The vogue rumor developing last night and into today has the Chicago Cubs in discussions with the Texas Rangers about Matt Garza. This, of course, is a rumor we’ve been discussing here for weeks.

And nothing has changed. They’re still talking.

The Cubs have been in contact with the Rangers about Garza – among other teams – for a while now. As various free agent decisions played out, those discussions necessarily ebb and flow, with each side more or less incentivized to make a move depending on what is happening. There was never a rush from either side’s perspective, and that hasn’t changed – although things have ebbed a bit more with CJ Wilson leaving the Rangers in favor of their division rival.

A source involved in the talks says that, while no offers are currently on the table, some of the prospects who interest the Cubs should be no surprise: they include third baseman Mike Olt, pitcher Neil Ramirez, and pitcher Martin Perez, three of the top five prospects in a very, very good Rangers system. All are young, but on the verge – within a year or two – of being ready for the big leagues.

Bruce Levine adds that the Cubs have discussed pitcher Scott Feldman, a capable 28-year-old pitcher who didn’t pitch much in 2011 due to pre-season knee surgery. When he came back, he was effective, but pitched mostly out of the pen. He’s slated to make $6.5 million in 2012 (he has a $9.25 million team option in 2013 with a $600k buyout), so it’s not as though he’s a cheap player. To the extent he would be included in a Matt Garza trade, he would not only be the main return, he’d really be more of a “ok, we’ll take Feldman if you aren’t going to use him” part of the deal. The Cubs will need pitching depth if they move Garza, so taking back a player like Feldman, in addition to the prospects (which would be the main reason for the deal), makes sense. For what it’s worth, the team source with whom I spoke said that, yes, Feldman’s name has come up. My guess is that many, many names come up in discussions like this.

Ken Rosenthal reports that the Rangers are not confident they can land Garza, however, because of the Cubs’ asking price. And, if the Cubs are asking for the three aforementioned prospects – yeah, that’s a really steep asking price. For that reason, among others, the odds that a deal is ultimately consummated with the Rangers is low (as it always is in these kind of trade situations – keep that perspective in mind).

But you can appreciate the Cubs’ position. While competing in 2012 will be difficult, the NL Central will always be a winnable division,¬†particularly¬†if the Cardinals are about to have a down year. They will not trade Garza for something short of a haul – whether you compare it to the return in the Zack Greinke trade last year, or to what the Cubs gave up to get Garza, the Cubs aren’t going to settle for much less. With the Rangers facing a vastly improved Angels team, and without many great options out there for adding to their rotation (a very expensive bid for Yu Darvish or a very expensive trade for Gio Gonzalez are the two best options, besides Garza), perhaps they start to think about acceding to the Cubs’ steep demands.

Garza is scheduled to make about $8.5 million in 2012, his third of four arbitration years. If the Cubs do trade him, it is more about improving for 2013 and beyond than about improving in 2012, I’ll concede. But, if the Cubs pick up multiple parts, and use that $8.5 million wisely, it is conceivable that the Cubs could be just as good in 2012 as if they’d kept Garza – all with 2013 and beyond looking much, much brighter.

While the Rangers have been the most visible potential trade partner for the Cubs – in part because of their connection to Garza last year at this time, before he was traded to the Cubs – there are undoubtedly other teams with interest.

  • Who knows

    Let’s get fielder please I don’t care if we don’t have the money trade some ppl. But we need a bat.just imagine prince hitting a walk off on addison. Baseball for the cubs will be back. We need a bat badly

  • nashvillecubs

    Just a thought: Position players, target: Kendry Morales (age 28) 1b, Chase Headley (age 26) 3b, Ian Stewart (age 25) 2b. Sign: Edwin Jackson rp, Hiroki Kuroda lp. Morales could platoon with LeHair until healthy. Each player could be had without breaking the bank. Colvin for Stewart, Vitters and Wells for Headley, Marmol and maybe Carpenter for Morales.

  • BetterNews

    How can it be that Zambonhead makes twice as much as Garza and Garza is being shopped? something fishy going on here!

    • ferrets_bueller

      The shopping has nothing to do with how much they make…it’s how much they’re worth. Garza is obviously going to bring a much larger haul to fill more needs….
      christ, dude. I really hope you’re just pretending to be this….err….stupid.

      • BetterNews

        I daw kno? JIst trin 2 mak cents of its all, oh tay!

  • jfish1219

    @TroyRenck: Rockies have sent ian stewart and Casey weathers to cubs for tyler Colvin and DJ lamehieu

    • Kansas Cubs Fan

      Hmm I thought Cubs weren’t going to send D.J to the Rockies?

      And Casey Weathers stats don’t look good and hes 26, think the Rockies won this one.

      • Jeff

        Weathers was thought to be the Rockies closer of the future until he hurt his arm. If he recovers, he could be a pretty good pick up.

        • kubphan82

          Agreed he’s coming back from TJS, I’ll take the flyer on him over a guy who had no future with the Cubs… The Cubs just made a statement about how they feel about Vitters/Lake/Barney… IMO… LeMaheiu is expendable compared to the others… Vitters probably looking at a platoon near you, soon. And Lake will be the up-and-comer, with Barney being the 2B given a chance to continue to improve OBP. LeMaheiu becomes an afterthought while the Cubs bank on Ian Stewart finally being healthy and a return for Weathers from TJS by years end.

          I’m good for it.

  • BAMF

    Zambrano has been on the table since last year and will not warrant near the return as Garza. Garza provides a much greater return on investment, where any deal with Zambrano is going to involve a salary swap or the Cubs eating a portion of what is owed.

    Brett – thanks again for bringing us the information…you have great followers who are well informed which makes this one of the best resources for Cubs fans everywhere. I moved to Miami (worst sports city in America) a year ago but haven’t lost a step with what’s going on in Wrigleyville. Thanks again and keep up the great work!

  • R.I.P. Santo

    TroyRenck Troy Renck, Rockies
    LeMahieu will compete at 2b and some 3b. Colvin will play OF and also get spring work at 1b
    11 minutes ago

    • Travis Murphy

      Sorry man but barney gonna be at second just like a theriot single you to death

  • john

    Casey is listed #14 prospect for Colorado. Had Tommy John so view as a reclamation project.

  • Deer

    this trade blows. Our 2 acquisitions are guys coming off their worst year’s in the pros. That’s the winning strategy i guess.

    • Lou

      This is the rebuilding trades Theo’s talking about–my thoughts meh. If we’re gonna trade for people, why didn’t we get Chatwood from the Angels like the Rockies did? After all, we’re rumored to be going after 36 yr Japanese starter Kuroda?

  • Kyle

    I’ve driven my dislike of Stewart into the ground, but I’ll keep at it. He’s fooled some people because he’s been playing in great hitter’s parks every step of the way, minors and majors. He’s mediocre defensively, coming off a terrible season, and also trying to recover from the kind of major wrist injury that often saps player’s power.

    After arbitration, he’s going to be too expensive for what he brings to the club. Not a horrible waste of a roster spot, but an overpay of a million or two. And that kind of nickel and dime overpay is something that frequently drove me nuts with Hendry.

    • Tim Mo

      Stewart is better than a mediocre fielder, he is an upgrade from ARam. His bat is what will keep him down. Lets see what a change of scenery will do for him. Living in Denver, I have seen a ton of him and he is a solid 3B, lets see what he can do with the stick now.

    • kubphan82

      In 2011, he was equally bad home and away… In 2010 he was better away… In 2009 he was equally “good” home and away… So it’s not his hitters park… IMO… Also, he will not receive a pay raise, he has minor league options, and (who’s to say it does/doesn’t help) there’s a change of scenery with a chance to play…

      He’s more promising at 3B than either LeMaheiu in the INF and Colvin in the OF, fills a role, and we receive a recovering TJS arm on the cheap…

      • Tim Mo

        Nicely said!

  • ferrets_bueller

    I dislike giving up LeMahieu. Quite a bit.

    • Luke

      Agreed. The best second baseman on the roster is now Darwin Barney. I am not happy going into spring training with Barney projected everyday at second. The Cubs may have filled third base… at least until Vitters arrives, but in my mind they’ve carved a new hole at second.

      I like the pitcher though. Smart pickup. All in all, what the Cubs got back has much more upside than what they gave, but I don’t like losing LeMahieu.

  • Oswego Chris

    Le Mahieu had seven homers in three minor league seasons…I am fine with this…Stewart has a chance to be a decent 3B….I am guessing weathers throws hard…

  • BAMF

    This trade is not ideal by any means, but it is practical in the sense that we have a third baseman now. It fills an immediate need with a fairly large up side. If it were Hendry running the show still, you know Rammy is playing third at 15 million a year for the next 4 yrs.

  • john

    LeMahieu is just another Jake Fox who Cubs fans were enamored with and Colvin just doesnt fit especially if they make push for Fielder and Cespedes

    • BetterNews

      I said long time ago Colvin was gone, and LeMahiew was never even on a radar screen. I am now accepting apologies or perogies, take your pick.

  • ferrets_bueller

    The Cubs obviously got the better end potential-wise- Weathers has a very high ceiling (but is currently pretty close to the floor…) and we know Stewart by now.
    Colvin is garbage. DJ is a guy that I like…he’s got the potential to fill out and develop some power. Not as much as Stewart, but he’s a better ‘hitter.’

  • Oswego Chris

    another left handed hitter who will take a walk….just keep turning over that roster….two spots filled with defense…still much money to spend…

    • Cedlandrum

      Yeah great he can talk a walk, but his OBP is still only career .323. That is not good at all.

  • Edgar

    Lemaihu and colvin for stweart and casey mathewa

  • MikeL

    Guys, this isn’t that bad of a deal. Keith Law also said that he thought the Cubs got the better end of the deal. If Stewart returns to 2010 form (and I know its an “if”), and he can recover from his injury, he is actually a decent replacement for Ramirez, all things considered. He is certainly an upgrade on defense. Like others, a little bummed we gave up DJ, but its not a bad trade, I would call it a wash at this point.

    • BetterNews

      Its not a good deal either.

      • MikeL

        Which I said I consider it to be a wash……

  • njriv

    Agreed. I Would have loved to see Headley though at the hot corner. But now we can just focus on first base and pitching, pitching, pitching!

  • die hard

    So far Cubs have not improved…..just rearranging deck chairs is all…….however, still time to avoid the iceberg

    • BAMF

      That’s kind of the point. They have time to sign some more pieces, but the first thing new management has to fix is the payroll. All else equal, we end up with a comparable third baseman at 1/30 the price. He still has potential, which Aramis was running out of. I would like to see the Cubs continue working out Cespedes and Soler, and spend the money on future talent from abroad. Next year this is shut down with the new CBA, so if you are going to try and sign someone with the mediocre team we are undoubtably fielding this year, at least invest in long term talent. Even if you spend 30 million to get Cespedes for 5-6 yrs, you lock up future talent that has the ability to pay large dividends. If you go long on Cespedes and he busts, you are out 30 million or about 2 years of Carlos Zambrano (Relatively speaking).

      • BetterNews

        What do you mean by MORE pieces? Where are the first pieces?

      • BAMF

        David DeJesus…hahaha

      • Kyle

        If Aramis Ramirez and Ian Stewart are “comparable” then so are Darwin Barney and myself. And I washed out of baseball at the same time we stepped off the tee and into coach’s underhand.

    • Paul

      don’t agree, but I like this post. nicely done

  • john

    There was a 3rd baseman taken in the Rule 5. The Cubs are just buying some time to develop and may add other prospects for 3rd if the right deal comes along.. Although we could of waited for him to be non tendered

  • john

    Worst case he mentors some rookie and provides competition in spring training

  • john

    Time for Jarmillo to earn his keep

  • john

    See ya later Jake er I mean Tyler

  • Travis Murphy

    My thing is supposedly had good bats last couple years but either lineup all wrong or shitty pitching for the day. Always seem to get leadoff on but 96 percent of the time can’t getem to second cause sorry to many strikeout kings called it on numerous accations. I thinkworry about getting the fuckers over than swinging for the fences more players like Darwin Barney anyways who we getting at first looks like fielder avert and CJ went to the angles with ramy