By CLINT FOSTER
The Texas Rangers were desperately in need of a boost. Sitting three games behind the Oakland A's in the American League West and with a laundry list of injuries as long as the Brazos River, General Manager Jon Daniels had to find a piece that could provide some depth for the pitching rotation and keep this team in contention.
Daniels did just that when the Rangers completed a deal with the Chicago Cubs to send pitcher Matt Garza to Arlington on Monday.
The 29-year-old righty out of Fresno State comes to Texas in exchange for one of the Rangers' top prospects, infielder Mike Olt. Texas also sent RHP Justin Grimm and C.J. Edwards -- another talented minor league pitcher -- plus one or two other players to be named later.
This deal, which was weeks in the making, gives the Rangers a much needed shot in the arm. An injury bug of mythical proportions has presided over the Rangers clubhouse for the better part of two seasons, with the pitching staff hit the hardest. The Rangers have truly overachieved despite the bumps and bruises, but their pitching woes were on full display in their last few series against the Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers.
Garza changes all that.
Garza figures to become the Rangers number two starter behind ace Yu Darvish. Even with all the injuries, that gives Texas an intimidating 1-2-3 punch in the rotation of Darvish, Garza and Derek Holland. If Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis can return before the end of the season, the Rangers will arguably have one of the best rotations in the majors. But for the time being, Martin Perez and Alexi Ogando -- who just returned from another stint on the disabled list -- are no slouches.
Garza has been brilliant in the first half of 2013. With a 6-1 record, 62 strikeouts and a 3.17 ERA, he is enjoying one of the best statistical seasons of his career. He has been untouchable in his last six starts, posting a 5-0 mark and a 1.24 ERA.