortly thereafter (via Twitter). 
  • A Cubs source tells Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times that a mystery NL team has joined the fray and may intercept Garza (Twitter link). Previous National League clubs that have been connected to Garza include the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Rockies and Pirates. The Cardinals have been connected to Garza as well, but in a separate tweet, Wittenmyer adds that they are not the unnamed team in the mix.
  • MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez points out that both the Rangers and Cubs have committed all of their international signing money, so no bonus slots can be used as a component to this trade (Twitter link).
  • MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan writes that the Rangers would like to get a deal completed in time for Garza to start for them tomorrow night against the Orioles. The two sides are discussing Ramirez, Olt and Edwards, but the Rangers are unwilling to part with Martin Perez or Luke Jackson. Their refusal on Perez is nothing new, but this is the first report that they're unwilling to part with Jackson.
  • Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported that Rangers minor league right-hander Neil Ramirez has also been discussed in trade talks.
  • The Cubs and Rangers are on the verge of completing a trade that would send Matt Garza to Texas in exchange for "a strong package of prospects," according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The two sides have discussed prospects at multiple levels, including third baseman Mike Olt and right-hander C.J. Edwards, as Rosenthal reported last night. Rosenthal notes that other interested parties such as the Red Sox, Indians, Diamondbacks, Dodgers and Cardinals are reluctant to meet the club's asking price for Garza, who is a free agent at the end of the season.

Jeff Todd contributed to this post.

Cubs, Rangers Getting Closer On Garza Deal

The Matt Garza rumors have picked up steam in the past couple of days, with ESPN's Jim Bowden stating Wednesday that there's an 80 percent chance he's traded before his next start. On Tuesday, we learned that the Cubs have a slight preference toward pitching prospects as opposed to position players and that the Rangers are unwilling to part with Martin Perez to acquire Garza. Here's the latest on Garza…

  • Jon Heyman of CBS Sports writes that while the Rangers are "prominently involved," other teams are still in the mix for Garza at this point.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that Class A right-hander C.J. Edwards is indeed in play in trade talks. Edwards, 21, has a 1.83 ERA with 11.8 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 93 1/3 innings for Class A Hickory this season.
  • One official tells Rosenthal that the Cubs and Rangers are "getting closer" on a Garza trade (Twitter link). Rosenthal adds that third base prospect Mike Olt is "possibly" in play, but the two sides are discussing prospects from multiple levels.

Earlier Updates

  • The Cubs are asking teams for their "last and best offers" for Garza, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney, and other clubs think he's thrown his last pitch as a Cub. In a separate pair of tweets, Olney adds that while the Rangers don't want to move Perez, they have other pitching prospects such as C.J. Edwards and Luke Jackson that could be of interest to the Cubs. Jackson ranked as the team's No. 6 prospect prior to the season according to Baseball America, while Edwards ranked 14th. Both have had strong minor league seasons.
  • Rosenthal writes that the Rangers have the most motivation to acquire Garza and have had extensive talks with the Cubs. He adds that the Dodgers are still in the mix even after acquiring Ricky Nolasco from the Marlins.
  • If the Rangers don't acquire Garza, rival executives see the Cardinals, Red Sox, Diamondbacks and Dodgers as the likeliest destinations, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).
  • As reported earlier by Troy Renck of the Denver Post, Rockies owner Dick Monfort issued a letter to season-ticket holders saying the team wouldn't surrender top prospects for rentals. That, presumably, officially takes them out of the running for Garza's services.