The Matt Garza trade, revisited
Bruce Miles has a piece looking back at the Matt Garza trade over at The Daily Herald. I still go back and forth on the trade myself. On one hand, it was emblematic of Hendry crippling the future in a futile attempt to save his job. The Cubs were not going to be very good in the future, and from a strategic standpoint it was a dumb trade to weaken an improving farm system to improve a 74 win team to a 76 win team. On the other hand, I never really thought much of the prospects that the Cubs sent to Tampa. Archer had a history of walking the planet, and had merely improved from 'awful' to 'average' in his breakout 2010 season, and his minor league ERA/FIP numbers look propped up by an unsustainable HR rate. I'm still not sure why so many prospect evaluators love Hak-Ju Lee as much either, seeing as he can barely hit the ball out of the infield, though he is a plus defender and base thief. Chirinos, Fuld, and Guyer all had ceilings as backups on a big league roster.
To be fair, I didn't think Matt Garza looked like that great of an asset at the time either. He was a fly-ball pitcher moving from a pitchers' park to a place where the wind is often howling out, and had just seen a big drop in his strikeout rate. Instead, Garza set career bests in strikeouts and ground ball percentages after moving to the Cubs, drastically changing his pitch mix. I'm not sure how much credit to give to the Cubs for these changes. Were it not for the most recent injury (injuries), the Cubs could have received a decent amount back for Garza, especially considering how the new CBA has made it difficult to get top-line starting pitching in free agency. Of course, the old front office wouldn't have known this at the time of the trade.
Tony Campana doing Tony Campana things
Steal ALL the bases! The Cubs let another Young Player get away my frents. Just like that Corey McGee kid and Brad Fucking Snyder.
Movin' on up
With the Cubs recent three game winning streak, they have improved to 9-14, which puts them…still in last place in the NL Central. They are currently behind Miami (5-19), Houston (7-14), San Diego (8-15), Toronto (9-16), and Seattle (10-16) for the top pick in next year's draft. But we can say that the Cubs are just as good as the LAAoAoDoKVoAoR, who share an identical 9-14 record.
Ian Stewart is still stinking up the joint with the I-Cubs. He's hitting .100/.243/.133 and giving Brett Jackson a run for his money in K%. He missed a game or two this week with an elbow injury on a HBP that made it tough for him to throw.
Matt Garza is already feeling better from his 'dead arm' issue earlier this week. He threw off flat ground on Friday, and his hoping to finally make a minor league rehab start on Wednesday, if there isn't yet another rainout/setback.
Kyuji Fujikawa threw a bullpen session on Friday, and should make one or two rehab appearances before coming back to the team, presumably as the closer.
Rizzo tinkering with his swing
In this piece by NDB Paul Sullivan, he notes that Sveum and the hitting coach went over some video with Rizzo on Friday and found a mechanical flaw in his swing. He went on to crush two homers that night, IIRC both against lefties. Keith Law mentioned that something was up with his swing a week or so ago, when everyone was wringing their hands about Rizzo's BA being so low. Hopefully he gets back on track.
Andre Dawson is disappoint at Cubs lack of spending
Dawson Tells Gordo that he never thought he'd see a "small market payroll" team taking the field at Wrigley. Gordo's been the one beating the drum about the Cubs finances lately, so it's no surprise that this came up in one of his articles. Brett has a nice synopsis/breakdown of what we know about the Cubs finances right now over at Bleacher Nation. We don't know the particulars of the deal, but the main thrust of complaint is that Zell/TribCo wanted the sale to be heavily debt-financed for tax purposes, and thus the Ricketts essentially borrowed a lot of money from themselves through The Ricketts Family Trust. Though following that logic, if the team pays off that Ricketts debt sooner rather than later it should actually cost the team *less* money in the long run due to lesser interest payments.