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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.

  • EQ76

    So do we have a line on where those prospects rank?? Would that be a good enough return? I’m not really up to date on the Rangers farm system.

    • CubsFanatic

      All those prospects would be a good return. But the trick is to get them ALL. Its a steep price to trade the three for Garza, but they are going to need pitching this year as much as we will. Though trading Garza will just create another hole in the rotation. And thats IF we don’t trade Zambrano as well….I wreally hope to see some pitchers signed soon.

      • EQ76

        I just read up no them.. could be a good return.. a lefty & righty SP, and a power hitting, good fielding 3B.. sounds good to me! Looks like Perez is the #2 prospect, Olt is their #3 and Ramirez #5.

        • Wrigley11

          John Sickells over at Minor League Ball had this to say about the aforementioned players (numbers next to names represent where he ranks them in Rangers Top 20):

          2) Martin Perez, LHP, Grade B+: I think he’s been pushed too quickly, but all the talent to be a number two or three starter is still there.

          4) Mike Olt, 3B, Grade B: Good power, draws walks, very strong defensive player. Main worry here is high strikeout rate but I expect he will adapt

          7) Neil Ramirez, RHP, Grade B: Held his own in Triple-A until sore shoulder issue sent him back to previously-skipped Double-A level for rehab. A breakout candidate who broke out.

          Sounds like a package of these three would fill a number of holes. Olt is probably the furthest away of the three.

          • Kyle

            Out of the three, only one looks ready to contribute before late 2013.

            This wouldn’t be “Let’s flip Garza for some near-ready prospects.” This would be a full rebuild move.

            • Wrigley11

              Agreed. I would much rather try and see if a team like the Dbacks were interested in talking trade, or even the Yankees. Yanks seem to be pretty adament about not included Montero and Banuelos/Betances in the same deal, from what I’ve read.

              • Lou

                I would add to that the Tigers if they’re interested. Rumors (I know, rumors) said they were interested in Gio. For Jacob Turner as a start to Garza trade discussions, I’d explore that. Turner could be ready for the rotation next year as well.

            • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

              Depends on what else they did. Adding Olt could make Lake and Vitters expendable for shorter-term pieces. Likewise, the addition of two high level pitching prospects could allow the Cubs to move Dolis, Cabrera, or McNutt in a separate deal for something else.

              If the Cubs were able to sign someone like Darvish as well, I think the net effect even on 2012 would likely be positive. It’s hard to say until the hand is completely dealt.

              • hansman1982

                agree, Cubs fans are so used to looking at these kinds of things as a 1 stop deal (hell I cant remember the last time we were listening to offers on someone like Garza).  I am sure if Garza leaves it will set up a dominoe effect where other pieces are moved. 

                I am willing to bet a BN Thong that Theo’s eyes got as wide as a 5 year old’s on Christmas when he heard where Pujols was going.

                • Lou

                  Definitely helps. The Rangers now have some desire to make a splash–albeit a lesser one of their own.

  • Kansas Cubs Fan

    I’d be happy with that maybe even throw in someone with Garza to get the maximum return.

  • kevin 3000

    When did Peter Gammons become such a boob?

    • Cedlandrum

      well he has always been a bit of a boob, he became a bigger one after his stroke.

  • Kyle

    Just looking at their B-R pages, Ramirez is the only one that really excites me. But yeah, he’d be awesome.

  • hansman1982

    If Feldman were a throw in – similar to Fuld last year – I would be ok…I would NOT be ok if it meant we had to take a lesser prospect other than those three.

    I like the two pitchers (Ramirez is a top 25 prospect and shot from A to AAA last year) but have no clue how to gauge Olt.

    I am still guessing that January is the deal time for Garza, once the Cubs and Rangers see where Darvish goes.

  • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

    I’ll take any two of those three if the Rangers will send along two mid level guys as well. I’d even let the Rangers pick which two.

  • Spencer

    So long as the Cubs get more than they gave up for him, then do it.

  • Cheryl

    What do the Rangers need besides Garza? Can the trade be broadened I’m not familiar with their farm system. Do they have a good second baseman in their system? Do they need a catcher like Sota? If the trade was broadened to include say Barney or Sota would that interest them? And who else would the cubs look at in a large trade?

    • Kansas Cubs Fan

      Pretty sure the Rangers are set with catchers so they won’t need Soto. But they may need a closer I don’t know if there counting on Joe Nathan to be as good as he once was so they might want Marmol.

      • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

        Marmol, probably not. Marshall, Maine, or Russell might be attractive though.

        • hansman1982

          Out of those three, I would send Russell in a heartbeat.  Just coming off the best season of his life and setup men are notoriously fickle.

          • Cheryl

            I’d send Russell too. But hope someone wants Marmol. Don’t think Garza would like him going to Texas with him after this last year.

      • Lou

        Hard to say on Soto. Napoli has played multiple positions for them. I would rather have Torrealba than Soto as our catcher.

  • Matt

    Watch out for TOR here. They’re just as motivatedas TEX and AA will get outbid for Darvish.

  • Dumpman

    Very, Very exciting stuff Brett. I LOVE Olt. Hes exactly the type of prospect Theo will look to grab. I would shit myself if we got all 3 of those guys. A package like that.. I bet we’d have to add something else of value. Maybe Garza / Baker or another add in, while taking back Feldman to save the Rangers cash? God, we are in such a great position right now.

  • Deer

    Does Pujols and Fielder leaving the NL Central change the course for the Cubs? Why not keep Garza, get Darvish, E.Jackson, Morales and compete for the division. Don’t forget the possibility of an extra wild card. Would hate to lose Garza for no established MLers

  • Oswego Chris

    I am sure I am in the minority but I would not make that trade…even if they are 3 of Texas top 5…non of them are sure MLB ready……you have Garza for two more years…I need to be wowed….if that’s as “wow” as it’s going to be,  forget it…the NL Central is wide open now…I want Kendrys Morales….as for Darvish…he will be overpriced…..Japanese pitchers are risky…as many busts as successes

    • Dumpman

      I understand the notion of the unknown, but I highly doubt we get a better offer then that, Unless the Yanks are willing to deal Banuelos along with Montero. Its a real solid package. 3 of the top 5 prospects in a good system is unreal. All 3 will probably be top 100 MLB prospects, or I know Olt and Perez will be.

    • hansman1982

      I wonder it would take for Darvish start the year at Iowa…this would give him a couple months to adjust to the states in a fairly low-key town (just keep him away from Court Ave.) wihtout any pressure in a big league setting.

      • Hawkeye

        Does somebody have a Darvish crush.   hansman1982 is going to get another restraining order put on him for following around ICubs players.   I have seen you at games…the way you used to look at Matt Murton was disturbing. ;)

        • hansman1982

          Joey likey the gingey…

          • Katie

            So was that you skulking about the north parking lot at Sec Taylor for a glimpse of Murton in all his ginger glory?
            And yes, keep him away from Court Ave although since I’m old and hate drunk frat boys its quite easy for me to avoid Court Ave.

    • Cedlandrum

      thats about as good as it gets. I am not sure what you need to be wowed if that doesn’t do it.

      • ferrets_bueller

        Seriously…that’s a bonanza. I doubt the Rangers would do it.

    • BleakNews

      I don’t know anything about Darvish. Have you seen him pitch Oswego? Like you said, Japanese players are risky and I have no confidence after Fukudome.

    • MoneyBoy

      Deer & Oswego – YESSSS.   Not only do we need ML ready … but there really is no gigantic need to move Garza when he can be moved July 31st.  Same with Dempster … IF the Cubs are floundering or out of it by July 31st Demp becomes a chip as he will be a FA in 13.

      And as to Darvish – $100 million for a guy who hasn’t thrown a pitch in the AMERICAN Major Leagues?

      You lose Garza and add Darvish … where are you financially and competitively when it matters most – NOT 2012 … but 2013 and beyond?

      Look at some of the “minor” moves today … 34 y/o Alex Gonzalez for 1 yr with a vesting option.  38 y/o Dotel gets one year at $3.5mm.  33 y/o Harang to the Dodgers … 2 yrs, $12mm with mutual vesting.   Those kinds of guys and those kinds of deals will REALLY start moving when the non-tenders are completed.

       

      • Kyle

        Lose Garza, who is signed for two more years, and add a pitcher who looks like he’ll be very awesome on a 5-8 year deal?

        I’d say that looks very good for 2013 and beyond.

        • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

          Yep. I’ll make that deal every time.

  • RY

    would ogando, feldman, and one prospect be asking too much?

  • Darrin

    How do we package Garza and Soriano at the same time?

    • die hard

      Seattle Mariners will take your call…see my posts yesterday and today

  • die hard

    Would like to think that Theo manipulated Marlins, Angels and others into FA signings as part of a complicated strategy designed to have the Cubs in a position to pounce on the most needed players at the right moment. Or…..hes been a day late and a dollar short. Take your pick… but after Fielder signs, the strategy or lack thereof will become clearer.

    • EtotheR

      You mean…it’s one or the other?

      • die hard

        Black and white only or else the debate will never end….too many more topics coming down the pike as Spring Training approaches

        • EtotheR

          Then…wait it out. We’re not really flies on the wall.

  • Deer

    Here is the non-tender candidate list. The players listed are trash, they won’t fill any need areas. Highly doubt Morales gets non-tendered instead of traded.
    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2011/11/non-tender-candidates.html

    • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

      Garbage is a little extreme. There are players here that’d sign to a minor league deal and offer a spring training invite.

      For instance, Ian Stewart and James Loney. Sure, they may never make another major league roster, but their production has not matched their potential. I’d take either one on the cheap (particularly Stewart). If they can’t make the roster out of spring training, then cut them and be done with it. No real loss for the Cubs.

      On the pitching side, given that the Cubs could use some depth, there are plenty of names here I’d offer a chance in spring training. Tom Gorzelanny, Ross Ohlendorf, Rich Hill, Taylor Buchholz, Andy Sonnanstine, and probably a few more. On a non-guaranteed contract, there is no down side. Odds are good that the Cubs could find a few pitchers to add to their starting pitching depth, even if they spend all season in Iowa.

      Sure, they aren’t going to find the next Randy Johnson or Babe Ruth in this pool, but there’s no reason they can’t come up with an addition here or an upgrade there.

      • Fishin Phil

        Luke, I respect your opinion on many things, and I was with you on this post until you typed “Rich Hill”.

        Eeeek!

        • Kyle

          It’s funny how many things that didn’t used to make sense to me in Cubs history are explained perfectly now that I understand BABIP.

          Rich Hill and Jeff Blauser top that list.

        • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

          Ok, so he’s pitched like 5 innings in the last two years. He’d probably have more value in camp as a motivational speaker than a starting pitcher, but if he can ever get healthy he could… get shelled by major league hitting again.

          So he’d be a side grade to another year of Ortiz or Russell starting.

      • BetterNews

        Come on Luke, the names you mentioned for pitching deserve “no” chance.

        • Fishin Phil

          Actually, I wouldn’t mind seeing Gorzelanny again.

          • BetterNews

            Phil—Gorzo has a lifetime 4.60 ERA and 1.5 WHIP and he has lost more games than he has won. Why would you want him back? Just asking.

      • Deer

        After a 2nd look at the non-tender list, I now understand why Theo is courting Rodrigo to return.

      • ferrets_bueller

        Sonnanstine or Gorzelanny could be decent depth/emergency innings eaters. Buchholtz could be a valuable pen arm, but…do we really need more pen arms? I guess its a possibility, especially if Shark gets moved to the rotation.

        • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

          If Samardizja goes into the rotation, his spot in the pen will almost to be taken by the Rule 5 pick, Castillo. Otherwise, the Cubs lose him (unless they make a trade to keep him).

          I’d actually try to stretch Buchholz back into a starter in the minors. Assuming he can cut back on the long balls, it could work. He’s not going to crack the Cubs bullpen. He’d probably never crack the Cubs rotation… but he might be that 8th starter that keeps the team from Doug Davis.

    • die hard

      Id take Fontenot back for 2-3 yrs to play 3B if Soto not given oppty there

      • Paul

        What are you talking about !!!!!

        • die hard

          Giants to non tender him maybe

    • Lou

      Saunders would be a solid pickup in the middle of the Cubs rotation. In fact if he gets non-tendered, several teams could have interest. Barton could be the Cubs 1b this year??? Who knows?

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

    Too… Much…. Information. Can’t process, shutting down. Need beer a couple of days to process all this. Quick question: Are there only two teams that went to the winter meetings with their checkbook?

    • BetterNews

      I guess. This is sickening.

    • die hard

      only 2 with credit cards …..that likely wont be paid off when due

      • BetterNews

        Can repay by 2050! Give me a chance.

  • Cerambam

    It seems to me the cubs can go a couple routes from here on out.

    They can go the go for it in 2012 while being kind of smart route: keep Garza and attempt to trade fringe players( i.e. Zambrano, Demp, Colvin,Baker/dewitt) while attempting to sign Darvish/Fielder/Cespedes/Jackson. Though there is some ample spending there on some players that have never played in the majors, there is on doubt we, as cubs fans, wouldnt be excited to enter the fielder-less and pujols-less NL central with Darvish, Garza,Jackson, Fielder, Cespedes, Castro, and possibliy Bjax leading us. This is, to me, the best case scenario for making any kind of push. (not to say its the right move by any means.

    or They can do a “oh were totally going for it in 2012, were just dumping our best players for the future” route which i dont mean to sound mean about it as it seems to be the smarter move and still improves the team in 2012 by Trading Garza for a haul of prospects to be ready in 1-2 years; Signing/picking up/trading for a first baseman like morales, Gaby Sanchez, or several other possbilities; Getting/trading for other dejesus/non-huge-impact-but-still-kinda-cool types like ian stewart or headley and keeping zambrano. I think that something along these lines, but im sure with none of the same players because what do i know, will be more likely.

    The cubs should do a rebuild while trying to stay in contention. However, even though the NL central is a generally easy division to win every year, this year should prove to be one of the most win-able. I know the cardinals will still be great and sign an old vet to a cheap contract and they will perform their voodoo magic(@brett) and he will be awesome and wainwright will come back and destroy, but there is no question that cardinals and brewers, the two biggest forces in recent years in the NLC, have been weakened by the loss of their franchise players. Ive come to grips with rebuilding because i thought the cubs had a very very very low chance to take the division, but with the right signings maybe they could and should try to make a legitimate go at this thing.

  • Joepoe321

    Why not sign tom gorzelany if he denies the nationals arbitration he is decent/cheap/and a lh pitcher

  • die hard

    Would Soriano plus $40 mil to Seattle for Adam Moore work for anyone?

  • EtotheR

    Question…does anyone know how long after a posting it takes for the winner to be announced?

    It’s pretty quick as I recall…right?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Four business days, I believe – so, around the 14th.

      • EtotheR

        Good. That gives my check time to clear…

        Thanks.

  • Morgan

    What a boring winter meetings, that the Cubs need to fill MULTIPLE positions and have done nothing, but dejesus. Where is the speed again going to come from, Dejesus doesnt have speed

    • BetterNews

      No he does not.

    • BetterNews

      Its like as days go bye there are more questions than answers. Am I the only one getting this feeling?

    • die hard

      Hey …may not have speed but he has game…thats what Cubs want us to believe anyway….could have had Corey Patterson for less tho

  • Jim

    Give Prince a 15 yr/$375 million contract

    • BetterNews

      Hell, I’d go 450 mil so nobody can beat us out.

  • DolphinDan

    Just heard Peter Gammons say on MLB Network that the Cubs do not have the $$ THIS YEAR to go after Fielder.

    • BetterNews

      Hey, we have DeJesus!

    • die hard

      what about next yr?

      • BetterNews

        Not to fear, I heard Gorzellany is coming back!

  • Oswego Chris

    NO ONE WANTS SORIANO…do I have to write another article about it?…we will have to eat at least 52.5 of the 54 million

    yes…I too was disappointed that there was not more action…but there are still lots of fun possibilities:

    Edwin Jackson, Kendrys Morales(yes I have mentioned him in about three posts today, but if healthy I would take him over the two big guns) Ian Stewart might be fun, all those Cubans(which incidently, Kendrys Morales is) not really big on the Japanese girlie man,  Kuroda for a year? possible Garza trade  for all prospect lovers….

    plenty ‘o time

     

    • Kyle

      If no one wants Soriano at any price, then that’s awesome. That would mean we play in a league of very stupid GMs who don’t know what a useful player looks like.

    • die hard

      you evaded question…if Seattle made offer should Cubs say yes?…I bring it up cause Seattle needs power DH and have too many back up catchers

    • hansman1982

      Excellent use of BOLD TO GET YOUR POINT ACROSS!

  • die hard

    How does Corey Patterson sound as long as topic is former Cubs? Hes available and wont take much to get or pay him

    • BetterNews

      Sandberg has to be laughing at everything going on with the Cubs!

      • Kyle

        That’s okay. I’m laughing at everything that’s happened with that no-diving quitter.

        • BetterNews

          He didn’t need to dive, he had ESP and knew where the ball was going when the ball left a bat!

        • BetterNews

          Kyle—I don’t think you ever saw him play to tell you the truth!

          • Paul

            That is a great point. Lets take a poll…
            Who on this site ever actually watched a game (and can remember it) that
            Ron Santo Played in,
            Ryne Sandberg Played in,
            or for some of you,
            Ryan Theriot

            • Toosh

              I’ve been to games at Wrigley Field that Santo played in as well as games that Sandberg played in and games that Theriot played in.

            • BetterNews

              I can raise my hand to that!

        • Kansas Cubs Fan

          Well I’m 19, born in 1992 and played my first tee ball game in 1997 when Sandberg retired, so no I never saw him play a game.

          About his fielding, well I looked at his stats on BR and his Fielding percentage is a career .989%.

          • BetterNews

            Like I said, your to caught up with Dorothy.

  • Kyle

    Rough estimate, I saw him play right around 1000 of his career games with the Cubs.

    • BetterNews

      On TV?

      • EtotheR

        Better…come on, pal…it’s the Internet. This is a good site. Let’s keep it fun.

        • BetterNews

          I never called Sandberg a quitter, Kyle did and I am the goat?

          • Kyle

            Did he or did he not quit on his team in the middle of a season? :)

            • Toosh

              Yes, he did quit on his team.

              • Internet Random

                … wanted to spend more time with his wife, IIRC.

              • BetterNews

                If you really know anything about the man(which I think you don’t), he was sick to his stomach about the way the up and coming players were playing the game. Also, his marriage did have a lot to do with things. Now go fly a kite!

                • Kyle

                  What a coincidence. He was sick to his stomach about the way young players were playing, right at the same time as he lost his skills and was playing terribly. How noble of him.

                  I know enough about Ryne Sandberg to know that he is very, very full of himself and has a false sense of moral superiority because of his handwringing over kids these days.

                  He’s certainly not a bad person, but his personality rubs me the wrong way. As a player, he was underrated offensive and overrated defensively, so I guess that balances out.

                  • BetterNews

                    Brush your teeth and go to bed now! Don’t forget to put the toilet seat down.

      • Kyle

        At your mom’s house.

        Anyway, it’s pretty much undisputed that Ryne Sandberg did not like to dive for balls or attempt tough, off-balanced throws. We can debate all day about his motivations for that or how that affected his overall defensive value.

  • BetterNews

    Did anybody see the picture of Pujols lauging his @#$ off at the contract he got?

    • Internet Random

      Why not post a link?

      • BetterNews

        Foxsports I believe.

        • Internet Random

          That’s not a link.

          This is what a link looks like.

          • BetterNews

            I know what a link looks like Random, I was giving a source! So now why don’t you “randomly” put your tail between your legs and run away.

            • Internet Random

              If you know what a link looks like, then you purposely dodged the question.

              And how does one “randomly” put his tail between his legs?

  • die hard

    If Fielder leaves division too, could be interesting race at least until All-Star break by which time Cubs will likely implode as a result of Castro’s 25 throwing errors, Dempster’s 2-7 record, and benching of DeJesus.

  • tex134

    Alot of sour grapes today, why so negative today?

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

      It’s not appreciated by those of us who love this site as a rational and calm place where posters comment in an intelligent manner and don’t take criticism personally and don’t take it personal when someone disagrees with them.

      I tell my students all the time that the first step in being intelligent is the ability to listen to criticism without getting angry and resorting to name calling. Sad that there are still people that don’t get that lesson. Ignore the negativity, don’t engage someone who can’t have a rational conversation, and enjoy the best Cubs blog on the internet – BleacherNation.

      • Katie

        But that’s no fun!

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

          I know but we have a place where we can still have fun.

          • BetterNews

            Isn’t that sweet! Why don’t you two get married. But please, don’t have children!

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