Tag: Matt Garza

Is Matt Garza Really Worth a Top-of-the-Rotation Asking Price in a Trade?

Matt Garza is arguably the best starting pitcher on the Chicago Cubs. He’s certainly the best starting pitcher on the trade market this year. And that’s good news for the Cubs, as their ongoing rebuild could very much benefit from a trade of Garza to a team that needs him more than they do.

All of this, however, doesn’t necessarily make Garza a top-of-the-rotation starter.

David Kaplan of CSN Chicago notes there’s plenty of interest in Garza, who is up for free-agency at season’s end. Kaplan also adds this:

What I found interesting in talking with a handful of major league executives is that Garza is not considered a No. 1 or 2 in a rotation, but is considered a very strong No. 3 and the price the Cubs front office is asking for is exceptionally high. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are looking at this as a chance to hit the jackpot and I would do the same thing if I was in their shoes. However, rival GM’s don’t want to part with a few elite level prospects for somebody they will only have for 14 or 15 starts in the regular season.

Later on in the article, Kaplan includes this:

A year ago, the Milwaukee Brewers traded Zack Greinke to the Angels and received three prospects including standout shortstop Jean Segura and two Double-A pitchers. Of the baseball personnel experts I spoke with, the consensus is the Cubs will probably not receive as much as the Brewers did but should come close. 

The takeaway of all this: Garza is not viewed as an ace-level pitcher, especially not in relation to Greinke and the assets the Brewers were able to get for him last year.

Kaplan mentioned that he found it “interesting” that rival executives aren’t very high on Garza. With a 3.17 ERA and a killer hot streak in progress, you’d think they would be.

Then I dug a little deeper, and I realized, yeah, I can see it.

First, there’s the matter of Garza’s hot stretch. He’s logged 43.2 innings over his last six starts and has racked up a 1.24 ERA, but, naturally, there’s a catch. In this case, it’s the fact that Garza hasn’t been feasting on top-flight competition.


Date Opponent Runs/G OPS
 6/16  at NYM   4.13  .680
 6/21  vs. HOU  3.73  .668
 6/27  at MIL  3.93  .714
 7/3  at OAK   4.52  .718 
 7/8  at CHW  3.75  .686 
 7/13  vs. STL  4.97  .753

And now for some context: The league average for runs per game is 4.23 and the league-average OPS is .718.

So Garza has faced four below-average offensive teams in his last six starts: the New York Mets, Houston Astros, Chicago White Sox and Brewers—and it’s worth noting that he faced a Ryan Braun-less Milwaukee lineup.

The A’s do score runs at a good rate, but their OPS is right at the league average.

That leaves the St. Louis Cardinals as the best hitting team Garza has faced in his last six starts. Lo and behold, that was his worst start of the bunch. After managing game scores of at least 66 in his previous five starts, Garza only scored 48 against St. Louis.

If I’m an executive, I’m bringing all this up as part of an attempt to talk down Garza’s price tag. In addition, I’m pointing out that Garza hasn’t showcased No. 1 starter stuff this season.

Per Brooks Baseball, Garza’s average four-seamer velocity this season is 93.51 miles per hour. One’s roaming eye notices that Garza’s average last year was 94.25 miles per hour.

Slipping fastball velocity isn’t the only question concerning Garza’s stuff.

Garza throws a four-seamer and a sinker, but both pitches are obviously of the “hard stuff” variety. Garza complements those two hard pitches with only one offspeed pitch that he throws with regularity: his slider. It’s a good one, but Garza doesn’t have a changeup to keep hitters guessing and his curveball is just OK and infrequently used.

Since Greinke is the measuring stick for Garza’s trade value, an executive can easily point to him and note the differences between his repertoire in 2012 and Garza’s repertoire in 2013.

According to Brooks Baseball, Greinke threw five pitches at least 10 percent of the time last year: his four-seamer, sinker, cutter, slider and curveball. He also threw his changeup about 6.5 percent of the time, which is far more often than Garza.

Garza’s ERA is better, as he has a 3.17 ERA to the 3.32 ERA Greinke had at the break last year. But if we go to FanGraphs and dig up some other numbers, we notice that’s about the only edge Garza has over Greinke. 

 Greinke  19  111.0  24.4  5.7  53.8  6.6  2.38  2.80  3.5
 Garza  11  71.0  21.2  6.8  39.8  10.3  3.79  3.87  0.9

Never mind the starts and the innings for a moment. Focus on everything else, which all sends a pretty clear message:

Greinke in the first half of 2012 was much better than Garza has been in the first half of this season.

Greinke was striking out more hitters, walking fewer hitters, racking up more ground balls, serving up fewer home runs, putting up better defense-neutral stats (FIP and xFIP) and generally provided greater overall value for his team. In fact, Greinke was providing more value than all but one other starting pitcher at the time, only Justin Verlander had a better fWAR than Greinke at the break last year.

The fact that Garza’s numbers don’t stack up isn’t the only issue. His FIP and xFIP both say his 3.17 ERA is a little too good, a sign that he could be in for some regression. And lest you choose not to trust either stat, consider that since the start of 2011, Garza’s 3.45 ERA is on par with his 3.45 FIP and a 3.43 xFIP.

Slightly more concerning is the fact that Garza’s strikeouts are down compared to his past two seasons. So is his ground-ball percentage, which is generally not a good sign unless it’s paired with a rise in strikeouts. More balls in the air, after all, means more balls that might find their way over the fence. 

And then, at last, we come to the fact that Garza has only made 11 starts, which is due to his missing the first 43 days of the season recovering from a lat strain he suffered in spring training. Injuries are a real concern with him, as Baseball Prospectus counts that Garza has lost 129 days to the disabled list in the last three seasons.

What I’m getting at here is that Garza is a waste of time that nobody should have any interest in trading f…

Wait, hang on, that’s not what I’m getting at. Need to dial it down.

What I’m really getting at is that the execs around the league who view Garza as a non-ace who isn’t worth a Greinke-like trade package have some legs to stand on. Garza has certainly racked up numbers befitting of a top-of-the-rotation guy in his last six starts, but it’s a stretch that’s really not indicative of the kind of pitcher he is. A “very strong No. 3” is a description that suits him well.

There’s a chance, however, that none of this will matter. The Cubs have a hot pitcher on their hands and a lot of interest in said hot pitcher. All it takes is one GM who’s more desperate than all the others, a few words back and forth, and the Cubs could be welcoming an impressive basket of prospects in no time at all.

If it comes to that, there will be some fist-pumping going on in the Cubs’ front office, for it will have traded a non-ace starter for an ace-level package.


Note: Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted. 


If you want to talk baseball, hit me up on Twitter.

Follow zachrymer on Twitter

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

4 Rumored MLB Trades You Shouldn’t Believe

I’ll take a wild guess and say that about 98.32 percent of rumored trades between now and July 31 won’t happen. In fact, a large percentage of those probably weren’t even seriously discussed by the teams mentioned.

So while we were all seriously discussing how those players would fit on their new teams and speculating on which prospects were going to be part of the trade package, the general managers involved in the rumored deal were probably working on a deal that was completely under wraps and then surprised the heck out of everybody once it was announced. 

And despite being completely fooled year after year, those discussions among fellow baseball fans are what makes this one of the best times of the year to be a baseball fan.

You can’t predict baseball on or off the field. Expect the unexpected. Just don’t expect these four rumored trades to happen.     

Begin Slideshow

Assembling Ideal Matt Garza Trade Offers from the Dodgers, Other Top Suitors

Matt Garza is on the trade block and the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres are interested in acquiring his services, according to Ken Rosenthal.

Los Angeles currently ranks fifth in baseball in starter’s ERA at 3.41, but 27th in wins at 19.

While there doesn’t seem to be a need there, the Dodgers still aren’t comfortable with their No. 4 and No. 5 starters.

Josh Beckett is on the disabled list and has struggled all year, while Stephen Fife (1-2, 3.25 ERA) and Chris Capuano (2-4, 4.09 ERA) have been largely unimpressive.

In the mind of the Dodgers, they need help there.

However, don’t expect the Chicago Cubs to let Garza go for next to nothing. They’re not just going to give him away.

Pitching and second base seem to be two of the biggest needs for the Cubs. The old saying goes, you can never have too much pitching. And Darwin Barney isn’t the long-term answer at second.

So, what are possible avenues the Cubs could take? Keep in mind, the San Francisco Giants gave up highly-touted prospect Zack Wheeler in a deadline deal with the New York Mets.

The Giants wanted Carlos Beltran, even though he was a rental, and were willing to give up their top prospect.

A desperate team could be willing to do the same for Garza, although I don’t think it will be the Dodgers. If one team thinks Garza can put them over the top, like the Giants did with Beltran, they’ll pony up.

So, what could the Cubs reasonably get in return for Garza?


Los Angeles Dodgers

This could be the perfect trade to get Andre Ethier out of town. While the Cubs are seemingly set with outfield talent in the minor leagues, the fact remains only Brett Jackson is close to the big leagues.

Ethier could come in and slot behind Anthony Rizzo in the lineup.

The biggest question would be how much of Ethier‘s contract the Cubs would be willing to take on. He’s owed $86.5 million over the next five years. The Cubs won’t take on all of that. They may not even take on half of it.

However, if the Dodgers are willing to pay at least half of the rest of his salary, they could get Garza to help them make a playoff push.

They’re currently eight games out in the NL West, but nobody has taken control of the division. It’s still anybody’s to win. And yes, that means the Dodgers as well.


San Diego Padres

Most people didn’t think the Padres would only be three games out at this point in the season.

After all, they largely have the same team from last year that finished 10 games under .500, and 18 games back in the division.

However, they’ve managed to do well this year, despite the fact that they don’t rank in the top 10 in any major offensive or pitching category as a team.

Somehow, they’ve always managed to find ways to win games. Part of the reason is they are 6-3 in extra-inning games, and 16-10 in one-run games.

San Diego ranks 25th in starter’s ERA (4.53), 22nd in opponent’s batting average (.264) and 26th in strikeouts (295).

Needless to say, starting pitching help is needed if they’re going to make a run at the NL West.

The Padres could afford to give up prospects Cory Spangenberg (second base), and either right-handed starter Joe Ross or right-handed reliever Kevin Quackenbush.

With the numerous problems the Cubs have had in the bullpen, Quackenbush might be the better one to go with—although the Padres may be reluctant to part with a good bullpen arm.

Peter Gammons has also heard other rumors involving the Padres and Cubs.

Regardless, the Padres and Cubs could have a potential match in some way to send Garza out west.

Other teams could get in on the deal as it gets closer to the deadline.

Regardless, it’s hard to see Garza staying in Chicago unless the Cubs feel a compensation pick is worth more than anything they get in return from another team.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

What Matt Garza’s Healthy Return Would Mean for the Cubs’ Rebuilding Plans

While the Chicago Cubs didn’t head into the 2013 season with the expectation that this would definitely be a rebuilding season, they knew it was at least a reasonable possibility—one that’s looking more likely after an 8-14 start.

The rebuilding process took a big step last season as three of the top four prospects in the organization, according to Baseball Prospectus (Albert Almora—draft, Jorge Soler—international free agent, Arodys Vizcaino—acquired in 2012), were added to the farm system after Theo Epstein took over as president of baseball operations in Chicago.

Along with the team’s first-round pick in 2011, shortstop Javier Baez, the Cubs’ quartet of prospects at the top of the list are quite impressive. In less than a year, the future of the team is already looking much brighter.

The rebuilding plan, as it pertains to the second year under Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer, could revolve around the trade value of starting pitcher Matt Garza and whether they can add another high-caliber prospect to the organization.

The 29 year-old Garza, who will be a free agent after the season, missed most of the second half of 2012 with a stress reaction in his elbow and has been on the disabled list with a strained lat muscle since the start of this season. 

Recently scratched from his first rehab assignment start with what is being described as a “dead arm”, Garza is now set to make his first rehab start on May 1. If he can get back on track and rejoin the Cubs’ rotation in the next three weeks or so—a very realistic timetable if there are no further setbacks—his value should hold strong as interested teams will be able to get at least 12-15 starts to determine if he can help and if he’s worth the Cubs’ asking price.

My guess is that it will cost a team a top-five prospect—the same as what the Braves had to pay for Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson last July when they traded away their third-ranked prospect, Vizcaino, in the deal.

A strong two months from Garza would likely ensure that the Cubs ask for a prospect of the same caliber as Vizcaino.  

By comparison, Ryan Dempster spent two separate stints on the disabled list (strained quad, strained lat) before he was traded to Texas at last year’s deadline,. The 35 year-old pitcher made 16 starts with the Cubs, however, and was able to showcase his health in four starts after returning from the lat injury in early July.

In those 16 starts, Dempster had a 2.25 ERA, 7.0 H/9, 2.3 BB and 7.2 K/9 in 104 innings pitched. Garza’s 18 starts in 2012 resulted in a 3.91 ERA, 7.8 H/9, 2.8 BB/9 and 8.3 K/9 in 103.2 innings pitched.

Considering that age isn’t likely to make a big difference when comparing two-month rentals, the value of Garza and Dempster shouldn’t be much different, but it doesn’t seem that way for some reason.

Maybe it’s Garza’s reputation as someone who has had success in the AL East. Maybe it’s because several contending teams will need pitching help and Garza could top the list of available pitchers.

Whatever the reason, it’s hard to see the Cubs not getting more for Garza than they received from the Rangers did for Dempster in third baseman Christian Villanueva and a fringe pitching prospect. 

As of now, the list of starting pitchers who will likely be available in July is thin. Struggling teams expected to be “sellers” include the Astros, Marlins and Padres. The Mariners and Twins are also likely headed in that direction.

Lucas Harrell, Jason Marquis, Ricky Nolasco, Bud Norris, Mike Pelfrey, Joe Saunders and Edinson Volquez would likely head the list of available starters from that group. Cubs starter Scott Feldman could also be on the list. 

From a contender’s perspective, Garza would be the top pitcher of that group. If other teams with current losing records, including the Angels (Jason Vargas), Blue Jays (Josh Johnson), Indians (Justin Masterson), Phillies (Roy Halladay), Rays (David Price), and White Sox (Gavin Floyd) can’t turn things around, then Garza would have some competition for the “best starter available” at the trading deadline.

Adding another good prospect in a Garza trade will continue to put the Cubs on the right path to have a young and talented squad in 2015. As for 2014, the third year of the Epstein/Hoyer era, things could get ugly in Chicago if they’re not at least a .500 club.

Expect another busy offseason in free agency and possibly a big trade with one of their top prospects utilized as a centerpiece in a deal.

Getting a good return on Garza would make that even more likely.

I recently wrote about the Cubs being a possible fit for Rays starter David Price and the trade package it might take to acquire him.   

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Chicago Cubs: Final Projection for the Cubs’ Opening Day 25-Man Roster

They say “hindsight is 20/20.”  But what about foresight?  Does that score somewhere around 20/1200 on the Snellen chart?

The evidence—an article of mine published last September—would suggest to the affirmative.  Granted, some of my predictions are correct, or will turn out to be correct, and deserved of a self-congratulatory pat on the back.

But, boy, some are outright swings and misses.

The September version of the predicted 25-man roster was riddled with terrible selections:  Bryan LaHair, Joe Mather, Ryan Dempster, Chris Rusin, and Josh Vitters along with then-predicted free agent acquisitions Humberto Quintero and Geoff Blum, to name a few.

And while foresight is of questionable clarity, now that we’re mere days away from the official start of spring training, the upcoming predicted roster is bestowed with the assistance of a proverbial pair of eyeglasses.

First, we must begin by eliminating the obvious inclusions to the 25-man roster.  The infielders are Anthony Rizzo, Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro, Ian Stewart, and Luis Valbuena; with Welington Castillo as the starting catcher.

Returning from the 2012 squad are David DeJesus and Alfonso Soriano, and they will be joined by free-agents Scott Hairston and Nate Schierholtz, to make up four-fifths of the outfield component,

Jeff Samardzija, Matt Garza, Edwin Jackson, Travis Wood, and Scott Feldman will comprise the starting rotation—although hopeful, Scott Baker will not be ready by Opening Day due to Tommy John surgery last year. 

Bullpen sure-ins include Kyuji Fujikawa, James Russell, Carlos Marmol, Shawn Camp, and Carlos Villanueva.

That leaves five holes in the Opening Day roster.

Filling the first of these five spots is fairly easy.  There needs to be a backup catcher.

Given the options available are Dioner Navarro and Steve Clevenger, all signs point to Dioner Navarro being named to the 25-man roster over the abysmal Steve Clevenger.

Using the same roster structure the Cubs used last spring that leaves four spots available for two infielders, an outfielder, and one additional reliever.

The Cubs could kill two birds with one stone if Brent Lillibridge makes the roster.  He can play some outfield and short, but most importantly he could serve as Anthony Rizzo’s primary backup at first base in the event Rizzo needs a day off.

The Cubs do have an option, if the unforeseen happens and Rizzo is out for a lengthy period of time, in minor-leaguer Brad Nelson.

Nelson’s career has been similar to Bryan LaHair, and looks to begin the season in Triple-A.  However, if for some reason Anthony Rizzo were to be out of action for a few weeks, Nelson would serve as the first baseman in the interim.

But for him to break camp on the 25-man roster does not seem likely.

As for the other backup infielder, the Cubs have only two legitimate options going into camp:  Alberto Gonzalez and Edwin Maysonet.  But let’s put it this way:  If they were books, you wouldn’t consider them page turners.

It is for that reason the Cubs will break camp with six infielders in 2013, as opposed to the seven they did in 2012.  That extra spot will go to the bullpen; the area in which the Cubs need to see the greatest improvement.

The Cubs, with Lillibridge included, will then have three infielders who can play multiple positions in emergency situations which can allow them to add an extra arm to the much maligned bullpen and, hopefully, avoid the kind of start to the season the 2012 version experienced.

The team could use the extra spot, so both prospects, Dave Sappelt and Brett Jackson, could break camp with the big league club.  However, the outfield is already crowded as it is by having four veterans expecting to be on the roster. 

That will leave just one spot for Dave Sappelt or Brett Jackson to claim.

Offensively, in 2012, Brett Jackson was…well…offensive.  He did showcase his outstanding fielding instincts while in the MLB, but if he wants to begin the 2013 season on the 25-man roster, he will need to prove that his overhauled swing can translate from the batting cage to the diamond.

Brett Jackson is a strikeout machine, which would be good if he was a pitcher, but horrible since he’s a position player.  He will need to seriously limit his strikeouts in the Cactus League if he wants to break camp as a member of the 25-man roster.

Even so, it is more likely Dave Sappelt will begin the season in Chicago, while Brett Jackson continues to improve his plate discipline and work on his new swing in Triple-A.

That leaves two remaining spots for the bullpen:  The greatest concern that needed addressing this offseason.

The Cubs’ bullpen in 2012 was one of the worst in the league.  Last season, the club’s bullpen ranked in the bottom of the MLB in just about every team category, leaving much room for improvement.

Rule 5 draftee, Hector Rondon looks to be an obvious choice once you read the rules of the Rule 5 draft.

A team that selects a player in the Rule 5 Draft pays $50,000 to the team from which he was selected. The receiving team must then keep the player on the Major League 25-man roster for the entirety of the next season, and the selected player must remain active (not on the disabled list) for a minimum of 90 days. If the player does not remain on the Major League roster, he is offered back to the team from which he was selected for $25,000. If his original team declines, the receiving team may waive the player.

Once a player is selected, he is automatically assigned to his new organization’s 40-man roster. 

Now, with only one spot remaining on the 25-man roster, the competition among camp relievers is sure to be intense.

One of the bright spots from last year’s bullpen was Michael Bowden.

In 32 appearances he pitched 36.2 innings for the club earning a bullpen best 2.95 ERA and held opponents to a .225 average.  He was also ranked second in the bullpen in WHIP (1.25) and fourth in strikeouts (29).

Bowden pitched very well for the Cubs last season and, unless he flames out completely in Mesa or another candidate lights up the Cactus League, Michael Bowden will break camp as part of the Cubs’ Opening Day 25-man roster.


Infielders\Catchers:  Anthony Rizzo, Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro, Ian Stewart, Luis Valbuena, Brent Lillibridge, Welington Castillo, Dioner Navarro

Outfielders:  Alfonso Soriano, David De Jesus, Nate Schierholtz, Scott Hairston, Dave Sappelt

Starting Pitchers:  Jeff Samardzija, Matt Garza, Edwin Jackson, Travis Wood, Scott Feldman

Relievers:  Kyuji Fujikawa, James Russell, Shawn Camp, Carlos Marmol, Carlos Villanueva, Hector Rondon, Michael Bowden

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Why the Toronto Blue Jays Do Not Need to Sign Josh Johnson Long Term

The Toronto Blue Jays have done a tremendous job remodeling their team into a playoff contender during the offseason.

No. Make that a World Series contender.

I may be getting a little ahead of myself, but the odds makers in Las Vegas have them pegged as the clear favorites.

What’s even more impressive: Almost every major player they have acquired this season is set to wear a Blue Jays uniform for at least a few years, except starting pitcher Josh Johnson. Johnson will make $13.75 million this season as his four-year contract comes to an end (originally signed by the Miami Marlins).

While Johnson will not be the “Ace” or opening day starter for the Blue Jays, he will play a vital role in the Jays success or failures this season.

But you have to wonder if Blue Jays General Manager Alex Anthopoulos wants to dish out the money to have him as a staple in the rotation for another couple of years, or if will he let him walk at the end of 2013.

Beyond this year, the Jays will have R.A. Dickey, Mark Bheurle, Brandon Morrow and Rickey Romero still in their rotation. Adding Johnson makes that one of the best—if not the best—in baseball. But  how much do the Blue Jays lose by taking him away?

I think that depends on who you  replace him with. There are plenty of options available to the Blue Jays in 2014.

Personally, while I think having him in the rotation will be amazing and fun to watch every fifth day, I don’t think future success beyond this year warrants giving him a Felix Hernandez-type contract. And while I don’t think Johnson will be able to get that kind of money ($175 million over 7 years) from anyone, there’s reason to believe he can get a hefty payday by testing the free-agent waters.

If the Blue Jays are willing to spend money and looking at locking up a guy long term they can always resign Johnson. The players expected to hit the free agent market provide some intrigue.

  • Two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum: This is the same Lincecum the Jays could have had if they parted with Alex Rios in the infamous trade that wasn’t. How does that look now, J.P. Ricciardi?  While Lincecum was banished to the bullpen last year, I think that he has too much raw talent to not bounce back and be a very good starter once again. If he has another bad year, do the Jays look at getting him—hopefully, cheaper—than any other two-time Cy Young winner?

  • Matt Garza and Ubaldo Jimenez: I link the two together because they are both pieces that wouldn’t bring to the table what Johnson brings, but would get the job done on the back end. If Rickey Romero bounces back to his 2011 form, do the Jays need a Josh Johnson, or would they prefer a Garza or Jimenez? I don’t think they would command anywhere near the same kind of money that Johnson would, even if both Garza and Jimenez have good years. They are steady veterans that give you a chance to win.
  • Roy Halladay: Potentially, the Philadelphia Phillies pitcher could hit the market. While Doc has stated he wants to finish his career in Philadelphia with the Phillies, I think it would be a pretty classy move to bring him back to Toronto for a couple of years to be another veteran arm in a formidable rotation.

We also can’t forget about in-house options the Blue Jays have—all those guys on the farm that were looking at being possible hopefuls for this year’s rotation before AA’s wheeling and dealing. There are guys that will start at Triple AAA, Double AA or the disabled list that would have been given an extra look, and opportunity to make the big league club in April of 2013.

But because there are a number of veterans poised to slot into the rotation, this list of candidates gets some extra time to develop their game on the farm and, barring any injury, will stay there for the whole year and compete for that supposedly vacant spot in 2014.

  • Chad Jenkins made his debut last year with the Jays. He posted a 1-3 record with a 4.50 ERA in 13 games, including three starts. Jenkins showed some promise last year, and would be most likely to be called up first in the event of an injury. Either he or J.A. Happ would get the chance to start, and I thought deserved a chance to start before the moves were made. I don’t think he figures into the team’s long term success, though, so he may not be an option to replace Johnson.

  • Kyle Drabek and Drew Hutchinson are coming off Tommy John surgery and will get an entire year and off-season to regain their arm strength. Both will be looking to find a spot on the big league roster when they return, and both have a legitimate case to make. Drabek was starting to mold into the pitcher the Blue Jays hoped he would be when they traded Halladay to get him. He was 4-7 with a 4.67 ERA and a WHIP of 1.60, and improving with every start. The 23-year-old Hutchinson was called up to the big league roster almost out of necessity after the first week or so into the season. In 11 starts, he went 5-3 with an ERA of 4.60 and 1.35 WHIP. He will be 23 this year and will hope to bounce back from a tough injury at a young age. TThese guys are probably the cheapest low risk/high reward options for the Jays in 2014.

Other names you can throw out there include Dustin McGowan, Aaron Sanchez, Roberto Osuna, Daniel Norris, Marcus Stroman, Deck McGuire and Adonys Cardona. With the exception of McGowan, it may be too soon to bring them up, but you never know how they may develop over the course of 2013.

But should injuries occur to the starting 5, some of these names may get a big league debut this season, and an extended look heading into 2014. As for McGowan, if he ever gets a lucky break and finds that his arm allows him to compete, I think the Jays will give him every chance to make the rotation.

It has happened a few times in the past where athletes perform at their best level when on their final contract year (A.J. Burnett for example threw 200 innings  went 18-10 with a 4.07 ERA and opted out, as his contract allowed after year three, his best season).

If Johnson looks like he is leaning towards cashing in on a big pay day on the market, then let him go out there and show the whole league why he deserves that money.

It’s debatable whether Johnson wants to pursue free agency. Shi Davedi  writes  in a recent article that free agency doesn’t really appeal to Johnson. While it could be something his agent told him to say, It could be true and he may want to be with the Jays for a lengthy period of time.

The Jays have a handful of options. I don’t think signing Johnson long term is an immediate need for this team.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB Trade Rumors: Dodgers Reportedly Set Their Sights on Cubs Pitcher Matt Garza

The Los Angeles Dodgers are desperately looking to add another starting pitcher prior to the MLB trade deadline and it looks like Matt Garza is their latest target.

Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com is reporting the Dodgers have now turned their focus to Garza and could look to bring him to Los Angeles to join their current ace, Clayton Kershaw, in order to shore up their rotation:

Multiple sources confirmed Saturday the Los Angeles Dodgers have shifted their focus to obtaining Cubs starter Matt Garza just one day after they tried to trade for Dempster.

The price for Dempster appears to have been too high for the Dodgers liking and that might have forced them to look elsewhere on the Cubs roster. Per the same report from Levine, it will take less prospects to land Garza than it would for Dempster.

One of those reasons is based on the fact that Dempster is having a career year this season. Dempster is pitching to an ERA nearly half that of Garza’s and that’s enough to send Dempster’s value sky-high.

Not to mention, Garza left the Cubs game with the St. Louis Cardinals early on Saturday night thanks to a minor injury, according to the Cubs official Twitter page:

If the problems persist, however slight they might be, Garza’s price could come down even further and that would be a huge benefit for the Dodgers since they wouldn’t have to give up as much young talent to acquire him.

In turn, they could use their very best young pieces to bring in some much-needed offense.

Garza would be a great addition to the Dodgers stellar rotation. Currently, Los Angeles’ starters have the second-best collective ERA in the MLB. With the addition of Garza, the Dodgers would have one of the deepest rotations in baseball.

With experience pitching in the AL East and in the postseason, Garza has seen some of the toughest lineups in baseball throughout his career and flourished in the process. His 3.91 ERA in 2012 will no doubt be reduced upon entering one of the weakest hitting divisions in baseball.

To start the day on Saturday, the Dodgers were merely two games back of a wild-card spot and 2.5 games behind the division leader, the San Francisco Giants. Adding Garza and some offense would certainly help Los Angeles make up the ground they need to in order to make the postseason.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB: Cleveland Indians Have Their Ace in Ubaldo Jimenez

On May 27, Ubaldo Jimenez had started 10 games for the Cleveland Indians in the 2012 season.

Of those ten games, five of them were quality starts and in the other five he allowed four or more runs. While Jimenez held a 5-4 record, his ERA was at a season high, 5.79.

In those 10 starts, Jimenez had a 33:42 K:BB over 56 innings. He also allowed 58 hits in those starts, ballooning his WHIP to 1.79.

Then, June started and while Jimenez is just 3-3 over his last seven starts, he has shown exactly what made him a huge acquisition from the Colorado Rockies at the 2011 MLB trade deadline.

Jimenez has thrown 46 innings, posted a 2.93 ERA, but, most importantly, Jimenez has a 44:16 K:BB and has allowed 38 hits, for a 1.17 WHIP.

Jimenez is throwing strikes and has turned back into the player who the Indians thought they were getting when they traded Drew Pomeranz and Alex White, two very good arms, to acquire the 28-year-old Dominican right-hander.

As the Indians head into the All-Star break and rumors have swirled about their interest in several players:

Shane Victorino – by Ken Rosenthal

Matt Garza – by Jon Paul Morosi

Chase Headley – by Jon Heyman

Carlos Quentin – by Buster Olney

While I have mentioned others in previous articles, particularly right-handed bats and pitchers like Ryan Dempster of the Chicago Cubs and Brandon McCarthy of the Oakland A’s, the Indians may have improved their rotation with the apparent divine intervention that has taken place with Ubaldo Jimenez and his ability to pitch efficiently in MLB.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Detroit Tigers: Players to Consider Acquiring at the Trade Deadline

At the beginning of the season, everybody had considered the Tigers to be World Series contenders.  But as of right now, the team has struggled to get above the .500 mark.  The only way the Tigers are going to make the playoffs is by winning the division; and in order to win the division, they must become buyers at the trade deadline.  Here’s a list of players that could help the Tigers at the trade deadline.

Begin Slideshow

Chicago Cubs: Starting Ryan Dempster over Matt Garza Is Foolish of Dale Sveum

The Chicago Cubs’ Opening Day starter will be Ryan Dempster, while Matt Garza will be the second man in the team’s rotation.


It appears that manager Dale Sveum may have a screw loose in his head, because this rotation call just seems foolish.

There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Garza is the top pitcher on the Cubs staff, and Dempster is perhaps only here because of his contract, which left him with the option of staying or going. 

Last season, Dempster went 10-14 while boasting an ERA of 4.80. Yeah, that is really some ace-quality pitching, don’t you think?

Garza, on the other hand, went 10-10 in his first season on the North Side, while having an ERA of 3.32 and 197 strikeouts—both career bests.

It is just bewildering, and it doesn’t make much sense. Perhaps if the Cubs were starting on the road and were setting up Garza for Opening Day at Wrigley Field, that would be understandable.

It isn’t though, and that is what will have fans wondering when April 5 rolls around.

This is the second year in a row that Dempster has been given the nod, and it is just bewildering that this is who the team is going with, especially since they will be taking on the Washington Nationals with Stephen Strasburg on the mound.

In last year’s Opening Day start, Dempster looked like the fifth man in the rotation—perhaps even a guy who had thrown his last pitch.

The team was playing the Pittsburgh Pirates, and Dempster failed to slow them down, as he gave up six runs on six hits in just 6.2 innings. Two of those were home runs, and it was becoming quite clear that Dempster didn’t exactly have his stuff anymore.

Well, he will have to prove all of the Cubbie faithful wrong this Opening Day, as many will continue to be scratching their heads until they see exactly what Sveum is seeing.


Jeff Chase is a Featured Columnist for the Chicago Cubs and Arizona State football.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress