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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.

  • Toosh

    Hendry should tell Boston he’ll trade Garza to them for 4 of their top prospects and see what happens first, do they laugh or hang up? Or both?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I don’t think they’d laugh or hang up. But they’d say no.

  • CubFan Paul

    now the trade dead line just got more interesting w/ a possible bidding war for Garza that could net more than what we gave up for him. such a deal would make rebuilding for next year a lot easier w/ the extra money coming off the books this offseason ..im for it, despite being a Garza lover

    • CubFan Paul

      there’s no way another GM calls for Garza & offers less than what Hendry paid

      • Toosh

        Baloney!

  • hardtop

    ” or he could be the tool by which the team tries to fill its many, many holes.”

    yes, many holes. but the biggest hole is pitching. Doesnt make sense to give up starting pitching when you cant get better or more starting pitching in return. Meaning, the pieces we get in any deal for garza would have to allow us to go out an get 2 quality starting pitchers who will need to be in the lineup as soon as next year. i dont know how that could be possible. i think we’ve discussed the possible pitchers here to trade for or sign as future FA, and I dont know that there are any likely stadnouts? god knows were not getting any starters out of our system for a long time to come. so, after all this, i guess i came to the same conclusion as you Brett, it’d have to be a stupid good offer to make a move AND it must utlimately evolve into more/better pitching.

    • http://Bleachernation Bric

      Those are all great points. The only way to move garza is if you get two arms for one. And unfortunately the only team in the AL East that has that many pitchers is the Rays. Too bad they’re cash strapped in the first place because I could see hendry agreeing to send off Garza for just a couple of top 100 specs if the Rays would take Sori and more than 50% of his contract, too. But they aint got the money and neither the Yankees or the Red Sox have two good young arms to send back.

  • willis

    It would have to be an extremely good return. Still I’m against it at this point. We need arms in this rotation. Badly. I wouldn’t write it off 100%, but the return would need to blow the Cubs away to be considered.

  • http://bleachernation.com ricosanto

    We need to get Major league ready young players, not prospects. I still feel Marmol would be the best trade idea.who could bring bring at least 2 starters for next year a 3b or1B with power and a starting pitcher.Just put it out there and see what kind of offers for Marmol.I think i rather have Garza than Marmol. Every youngster Onera Fleita talked about yesterday was good relief pitchers add that to Marshall, wood, Samardza, and Carpenter, and maybe Cashner , you can have a good closer.Teams, this year have alot of closers you never heard of and they are doing good.( 20 -20)

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I agree that Marmol should be shopped, and agree that the Cubs should be looking for ML-ready young players.

      • RoughRiider

        It’s a different time and different GM. But I sure hope that if the Cubs do trade Marmol they get a better return than they did with Sutter and Lee Smith. I liked Durham but the rest weren’t worth much. I hate to see tha Cubs trade a young pitcher who has done as well as he has for potential in spite of his problems of late.

      • pfk

        Ditto!

  • Jeff

    Is there any pitcher in the organization other than Garza that you can honestly say will be a solid starting pitcher next year? He might not be an ace, but he is the best starter on the team this year, and there isn’t much to replace him in the minors or free agency. This is one of those things where they have to listen, but unless someone offers a couple of guys that should pitch in the majors this year or next, there’s no way they can trade him.

  • pfk

    Garza’s not going anywhere folks. Teams will inquire and make offers but he’s not going anywhere. So far, its been a good trade and with some run support and a closer who doesn’t blow 2 saves, he’d have a much better record. He’s very talented (which is why the top teams are inquiring), he young, he’s relatively cheap and he’s tied up for a couple more years.

  • Ron

    Is there enough talent I’m the tankers system to get both Ramirez and Garza? It would have tone at least their top 5 prospects.

  • EQ

    you know what’s weird?? the Cubs have all these pieces that have tremendous trade value and talent, yet with all the talent these guys have we can’t do better than the 2nd worse record in baseball.? it just makes no sense that all this talent has produced such a sorry team. I would have never guessed at the beginning of this season we’d be this bad. and watch, all these guys get traded and be key acquisitions to help other teams make a playoff push.. strange.

  • Cheryl

    The cubs would have to listen to offers for Garza, but I’d much rather see Marmol, Ramirez, Zambrano, Sota, and a few other long-time cubs leave. If someone took Soriano it’d be great but there’s little likelihood. Byrd and Fuku may also draw interest. Pitching is the number one need. If Pena continues to hit, the cubs should make every effort to get a decent return for him. Even if they had to take Huff, they could probably get at least one, maybe two major league ready prospects for him. The prospects would have to be extremely good. Pena only signed a one year contract so it seems logical that the cubs would shop him.

  • al

    just for the record…the cubs are crazy.so it wouldnt surprise me that they wouldnt listen to offers… but ask for the moon…

  • die hard

    If they take Soriano and his full salary too, trade em Garza and his full salary

    • Patrick

      I saw somewhere that the Red Sox are not willing to add any payroll so I think taking on Soriano and his contract would be out of the picture for them. The Yankees however always have extra cash lying around so maybe they’d listen to that.

  • Zach

    Brett, who do you think the Cubs could from the Red Sox if they did trade them Garza?

    • Zach

      [the Cubs could get]

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      The Sawx have only one prospect in the top 50 (Anthony Ranaudo), so the discussion would probably have to begin with him. Beyond that, it’s hard to say, but it would take at least a couple more very good prospects.

  • Vince

    Do all you dreamers think that Hendry is capable of pulling off any kind of a good deal? Get real and smell the roses.

    • LouCub

      The Lilly deal still has me shaking my head cause the Dogers gave up guys who many thought the Cubs would get, to the Pirates for Dotel shortly after the Lilly deal was done.. He also tends to run down value of his own players so we don’t get much back (Corey Patterson)…Does anyone here know who the Angels were offering the cubs for D Lee last year?? I heard it was 2 young guys already in the bigs and anothe rminor leaguer…The guys we got for Lee , Lilly and Gorzo seem like more quantity over quality and crapshoots more or less.

  • KB

    Hendry is not a bad trader, although his specialty is fleecing poor teams of high-salaried vets, not scoring good young farm players.

    In fact, has he EVER got a good minor-league player in a trade who ended up being a star in MLB? He’s been doing this for 9 years, so he must have done it at least once. Am I forgetting someone?

  • LouCub

    Matt Murton was the closest thing..however that being said, Tim Wilken and his scouts are gonna be in charge ultimately of which minor leaguers the Cubs recieve because of the homework he’s done on most of these players at one point or another..I’ll trust his opinion over Hendry’s any day

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