Yeah, I know there was a joke posting on SB Nation concerning a fan rebellion at the news of the Matt Garza trade to the Cubs.
And in the real world, some won't like the arrival of a 15-game-winner at relatively low cost in both salary and high-end prospects. But this trade has almost all upside with a ripple effect on a whole slew of other Cubs pitchers.
Here's the list:
1. Garza has "ace" potential." That means Carlos Zambrano, trying to establish two seasons in a row of peace and calm, now does not have to over-throw to prove he's the Big Z Big Dog. Just pitch, Z, don't worry if you're the ace.
2. The pressure on Andrew Cashner lessens. Probably targeted for the rotation, Cashner now is not the default No. 3 starter. He moves down to No. 4, or even lower if he's not lights out in spring training. The Braves proved for years that breaking in a talented starter slowly, in middle relief or the bottom of the rotation, is the proper way to go. And so it will go for Cashner.
3. The bunsen burner is really lit up under Jeff Samardzija. Out of options, he has to make the Cubs' staff coming out of camp or likely go elsewhere. "The Shark" has a condo near Wrigley Field and likes living where the action is. Now Samardzija has only really one rotation slot for which to compete and no significant bullpen role available, either. Pitch lights-out, and he gets it. Anything less, well, do you like being a Pirate or Royal?
4. Although it's best to keep at least one lefty in the rotation, GM Jim Hendry now has the option of trading Tom Gorzelanny. The southwest suburban product had his moments in 2010, but also his pratfalls with control. Lower-priced and healthy, a lefty like him can still command a decent return. Best to have options like this rather than desperations to which the Cubs have been accustomed.
5. Randy Wells and Casey Coleman are cut from the same cloth as right-handers who must be fine with their command to get outs. They are No. 5 starter candidates, at best. Garza's arrival ensures they're not No. 4 prospects or even higher.
6. Garza's presence means a pitcher who won't be a strain on the bullpen as a "five-and-fly" guy. The Cubs have Carlos Marmol, Kerry Wood, Sean Marshall and John Grabow, if healthy, at the back end. The less the setup men in this group have to come in, and not earlier than needed, the better.
7. Away from the pitching staff, the price paid for Garza should not diminish the Cubs' pipeline of prospects or young players already on the parent club. Finally, they have some depth in the minor leagues to pull off a significant deal without surrendering a surefire prospect you wanted for your own club.
8. Garza came a lot cheaper compared to next July, when teams desperate for a starter for the stretch run would drive up his price.
OK, break up the riot. If you want a Riot, go to Jupiter, Fla., and then St. Louis, where an infielder by that nickname will wear wearing red for the first time in the majors. Stay calm and closer to home, the Cubs landed a pretty good pitcher at a good price.