Texas acquired Garza from the Chicago Cubs in a trade completed Monday, getting a pitcher they had long coveted just more than a week before the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline and several days after it initially appeared that the two teams had a deal in place.
“He’s an extremely talented pitcher that’s had success in the toughest of divisions and the biggest of stages, who’s throwing the ball as well as anybody right now,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. “It’s a power repertoire, a little bit of a different look from what we’ve got, and he was available. … He was in our opinion the best guy on the market.”
The 29-year-old right-hander provides a boost to a starting rotation plagued by injuries and a team that slipped three games behind Oakland in the AL West after being swept in a three-game weekend series at home against Baltimore.
Texas sent the Cubs rookie right-hander Justin Grimm, top prospect third baseman Mike Olt and Class-A pitcher C.J. Edwards. There will also be at least one player to be named later, possibly two, depending on who is chosen by Chicago.
“We paid a steep price in talent to acquire Matt, but we did so knowing that we’ve got other guys in the system,” Daniels said. “What it comes down to, ultimately why we got him, beside the desire, is we had the players to do it.”
Garza (6-1, 3.17 ERA), who can become a free agent after this season, has made 11 starts since missing the first seven weeks this season with a strained left lat muscle. He is 5-0 with a 1.24 ERA his last six starts.
Tampa Bay traded Garza to Chicago instead of Texas after the 2010 season. The Rangers were also interested in Garza last summer before he missed the last two months with a stress reaction in his right elbow, and they instead acquired Ryan Dempster from the Cubs.
All-Star right-hander Yu Darvish came off the disabled list to start Monday night’s game for the Rangers at home against the Yankees in the opener of a four-game series. Darvish in essence missed only one start because of a right trapezius strain, but hadn’t pitched since July 6.
Alexi Ogando is scheduled to come off his second DL stint of the season to start Tuesday night against the Yankees.
Opening day starter Matt Harrison made only two starts in April before two surgeries on a herniated disk in his lower back. Nick Tepesch, another rookie, went on the DL just before the All-Star break with elbow soreness. Colby Lewis and Neftali Feliz are both still rehabbing from right elbow surgery last year.
Garza has a 63-62 career record in 181 major league games (178 starts) with Minnesota (2006-07), Tampa Bay (2008-10) and the Cubs (2011-13). He was a first-round draft pick by the Twins in the 2005 amateur draft.
“He was the best pitcher in baseball in his last five, six, seven starts. He’s young, has great velocity, has good command of his pitches and that makes him attractive to any team,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “It’s not easy to part with a guy like Garza and someone has to step in and be productive. We hope the players we get will make us a better team, and in the future, we can be the team who purses a player like Garza.”