The Latest on Matt Garza Trade Talks, and the Possibility of an Extension

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.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

366 responses to “The Latest on Matt Garza Trade Talks, and the Possibility of an Extension”

  1. Still Love the Cubs

    I remember what Alex Anthopolous said earlier on (I think right before the winter meetings) and it was something along the lines of, “We don’t have to spend a ton of money on Darvish. We have prospects as our commmodity.”

    That tells me that they are going to be the ones to make a move. But Theo is a smart man, and he isn’t going to just give in without calling the Yanks/Sox and saying, “Hey, I’m about to trade the Jays Garza. You wanna sweeten the pot a little and have him for yourself and keep him away from them?”

    So to me it really comes down to if they Yanks/Sox are actually afraid of the Jays or not. If not, AA probably won’t have to sweeten the deal all that much and Theo will just keep him. That is unless Detroit swoops in with something amazing.

    Those are just my 2 cents

  2. ferrets_bueller

    BoSox have acquired Andrew Bailey.  While this doesn’t particularly effect Garza, it does pretty much eliminate the chance of the Cubs selling both Garza and marmol to Boston.

  3. 2much2say

    Garza is a .500 pitcher. Consistently, he rates a #3 starter #4 on a good team.
    I would rather get 3-4 guys back that were useful than keep him. We will be better off long and short term especially if they are able to break into the Bigs relatively soon, say 2013.

    1. wvcubsfan

      In what way do you think he’s a #3 or #4 starter?  If it’s W-L record, then I’ll not waste any more energy typing another response.

      1. Rick Vaughn

        well said wvcubs fan

    2. BetterNews

      2much–Can’t agree with you on that one. He was our #1 on one of the worst teams in baseball. On a good team he could have went 15-5 and there is no arguing that.

  4. 2much2say

    What makes anyone think the Cubs would settle for the guy being replaced by Fielder. Makes no sense. Moreland? Morse? Loney? These are not long term solutions. May as well resign Pena if that’s the case, he only costs money. Targets should be #1 Trumbo
    #2 Alonso #3 Rizzo

    1. AB

      I’d rather give LaHair a shot than give up anything of remote value for Trumbo. He’s got Jake Fox written all over him.

  5. 2much2say

    Better Tampa Bay was a pretty good team during the time Garza was there 34-31 on a good team.

    1. BetterNews

      Yes, but he coming into his prime years, which is the reason we aquired him in the first place.

  6. jacob

    According to @mlbinsidenews the tigers and blue jays are frontrunners for Garza.

    1. CubFan Paul

      the guy/”person”, @mlbinsidenews is a fan and not a media member/reporter/journalist

      i follow him too but he’s not credible

  7. 2much2say

    Garza also got the NL bump. AL pitchers always improve from AL to NL

    1. KCubsfan

      It had nothing to do that he started mixing his pitches better. He went from throwing his FB 70% to 80% of the time to 50 to 60% keeping batter off balanced more.

  8. AB

    Tigers might be a great match

  9. jacob

    Brett, do you happen to know where the tigers stand in terms of garza?

  10. Toosh

    With Bailey being traded to Boston, it’s time for Marmol to go to Texas.

  11. CubSouth

    I read that Kyle Drabek was amongst the players named to be traded by the Jays for Garza, if the deal goes down. He was a top prospect in the Phillies org. before being traded to the Jays, is he still a prime prospect or has his value declined over the years?

  12. Luke

    I love Garza, but I think we should trade him for sure if there are any prospects involved. He’d be good to build around but yes, in the long run it’ll work better for us. I think Rizzo would be a great snag if we could get him, but I hesitate to say that because I really would like to see what LaHair can do. Seems like he tore it up where he was at.

    1. BetterNews

      Garza is NOT going anywhere.

      1. EtotheR

        Thanks…your work here will never be forgotten.

        1. BetterNews

          You ever think about changing your name to etotheass?

          1. EtotheR

            I have…whaddya think?

            It works…right? Lemme ask my mom…

        2. ferrets_bueller


      2. Rick Vaughn

        Don’t you mean “not” going anywhere?

        1. BetterNews

          Yep, that too!

        2. BetterNews

          Cubs trading Garza would amount too a boycott!

          1. ferrets_bueller

            I’d be two disappointed if they didnt.

          2. KCubsfan

            No it wouldn’t Because if you look at most Sites fan’s understand the Cubs are in a rebuild mode. It is being said through out the Media local and National and that hasn’t lead to a boycott like most believe it would. The Cubs have really sucked the last year with Garza so, what difference does he really make in the whole Pictue? None!

          3. EtotheR

            It wouldn’t “amount” to a Boycott.

            It might “result” in a boycott, but I presume that most would think that unlikely.

            Still…you just said he wasn’t going anywhere…again. Are you now suggesting that he MIGHT be going somewhere?

            Because…THAT would be interesting.

            1. BetterNews

              I stand by my comments. He is not going ANYWHERE.

              1. Rick Vaughn

                Jesus Christ dude, we heard you the first 400 times you said it! Give it a rest bro. I swear, every time I look on that panel on the right with the recent comments, you are always on there saying that exact same thing.

                1. BetterNews

                  That’s because everytime I look to the panel on the right the “opposition” is saying the same damn thing!

                  1. EtotheR

                    I am NOT the “opposition”…

                    My name is…Heinie Manush.

              2. EtotheR

                I know you say you stand by your comments…but, do you really “STAND” by your “COMMENTS”?

                How about this…if Garza gets traded, you admit to being the White Sox or Cardinals fan that you really are?

                C’mon…it’ll be fun. Let’s do it!

                1. Rick Vaughn

                  If Matt Garza gets traded, BetterNews get a 1 month time out from commenting.

                2. BetterNews

                  It all started when I became a Mark McGuire fan….LOL

          4. oso

            A hundred years of loosing hasn’t led to a boycott, how could one trade of a player who has a single season of tenure cause a boycott? Besides Theo and crew have a season or two grace period before the masses become restless.

            1. BetterNews

              I know I’m not going to buy a ticket, and there are many saying the same thing if Garza is traded. Pay that kind of money to see Castro bungle at short and hit .300 ball on a last place team? No Thank you. I’ll wait til 2013 or 2014.

              1. homey

                you arent a true cubs fan at all. jump on the bandwagon when the get good. for now shut up

              2. KCubsfan

                Even without Garza they will beat the Astro. They will be a 2nd to last place team with Garza. So nothing will change with or without Garza. 2nd you are only going to buy a ticket to see a guy pitch every 5th day so, you cares.

                1. BetterNews

                  I thought the Astro’s went to AL? I could be wrong.

              3. Rick Vaughn

                I promise to buy 10 tickets for every ticket BetterNews doesn’t buy. Makes your little boycott a bit counterproductive, eh?

              4. MichiganGoat

                So your a fair weather, bandwagon type of fan. You won’t support them during the tough rebuilding phase, but when they start winning your be all about how your a die hard Cub fan and knew this day would come. The worst kind of fan is a fan that sets limits on their fandom. Write that down.

                1. homey

                  thankyou rick..betternews is an idiot. for all the bonehead moves past gms made when we get people in here who now what they are doing who have idiots who jump ship when they made moves for the future

                2. MoneyBoy

                  Mich … aka – White Sox fan !!!

                  And, for the record, come January 12th our faithful group of 10 will once again complete our purchase of 648 tickets for the 2012 season.  All of the existing group has returned and we added one new member.

  13. The Mayor

    Any indication of the package Toronto would put together? I’d ask for Lawrie, Snyder and a pitcher to start. Arienciba would also be part of the asking price, I’d have to believe.

    1. EtotheR

      Lawrie can’t be had, and I don’t want Snider. And…I agree…Drabek would scare me as a centerpiece.

      1. Lou

        This is why I dearly hope the Rangers are still involved in the Garza talk. Don’t see how were replacing what we had with Garza from the Jays. Not possible. Then, with Dempster and Zambrano gone next year that would leave T Wood as our #1? OR a very expensive FA SP? Me not like. Drabek has been declared by many baseball insiders to be an overrated prospect. No wonder the Jays are being aggressive with Garza.

    2. ferrets_bueller

      You just named the one guy who can’t be had, and three of the four guys who better not be.  Drabek looks like an impending bust, as does Snider.  JP is an all or nothing guy, not exactly centerpiece material.  The other guy who needs to be avoided is Gose.

      Unless you’re getting two studs as the number one and two pieces, drabek, gose, or snider had better not be in the core of the deal.  They’d be alright as the 4th, possibly the 3rd piece, but definitely not in the top two.

      1. Lou

        Yeah, Gose’s understanding, or lack thereof, of the SO scares me. Then you’re talking D’Arnaud as the centerpiece for the trade. Solid, but not sure I’d want an offensive-minded C as the centerpiece for this trade.

  14. ryan

    I’d ask for A. Hechavarria to start with

    1. KCubsfan


      1. ryan

        he’s a ss that I’d like to inturn flip to SD

  15. Mike S

    Just to remind everyone who we gave up to get Garza…3 of the players are now ranked 2nd, 3rd, and 6th in the potent Rays farm system…and the other is their backup catcher on the major league roster.

    Do you really think we would get back that much talent in return? If we do, then trade him, if not, then we should wait until we do, or extend him. We gave up waaaayy too much to get him!

  16. Oswego Chris

    Call me Crazy….but researching Tornoto’s top ten…nothing excites me too much….this is what is so scary to me about prospects….look at Kyle Drabek?…the centerpiece of the Halladay deal?…Garza was one of only 10 starters who averaged 94 MPH on fastballs last year….I know pitching is more than velocity, but there is a huge difference between averaging 94 and 91(which many pitchers do)….thus he is a rare commodity…

    I will trust the Theotles that it will be a haul if he goes….

    1. BetterNews

      Great rebuttal as always Oswego. You know your stuff.

  17. Mike F

    Kyle Drabek is the the centerpiece of the Toronto deal Levine is discussing now. It’s a bad trade for the Cubs and adding a weaker hitting CF than Jackson is a real head scratcher.

    1. Lou

      If Theo does this, I think I’ll cry….no I will cry…then I’ll go get the Directv baseball package and follow other teams. Don’t do it Theo, because if you do you’ll not be as smart as I thought you were.

    2. Lou

      Who’s the weaker CF? Thames.

  18. Dumpman

    Is it a case of Drabek is the centerpiece because hes the most well known name?

    1. ryan

      Maybe or its the player closest to the majors?

    2. dob2812

      Possibly, this happens a lot. He could be a change-of-scenery guy.

      Or seems to happen. My evidence is anecdotal and not to be considered by any rational minds.

  19. cubincardinalland

    Someone mentioned the players we traded for Garza and how high they are ranked in the Rays system. To me it shows how goofy some of these ranking are, because the starter was beyond bad last season, couldn’t throw a strike to save his rear end. And the Korean infielder is supposedly great fielder with average or less stick. Those guys are a dime a dozen.
    The team to deal with is the Yankees and find some way to get Manny Banuelos, guy is a future star in the bigs.

  20. die hard

    Wonder if Orioles would be interested in packaging Adam Jones, JJ Hardy and others for Garza?

  21. dob2812

    Jays fans are saying that the Levine deal is way too much. Looks like we’re back to the old problem of evaluating one’s own assets…

    I think it’s a good deal for the Cubs, but I also don’t think it’s happening. Levine said those names were coming up, not that they were being packaged together. Twitter has jumped to conclusions. It’s positive for the Cubs that these names are being bandied about, but it would be good to see D’Arnaud in there too (accepting that Lawrie is a no-go).

  22. Lou

    According to what’s coming from Bruce Levine on ESPN1000 and Twitter the deal would include Marnishick, Drabek, Gose, and McGuire. Though Levine hasn’t posted anything official on this or confirmed it. Marnishick (butchered the spelling) probably the best out of the four. Not liking if there’s smoke to this rumor then fire.

    1. ryan

      If that is a package I’d hope that its a 3 team trade and the Cubs are getting Rizzo or something else besides that

    2. ferrets_bueller

      if thats the package…I’m happy, -ish.  I’d like to have drabek replaced with a different pitcher, but can’t really complain about getting a Top SP prospect (Deck), a top, 5 tool OF (Marisnick) prospect, a former top SP prospect (Drabek) who is a great bounce back candidate who still has great stuff, and an incredibly raw, extremely high ceiling/extremely low floor OF in Gose.  Although I’d still prefer Gose and drabek were replaced….


      This better than what the Royals got for Grienke IMO.  Much better.

  23. ryan

    im disapointed in the package a bit

    1. ferrets_bueller

      …thats what she said!

      Ha. Ha. haaaaaa….

  24. Norm

    My initial thought is “Wow” to that package. After seeing the ‘meh’ response, I’ll have to take a look.
    I don’t know what happened to Drabek, but I do know just one year ago he was one of the top 15 or so pitching prospects in the game. I know that both Marisnick and Gose are getting A LOT of love this off season. And I remember McGuire being a 1st round pick from not so long ago. Sounds pretty good to me

    1. ferrets_bueller

      I’m just greedy :P That package is definitely a very good one, especially in comparison to what other teams have gotten- its better than Halladay, Grienke, Gio, and most definitely Latos.

  25. Dumpman

    I like Marisnick a bit more then Gose ATM. Gose, from what I’ve read, has stunning tools though. I dont know abput both in one deal though.

    Hopefully either Deck McGuire or Hutchison are musts. Along with a high upside arm like Nicolino / Syndergaard. Then a CF like Marisnick or Gose would make a good package.

    1. Lou

      From what I’ve read about Hutchison, he appears to be close to MLB ready and seems to have more upside than Drabek IMO, given that they’re similar SP. Rather have him than Drabek in the deal if it happens. Just don’t want to hear Drabek as centerpiece. Yuck.

  26. Mike F

    See it’s this trade to make a trade at all cost mentality that I don’t get. I have no issue whatsoever trading a pitcher the caliber of Garza for two premium pitching prospects and two or 1 4 star position player. But I have every issue with trading for a prospect that would be labeled a “bounce -back” candidate. If you’re going to trade a guy like Garza you have to get a couple of premium unblemished players. And I have no issue with trading for CF, but I’m not sure that fixes the issue with the Cubs who lack young pitching. It is indicative how little this regime actually has two pretty good prospects in Szcur and Jackson. And that extends to Rizzo too. A prospect 1B to avoid paying fa’s isn’t what I thought this was all about. I thought this was all about improving dramatically the ML lt asset base of SP by using Garza to quickly improve the ML and Minors stable. If you get 3 or 4 pitchers, you can argue that, hopefully one’s name isn’t Drabek.

    1. ryan

      If they get 3 or 4 pitchers for Garza I can handle Drabek being part of the deal if he’s considered the 3rd pitcher in the deal

  27. Dukie11

    I think having Drabek included in the deal would be a good thing. I agree Ryan, I do not think he should be the centerpiece by any means. But if he is one of the 2 or 3 high level guys we get I’d be all for it. He is someone who still has a high ceiling, include him with a McGuire and then add Wood from our Reds deal and our own prospects and you have some young, near major league level prospects who could all pan out. A collection of McGuire’s, Drabek’s and Wood’s certainly matches 1 Garza. Not to mention if your getting Drabek your also going to get 2 or 3 other top prospects from Jays.

  28. loyal100more

    we gave up alot to get the guy in the first place.depleted our farm.were not gonna be contenders i mean lets be honest.i say if you can get back close to what we gave up on garza…pull the trigger.but spending alot of money to keep him along for the bumpy ride makes no sence…thank god theo is hear to sort this mess a cubs fan ive been patient for all the wrong reasons,well im ready to be patient for a contender.

    1. deej34

      I do believe we shouldn’t give him up for ANYTHING less than what we gave up to get him…. but I truly believe the term “gave up the farm” is over-exaggerated and over-used regarding Garza.

    2. BetterNews

      Don’t say we’re not going to be contenders in 2012! Some on BN might say you don’t know what your talking about. MichiganGoat and his cronies are already lighting torches and starting a march to your door! Look out.

      1. EtotheR

        I take it back.

        You’re not a Cards or Sox fan.

        You’re nine years old.

        1. BetterNews

          Than, that makes you 3!(LOL)

          1. EtotheR

            I been skooled…

            1. BetterNews

              Nah. You’ve been “sifted” and nothing worth while came out!

      2. MichiganGoat

        Sweet I have cronies

        1. ShootTheGoat

          Otherwise known as The Goatfolk…

          1. BetterNews

            I would laugh, but I’m not allowed, ‘Im only 3 years old.

          2. BetterNews

            Shoot the goat!

    3. MichiganGoat

      I agree we are not going to be contenders in 2012.

      1. BAMF

        So let me get this straight, you didn’t agree that the Cubs will not be non-contenders?

        1. MichiganGoat

          To be honest, I’m getting confused myself, guess I need to counsel with my cronies and get back with you.

          1. BetterNews

            Yes, you are confused.

  29. loyal100more

    so far theos medicine is hard to swallow…lets hope thats because its gonna make us well!

  30. loyal100more

    lets get a wee gee board and ask harry carrey….he probably doesnt want to talk about it