Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

The year has changed, but the Chicago Cubs’ MO has not: they still want Tampa Bay starter Matt Garza. Whether the Rays’ MO – they intend to try and keep Garza (their sixth quality starter) until mid-season – has changed enough to matter, however, remains unclear.

Bruce Levine took to the airwaves yesterday to discuss, among other things, the Cubs’ continued pursuit of Garza. So fervent are their efforts, that Levine described Jim Hendry as “trying like heck” to land Garza. The Rays want three or four top prospects – one of whom is almost certainly Hak-Ju Lee, whom the Cubs are highly reticent to give up – but have found the market for Garza dwindling, what with Brandon Webb heading to Texas, and the Rangers deciding to thus pull back on their pursuit of Garza. According to Levine, the Cubs and Nationals remain the only two teams discussing Garza with the Rays.

Where a Garza trade would leave the Cubs’ rotation is unclear. The addition of Kerry Wood cleared the path for Andrew Cashner to move to the rotation – something the Cubs would like to do (and something they really, really should do) – but adding Garza to the mix would create a glut. Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Randy Wells, Tom Gorzelanny, Carlos Silva, Cashner, Casey Coleman, and Jeff Samardzija (if you can stomach it) are all either locked into a starting spot or vying for a back-end one. Levine believes that Silva will not be counted on for a rotation spot, and most believe that the Cubs will move Gorzelanny if they land another starter. Still, that leaves Cashner, Coleman and Samardzija competing for one spot in the rotation if Garza, Zambrano, Dempster and Wells are the front four – and that’s to say nothing of up-and-comers Chris Archer, Jay Jackson, and Chris Carpenter.

It would, however, be a nice problem to have.

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