Cubs GM Jim Hendry is working feverishly to acquire Matt Garza from the Rays, according to Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald. The Cubs are getting set to send Chris Archer, Hak-Ju Lee, Brandon Guyer and Robinson Chirinos to Tampa Bay, according to Miles. There may be additional parts to the deal for each team, Miles reports.
Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago reports that the sides are close to a deal.
Garza, 27, posted a 3.91 ERA with 6.6 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a 35.8% ground ball rate in 204 2/3 innings for the Rays last year. He heads to arbitration for the second time this winter and is set to receive a raise from the $3.35MM salary he earned in 2010.
Garza would join Ryan Dempster, Tom Gorzelanny, Randy Wells, Carlos Zambrano and Carlos Silva in a crowded Chicago rotation. If the Rays-Cubs deal goes through, it wouldn't be surprising to see Cubs starters appear in trade rumors before long.
If any team can afford to part with a starting pitcher, it might be the Rays, who still have David Price, James Shields, Jeff Niemann, Wade Davis and Jeremy Hellickson. The return from the Cubs probably won't impact Tampa's Opening Day roster, but it will add depth to the Rays' already impressive farm system.
Baseball America ranked Archer first among Cubs prospects this offseason while Lee placed fourth and Guyer placed tenth. Archer, a 22-year-old right-hander, made it as high as Double-A last year. The starting pitcher posted a 2.34 ERA with 9.4 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9, limiting opponents to 6.4 H/9. The Cubs acquired him from the Indians just over two years ago in the Mark DeRosa trade. Jim Callis of Baseball America notes that Archer is a year away from the majors and could be a closer in the future (Twitter link).
It's not a great time to be an up-and-coming shortstop in the Cubs organization, as Starlin Castro figures to be the team's shortstop for years. Lee, who was born seven months after Castro, is also a highly-regarded shortstop. The native of Korea has a .299/.370/.375 line with 57 stolen bases in two pro seasons. When Baseball America ranked Lee sixth among Cubs prospects before the season, the publication described him as a gifted hitter with the tools to make difficult defensive plays.
Guyer, who turns 25 this month, posted a .344/.398/.588 line in 410 plate apperances at Double-A last year. He has played all three outfield positions in his four-year minor league career.
Chirinos is the oldest of the four prospects, as he turns 27 this month. The infielder hit .326/.416/.583 with 18 home runs in the upper minors last year.
This post was first published January 7th, 2010.