The Jose Dariel Abreu sweepstakes is officially over.
The slugging Cuban first basemen has found a home with the Chicago White Sox to the tune of $68 Million over a 6 year deal. This is the largest contract signed by any international free agent in Major League Baseball history. Trumping the likes of Yu Darvish, Yasiel Puig, Yoenis Cespedes and Aroldis Chapman.
Abreu will turn 27 in January and he has the makings to become an all star caliber first basemen. Some scouts have shown concern with his bat speed transitioning to MLB pitching and ability to play the position at a premium but his ceiling possibly being worth the cost and some. But a guy who is basically averaging a batting average of .400 and from the ’09-’10 season to ’11-’12 season has belted 98 home runs, the White Sox feel that the reward may be worth the risk. I completely agree.
Surprised by the Chicago White Sox decision to ink the slugger? Not at all. With Paul Konerko a free agent and coming off his worst season they have a need at the position. The White Sox have a lack luster farm system and have the desire to turn things around quickly this upcoming season, it comes as no surprise that they were after Abreu.
It has been reported that the Astros, Red Sox, Rangers, Giants and Marlins were all teams in the mix for the Cuban free agent right before he landed with the White Sox. Time will tell what the outcome will be for Jose Dariel Abreu but spring training is already looking quite exciting.
Welcome aboard to your new team, Matt Garza. The Texas Rangers have completed a trade that sends third basemen Mike Olt, right handed starting pitcher Justin Grimm, right handed starting pitcher C.J. Edwards and a player to be named later to the Chicago Cubs for Matt Garza. The deal could turn into 2 PTBNL depending on if the Cubs select Neil Ramirez or not. If they do, he will be the lone “player to be named later”. All of the Cubs PTBNL options are pitchers. Not really knowing who’s on that list, Neil Ramirez would be a nice addition to the Cubs organization which already got richer by dealing a half a season of Matt Garza who will become a free agent after this season.
A deal like this really shows you the depth and confidence the Texas Rangers have in their minor league system. I really enjoy the willingness and how aggressive the Rangers are to compete for the chance at a World Series championship.
The Rangers get:
Matt Garza – The 29 year old soon to be free agent will join a Texas Ranger rotation that should get them to a playoff spot. Seems as if Garza is over his elbow woes and is pitching to a tune of a 3.17 ERA with 62 strikeouts and 20 walks in 71 innings. In 5 starts at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Garza has an ERA of 6.04 and has given up 5 home runs. Albeit a small sample size, those numbers sure stick out.
The Cubs get:
Mike Olt, 3B – No doubt about it, Mike Olt can hit home runs to the moon, but it has already been reported in the past that he’d been dealing with vision issues. He’s been back on the field for AAA Round Rock and hitting .213 with an OBP of .317 and 11 home runs in 63 games this season. He’s got a long way to go to regain his 2012 form in AA but he’s only 24 years old. Baseball America has him as the 22nd best prospect before the year started.
Justin Grimm, SP – The Cubs get a guy they can throw right in their rotation to replace Matt Garza. Still 24 years old and has shown some bright spots in his time with Texas. Overall it’s clear he was no fit at the Rangers ballpark giving up 15 HR’s but a move to Wrigley sure could help. He has a 6.37 ERA in 17 starts, but 7 for wins. Control is there, but he has just been hit a ton. Grimm owns a career 3.07 ERA in the minors and a nice piece for the Cubbies.
C.J. Edwards, SP – Edwards is currently in A ball with the Hickory Crawdads in the South Atlantic division. The 21 year old starter has been brilliant with the Crawdads this season and possibly could be moved up to AA by years end in the Cubs farm system. In 18 starts, Edwards is 8-2 with a cute 1.83 ERA in 93.1 innings along with a disgusting 122 strike outs and only walking 34 batters. Not to mention he’s only given up 62 hits in that time. Probably the best prospect in this deal. Interesting note, C.J. has not given up any homer’s this season. Actually he has given up 0 home runs in his minor league career.
*Possible Player To Be Named Later:
Neil Ramirez, SP – 24 year old Neil is currently at AA Frisco. Neil Ramirez has similar statistics to Edwards, striking out 11 per 9 innings in 95.1 innings with a bit of a higher ERA at 3.68 mainly due to giving up 8 home runs.
Overall, the Chicago Cubs got what they wanted, a nice haul of prospects to may be able to help out at the big league level at some point in their respective careers and the Rangers got themselves a steady pitcher whom they will take aim for the title this year. You never know until down the road but I do like what the Cubs got as they continue to rebuild.