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A week after it was first discussed here, the possibility of a Matt Garza trade this Winter is picking up steam.

Among the chatter:

  • Buster Olney says that “[o]ther clubs have a clear belief that Cubs are open for business on Matt Garza.” He adds that the “expectation among some teams is he will be dealt this winter.”
  • Bruce Levine suggests that the buzz he’s picking up from other teams – not the Cubs – is that the Cubs are ready to trade Garza. He discusses the Rangers, who previously tried to acquire Garza before the Cubs landed him, as a primary trade candidate, noting the possible availability of young first baseman, Mitch Moreland. Given that I’ve heard Moreland’s name mentioned, too, from a source, but hadn’t reported it here, I’d say there’s a fair bit of smoke there. Levine says the Cubs would expect four or five players in return for Garza.
  • Joel Sherman says the Yankees would be interested in Garza, but haven’t yet had any high-level trade talks about him (or any other starting pitcher). Of course, “high level” is one of those qualifiers that could make just about any statement true, regardless of the underlying facts.
  • Privately, I’m hearing that the Cubs are in exploratory talks about Garza with a number of teams, and, while those talks involve names of players/prospects for other teams, they haven’t quite reached the “exchanging names” stage of discussions. Instead, the talks are more about ruling out certain trade partners based on “untouchables,” and based on the kind of return the Cubs are expecting for Garza, if they decide to move him at all. Keep in mind: not every team quite yet knows whether they want to pursue Garza. Some, for example, are not willing to part with a haul for Garza until they’ve landed a big piece or two in free agency, setting themselves up for a major run in the near term.
  • The teams you read elsewhere as being interested – Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers, Blue Jays, Tigers – are among the teams reaching out to the Cubs, and you can throw in the Mariners, the Reds and the Marlins. Not all are a great fit, however, because of the Cubs’ desire for top, Major League-ready talent, particularly on the pitching side.
  • Carrie Muskat says trading Garza doesn’t make sense because the Cubs gave up a lot to get Garza, and because he’s still under team control for two more years. With all due respect to Ms. Muskat – whom I do respect – the argument that dangling Garza doesn’t make sense, well, doesn’t make sense. More on that below.

It may be hard to square rumors of dealing the best pitcher on the team with rumors that the Cubs are trying to sign one of Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols. But, here’s the thing: the Cubs control Garza right now, they don’t control any free agents. That is to say, if the Cubs are trying to increase the overall talent level of the team, and believe they can get a net gain by trading Garza, there’s nothing inconsistent about trading a valuable piece they control, and signing valuable pieces they don’t. If Garza nets the Cubs a few ML-ready pieces (i.e., spreads the talent around), and the Cubs simultaneously wisely sign free agents, the team could turn things around more quickly than if they (a) just signed free agents, or (b) just traded Garza.

It would not at all surprise me to see the Cubs trade players like Garza, or Geovany Soto, or Carlos Marmol this Winter, and still come to Spring Training with a better team than the one they had last year.

  • polocubs

    you are up and on it early this morning. are you expecting something big and soon?…or are the rumors just finally heating up?

  • BetterNews

    My source tells me “yes indeed” Garza is “untouchable”. Reportedly by top “echelon” within the organization.

    • Bails17

      I don’t believe that at all.  If given the right deal…any and everyone is available right now!

      • Fishin Phil

        Don’t worry, his source his Dick Tidrow.

        • Bails17

          Nice!!  Not that I am really wanting to part with Garza.  He is the type of guy that I want on the club both from a talent standpoint and a makeup standpoint.  But…if we could get 2 top pitching prospects along with 2 or 3 more high level type guys while signing a guy like Buehrle and maybe Oswalt….I would be all in.

          • BetterNews

            Not happening Bails—Phil has been out fishing too long I’m afraid.

            • Bails17

              Time will tell.  I am just saying your “source” is most likely incorrect.  And…by saying that it really doesn’t make sense.  It may go down the Garza doesn’t get dealt…but that will not be because he was “untouchable” in the eyes of the Cubs front office.  If so, it will be because other execs felt the asking price too high.

              And the chances of us getting Buehrle or Oswalt or someone like that are not so far fetched.  So…we will see.

              I am not saying it WILL happen BN…just saying it is possible.

              • BetterNews

                Anything is possible my friend. What I mean by “untouchable” regarding Garza, is that the “organization” will only “consider a substantial offer, and even than might decline”, thats how good Garza might be in the next 5 years.

                • Bails17

                  I gotcha BN…I just don’t think that warrants the term of “untouchable” in my mind.  If we do deal him…I would want a haul!!

            • Hangman

              I hate to tell you this but Phil Rogers is the one that reported this yesterday it was Buster Onley and his scource was other Clubs. Not to mention Brett has been dead on this offseason. This move makes all the sense in the world because we have no real offense to speak of and a spotty Rotation. Moving Garza and the haul (because Garza is the best SP available thru trade or FA) could fix a lot of those issues.

              • BetterNews

                You need to look at where your info is comining from, partner!

                • Katie

                  And where is yours coming from since you’re soooooo certain Garza wont be moved.

                  • TWC

                    Write it down.  Terry Francona will be the next Cubs manager.

                    • hansman1982

                      He could still be right, didn’t give a timeline as to when that statement would be correct.

                    • BetterNews

                      You know I changed that—C’mon now TWC

                  • Lou

                    If the Cubs sign Fielder, it wouldn’t be wise to move Garza unless the Cubs received a player like Justin Smoak or Brett Lawrie in return. IMO, neither the Mariners nor the Jays would give up either one of those guys for Fielder. Why those guys? Because those are the guys that make the rebuilding effort doable in my mind and that type of player could fit very nicely into middle of the lineup and give the Cubs a high level of production quickly at the ML level. So, yes the idea that Garza is unattainable might not be a stretch.

                • Hangman

                  LOL. You have no idea where I get my info from. LoL.

                  And if you think Brett’s info is such crap why are you even on this site?

              • Cheryl

                It coould be a very good trade and it makes a lot more sense than not trading him.

          • kansas cubs fan

            Why do you want Oswalt? He has a bad back and would be a waste of space and money.

            • Bails17

              For the right money…he gives you depth and still an above average number 3 or 4 type guy that still has the ability to have number 1 type stuff.  The money would have to be right…we threw 140 innings last year and had ERA of 3.69 and WHIP of 1.33.  Not bad for a bad back.  And…he is one year removed from a strong finish of 7-1 with a 1.8 ERA in his last 12 starts.  If the money and terms are right…he could be a low to moderate risk/high reward type of guy.  But it all depends on the terms.

              • kansas cubs fan

                I don’t know what he made last year but If the Cubs got him for around 6 or 7 mil with incentives then I’d be fine with it. But I don’t think it makes much sense to go after a guy like that if his health is questionable and probably for only a one year deal, If were not going to compete.

                • Bails17

                  I think Theo and gang are planning on competing.  With the new CBA…it makes much more sense to NOT wait around to do so.  I look for 3 or 4 big time trades/free agent signings this off season at least.

      • BetterNews

        No sir!

      • Internet Random

        I agree. And I’d go even further:  Given the right deal, any- and everyone are available at any time.

  • oswego chris

    Brett…any prospects you like? many of the pitching prospects that have been mentioned, I have researched, an none of them “wowed” me….I think the yankee prospects are a bit overvalued….I am hoping they only do this if they get a huge, huge haul……

    • kansas cubs fan

      If Garza goes to the Yankees I’d like to see Ivan Nova come back our way, how realistic would that be?

      • BetterNews

        Won’t happen Kansas!

        • EQ76

          what if we sent Garza & Marmol to the Yanks for Montero and Nova… they could go for that.

          • BetterNews

            Did you not see post? Garza is not going anywhere! Period!

            • Katie

              I’m sorry, I didn’t realize Theo Epstein was posting on here.

              • BetterNews

                Katie
                Heard about your divorce.
                I like so many wish you the best, nevever realized, sorry.

                I truly mean that!

                BetterNews

              • EQ76

                Listen, I don’t expect Garza to be dealt either.. He’s exactly what we need both now and in the future.. It makes little sense to trade him.. however, this whole thing is based on the premise that if the Cubs are blown away by a trade offer, they could move him.. If Garza nets the Cubs 2 young starters, and an everyday player in return, that are all MLB ready future stars, it could be a smart move.. But be assured, I’d much rather us keep Garza. He’s really our only great SP on the roster.

            • Lou

              I don’t see how the Cubs find the Yankees prospects desirable so I’ll agree on that point.

          • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

            Garza and Marmol would be overpaying for Montero and Nova. That wouldn’t be a bad place to start, though.

  • Cheryl

    A week ago I would have thought Garza untouchable, but the new contract (CBA) has changed things. I agree with Brett, there will be a lot of movement with the cubs and Sota and Marmol will be among those traded. Garza will fetch several good players. As for Fielder, I doubt the cubs will get him.

    • Bails17

      The thing about this front office is that they might want to make a statement by signing Fielder.  Makes coming to the Northside much more attractive to other big time/solid free agents like Buehrle and such.

      • fearbobafett

        I have to agree, having a big stick in here shows we have a plan that is sooner rather than later. If we are going to fill the roster with the likes of Buehrle, you have to show will be condenting after this year. I do feel the FA’s coming would be willing to eat one year. Besides this division is going to be big time up for grabs again next if both Prince and Albert leave thier respective teams.

        • Lou

          Agreed. And if the Cubs sign Fielder, I don’t think it would make sense to trade Garza. If they sign Fielder, that is.

    • BetterNews

      Wait a minute! Garza and “fetch” in the same sentence. Sorry, can’t agree!

  • EQ76

    If we end up with 2-3 starers that contribute well from a Garza trade, I’d be okay with it. I think a Garza trade would and could pay off in the long run but we’d better have a good return for him.

  • Deez

    I’ve thought since the All Star break last year that the Yankees would be the team & would deal Jesus Montero as the centerpiece of a deal.
    It’s a no brainer for the Yanks IMO. To have a pitcher like Garza & have him under control for 2years!?

    • Cedlandrum

      I honestly don’t think they will give up Montero, but they might give up Gary Sanchez who is very young or a guy like Austin Romine.

    • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

      I still think the Rangers make more sense. The Yankees are among the oldest teams in the league, and their core is older still. I’m not sure trading away a boatload of young talent for Garza is their smartest move right now. They’ll explore it, no doubt about that, but I think they’ll be reluctant to part with a lot of youth for one guy.

      Then again, Cashman could easily work one deal for Garza and two other deals to bring in some younger guys at key positions. Nothing is off the table, but all in all I think the Rangers make more sense.

    • Jeff

      They wouldn’t give up Montero for Cliff Lee or Felix Hernandez, they aren’t going to give him up for Garza.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Hey man, where you been?

  • Mike Foster

    Ya know fans, dangling trade bait you really may not be interested in trading does have the effect of bringing the fish to the surface. Theo and crew may be seeing who is “touchable” on other teams, just saying.

    • Smitty

      This is what I have thought Epstein and Hoyer have been doing with all this Garza talk. Using the possibility of trading him to see what is available. Then go after those options that came from the “dangling” of Garza with a package of Marmol/Soto, etc. Clearly Garza would net more, but instead of a 5 player package you might be able to get a 3 player package from a similar team with our other offerings.

      I understand that a return on a Garza trade would be substantial. I just don’t see how we could “compete” in the next few years without a #1 pitcher, and frankly we don’t have anyone in the system that will turn into somebody like that in the next few years.

      • BetterNews

        Nobody has been “dangling” Garza, trust me. This is all Media. Garza is NOT going anywhere!

        • hansman1982

          So basically you come on this site and spew stinky garbage out of your mouth for a month and then out of nowhere you have this great source and we are to trust you?

          I think I would rather sign Pujols to a 10 year $350M deal.

          Edit:  If a Garza deal doesn’t get done during the meetings then this will all die down until some cold day early in February when BOOM its announced that he is gone for one helluva sweet deal.

          • BetterNews

            Hansman—We know you are partnered with Katie and Co. No seceret there.

            • Internet Random

              Hansman—We know you are partnerd with Katie and Co. No seceret there.

              Wait.  Are you saying that they are part nerd, or partnered?

              EDIT: While you’re editing, you might as well spell “secret” the right way too.

              • hardtop

                im definitely part nerd…

              • BetterNews

                Meant it the way I spelled it, look it up BUBBA!

                • Internet Random

                  Should I consult the same source that you’re getting your Cubs info from?

            • Katie

              Just because Hansman realizes how kick ass I am, doesn’t mean we are partnered, part nerd or anything. I think his wife might have something to say about that.

              I would just like to go on the record as saying that I love nerds.

              • kansas cubs fan

                I’m a nerd!
                Haha

              • hansman1982

                Katie, I will be part nerd with you

                When the nerd forces combine I become CAPTAIN PLANET NERD

                Look, BN, I am not attacking you, just calm down when you post and stop being so damn combatitive.  The BN-ians are a friendly and welcoming people, as long as you are not a member of the Douchenozzelian Tribe, then we piss all over your parade.

                • BetterNews

                  Me, combative? Don’t think so . But maybe I need to start.

                  • Bails17

                    Ummmm….yes you are!  LOL

                • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

                  Quit dippin in my Kool-aid

                  • hansman1982

                    I KNEW IT – YOU ARE A DOUCHNOZZELIAN

                    NERD TEAM ASSEMBLE!

        • hardtop

          well you better reveal your source then, because you are the only one that this makes sense to. ill say this, if your source isn’t an employee of the cubs front office (and im not talking about the UPS guy), you know nothing more than any of us here. we’re all just discussing possibilities and opinions. I know/have known players on the cubs, with whom ive discussed things of this nature, and they openly admit, despite their opinions, they really have no idea what going to happen and who is talking to who about what. they had no idea when hendry was there and certainly have no idea now. so i’ll trust any one of these contributors opinions, that they can back up with a logical argument, before i’ll accept “trust me” without a source.

          • BetterNews

            Why is everybody jumping on me?

            • EQ76

              Because you are boldly denying what most news outlets are reporting.. and you have virtually zero credentials that we know of. that and every player is available for the right price.!! or at the very least, you’d listen to an offer.

              • BetterNews

                I don’t think I ever said “DON’T” listen to an offer, I think I said if anyone is “untouchable” it would be Garza, and I can’t give my source/sources away as anyone wouldn’t.

                • EQ76

                  no, but you did say “Garza is NOT going anywhere” and that he is “untouchable”.

            • Bails17

              BetterNews…you are speaking in absolutes in which every other source out there (mind you..most of them very credible) are saying just the opposite.  You stated your point, said you had a “source”, but have nothing to back up your “trust me he isn’t going anywhere” claim.

          • BetterNews

            I am not an employee of the front office. I am however privy to info before it hits the streets,

            • hansman1982

              Ok, well as soon as you report something correctly before others do then we shall believe you…until then, not so much and that is the case with Brett as well, just he has been, well, correct in the past?  If you got your Terry Francona info from your “source” then you may want to rethink what your “source” is telling you.

              • BetterNews

                Hansman— If you remember correctly, I withdrew Francona from the manager’s position and even detailed why. See previous posts. Yes, it was my understanding that he was a “serious” candidate for the position at the time I said it. As things progressed things changed, isn’t that natural. And if you look back at my comments , you will see I said the manager would be picked from someone getting a second interview.

                • hansman1982

                  I am just going to walk away from this because it is going to spiral downhill quickly.

                  • BetterNews

                    Nothing spiraling down , brother. Maybe I was too bold in in my opinion, but nothing “spiraling down”!LOL

              • Katie

                Preach it, Capt Planet Nerd!

            • Jeff

              Hmmm, you are Todd Ricketts aren’t you?
              It makes perfect sense. You are not “allowed” to call yourself a member of the front office, but they let you in on their “secret” meetings before the information becomes public knowledge.

              Just messing with you BN. I actually like some of the back and forth that you bring to the site. It would be a good back and forth discussion if it wasn’t for the personal insults. I don’t see Garza going anywhere, but mainly because I think that the Cubs are going to make the right move and hold out for the deal that they want, and not just trade him to trade him. Personally, I think he’s worth more than what they gave up to get him, and I don’t think they will get a bigger haul than the one they traded away. My opinion could be obscured from having to watch the rest of the Cubs starters this season though.

              • BetterNews

                Jeff—I simply misspelled partnered, left out the e(partnerd), it was a typo, and the “critic” plane took off before I could edit! Woooosh!

                All my spelling is done on the fly, don’t use spellcheck or anything and I am not a typist.

      • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

        Cashner has the stuff to be a number one starter. McNutt was on that path; we’ll see how he rebounds from his injury plagued 2011.

        The Cubs could move Garza and wind up with a starting rotation that is, on average, better than what they had and still have front of the rotation stuff in at least one slot. It won’t be the second coming of the 2003 rotation, by any means, but I think they could move Garza and still wind up with a starting five that are better than what the Cardinals had last season.

  • Stinky Pete

    Can you imagine Garza in the same dugout with Ron Washington?  Crazy.

  • cubs82

    By Neil on November 29, 2011 0 Vote 0 Votes
    According to a report from Ken Rosenthal, teams are “kicking the tires” on Alfonso Soriano. Rosenthal’s sources indicated the Cubs are “willing to pay a significant portion of the $54 million

    • JB88

      I think Soriano could be perfect for a team like Baltimore (Minnesota and KC also come to mind, but KC does have a steady DH in Butler already). Guerrero isn’t coming back. If the Cubs pick up $10-11 M per season on Soriano’s remaining contract, Baltimore would have a fairly cheap DH option, with a guy who could fill in occasionally in LF.

      At this stage of his career, Soriano ONLY makes sense in the AL, and it will be really interesting to see what teams would be willing to deal with the Cubs.

      • MoneyBoy

        JD … The Baltimore question, to me, revolves around Duquette’s plan … would he be interested in Sori and for what price?  I’m not sure $10-11mm is enough to get him moved.

        Even with Guerrrero and Lee off the books ($15.25mm) Baltimore has 4 more FA’s and a boatload of 1st and 2nd yr arb eligibles.

        • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

          From a pure value standpoint, Soriano as a DH would be a good one at six or seven million a year. Baltimore may not be able to afford that, but then Baltimore has deeper pockets than their record would indicate. I wouldn’t rule them out. They could stand a big bat.

          They might have to move one or more of their arbitration eligible guys in that or other deals, though. Then again, they might do that anyway.

  • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

    So… Texas is said to be dangling Moreland. And they just traded Chris Davis mid-season. That’s two young first basemen they’ll have moved in short order if they do move Moreland.

    What’s the plan in Texas? Keep Napoli on first? Do they think they have an inside angle on Fielder (that’s a scary thought…)? Would they pull back Moreland if they don’t land Fielder or Pujols? If they plan to keep Napoli primarily on first, would they be looking for a more offense oriented catcher? I like that Texas is being aggressive after reaching two straight World Series, but I am curious what the plan is.

  • TSB

    So the Cubs have a quality pitcher in his prime under team control for the next couple of years. Sounds like a perfect start to build a solid rotation. No, not good enough, trade him for some unproven prospects, with the hope that one or more become a “quality pitcher in his prime under team control”, at which time you can trade him for more prospects. Sounds like the “grass is always greener, etc.”

    • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

      Not exactly.

      The idea is that the Cubs could sign a free agent for about the same amount as Garza would make that would put up numbers that are good, but not quite as good as Garza. The players… and there would be more than one… who come back in the trade for Garza would combine to exceed the difference between the two.

      To put this in WAR terms, say the Cubs expect Garza to be a 4.5 WAR guy next, and the Cubs know they can sign another free agent who they expect to be about 3.0. If the Cubs trade Garza for a young starter (maybe a 2.5 guy with a higher ceiling), a young first baseman (1.5 with a higher ceiling), a corner outfielder (1.5), the net effect on the Cubs would be a WAR of +4.0 with plenty or room for future improvement in at least two spots.

      That’s the kind of total transaction the Cubs are looking at. They won’t trade him just for the sake of trading him, but only if they see that move making the team substantially better in 2012 and beyond.

    • JK

      I think you raise a fair point. I think the “devils advocate” argument is that if you could trade Garza for a top prospect/MLB ready at 3B/1B/OF and a few other pieces. And then go sign a Buerhle/Wilson type free agent. You have replaced Garza with Wilson and added a Moreland at 1B for about the same money as well as restocked the AA/AAA with a few higher grade prospects. I am glad Theo & crew are driving this and not the old regime as I am not sure the creativity would be there.

  • Curt

    Does anyone know what the reasons might b fr capping money on the amateur draft as far as I can see it will drive up free agent salaries and hurt baseball in the long run keeping fresh blood from considering baseball and going to other sports, just wondering any ideas brett

    • Jim

      From my view the owners or Bud want to control the amount of money to unproven talent. The players didn’t put up any resistance as more money will come their way. So pretty much what you said, Curt.

  • MightyBear

    I still believe pitching is the way to go in free agency. For what they might spend on fielder or pujols, they could sign beuhrle and oswalt and heath bell or another closer. There could be some help offensively in the Cubs minor league system. There’s no pitching at the top levels.

  • oswego chris

    Two issues made simple:

    1. Garza is most likely not going anywhere, the Cubs will have to be knocked out…I heard Ivan Novoa’s name mentioned?…look at his numbers, just decent, I wouldn’t trade Garza for him…it will take a haul

    2. no team is going to take Soriano without the Cubs picking up probably 18 of the 19 mil he is due each year….get used to the idea of eating that contract…

    • BetterNews

      Agreed

    • JB88

      You do realize that Soriano is only owed $19 MM per season for the next 3 seasons, right? Some team will be willing to trade for Soriano and that team is going to pick up some portion of his salary.

      • http://www.google.com/ Jimbo

        We dfeitniely need more smart people like you around.

  • oswego chris

    I think you are dreaming…no more than a million per season…anything more would be huge…I hope I am wrong….no one wants Soriano….we are just hoping

    • kubphan82

      Oswego,

      C’mon, you are really undervaluing Soriano. He is not that bad of an albatross that something couldn’t be done! I prefer that Soriano stays, he’s not worth the contract but he remains serviceable to this team. That being said, if teams are kicking the tires it’s probably about how much money the Cubs will eat…

      Soriano would rank highly in almost every run production facet of the game for DH. If a team will a DH lands him his value rests higher than 1 million. He should be worth about 8-9 million to a team. Cubs land a couple minor leaguers and eat 10 million a year and I could understand the move but would still prefer Soriano to produce what’s left. Better offseason training, leg strengthening program…

  • john

    Bottom Line: Garza Soto Marmol Marshall Soriano OUT
    Fielder Montero 2 top pitching prospects Ian Stewart and the Cuban IN

  • Dumpman

    I originally thought Montero couldnt be had either, until I read a report http://nybaseballdigest.com/?p=41582 about The Yanks offering him and minor league pitching for Matt Cain. Cain and Garza probably have identical value, so its very realistic Montero could be had at this point; along with a couple intriguing arms (Betances and Noesi/Phelps/Warren)

  • die hard

    Garza, Zambrano, and Barney in a package to Seattle or Cleveland?

  • John

    If Garza is traded, do you see it happening soon or later in the offseason; perhaps after the Cubs sign a few free agents.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Probably whenever a great offer comes through (if he’s to be traded at all, that is). Hard to say whether that’s before or after some of the top free agent pitchers sign with other teams (thus theoretically increasing the desperation of the teams who didn’t get those free agents). The rub there: the Cubs might want a free agent pitcher or two, themselves.

  • Lou Cub

    On MLB Networks Hot Stove last night. Gammons and John Hart all think the Cubs end up with Prince ..noting that Theo doesn’t want to give out long terms to guys past the age of 35 and an 8 year deal with Prince will be 35.. Granted I think that’s still too long by 2 years

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks, Lou. Good stuff.

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