The Cubs are apparently close to acquiring Rays right-hander Matt Garza for five Minor League players, including Cubs 2010 Minor League Pitcher of the Year Chris Archer and '10 Player of the Year Brandon Guyer, pending physicals. Cubs officials would not confirm the trade.
Sources said on Friday that the framework is in place for the multiplayer swap, in which Chicago would get Garza in exchange for Archer, Guyer, shortstop Hak-Ju Lee, catcher Robinson Chirinos and outfielder Sam Fuld.
The Cubs would also get two Minor League players from the Rays. According to the Arlington Heights (Ill.) Daily Herald, one of the Minor Leaguers the Cubs would receive is outfielder Fernando Perez, 27, who has batted .234 in 107 career big league appearances. He hit .223 at Triple-A last year.
A source said Friday the Cubs and Rays were still discussing who the other Minor League player from Tampa Bay's organization will be. The deal will be finalized once the players complete physicals, which could happen this weekend, a source said.
Earlier this week, the Chicago Sun-Times reported the Cubs were close to acquiring Garza, but both teams denied anything was imminent. The Daily Herald reported on Friday that a deal was in the works.
Archer was the key piece as far as the Rays were concerned, according to a source. The Cubs and Rays have talked since the Winter Meetings about Garza, but Chicago was reluctant to part with the 22-year-old Archer. When told that another team had entered the bidding for Garza, the Cubs decided to include the right-hander in the package.
On Oct. 12, Archer struck out 10 and threw six scoreless innings for Team USA to help beat Cuba, 4-1, in the Pan American Qualifying Tournament in Puerto Rico. On Friday, he was attending the Rookie Career Development Program in Leesburg, Va., when he got news of the pending trade and left to get a physical exam.
Cubs general manager Jim Hendry has been looking for an innings-eater like Garza, 27, who will join a rotation that already includes Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Randy Wells, Tom Gorzelanny and Carlos Silva.
The right-hander was 15-10 with a 3.91 ERA last season, and he would definitely help counter moves made this offseason by the Brewers, who added starters Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum.
Garza, who threw the first no-hitter in Rays history last July 26, is arbitration-eligible for the second time and will get a raise from his $3.35 million salary in 2010. The Rays still have depth in their rotation with David Price, Jeremy Hellickson, James Shields, Wade Davis and Jeff Niemann.
Archer combined to go 15-3 with a 2.34 ERA in 28 games between Class A Daytona and Double-A Tennessee in 2010. Acquired from the Indians in December 2008 in the Mark DeRosa trade, he was 8-2 with a 1.80 ERA with the Smokies.
Guyer, who turns 25 on Jan. 28, batted .344 with 39 doubles, six triples, 13 homers, 50 RBIs and a .398 on-base percentage. He was the Cubs' fifth-round Draft pick in 2007.
Lee, 20, batted .282 in 122 games with Class A Peoria. Chirinos batted .318 with 15 homers and 64 RBIs at Tennessee and hit .364 with three homers and 10 RBIs with Triple-A Iowa. Fuld, 29, has a career .285 Minor League average and has hit .252 in 98 big league games with the Cubs.
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