Garza: experience in hostile places
The Chicago Cubs traded SP Matt Garza to the Texas Rangers Monday, July 22, in exchange for 3B Mike Olt, SP Justin Grimm, P C.J. Edwards and a player to be named.
Fantasy players in American League games who hoarded their FAAB for the trade deadline lucked out; they have a legit target on whom to go nuts. However, he'll be a hotly contested asset.
His extensive experience in the Junior Circuit and in a hostile offensive division will go a long way toward easing concerns of going to the rougher offensive half of the league. Properly framing Garza's 6.04 career ERA at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington helps: He'll have the Rangers as his supporting offense, not his opponents, and he's pitched in unfriendly AL East confines for much of his career.
He's also proven he can, in a sense, adapt to situations, when it comes to batted-ball allotment; he became more of a grounder pitcher when he moved to Wrigley Field. Though homers haunted him with Tampa, he still has enough skills to limit his allowance to an average level. His K/9 might drop a little, but he should come close to replicating Anibal Sanchez's move to the AL last year, albeit in Arlington, not pitcher-friendly Comerica Park. Maybe there'll be some tempered bidding because of it, but it's unlikely, because Garza's skills remain solid.
Olt stays in a promising situation and should be thrown into MLB action sometime next month, at one of the corner spots on the diamond. NL-only purchasers will have, to a lesser degree, their own stampede over his services. He endured some vision problems earlier this year, potentially the result of a concussion he suffered in the Dominican winter league. Docs eventually diagnosed him with a faulty tear duct in his right eye.
He picked things up with a seven-homer June and some recent help from fellow Rangers farmhand Manny Ramirez, but Olt, who turns 25 next month, needs to regain the contact skills he's shown at the lower levels. He'll have to prove himself at Triple-A Iowa for a spell, but Olt could jolt a single-universe club and offer complementary deep-mixed depth, as long as you expect Nolan Arenado-type numbers as a 2013 ceiling.
Edwards' 122 K's in 93 1/3 frames for advanced Class A Hickory make him a long-term dynasty stash. The 6-foot-2, 155-pound beanpole touches the mid-90s with his gas and has some promising secondary offerings. The 21-year-old should spend at least the next two seasons on the farm harnessing his game, and the fact that he moves to the NL aids his potential.
If he cracks the rotation (it's likely), Grimm sees more mono-league value now that he moves to the Senior Circuit and away from the everyday designated hitter. His zone-pounding capabilities could yield better results as an NL-only back-ender and have sneaky mixed spot-start appeal.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
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