Cubs players will miss Garza

PHOENIX -- Chicago Cubs players who watched teammate Matt Garza get caught in the trade winds this week were not shocked by Monday’s deal that sent the pitcher to the Texas Rangers. Garza related to his teammates early last week that he was told by his agent he was on the block.

“Yeah, now it is a reality,” Cubs starter Jeff Samardzjia said. “Until you come in and the guy is not there anymore it doesn’t sink in. This is different and another thing we all have to adjust to.”

Garza was a vocal leader and favorite among many of the players he leaves behind.

“He was a close friend and a leader on the team,” Samardzija said. “This will test our depth at Triple-A so we will see what we got. Hopefully some guys come up and get an opportunity and take advantage of it.”

Garza was scheduled to pitch Monday night’s opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks, but was scratched at 1 p.m. CT when the deal was consummated.

“I was not surprised,” Alfonso Soriano said. “He was talking last week that he was going to be traded. I hope we got great guys for him that can help our team to win and help the organization, too.”

Garza was at the top of his game, having won five straight while registering an ERA under 2.00.

“Matt is my boy,” said Dioner Navarro, who was Garza’s personal catcher, “I know he is going to a contending team and he will be just fine. It is sad to see a guy like Mattie go. He was one of those guys, that at times you can’t stand him and at the same time you can’t live without him. Hopefully I will see him down the road and stay friends.”

Although the pitcher had some peculiar habits, he was one of the top performers in baseball the last two months.

“They know what they are getting their hands into,” Samardzija said. “He is a front-line guy, a leader in the clubhouse. He does things the right way and has no baggage, no side show with him. He just likes to talk and to tell you the truth. You need those guys in a long season. You need guys that open their mouths and have fun and say things that need to be said. They are getting a great guy and he knows how to be a team player. He is going to go down there and fit in and do an amazing job, especially with the help he is going to get.”