The deal is not yet 100 percent done as procedural matters (such as physical exams) have to be completed, but the players have been agreed upon. Chicago will essentially empty its farm by sending starting pitcher Chris Archer, who was the Cubs' minor league pitcher of the year along with shortstop Hak-Ju Lee, outfielder Brandon Guyer and catcher Robinson Chirinos.
Additional players may be part of the deal, with Knobler reporting the names of Sam Fuld from the Cubs and Fernando Perez from the Rays as the additional names. Both are outfielders. ESPN.com's Bruce Levine also adds that a minor-league pitcher from Tampa Bay may also be included in the deal.
Garza, who tossed a no-hitter and is eligible for arbitration for the third time (with another year of team control ahead), should sniff $5 million or more after making $3.35 million in 2010. The recently-turned 27-year-old hurled 204 2/3 innings for the Rays, posting a 3.91 ERA. His whiff rate dipped to 6.6 per nine off of a 8.38 K/9 showing in 2009, but also improved his command. His stuff should play up nicely in the National League with a mid-90s heater.
GM Jim Hendry has been of the opinion that the Cubs are only a few moves away from contending, and Garza would be the third such move after first baseman Carlos Pena and reliever Kerry Wood signed on. The cheap deal by Wood -- at just $1.5 million for a year -- likely freed up the money to pursue Garza.
Archer split 2010 between Double- and Triple-A, posting a cumulative 2.34 ERA in 142 1/3 innings, punching out 149. He was recently named the Cubs' top prospect by Baseball America. He profiles as a future No. 2 starter.
Lee, the No. 4 prospect in the system according to BA, was projected to bump Starlin Castro to second base upon promotion to the majors. Clearly, that has changed as Lee now has a clear path to the majors in Tampa as Reid Brignac can shift to second eventually. The left-hander is still a ways away, playing 2010 as a 19 year old for Class A and hitting .282/.354/.351 in 551 plate appearances.
Guyer ranked No. 10 on the top prospect lists as the 24-year-old (25 on Jan. 28) batted .344/.398/.588 in 410 plate appearances for Double-A, cranking 13 home runs. He could be part of the competition for the left- and right-field spots.
Chirinos is old for a top player, but the 26-year-old backstop hit .326/.416/.583 in 380 plate appearances between Double- and Triple-A. He could contend for a major-league spot, battling Kelly Shoppach for time behind the dish. Chirinos can hit, but he can also field, with BA tabbing him the best defensive catcher in the system.
Fuld (29-years-old) and Perez (28-years-old in late April) are old for the minors, but both are fleet of foot -- especially Perez. Fuld has a better stick, hitting .272/.383/.394 in 440 Triple-A PA while Perez hit an embarassing .223/.280/.299 in 429 Triple-A PA that seems like an aberration. Both figure to be backup outfielders, with the switch motivated by a change of scenery.
-- Evan Brunell
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