The Hickory Crawdads are making the best of the situation before the July 31 MLB trade deadline.
On Monday, the Chicago Cubs traded starting right-handed pitcher Matt Garza to the Texas Rangers for minor leaguers Mike Olt (Triple-A), Justin Grimm (Double-A) and Hickory Crawdads pitcher C.J. Edwards.
First-year Crawdads manager Corey Ragsdale said having one of his players traded to another team is a next experience.
“I can't say enough about C.J.,” Ragsdale said. “We all see the talent and his arm. The type of person he is and the kid he is makes it hard to say goodbye to him. Quite frankly, if they are talented and a jerk, they are a talented jerk. When they are a good person, that makes you pull for them a little bit more. You want the best for them.”
Ragsdale said his team’s plan during this tense time is a simple one.
“We just approached it like it is a business,” he said. “The kids know that. It is usually harder on a younger guy than a Double-A or a Triple-A guy. They have usually been around it more. The younger guy’s heads might spin a little bit more. They are figuring out it is a business. At the end of the day, when you are getting traded for, that is a good thing. Somebody else sees you once and likes you. You’ve got to take that mindset of having an opportunity to go somewhere and do the best I can. We wish C.J. the best. We’ll be keeping up with him and seeing how he is doing. We know he’ll be just fine. We’re excited for him.”
Edwards was 8-2 this season with a 1.83 ERA in 18 starts. He also struck out 122 batters and only walked 34 in 93.1 innings pitched.
For his performance in the month of April, Edwards was named the Texas Rangers minor league pitcher of the month.
Edward’s departure leaves a hole at the No. 1 slot in the starting pitching rotation for Hickory, but Ragsdale already has a plan for his pitchers.
“We’re going to put (Ryan) Bores in (C.J.’s) spot going forward,” Ragsdale said. “It’s an opportunity for everyone else. Now, someone else will get a chance to step up, do what they can do and show what they can do. The biggest thing is those guys have to realize it is an opportunity for the guys who step in. Whether guys get more innings or whatever the case may be, they have to look at it as an opportunity to show what they can do. Hopefully, they’ll step up. I know they will. I think they are ready for it. They’ll step up and show us what they can do.”