The first big deal before the MLB trade deadline - and perhaps the biggest deal of all - happened today when the Cubs traded SP Matt Garza to the Rangers for three prospects: 1B/3B Mike Olt, SP C.J. Edwards and SP Justin Grimm.
Garza steps into a Ranger rotation that will probably include him, Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis when everyone is healthy. Until Lewis and Harrison are ready to return - which could be early August - Martin Perez and Alexi Ogando are likely to hold down their rotation slots (and Nick Tepesch ready to fill in when he comes off the DL). Ogando figures to be the first man to the bullpen when rotation reinforcements arrive.
Garza is a pretty good pitcher, but his strikeout rate is slightly above average, and his career ERA is 3.80. AL-only owners shouldn't expect an ace, but they should spend the bulk of their remaining FAAB budgets on Garza, as he's likely to be the best player entering the league this month. I think any Giancarlo Stanton trade talk is a pipe dream, (but I'm also the guy who kept telling you to draft - and hold - Ryan Braun). Garza owners in mixed leagues shouldn't expect a significant change in his fantasy value.
As for the prospects:
- Olt is a power-hitting third baseman who will turn 25 in August. He strikes out A LOT, but has plenty of power, with 11 homers in 67 minor-league games this year, and 28 homers in 95 Double-A games last season. Olt had some vision problems that seemed to affect him earlier this season, and he's been better lately, but he's hitting just .207. NL-only owners should expect to see him in Chicago soon, but he's more of a so-so keeper league target than anything else.
- Edwards is a 21-year-old A-ball starter with an 8-2 record, 1.83 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 122 strikeouts in 93 1/3 innings. He wasn't a big name on prospect lists until this season, but he has come on strong. If all goes (very) well, Edwards could arrive in Chicago in late 2014.
- Grimm will be 25 next month. He's nothing special, but he's not as bad as his current 6.37 ERA in 17 starts with the Rangers would suggest. In NL-only leagues, Grimm will be an SP4/SP5 next season.
- Bleed Cubbie Blue offers a quick look here at Olt, Edwards and Grimm.
As more trades happen between now and July 31, check back here at the FOXSports.com Fantasy Buzz Blog for analysis.