This Afternoon the moment we had all been obsessing over for last few weeks finally arrived, and news broke that Matt Garza was indeed headed to the Texas Rangers. I thought it was sort of funny, we all heard countless different updates on the Cubs/Rangers Garza talks a few days ago, including reports that the deal was "99% done", then as quickly as rumors got hot, they cooled off. The deal "hit a snag" and no one (or at least I) heard much for the next few days. It was speculated that maybe the medical concern that held up the deal, whatever it happened to be, was going to make this deal fall through. All of the sudden we were back where we were two weeks ago, left with nothing but a list of interested teams. After hearing virtually nothing other than that the Rangers still had some interested in Garza for two days, boom, the deal was done.
A look at the Cubs end of the Garza deal, RHP CJ Edwards, 3B Mike Olt, RHP Justin Grimm, plus 1-2 PTBNL. For the most part, this trade went as expected. However I didn't expect to net 4-5 guys, I thought it would be 2-3. CJ Edwards, said to be the centerpiece of the deal, has been a monster in low A this season. That being said, low A is low A. The fact that he is 21 and hasn't been past low A is somewhat concerning to me. Mike Olt was at this time last year one of the top prospects in the game and had Ranger fans awaiting his arrival. This year hasn't been the same story, Olt has struggled in triple A, and that's probably an understatement. He has taken several notches down as a prospect since then, but he has been battling some vision/concussion or whatever you want to chalk it up as this year. I don't like Olt, I think he is long shot to pan out being almost 25 and struggling so bad. Even if he lives up to his power potential, he strikes out too much for my liking. He isn't someone that I see in the future of this team, especially having some other in house 3rd base options. Justin Grimm is kind of underwhelming as well. The Cubs did receive a decent hull for Garza, enough to make some Rangers fans angry at the price, but I was looking for one piece to really feel good about; and I'm not sure that this deal has that.
Ok, now onto what the article was actually about. This is a list of things I want to see from the Cubs and the front office in the remainder of the season.
1.) Get your core players on track and succeeding again; we've seen Starlin Castro struggle this season pretty much for the first time in his professional career. Castro has made some great strides in last couple of weeks and that's very encouraging. Anthony Rizzo has also had his fair share of struggles. He's being exploited by teams, being pounded low and away in the zone constantly. For this to be a successful second half, Castro needs to continue to be the guy we've seen the last few weeks, and Rizzo needs to get that average up and show no weakness for teams to exploit.
2.) Make more trades. Garza was the big one, and now that the first domino has fallen, expect the rest of them to follow soon. The FO needs to find deals for guys like guys like Nate Schierholtz, Alfonso Soriano, Cody Ransom and Kevin Gregg. Guys like David Dejesus, Darwin Barney, maybe even Mike Olt (yes please) may also be in the trade picture. Cash in this year.
3.) Corresponding with #2, make room to give guys opportunities. I would like to see guys like Junior Lake, Alberto Cabrera, Josh Vitters, and Mike Olt (if he is kept) see some significant big league time this season.
4.) See strides on the farm. The Cubs farm system is what has us all excited for the future. I want to see guys like Javier Baez, Albert Almora, Kris Bryant, Arismendy Alcantara, and newly acquired CJ Edwards take a big step forward the rest if this season. Jorge Soler needs to get himself healthy and competing again. The Farm system as a whole needs to keep moving in the right direction and giving us something to be optimistic about. Rebuilding teams cannot afford to take steps backwards.
There you have it, 4 keys to a successful second half. It's not about getting in contention this year, in case you haven't noticed 2 of the best three teams in the league sit atop the NL Central. Keep the rebuild going strong.