Of all the players on the Chicago Cubs’ roster who could theoretically be traded, Matt Garza has to be the most attractive (note: Starlin Castro could not be traded, even in the most outrageously hypothetical plane of unreality). While his numbers this year have been just so-so, his stuff has looked brilliant, and many advanced metrics suggest he’s been much better than his ERA might otherwise indicate.
So, it’s not a shock to learn that teams are pinging the Cubs about Garza.
According to Phil Rogers, the Boston Red Sox have Matt Garza “high on the list of pitchers they’re pursuing for an injury-depleted rotation.” Boston, whose disabled list features starters Jon Lester, Clay Buchholtz, and Daisuke Matsuzaka, sits atop an exceedingly tight AL East, with a one-game lead over the Yankees, and a six game lead over the Rays. Speaking of the Yankees, a source indicates they would also be interested in making an offer for Garza if the Cubs were listening.
The Red Sox and Yankees make sense as a landing spot for Garza, not just because of their respective needs for a starting pitcher, but also because they spent years facing Garza as a member of the Rays – if anyone knows whether he can handle the talent and pressure in the AL East, it’s the Red Sox and Yankees.
Hearing of interest in Garza is both exciting and unsurprising, but it could all be academic if the Cubs refuse to trade him. Garza, after all, is cheap, young, and under control through 2013. Still, Nick Cafardo says that “baseball people insist” the Cubs would have to at least listen to offers for Garza.
The Cubs are unlikely to move Garza for less than they traded to get him: a top 50 prospect (Chris Archer), a top 100 prospect (Hak-Ju Lee), a couple good B prospects (Brandon Guyer and Robinson Chirinos), and a fringe type (Sam Fuld). But if teams are needy enough, the Cubs might well be able to net that kind of return package.
And, while keeping Garza may ultimately be the right decision, what better time is there to engineer a bidding war? The Cubs can play the Red Sox and Yankees off of each other – and that’s assuming other teams aren’t also interested, which they almost certainly are – and if the price never reaches a level to their satisfaction, they simply pull Garza off the market. Garza could headline the Cubs’ rotation in 2012, or he could be the tool by which the team tries to fill its many, many holes. Either outcome is fine with me.
Said simply: the Cubs would be *crazy* not to make Garza available in trade. Just let other teams know you’ll listen to offers, and start tipping off other teams about the good offers you’re receiving. And then see what happens. If you’re blown away by an offer, take it. If not, don’t.