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Matt Garza trade rumors continue to swirl, as they should, what with the Chicago Cubs looking to restock their young player inventory and Garza being the best starting pitcher currently available.

The Cubs continue to hold serious discussions with multiple teams about Garza, and, as I tweeted this morning, a source close to those discussions believes there’s a “90 percent chance Garza isn’t with the Cubs come Spring Training.” While the talks are serious, they are simultaneously complicated because of the number of teams involved, the number and caliber of prospects involved (yes, the Cubs’ asking price is very high), and the Cubs’ continued desire to parlay some of those prospects into a player like Anthony Rizzo from the Padres (who are not, themselves, in on the Garza talks, but who might have interest in some of the prospects the Cubs would theoretically acquire for Garza).

The teams most heavily involved at this point shouldn’t surprise you: the Blue Jays, the Yankees, the Tigers, the Rangers (if they can move Matt Harrison), and the Red Sox (though another source tells me the Red Sox have been unenthusiastic about the Cubs’ initial asking price). I get the sense, though I’ve not heard outright, that the Blue Jays are the most aggressive suitor, with the Red Sox and Yankees somewhere behind. Dave Kaplan just said on Twitter a few minutes ago that he’s hearing something very similar.

I already know that many of you are seizing on that 90 percent piece, and letting your minds run wild. But, as always, I have to preach restraint. Because of the nature of these trade discussions, there are many sources close to the talks. And two smart, well-connected sources could have before them the same information, and come to two different conclusions. The point of passing along sourced information like this is not to convince you of its accuracy, but instead merely to make available to you whatever information is out there for consumption and evaluation.

And that’s neither a criticism of my source on this, nor a judgment on his read on this situation. It’s simply important to remind you that, when you hear sourced rumors about the contents of trade discussions or a likelihood of a trade, sources can be “right” about the content of their information, but that doesn’t mean the trade/signing/whatever will ultimately happen. I’m confident enough in this information to say that serious trade discussions are being had with multiple teams, and there’s a strong chance Garza could be traded. But, because of how complicated those talks necessarily are, the talks could fall by the wayside at any moment.

Speaking of complications, there’s another layer. Namely: what if the Cubs decide they’re better off extending Garza rather than trading him?

At 28, Garza obviously still has a number of highly productive years in the tank, and is coming off arguably the best season of his career. The Cubs have him under contract for two more years, during which he’s expected to make around $8 to $9 million in 2012, and $11 to $12 million in 2013. Even if the Cubs don’t expect to contend in 2012, adding on another couple years to Garza’s deal could make some sense.

MLBTradeRumors recently analyzed the prospect of a Garza extension through the lens of the White Sox’s John Danks extension, and concluded that, based on the similarities in the pitchers and their situations, the Cubs could look at giving Garza a similar deal. Danks got five years and $65 million, and MLBTR suggests four years and $52 million for Garza, which would buy out his two remaining arbitration years and two free agent years. Garza, the argument goes, would want the guaranteed money, and the Cubs would want the cost certainty.

But, if Garza is going to net about $20 million over the next two years anyway, is getting two additional years of Garza at $16 million per year worthwhile for the Cubs? If he were a free agent today, how much per season would Garza get? Yes, Garza is about to get expensive, but is an expensive bird in hand more valuable than three or four young, uncertain, cheap birds in the bush? These are the questions, in addition to the value of trading Garza now, that the Cubs must be asking themselves.

Thus, let the discussion of an extension serve as another reminder: the Cubs do not have to trade Matt Garza. While they might ultimately be convinced that trading him now is the best course of action depending on what offers land on the table, they might also decide that Garza’s long-term value to the Cubs is greater than those offers. Or, they might decide trying to trade Garza at the deadline this year is the best move. Or next offseason. You see how it goes.

  • BetterNews

    Don’t get me going on Sandberg! He was the man at 2nd and nobody will compare! That is the problem that Theo faces, like it or not.

    • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

      i really would have been stoked for ryno to manage the team.i do trust theos choice for now. it just would have been great to have him back in the clubhouse.hes a big reason cubs fans made it threw all those years of loosing. ryno was a reason to come to the ball park. amen?

  • Jeff

    MLBInsideNews Scott Swaim
    Source: #Cubs want Jacob Turner, Andy Oliver and 2 position prospects for Garza from #Tigers
    4 hours ago

    Now that’s a trade I’d be okay with..especially if the two positional player could head to SD for Rizzo!

    • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

      whats the line on turner and oliver anyone?

      • Jeff

        Line?

  • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

    minor league numbers or any relevant report

    • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

      not familiar with the prospects in the tigers orginization…could you provide alittle info on these guys?

      • BAMF
      • Jeff

        Turner is the marquis name of the group, big 6’5″ power pitcher. He’s young, only 20. Oliver is a 6’3″ lefty, whose major league ready, 24 yr old. Both were high draft picks, and have moved quickly through Detroit’s system. Oliver hasn’t had much big league experience or success but I think he is a ready to step in there prospect. Turner will be a fast mover also.

        • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

          sound like our kind of package and with position players to go with…sound like theos asking price is high indeed.thanks for the 411 guys

          • Jeff

            I like this much better than what Toronto has to offer, even the Yankees and Banuelos.

            I think this would be a perfect trade, The Tigers would have a very strong rotation with Garza #2 behind Verlander. They are built to win now.

            We get two stud pitchers who look very promising and hopefully two other good position players.

            A win win

            • BetterNews

              I’ll stand fast. Garza is not going anywhere. Nobody is bending my thumb to say uncle. Sorry!

  • Jeff

    This trade would be even better if one of the position players was Avisail Garcia.

  • BetterNews

    Which trade? I got lost in all the talk.

  • Jeff

    MLBInsideNews Scott Swaim
    Goodnight folks. From what I am hearing, tomorrow will be Garza trade day. #Cubs
    1 minute ago

  • BetterNews

    Nah—False info

  • Mike F

    It’s hard to comment without knowing the other two, but no comparison to any trade this far. Superior by far to that of Toronto which is prospects and not near what Garza is worth, Turner is the right name and Oliver isn’t far behind. If Detroit is offering Turner and Oliver and two other top tier prospects, that’s the first reasonable offer as long as the Cubs keep both Oliver and Turner. Two pitchers of this quality are fair compared to the Toronto offer.

    Now that said, you still have to see what occurs after and where all the pieces fall Rizzo mania avoids the fact Byrnes just traded to look him into the minors and this would be a 2nd trade in a year, not the most incredible sign. But Rizzo would to me depend on what you have to give. If they are determined to trade for another CF, if the price was Jackson and another prospect that would be one thing, but for an organization in need of pitching, trading pitching to trade for young pitchers only to send pitching to SD wouldn’t make a hell of a lot of sense.

    For what it’s worth, Detroit makes the most sense. It’s an organization that knows what it’s doing, isn’t pitching over-hyped prospects that are stale and knows how to deal so both sides win. I was amazed, given Dave Domrbowski’s track record and being a Chicago guy his name never came up in seeking the Cub job. He has a rebuilding track record unlike Theo. I still take Ricketts at his word that he’s not broke and Theo at his that his name is Epstein not Beane. So if this move occurs I don’t think it happens in a vacuum and there’s got ti be more and much better on the way. That said, you lose 10M in salary to go with 30 M already gone. So the real payroll is Soriano, Zambrano, Dempster and Byrd. Wouldn’t make a lot of sense to pay to watch 80% of the payroll for those liabilities.

    But I like the idea of Garza for Tuner and Oliver and two top tier position prospects, as long as they start using some of that money and get rid of Byrd, Dempster and Zambrano. Soriano is a joke and no one wants the loser.

    • Jeff

      I agree Mike, I like the principal of this trade as long as we keep Turner and Oliver and possibly ship the others plus additional pieces for Rizzo.

      I don’t think Rizzo is worth as many prospects as some do. I like the guy but I don’t think you sell the boat for one guy. I would like to acquire him though and watch him, Vitters and Jackson play at AAA and get some more experience till July.

      I think if Theo and Jed play their cards right, we can add a few nice pieces down the line by moving Byrd, Soto, Marmol and Zambrano.

    • BetterNews

      Yes , Garza is the “big” piece. I have stood and stand by my assertion Garza will not be traded. He could dealt with a ridiculous offer, of course. But to use a ridiculous offer as an argument is ludicrous.

      • Rick Vaughn

        I love Garza, but  I’m praying he gets traded today, just so you can stop repeating your opinion that he will not be traded. You’re like a broken record. Every 15 minutes. Killing my buzz.

        • Jeff

          lol, ok Vaughn, calm down. Rip some shirt sleeve’s off to blow off that negative energy.

          I’m sure better news will have some new news soon.

          • BetterNews

            lol, my stomach is busting, lol

            • Rick Vaughn

              Over that? Man you are simple.

              • BetterNews

                How many players did Garza strike out last year?

                • Jeff

                  Doesn’t matter, Theo and Jed are breaking that team up and starting over, so get use to it.

                  I don’t mind, just as long as they get premium talent in return and Turner and Oliver are good prospects.

                  I like Garza, he’s a cool dude and will be missed but if they are doing a “new build” he’s the only one that will bring back the best prospects.

                  • BetterNews

                    No, I disagree, if it is a truly rebuild, Castro would bring back the most!

                    • Rick Vaughn

                      ugh…. again with this?

        • farmerjon

          Give him the heater Ricky! (and then pass it to me). Best part of garza trade…no Betternews til 2014, win win.

  • tony s

    Would turner, castellanos + a 20-30 range prospect be a suitable garza trade? Quality rather than quantity.

    • Jeff

      I don’t see them adding Nick Castellanos because they are weak in that position and Inge is a free agent after this season.

      I would love it if he was one of the position players, but highly doubt it.

  • Mike F

    No, but throw out a low prospect and add in Oliver and you have the right package and the overwhelming reason to deal the player. You don’t trade a front end pitcher like Garza when you don’t have one for less than two high quality pitching prospects, and while I like Detroit’s prospects any thing less than Turner and Oliver wouldn’t qualify. And bluntly while I like the position player, I think they could easily ask for 2 top ten position prospects, so i don’t think the 3/1 would be unreasonable.

    Unless Garza has an arm injury you don’t trade him to be trading him or for what someone wants to throw at you. If the Cubs don’t get what they demand, you don’t trade him it’s that simple.

  • Mike F

    Jeff aren’t you a little surprised that Detroit is willing to trade Turner, I would think he’s a guy that no organization would be wanting to trade. I like Oliver too. And you hit on a great point, if they don’t like Vitters that’s ok, just package him and send him on for something else. The Turner trade is one that intrigues me and Turner and Oliver to me are far better than Perez and Ramirez that Texas balked at. I hate when organizations squeeze the life out of a prospect and block the position so, if they don’t hold out hope for Vitters now is the time to trade him.

    • Jeff

      Yes and no to your first answer, Detroit is in a win now mode and Garza would give them one hell of a rotation with the other four they have.

      I think one other stud pitcher is what prevented them from going to the World Series over Texas. Their team is solid top to bottom.

      I think Oliver and Turner give us two legit starters, Turner a possible #1, Oliver a #3.

      I’m still high on Vitters, I know his defense is an issue, but if you look at his numbers closely, I think he might have turned a corner. Only 54K’s in 449 AB compared to Jackson’s 138 in 431 AB

      • Rick Vaughn

        I also love Vitters. Hard to give up on a swing that sweet.

        • BetterNews

          Against a fast ball down the middle?

      • Rick Vaughn

        Have to note though, Jackson had 73 walks in 512 plate appearences. Compared to Vitters’ 22 walks in 488.

        But I’m hoping for the best from both these guys.

        • Jeff

          I know, he needs to work on his OBP and OPS, but he did hit .283 with 14HR and 81 RBI’s

          • Rick Vaughn

            You don’t have to sell me. I love Vitters. Hoping he comes into spring training with a gold glove at 3rd and wins the job. Not going to happen, but man would that be awesome.

  • Mike F

    I like Vitters and Jackson a lot, wouldn’t give up on either, but that said, I’d always opt for Quality over quantity. Yeah I think it’s straightforward in that Detroit doesn’t want to go with a 2 year development project. Don’t get me wrong, Turner has the talent to develop and bloom quickly, but they obviously are looking for the legit 2 or 1a today, the sure thing, not being willing to wait a couple of years. Oliver is another good arm. And if you threw the 3rd name in it becomes a no-brainer, I question that would be the name though. I guess the other argument you could make is the one Brett made a while back, if you swap Garza for Jackson as a free agent and add Turner that is intriguing too. I’m not certain though I see the free agent happening with the exception of maybe Mahlom and Crisp.

    But in respect to Vitters and Jackson, before I’d exile them to AAA another year, I’d trade them for a peace you want. In other words, if you don’t intend to give them a real chance to compete for ML roster spot early in 2012, trade them now.

    • Jeff

      “But in respect to Vitters and Jackson, before I’d exile them to AAA another year”

      Mike, Jackson had half a season their and Vitters has never gone past AA, so I don’t see it as an exile to send them to AAA.

      I would like to see them add Joe Saunders.

      I see the rotation as Dempster, Saunders, Wells, Samardzija, Cashner, Oliver combination with Turner getting some more time in the minors.

      I hope we could move Zambrano to Miami, so he can be with his buddy and I would be fine with Wood going to SD with some other prospects say a Casey Coleman etc for Antony Rizzo.

      • BetterNews

        I see the starting rotation close to the same, –Garza,Zabrano,Dempster, Wells, Sam, and maybe Cash

        • Jeff

          BetterNews, you might want to go to bed and get some sleep. Your starting to get stupid and we don’t want that do we? Once stupid shows up it Dies Hard.

          • BetterNews

            Which part? I don’t see Garza going anwhere if you put all the talk aside. Zambrano is not going anywhere by all accounts. We are stuck with Dumpster, and Sam looks like he will start along Cash. Just need to factor in Wells.

            • Rick Vaughn

              Really, you don’t see Garza going anywhere? Why haven’t you chimed in on this every 20 minutes or so before this?

              • BetterNews

                Don’t need to! He’s NOT going anywhere.

              • BetterNews

                You just don’t like me because i know more about baseball than you! Admit it.

              • BetterNews

                You need a haircut!

      • Doug Dascenzo

        Darren Oliver or Jamie Oliver?

    • Still Love the Cubs

      Here is one thing that I just can’t get out of my head. According to Brett’s figures from the other day on payroll, the Cubs will have around 60-70 mil to spend (if they choose to) on payroll. Ricketts did sat that it is likely to be around where it was last year. Trade Garza adds around 10 mil to those numbers!

      I don’t see ANY way, as competitive as Theo is, that he stands pat and doesn’t do anything. I don’t think there is any doubt that swapping out Edwin Jackson would totally make up for the loss of Garza but it wouldn’t be a terrible signing. The dude seems to have a rubber arm. Remember when he threw like a 150 pitch no-no? If Filelder backs off of the 10 years thing, I could absolutely see Theo getting in on that. Personally, I think that Boras is really hamstringing the guy. His quotes are really starting to stretch it in his attempts to build up his boy. And he said he’s talking to 10 teams about him and some of whom would be willing to move their already established 1B for a shot at Fielder? No, Scotty, I think you’ve had enough for tonight. I’ll call ya a cab.

      Bottom line, I think that the Cubs with all that payroll are going to use at least some of it. I’m not saying they will sign Fielder or E Jax, but either one wouldn’t surprise me. Theo is just WAY too competitive if they can be had at Theo’s price. And since IMO Boras is castrating his own clients by waiting so long that there are only 2-3 teams interested, and none of them are willing to give him 10 years, I think he has played his cards and has to know when to fold him.

  • Mike F

    I don’t like AAA and more of the real action is AA and AAA is a cup of coffee stop off or hell, take your choice. You left out Wood. I also like the idea of moving Wells and adding a guy like Saunders or Malhom, but don’t know how likely either would be with Wood pretty much penciled in for a spot. Saunders was rumored to penciled in at more of a 2 or 3 year deal, but to date the market has really been restrained and soft. Oswalt is still out there and his price going up, Jackson. I could even see Jackson getting a shorter deal, just don’t see why his demand is so soft now.

    Oh and I really think Cashner is likely to be one of the pieces Byrne would demand. If you’re going to gamble, with as many prospects as they have acquired it’s kind of a no-brainer to gamble his arm holds up and gamble on a near ready guy for greatness. And I have to say this, if they don’t like Rizzo enough to send Cashner in deal for him, they probably shouldn’t be trading for him. I like Samardzja, just see him as the closer in waiting. He found what works with the 97-98 MPH fastball and slider off if it, I think he’s ready and a better alternative than Marmol. Would think they let Marmol have another chance, but he becomes 1A waiting for any repeat.

    I’m just guessing, but see them wanting Cashner not Coleman.

    • Jeff

      I’m not ready to sell on Cashner. I watched him start at Tennessee in 2010 and he was lights out. I hope that his shoulder settles down and he can eventually return to starting, but he will need to build up arm strength and might be best out of the pen in 2012

  • Still Love the Cubs

    Also, I just glanced ahead to the 2013 FA group (next year’s FA’s) and there is really a heap of garbage as far as position players go. Maybe a couple of good OFers but that is it. There are a good group of starting pitchers but who knows if they will all be available or not. Still a lot of talk about teams re signing their own guys (ie Cole Hamels, Matt Cain).

    That being said, I don’t see what the guys in the FO are thinking they are going to spend their money on if it isn’t Fielder. Unless they are getting Rizzo or something, I think they are still seriously thinking about Fielder. If Scott Boras wasn’t a moron, it’d be done by now.

    • BetterNews

      I’d have to agree with Brett on this(twisting my arm) Cespedes.

  • BetterNews

    The people have spoken.(minus the duds)

  • Lou Cub

    BetterNews, the guy on MLMInsider Scott Swain said today will be the Garza trade day…For the sake of a better future for the Cubs, I really hope so!! Not taking anything away from Garza but how about some of these examples…AJ Pyrzenski from Minnesota to San Fran for Joe Nathan, Boof Bonser and Francisco Liriano.Great deal for Minnesota.. Look at he Grienke deal with KC, great for the Royals..How about the Dan Haren to the DBacks deal that sent Chris Carter and Carlos Gonzalez (Billy Beane should have kept him)..WHEN this happens, the Cubs will be younger and better for it…

  • http://bleachernation Stephen

    I’m trying to recall, and it’s causing smoke to come out of my ears. but when was the last time the Cubs traded a top-flight player for prospects??
    I’m 40 and to be honest, in my Cub lifetime, I cannot remember us ever doing this.
    Please correct me if im wrong.

    • Stinky Pete

      Ivan DeJesus for Bowa and Sandberg?  Sutter for Durham?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It has certainly not been an MO of the Cubs for a long, long time (if ever). In the last decade, the best and only example is Mark DeRosa – and he, obviously, was not a top-flight player.

  • http://bleachernation Stephen

    Stinky, I should have noted i started following the Cubs in 82-83, so those transactions were probably already complete. Also, that is long enough ago that my poor brain might not have that back in it’s storage locker.
    Good response time though :)

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