Justin Grimm Rumors

NL Central Links: Wong, Reynolds, Baez, Cubs

The CardinalsKolten Wong sits atop the list of baseball's 10 best second base prospects compiled by Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis of MLB.com. As Mayo points out, St. Louis' trade of David Freese allows Matt Carpenter to move to third base, opening second for the highly touted University of Hawaii product. Rougned Odor, Mookie Betts, Arismendy Alcantara, Devon Travis, Jonathan Schoop, Taylor Lindsey, Eddie Rosario, Micah Johnson and Wilmer Flores round out the free list, which also includes scouting reports on each prospect. Here's more out of the NL Central…

  • Fangraphs' Mike Petriello writes that the Brewers' signing of Mark Reynolds is more beneficial to them than it would be another club due to Milwaukee's historically bad group of first basemen in 2013. If Reynolds can even play at replacement level, he'd provide a four-win improvement, and with Miller Park being among the four best parks in the game for right-handed power, Reynolds could be above replacement level. While it could be a nice move, Petriello continues, Reynolds serving as the offseason's biggest move isn't a defensible outcome. Milwaukee has yet to sign a big league free agent, but they also haven't pulled the trigger on a rebuild, making their offseason puzzling, he concludes.
  • Top Cubs prospect Javier Baez will begin the season playing shortstop at Triple-A, but he could also receive some work at second base to accelerate his path to the Majors, writes Carrie Muskat of MLB.com in a wrap-up piece from this week's Cubs Convention. Director of scouting and player development Jason McLeod tells Muskat that the goal is for Baez to play short for as long as he can, but McLeod concedes that the 21-year-old has a lot of work to do on defense.
  • Muskat also writes that McLeod and president Theo Epstein have some history with righty Justin Grimm, who was acquired in the July haul for Matt Garza. McLeod drafted Grimm when he and Epstein were with the Red Sox, but Grimm elected to honor his commitment to Georgia. When McLeod and Epstein were scouting one of his college games, Epstein walked down 15 rows to jokingly tell McLeod, "You're fired" after seeing Grimm unload an array of 97 mph fastballs.
  • McLeod told Muskat that the team has scouted Masahiro Tanaka "extensively" over the past few years and that the evaluation process is complete. "…we'll find out in the next week," McLeod said regarding the former Rakuten ace.

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."

Rangers, Giants, Orioles Interested In Broxton

MONDAY, 3:16pm: The Royals are still listening on Broxton but offers haven't been encouraging so far, tweets Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.  The Orioles were showing serious interest in Broxton over the weekend, tweets Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com, though they're showing less interest now.  Kubatko says the Orioles are known to want a left-handed reliever but might just be looking to upgrade the bullpen however possible.

SUNDAY, 10:11pm: The Royals are eyeing right-hander Justin Grimm in their discussions with the Rangers, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star (Twitter link). Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News echoes the sentiment (on Twitter).  Grimm, 23, was a fifth round selection by the Rangers in 2010 out of the University of Georgia. He currently boasts a 1.99 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A and made his Major League debut earlier this season.

6:36pm: The Rangers are also in on Broxton, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Texas is turning its focus to bullpen help after becoming frustrated with the starting pitching market, according to Heyman.

2:36pm: The Giants have serious interest in Jonathan Broxton, Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and MLB Network Radio reports (on Twitter). Interest on Broxton is picking up and there's a 60-70% chance he'll be traded by the deadline, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reports (on Twitter).

The Giants don't view Broxton as the solution for their bullpen, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reported this week. There's not much bullpen help available, now that Huston Street is off the market, Knobler reported today (on Twitter). The Blue Jays and Red Sox aren't selling and teams aren't impressed by the available relievers.

Steve Adams contributed to this post.