Roundup: Trade winds blow Garza to Windy City
Now the starting-pitching market is really dry.
Teams still looking for quality, front-line starters (i.e., the Yankees) now have to get much more creative, because Matt Garza — seemingly the last big-name arm for the taking, if you buy into recent reports — appears headed to Chicago. The Rays dealt Garza, who was in his second year of arbitration and would receive a raise from his $3.35 million salary, to the Cubs in exchange for five Minor Leaguers on Friday.
Club officials haven’t confirmed the deal, but sources told MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat that the framework is in place for the Cubs to send 2010 Minor League Pitcher of the Year Chris Archer, 2010 Player of the Year Brandon Guyer (an outfielder), shortstop Hak-Ju Lee, catcher Robinson Chirinos and outfielder Sam Fuld.
The Cubs would also get two Minor Leaguers from the Rays, and according to the Daily Herald, one of those is outfielder Fernando Perez, who played in 107 Minor League games this past season.
The Rays had a surplus of starting pitchers — with David Price, Jeremy Hellickson, Wade Davis, Jeff Niemann and James Shields also in the fold — and could afford to deal one, though trading a guy like Garza always hurts. With Garza, the Cubs appear to be premier contenders in a stacked National League Central. He’ll be added to a rotation that includes Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano, Randy Wells, Tom Gorzelanny and Carlos Silva.
Here’s more from around the league …
* When Adrian Beltre signed with the Rangers, closer Rafael Soriano instantly became the best free agent left in the open market. The question is: Where does he fit? FOXSports.com speculated that the Angels are the ideal fit, but added that the Rangers and White Sox — unless the price goes way down — are not going after the American League leader in saves. Other than that, not much seems to have materialized yet.
* The Yankees, meanwhile, have been rumored to be interested in Soriano as a setup man, but ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reported via his Twitter account that as of Thursday night, the Yanks weren’t interested. The fact general manager Brian Cashman told the Journal News he isn’t willing to surrender any first-round Draft picks makes the signing of Soriano (a Type A free agent) seem even more unlikely.
* Speaking of the Yankees, Andy Pettitte told The New York Post from his home that he’s still not sure whether he’ll retire or come back. “I’m just chilling out, hanging,” he told the newspaper. “I’m relaxing. If I had something, y’all would know. If I knew exactly what I was doing, y’all would know.” Pettitte continues to stress that the Yankees should move on and not worry about him, and the organization has said just that. But it sure does seem like they need him.
* All-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman is “leaning towards retiring,” Jon Heyman of SI.com and MLB Network reported via Twitter. The 43-year-old right-hander had a 5.89 ERA and 10 saves with the Brewers in 2010, giving him 601 saves for his probable Hall of Fame career.
* In other news, former Royals starter Brian Bannister will pitch in Japan this season; the Rangers designated right-hander Guillermo Moscoso for assignment; and longtime Twins executive Jerry Bell retired.
— Alden Gonzalez