Joe and I broke down the trade that the Rays and Cubs made official this weekend sending Matt Garza, Fernando Perez, and minor-league LHP Zach Rosscup to the Cubs in exchange for RHP Chris Archer, SS Hak-Ju Lee, OF Brandon Guyer, C Robinson Chirinos, and OF Sam Fuld. Joe has been kind enough to break down each of these prospects for us below. If you want to know more about the players headed to Chicago, check out my analysis on Joe’s blog.
In the end, I love this trade for the Rays. Jeremy Hellickson can take Garza’s place in the rotation (and maybe even outperform him according to the Zips projections that predict Hellickson throwing 135 innings with a 3.58 ERA in 2011 while Garza was projected for 208 innings with a 3.84 ERA in 2011). It also frees up cash for the Rays to get a one-year deal on a right-handed DH like Vladimir Guerrero or Jim Thome. And, most importantly, it uses the Rays strength in starting pitching to patch up four areas of need in the organization.
Joe loves the trade too: From a Cubs standpoint, I like the trade. We get an upper rotation starter, which was sorely needed to help counter some of the moves made in the division. Garza is under our control for cheap for three more years, which allows flexibility given the bad contracts that are currently on the books. In return, we give up a starter that could be as good as Garza, but might not meet those projections, and players at positions where there wasn’t room to play. Chirinos is blocked by Soto. Lee is blocked by Castro. Guyer is blocked by Soriano, Byrd, Fukudome and Colvin. Fuld had not place on the roster no matter what. It’s dealing from a strength to fill a need. It’s a welcome change to see the Cubs deal prospects while they’re still high in value rather than wait until they bust like we’ve seen with guys like Rich Hill, Felix Pie, and Corey Patterson.
Based on Joe’s analysis, this might be one of the few deals in recent memory where both teams address areas of need and get better in the process.
Without further ado, let me pass the mic back to Joe for some detail on what we got:
Chris Archer – He seems to be the focal point of the deal for the Rays. Everything I read pointed to the idea thathe was a
must have if the deal was going to be consummated. He was originally drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 5th round
of the 2006 draft, but disappointed enough to become expendable when the Indians
wanted Mark DeRosa. He was shipped to the Cubs along with John Gaub and Jeff Stevens. He spent 2010 between Daytona (A+) and Tennessee (AA) and combined for a 15-3 record with a 2.34 ERA. The biggest challenge facing Archer at this point is his command. He still walks too many hitters. If he can continue to work on that and develop his third pitch (changeup), he has the makings of a low end # 2 or high end # 3 starter in my opinion. I like him a lot primarily because he’s young (just 22 yrs old) and he went to H.S. right near my house. He’s a tough one to loose, but I don’t see him being better than Garza.
Hak-Ju Lee – Lee seems to be getting over looked by a lot of people that have written about this deal. The Cubs signed him from S. Korea in 2008 and have been hyping up the fact that he has the ability to supplant Starlin Castro at SS. That’s pretty high praise, but he has the type of range that can warrant the praise. If he meets his potential, he’ll be a guy that plays above average defense at short, but lacks the arm strength to be an elite SS. He won’t hit the ball out of the ballpark, but he’ll get on base and be able to use his speed on the bases.
Brandon Guyer – Guyer broke out in 2010 and hit the ball so well that he was named the Minor League Player of the Year in the Cubs system. What people forget is that until 2010, his hitting was less than spectacular. He’s an athletic player that can steal bases well. I’m concerned that his lack of discipline at the plate might get him overmatched at the big league level. If he can work on that, there are opportunities to make a difference in the OF in Tampa.
Robinson Chirinos – If Geovany Soto was not in Chicago and if Jim Hendry wasn’t in love with non-hitting
backup, Koyie Hill, Chirinos would probably be in line for a shot with the Cubs in 2010. I clamored for him to get a chance last year over Wellington Castillo, but for some reasons no one listened. I’m excited to see what he can do with Tampa. He’s got some power in his bat and can draw walks at the plate. He plays average defense behind the plate, but has a great arm that translated into 30+% caught stealing in 2010. At this point, he deserves a chance to play with Tampa.
Sam Fuld – Fuld reminds me a lot of Fernando Perez. He’s never going to be a starting outfielder in this league,
but he has the makeup to be a productive guy on a part time basis because of his good baseball sense. He has tremendous patience and discipline at the plate that at one point translated into him being recognized as being top in the system in
that area. He can play all three OF positions, but is probably best suited for CF. He runs the bases well can use his speed as an asset to make up for his lack of power. He’s out of minor league options, so that bears watching come spring training. He’ll need to make this club or risk being lost on waivers.