The Texas Rangers acquired Matt Garza from the Chicago Cubs in a trade completed on Monday, getting a pitcher they had long coveted just days before the non-waiver trading deadline on Wednesday next week.
“He’s an extremely talented pitcher that’s had success in the toughest of divisions and the biggest of stages, who’s throwing the ball as well as anybody right now,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. “It’s a power repertoire, a little bit of a different look from what we’ve got, and he was available... He was in our opinion the best guy on the market.”
The 29-year-old right-hander provides a boost to a starting rotation plagued by injuries and a team that slipped three games behind Oakland in the American League West Division after being swept in a three-game weekend series at home against Baltimore.
Texas sent Cubs rookie right-hander Justin Grimm, top prospect third baseman Mike Olt and Class-A pitcher C.J. Edwards. There will also be at least one player to be named later, possibly two, depending on who is chosen by Chicago.
“We paid a steep price in talent to acquire Matt, but we did so knowing that we’ve got other guys in the system,” Daniels said. “What it comes down to, ultimately why we got him, beside the desire, is we had the players to do it.”
Garza (6-1, 3.17 ERA), who can become a free agent after this season, has made 11 starts since missing the first seven weeks this season with a strained left-shoulder muscle. He is 5-0 with a 1.24 ERA in his last six starts.
Garza had been scheduled to start on Monday night for the Cubs in Arizona. He will instead start for the Rangers against the New York Yankees, likely this evening.
Daniels said Garza was scheduled to fly from Arizona to Texas later on Monday night and join the Rangers today.
Tampa Bay traded Garza to Chicago instead of Texas after the 2010 season. The Rangers were also interested in Garza last summer before he missed the last two months with a stress reaction in his right elbow and they instead acquired Ryan Dempster from the Cubs.
All-Star right-hander Yu Darvish came off the disabled list to start Monday night’s game for the Rangers at home against the Yankees in the opener of a four-game series. Darvish in essence missed only one start because of a right-trapezius strain, but had not pitched since July 6.
Garza has a 63-62 career record in 181 major league games (178 starts) with Minnesota (2006 to 2007), Tampa Bay (2008 to 2010) and the Cubs (2011 to this year). He was a first-round draft pick by the Twins in the 2005 amateur draft.
“He was the best pitcher in baseball in his last five, six, seven starts. He’s young, has great velocity, has good command of his pitches and that makes him attractive to any team,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.