Friday, July 26, 2013
Olt, shown here on Gold card number BDPP65 of the 2011 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects set, was the Rangers #1 draft pick in 2010 and was consistently rated as one of their top prospects. Garza was the Cubs ace and is a former #1 draft pick himself for the Twins in 2005.
So, is this a good deal for Texas? I'm not sure. Garza has some experience in the American League and a proven track record with an ERA under 4.00 since 2007. That indicates he is unlikely to be the disaster that Ryan Dempster was last year. His performance against the Yankees in his Rangers debut seems to bear this out. He's a rental though, a free agent at the end of the season. As far as re-signing him, I doubt it. Texas does not have a good history of re-signing top of the rotation pitchers. Rangers fans should not expect to see Garza back in Arlington in 2014 unless he is pitching when his team visits.
On the flip side, Mike Olt was touted at the Rangers future slugger. Of course he was blocked at third base, his natural position, by Adrian Beltre and his long contract. That created a problem so the Rangers had Mike start trying different positions at Triple A. First base and the corner outfield spots were being looked at as possible new positions. Then came a matter for concern. Earlier this season Olt went on the Disabled List with vision problems. There didn't seem to be a firm diagnosis and I was never clear on what was done to clear things up enough for him to return to action. Maybe that's the medical problem Chicago saw that derailed the first attempt at this deal.
So, should Texas have traded the future for now? If the team makes the post-season and wins at least one series the answer would seem to be yes. If they fail to get that far this trade is not going to look good no matter how well Garza pitches. That brings me to my primary concern with the deal, does Texas have the horses to make a run at the A's? At this point I'm not sure they do. Garza may solidify the pitching staff but he's not going to swing a very big bat or replace Nelson Cruz if he ends up suspended. That's what makes me question this deal. Garza fills a hole but there appears to be at least one other big gap left. Big enough to sink the season in spite of the trade. If that happens and Olt develops the way he is projected to this deal will look very poor indeed. Of course if Mike's vision problems return nobody will even remember the trade, even if the team doesn't make the post-season at all.