Phil Rogers's post on Baseball | Latest updates on Sulia
Theo Epstein will put Matt Garza back on the trading block when he's healthy, trying to reoup the talent
that Jim Hendry sacrificed to get him from Tampa Bay two years ago. Right-hander Chris Archer, who is now 23, and shortstop Hak-Ju Lee were the headliners in the package that Hendry sent to the Rays. Archer made his big-league debut for the Rays this year and heads into 2013 adding to the deep inventory of starting pitchers that could allow Tampa Bay GM Andrew Friedman to trade for a hitter. In the dreams of Cub fans, that would be Alfonso Soriano, but: A) Soriano has full no-trade rights and isn't enamored with the idea of being a DH, and B) it's arguable whether the Cubs can get legitimate prospects for someone who will be 37 when next season begins. Baseball America just rated Archer as the third best prospect in the International League. He led the league in strikeouts (139) and strikeouts per nine innings (9.8) as he became more consistent after some mechanical tweaks by pitching coach Neil Allen. His best two pitches are a fastball that "sits 92-96 and touches 98'' and his slider. The question, according to BA, is whether he can improve his command and his changeup a little bit, which would allow him to be a mid-rotation starter, or if he'll "fit as a late-inning reliever.'' Either way, he looks headed for a long, productive career, while the Cubs thus far remain dubious about the long-term value of keeping Garza as a pitcher worth $10-14 million per year, which is probably what it would take to lock him up long term.