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.

  • art

    I’d seriously consider going into ST hoping to come out with archer, Cashner, Dempster, Z, and Wells/Carpenter as the starting 5. the rest can be ready back ups if any of the first kids need more time.

    if we get Garza the better. I would not trade Lee, he could be a 10-15 year star player. they have some good talent coming up soon, stick to the plan. plan for long term winning not an old over the hill gang contender for 1 year. old, slow, bad on D, past their prime guys hasn’t worked.

    trade all the rest to the AL.

    • eryk

      Good plan but trading the aging stars is much easier said than done.

  • Mordecai Brown

    Let’s see:
    1. The Cubs farm system has produced a multitude of pitching prospects but few position players.
    2. The Cubs covet Matt Garza.
    3. We should trade several of our limited number of positional prospects to acquire yet another pitcher.

    This does not compute.

    • One Who’s Style Is Old

      This is a totally different Cubs farm system. Much better at development.

  • Dean

    Matt Garza is just another guy. The Cubs have cornered the market on “just another guys” in their starting rotation. Right now, the rotation can’t compete for a division championship, let alone an NL championship or World Series. And, adding Matt Garza does not get us any closer to being able to compete. Besides, why would you give up prospects when he could cost around $12M a year after arbitration. This is another Jim Hendry move to make it look like he is doing something.

    The Cubs need to recognize that 2011 is a lost year for them. More bad moves and they run the risk of the next decade being lost. They need to save the prospects in order to FINALLY build for the future or use them to go after a #1 starter and/or a top flight offensive player.

    This offseason has proven, once again, that Jim Hendry has no short- or long-term plan. He’s just out trying to get some guys so people think he is doing something.

    Jim, Cubs fans aren’t being fooled. You may think that all you need is to be active and the fans will get excited. That is no longer the case (and really hasn’t been for years). We want to hear your plan to build a winner. We at least deserve that.

  • Jeff

    Dean says:
    This offseason has proven, once again, that Jim Hendry has no short- or long-term plan. He’s just out trying to get some guys so people think he is doing something.

    Jim, Cubs fans aren’t being fooled. You may think that all you need is to be active and the fans will get excited. That is no longer the case (and really hasn’t been for years). We want to hear your plan to build a winner. We at least deserve that.

    He’s not doing things just to cause excitement and interest just for the sake of making moves. It was being said during the season that they would be cutting payroll a little this offseason. Wood was brought in for pennies on the dollar and Pena deferred half his salary, it is a very clear shift to building the farm system and developing their own guys. If this was two years ago, they would have signed Carl Pavano to a a30 million dollar deal and Pena would have gotten two or three years. Hendry and Ricketts have shifted the philosophy of the team and the non moves this off season prove it. Garza would be a clear improvement over every Cub starter outside of Dempster, so I don’t know how that doesn’t improve the team if they don’t have to sell the farm to get him. If he came to Chicago and won 15 games, pitched 200 innings and had an era in the 3’s, he would be worth his arbitration and a fair amount of prospects that he would cost. In my opinion Hendry is actually hurting his own short term reputation and the teams immediate future(2011 season) in order to build for the future, which is something that hasn’t happened in Chicago, maybe ever.

    • Raymond Robert Koenig

      Your first sentence is exactly right. Hendry has no plan. And in my opinion, no clue. He needs to go. The sooner, the better.

  • eryk

    Jim, If your listening and your smart don’t trade for Matt Garza for any top prospects.

    Tom, if your listening, if Jim makes another dumb move please put Cub fans out of their misery and do something you should have done long ago.

  • HotRuta

    Hendry HAS made some good moves (Lee, Ramirez, etc.), but he also tends to become obsessed with individual players (Bradley, Heilman, etc.), willing to go to strange lengths to get them. It looks like Garza is his obsession this year. Garza may be a good pitcher (although he doesn’t have a dominating track record), but I don’t think I’d give up even ONE of our high position prospects for him. Given the Cubs’ current situation with regard to pitching prospects, then if you’re going to bring in more pitching, you should be paying for it with what you have an excess of, not what’s coming through the system for the first time in years.

    I don’t get particularly energized by the potential of a Garza trade that takes this team from 70 victories to 75, and leaves other issues unresolved …

    I know a prospect is just a prospect, but this smells a bit too much like the Cubs of 50-60 years ago — as soon as they got any good players or prospects, they’d immediately trade them for well-known players in the twilight of their careers.

  • CubsFanatic

    1. If we get Garza, I’d go with Carlos Zambrano, Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster, Tom Gorzelanny, and whoever does the best in Spring Training. Along with Russel, Marshall, and Marmol. The rest are ganna earn their keep. Catchers would be Geovany Soto and Robinson Chirinos.
    DeWitt, Castro, Ramirez, Pena, and Hak Ju Lee in the IF. Byrd, Brett Jackson, Soriano, and Colvin to start with the OF. Maybe call up Guyer if Colvin or Soriano doesn’t produce.

    I don’t see why we are waiting on calling up the young talent when they are ready. No excuse for it.

  • Mike S

    It seems that Hendry is trying to get Garza without giving up Lee or Brett Jackson. If he can do this, I say go for it. Like one of you already said, the Cubs do a good job of developing pitching prospects, giving up a couple to get a playoff proven front end starter who is under control for a couple years sounds smart to me. Tampa also wants Chirinos, who is blocked by Soto, so giving up Chirinos, Archer, and whoever else seems to me to be a good idea because the Cubs still have a ton of pitching in the farm system that they can develop. If the Rays insist on Hak Ju Lee, then I say keep your prospects and your future Shortstop. Lee has the glove, bat, and speed that the Cubs have been looking for at the leadoff spot. Castro is a much better fit in the two hole and can be your second basemen, or third basemen if he adds some power.

    Ultimately, I think the Rays will hold onto Garza until the trading deadline where he will hold more value to a contending team. I doubt the Cubs will be able to get Garza without giving up Lee or Jackson, if not both.

  • KB

    ERA+ last year:
    Matt Garza-106

    Garza is ONE year younger.
    Hey, he’s probably a better all-around pitcher, but is he someone for whom you’d “give up the farm” for?

    Only %$#@##$ Hendry.

    • KB

      One too many “for” words in that last post, for you grammarians

    • Jeff

      Gorzelanny’s era+ has been over 85 twice in his career and only once since 2007. His WAR is negative on his career and his career era+ is 93. Garza was only at 101 era + last season, but has been above 110 every other year and has a WAR of over 2. The two aren’t even close, I can’t see anyone wanting Gorzelanny as the number 2 or 3 starter.
      I do agree about not giving up the farm for him, but if they can get away without including Lee or Brett Jackson in the deal, I would say go for it. The Cubs have around 10 starting pitching prospects that seem at least reasonably attractive, but none of them projects to the majors as a number 1, and the best are probably border line 2’s. If you can trade 3 or 4 minor league pitchers who project as middle of the rotation guys for a proven number 2/3 type pitcher with postseason experience who pitched well in the toughest division in baseball, it seems like a no brainer. I don’t want the Cubs to empty the house to get Garza, but it’s not like they are sitting on prospects the caliber of John Smoltz, Curt Schilling, or Francisco Liriano, and are trying to trade them for a half year rental player. Garza is a young guy and could be a cornerstone of the rotation for a long time.

      • Mike S

        Well put

  • http://bleachernation ramy16

    listen..jim hendry has fucked us for a long time! i agree with alot of you..i think we should start playing some of our young talent to see where we are! getting garza and giving up the farm is just plain stupid…but then again coming from our dumb fucking gm thats a given…we should sign aramis ramirez to an extension..vitters aint no where near ready for the bigs! and the rangers just locked up adrian beltre to a 6 yr deal according to lets face it cub fans hendry has fucked us for a long time! 2011 were playing to be looks the brewers and cardinals are going to battle for the nl central title..i think the reds were a fluke..they can repeat again as champions..maybe awild card

    • DaveB

      So let me get this straight, out of all of the holes/issues that the Cubs have to deal with this offseason, you believe that their first order of business should be… To resign Ramirez to an extension, coming off 2 of the worst seasons of his career (injury AND production-wise)??

    • DaveB

      You call Hendry a dumb fucking idiot GM but obviously you’re in no position to be saying that as you have no clue what you’re talking about yourself

  • RedRider85

    DaveB, remember – it was Hendry that brought us Bradley. Remember how badly he chased after him? Then rememer how Bradley systematically poisoned the clubhouse? I agree with the rest too. Why aren’t we utilizing our farm talent more? Anyone here ever notice a trend for the World Series Champions of the last 10 years? Anyone? Anyone? They all say one thing in the end after getting the trophy. It was due to developing and using talent within instead of buying it. What does Hendry do? Sell off good talent for players that nobody else wants. We pick them up AFTER they were good. One more thing to think about……2007 and 2008. Those were our back to back NL Central Champion seasons, right? What happened to those two teams? Well it appears we got a little too close, so any of the team members that were good – were traded away. Meanwhile, we keep bumps like hoppy-soriano, Derrick the Double Play Lee(known more for hitting into a double play than completing one defensively), and the ever-fading Ramirez. I think I’ve made my point here, but if you’re too blind to see it, you never will.

    • Jeff

      Every champ of the last ten years was a result of the teams developing their own talent and not from free agents and trades? I don’t know what version of baseball you have been watching, but that’s about as far from the truth as it gets. The Giants have a good core of self developed pitching, but most of the rest of the team was from free agent signings(Cody Ross, Aubrey Huff, Edgar Renteria, Pat Burrell, Barry Zito) The Yankess won last year after signing AJ Burnett, CC Sabathia, and Mark Teixera. You can go back the last ten years and the only team that won with a team of self developed players was the Phillies a couple of years ago, and even they used trades and free agency to build that team.

      Also, I don’t know what players you wanted to keep from the 07 and 08 teams, aside from DeRosa(who brought in Chris Archer in return). I would like examples of the trades he made of “selling off good talent for players nobody else wants.” If anything about Hendry is annoying to me, it’s that the last three offseasons, he hasn’t made enough moves to improve the team. I actually miss the Hendry from seasons prior to 07, who went out and got what the team needed in order to compete.

      • Dave

        The Angels in ’02, the Marlins in ’03 and, less so than the other 2, the White Sox in ’05 were mostly home grown.

  • mike

    I like Garza a lot, but not at the expense of B. Jackson, Archer, McNutt or Lee. Before adding players like Garza, the Cubs plan should be to have a young established core from which to build from. They have one piece in Castro, possibly two in Cashner. I’m skeptical of Colvin, but if B. Jackson, Lee, Archer and McNutt continue to progress as they’ve shown, the Cubs will have that young core. In 2-3 years the Cubs could have 6 players ranging in ages 22-27 who could be the base for making perennial playoff runs.

    These prospects could definetly flame out, but Castro looks to be the real deal and why not surround him with players of similar age range. This is why I’ve thought Hendry should be focused on assessing the trade values of Carlos Marmol and Geovany Soto and acquiring pieces to be used in 2-3 years. Jonathan Singelton from the Phillies would be nice get.