The Cubs are Stockpiling Talent and Other News and Rumors

Many are using the world “haul” when describing what the Cubs received from the Texas Rangers for Matt Garza. The Cubs acquired 3B Mike Olt, RHP Justin Grimm, RHP C.J. Edwards and either a player to be named later if they choose to take RHP Neil Ramirez or two players to be named later from a pool of players the two teams agreed to as part of the trade.

All three players the Cubs received in the deal were ranked among the top 15 prospects in the Rangers system by Baseball America (2013 Prospect Handbook). Mike Olt (2), Justin Grimm (5) and C.J. Edwards (14) were ranked toward the top of what is considered a deep system and Neil Ramirez (23) made the top 25.

The general feeling is that the Cubs received a very good package of prospects for what is seen as a two and a half month rental of Matt Garza. In reality it will take two to three years to determine whether or not this turns out to be a good trade for the Cubs. But on paper this appears to be a good deal. The Cubs have added inventory to their system with their fifth trade of the month.

Jed Hoyer admitted the Cubs have been trying to acquire Mike Olt since last year at the trade deadline. Mike Olt and Justin Grimm have been assigned to Triple-A Iowa and C.J. Edwards has been assigned to the Daytona Cubs. Olt is expected to be the I-Cubs everyday third baseman and Josh Vitters will see time at first base and in the outfield. Vitters career seems to be taking the same path as Jeff Baker.

Where will Kris Bryant play was the first question that popped up after the trade was announced. And wouldn’t it be a good problem if both Mike Olt and Kris Bryant turn out to be the players the Cubs project them to be? The front office’s goal is to build a deep farm system so they are not relying on a handful of players to fulfill their projections in order for the organization to be successful. Inventory and talent is a great combination and can be used to add a player or a pitcher, like a Matt Garza, in order to make a push for a division title or the post-season.

The Cubs have turned three short term pieces in Matt Garza, Scott Feldman and Scott Hairston plus Steve Clevenger and a PTBNL into long-term assets … Pedro Strop, Jake Arrieta, Ivan Pineyro, Mike Olt, Justin Grimm, C.J. Edwards, international slot money and as many as three players to be named later.

Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez

According to a report from Jesse Sanchez, Cuban RHP Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez has narrowed his field to five teams and he could sign with a team in the next few days.

The Cubs are one of many teams thought to have serious interest in signing Gonzalez. Other teams include the Blue Jays, Braves, Dodgers, Marlins, Phillies, Rangers, Red Sox, Twins and Yankees.

Gonzalez’s price tag has increased according to Jesse Sanchez. A report from Peter Gammons on Sunday pointed toward a possible five-year, $50 million deal.

Jesse Sanchez reported early Tuesday morning that the Dodgers are not interested in signing Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez.

Scouting Reports

Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus posted scouting reports on the three players the Cubs received for Matt Garza … and BP’s Jason Parks really likes what the Cubs are doing with the system. Parks would not rank Mike Olt in the top five in the system due to the impact talent that has been added over the last two-plus years. And Parks thinks the Cubs now have eight of the top 101 prospects in the game.

Baseball America Scouting Reports

Mike Olt: Don’t read too much into Olt’s overall batting line at Triple-A. He entered the season ranked as the No. 22 prospect in the game, but after struggling out of the gate with vision problems, he redeemed himself by batting .247/.353/.506 with 10 homers in 158 at-bats since returning to Round Rock on June 3. Strikeouts will be a permanent fixture of Olt’s game, but that will be an acceptable tradeoff for his plus power production. He led the Texas League in home runs (28) and slugging (.579) in 2012, but he’s more than just a one-trick pony. Scouts rave about his agility, sure-handedness and arm strength at third base, and he forces pitchers to throw him strikes with a disciplined hitting approach—his strikeout-to-walk ratio was about 2-to-1 since June. Olt represents a good buy-low option for the Cubs, and his acquisition could directly influence the futures of Kris Bryant (2103) and Javier Baez (2011), two of the organization’s recent first-round picks.

Justin Grimm: One of three rookies in the Rangers rotation at the time of the trade, along with Nick Tepesch and Martin Perez, Grimm had fallen on hard times of late, running up an 11.91 ERA over his past three starts while allowing 23 hits in 11 1/3 innings. Grimm’s fastball sits at 91-92 mph and must be located down because he doesn’t have much life on the pitch or deception in his delivery. He throws a sharp, high-70s curveball as his primary out-pitch, though his changeup and slider have made strides and project as average. Grimm competes and throws strikes, with many scouts seeing him as a mid-rotation arm. The Cubs can afford to throttle back the pressure and, if they so choose, allow their new acquisition to sort out his repertoire in Triple-A for a few weeks.

C.J. Edwards: A 48th-round pick in 2011, Edwards may be the best scouting and player-development story in the minors. Little-scouted in high school, he thrived under professional tutelage, rapidly streamlining his delivery and adding velocity during his 2012 debut in short-season ball, where he ranked among the top 10 prospects in both the Arizona and Northwest leagues. Edwards sits in the low- to mid-90s and imparts a natural cutting action on the ball due to the unique nature of his finger position and arm slot. At the time of the trade, he led the South Atlantic League in ERA (1.83) and strikeouts (122) while not allowing a home run in 18 starts, which is more impressive than it sounds give Hickory’s home park. Edwards must continue to stay on top of a solid breaking ball and fringy changeup, but his athleticism and aptitude argue well for continued refinement.

News and Notes

The Cubs did not send any cash to the Rangers in the Matt Garza trade.

According to a report from Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, the Cubs had to accept Justin Grimm instead of Roughned Odor after the Rangers raised issue’s about Garza’s elbow.

Chris Rusin will be given an opportunity to remain in the Cubs’ rotation.

RHP Henry Rodriguez accepted his assignment to the Iowa Cubs and has reported to the team.

C.J. Edwards was assigned to the Daytona Cubs and will be inserted into the D-Cubs rotation.

Jake Arrieta could make his Cubs’ debut on July 30 in one of the two games against the Brewers. The Cubs and Brewers play a day-night doubleheader and the Cubs can add a 26th player to the active roster for the day. The first of two next Tuesday is the makeup from the game rained out on April 10.

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Quote of the Day

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