Texas Rangers v Tampa Bay Rays, Game 2

What they’re saying about the Matt Garza trade…

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The Rays and Cubs agreed to an eight-player trade involving right-hander Matt Garza on Friday afternoon and then completed that trade on Saturday after routine physicals were taken and the correct paperwork was filed.

The Cubs received Garza, outfielder Fernando Perez and left-handed pitching prospect Zach Rossup from Tampa Bay.

The Rays got top pitching prospect Chris Archer, shortstop prospect Hak-Ju Lee, outfield prospect Brandon Guyer, catching prospect Robinson Chirinos and outfielder Sam Fuld from Chicago.

Now, a look at several post-trade reactions from around the baseball media landscape…

* Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times: “Landing Garza is a significant response to upstart Cincinnati’s pitching-driven division title last season and division-rival Milwaukee’s recent trades for Shaun Marcum and Cy Young winner Zack Greinke.  It gives the Cubs a Ryan Dempster-Garza-Carlos Zambrano top three to their starting rotation and makes the back end look stronger.”

* Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times: “As highly regarded as [the Rays’ minor league] system is — ranked third by Baseball America before the trade, second now — the trade provides some needed balance as they were much deeper in pitching prospects than position players.”

* Ben Nicholson-Smith of MLB Trade Rumors: “If any team could afford to spare a starter, it was the Rays, who still have David Price, James Shields, Jeff Niemann, Wade Davis and Jeremy Hellickson.”

* Dave Cameron of FanGraphs: “In name value, it’s a big step backwards, and will likely be viewed as just a cost-saving move by the general public. In reality, though, there’s a good chance that the Rays will be better next year by trading Garza away.”

* Al Yellon of Bleed Cubbie Blue: “Matt Garza, Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster make a very solid top three starters for the 2011 Cubs. Get good years out of #4 and #5 and improved bullpen performance, and the team has a shot at real improvement in 2011.”

* Tommy Rancel of ESPN 1040 Tampa: “This is one of the more complex trades made in the Friedman Era. On the surface, it looks like the team is giving up some ground in 2011, but Hellickson’s transition should ease that pain; especially if it comes with a big-time DH.”

* Keith Law of ESPN.com: “I love this trade for Tampa Bay. They got more for Garza than Kansas City did for Zack Greinke although their package of players is, collectively, further away than what the Royals got. It looks to me like the Rays focused less on position and more on overall value.”

Report: The Nationals are still in on Chris Sale and Andrew McCutchen

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 05: Chris Sale #49 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning on September 5, 2016 at U. S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
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The Nationals are trying to go big this offseason, and FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal notes that they are still in trade talks for White Sox’ left-hander Chris Sale and Pirates’ center fielder Andrew McCutchen. Both players figure to command a big return, as Sale delivered another Cy Young-worthy performance in 2016 and, despite a downturn in his production rate, McCutchen is still one of the more coveted sluggers in the National League.

In 2016, Sale led the league in complete games, with six, and turned in a 3.34 ERA and 5.2 fWAR in 226 2/3 innings. While teams have been sniffing around the White Sox’ ace since the trade deadline, the club is expected to maintain a high asking price — so high, said FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, that it may keep the left-hander in Chicago for the foreseeable future.

According to Heyman, four other teams are reportedly in the mix for Sale, including the Red Sox, Astros, Rangers, and Braves, though parts of Rosenthal’s tweet hinted that the Red Sox were maintaining their interest in hopes of striking a more affordable deal. Should the Nationals pursue a deal for Sale, it’s likely that they’d have to move shortstop/center fielder Trea Turner, which they appear reluctant to do.

McCutchen, meanwhile, is also drawing interest around the league after batting .256/.336/.430 with 24 home runs in 675 PA during 2016. He didn’t appear to lose much power in his eighth season with the Pirates, but took considerably fewer walks and struck out at a career-high clip.

The Nationals were said to be in the lead for McCutchen on Thursday, and there was some expectation that the club would wrap up a trade for the center fielder by the non-tender deadline on Friday. FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi pointed out that the Rangers were also talking to the Pirates, however, and no deal has come to fruition as of yet.

Astros sign Carlos Beltran to one-year, $16 million deal

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 9: Carlos Beltran #36 of the Texas Rangers hits an RBI against the Toronto Blue Jays in the first inning during game three of the American League Division Series at Rogers Centre on October 9, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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The Astros have reportedly agreed to terms with free agent DH/outfielder Carlos Beltran for a one-year, $16 million contract, per ESPN’s Buster Olney. The deal includes a complete no-trade clause, according to a report from Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

Beltran elected to return to the Astros after fielding offers from the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Red Sox. He appeared in Houston during the second half of 2004, batting .258/.368/.559 with 23 home runs in 399 PA and making his first postseason run to the tune of a .435 average and eight homers as the Astros battled their way through to a seven-game loss in the Championship Series. Beltran also played with Houston manager A.J. Hinch and bench coach Alex Cora in separate stints with the Royals and Mets, which the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan cited as possible influences in the Astros’ decision to pursue the free agent.

In 2016, Beltran split the season between the Yankees and Rangers after getting dealt at the deadline for a package of right-handed pitching prospects. He was stationed in right field for the majority of his time in New York, but was almost exclusively utilized as a designated hitter over 52 games in Texas. Between the two clubs, he batted an impressive .295/.337/.513 with 29 homers and earned his ninth career All-Star designation to boot.

The veteran slugger is expected to fill a similar role on the Astros, who need a full-time DH but could use some additional support in the outfield corner. Olney envisions a lineup with Beltran in the five-spot, per an earlier report: