On Friday, the Rays traded starting pitcher Matt Garza, along with two minor leaguers, to the Cubs for prospects including shortstop Hak-Ju Lee, pitcher Chris Archer, outfielders Brandon Guyer and Sam Fuld and catcher Robinson Chirinos. Garza to the Cubs gives the Cubs 6-7 starting pitchers, as he will join Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano, Randy Wells, Carlos Silva, Tom Gorzelanny and Andrew Cashner. Garza was 15-10, with a 3.91 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in 2010, but his K rate dropped by almost 2 strikeouts per nine innings. He should be a solid choice in the later rounds of mixed leagues in 2011.
The Garza trades opens a rotation spot for pitching prospect Jeremy Hellickson this year. Hellickson was 4-0 in 4 major league starts last year, with a 3.47 ERA and 1.10 WHIP and a K/BB rate of 4.13, which is excellent. He was 12-3 in 21 AAA starts with a 2.45 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 3.51 K/BB rate. Hellickson will be a sleeper in 2011 fantasy drafts as he will more than likely outperform the round he is drafted in.
On Saturday we learned from ESPN's Buster Olney that the Angels offer to Adrian Beltre was only $3 million behind the Rangers offer. Beltre signed a 5 year, $80 million deal with the Rangers and Angel fans have to be wondering what GM Tony Reagins is thinking this offseason. I think they could have mustered up another $4 million to top the Rangers offer. As it stands, it appears the Rangers will be favored to win the AL West in 2011. With Beltre in Texas, I see a 25-90-.280 season in 2011.
More thoughts on Rafael Soriano and Andy Pettitte after the jump:
The Yankees are interested in signing closer Rafael Soriano according the SI.com's Jon Heyman. Soriano's agent, Scott Boras, realizing that the market for Soriano is dwindling, came out last week and said that his client is open to setting up for Mariano Rivera in New York. Not shocking that Boras is taking this stance since the Yankees did not sign Cliff Lee and apparently have more cash to spend, especially with Andy Pettitte nearing retirement.
Speaking of Pettitte, Yankee fans are clamoring for an answer from him as to whether he is coming back in 2011 or retiring. I was listening to the MLB Channel XM 175 this afternoon, and one of the guys, forget his name, stated that the closer we get to spring training, the harder it will be for Andy Pettitte to come up with a reason to retire. So, he feels that Pettitte is coming back in 2011. Yankee fans will be happy to hear that.
Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch said in a chat last Wednesday was asked if the Cardinals would be in on closer Rafael Soriano. Strauss responded as follows:
The Cardinals still believe that either Motte or Boggs could develop into a closer. Why tie yourself up for 3-4 years on a veteran closer when you may have a more cost-effective alternative from within?
That makes sense, especially when they will be doling out a new contract to Albert Pujols that will approach or exceed $200 million. Jason Motte and Mitchell Boggs should be on fantasy owner's radar, especially those in keeper leagues.
Can we all agree that Fox Sports Tracy Ringolsby is still a Rockies homer? He recently wrote that even though the Rockies did not make any new player acquisitions, their moves to retain their young talent gave them the most successful offseason in the NL West. So, doling out 2 contracts totaling $238 million without improving the team from 2010 is successful?