While it is an in vogue enterprise to speculate as to the identity of Matt Garza’s 2012 team, anyone who can tell you definitively where Garza is going – if anywhere – is either a psychic or a charlatan.

That’s because I highly doubt even Theo Epstein or Jed Hoyer could tell you what will become of Garza’s future.

Discussions with a number of teams continue about Garza, but there is no “favorite” to land the top-line starting pitcher, according to Jon Heyman. This weekend, the Detroit Tigers were seen by many as the front-runner for Garza, presuming they were willing to include top pitching prospect Jacob Turner. The Miami Marlins also stepped up on the strength of “serious” interest in Garza, but no one has yet been able to articulate a particularly attractive package come from the Fish.

Heyman says the Tigers, together with the Blue Jays and Yankees, probably do hold the edge in trade talks, as the Cubs are seeking young pitching, something those three teams can offer.

Other teams like the Rangers and Red Sox are probably still hanging around at the periphery of the discussions.

Talks about Garza will continue this week, with the Cubs undoubtedly reminding all comers that the team does not have to trade Matt Garza, an asset under control through 2013, and a pitcher around whom the Cubs could seek to rebuild their rotation in the near term.

  • die hard

    Would it make more sense to keep Garza and get a veteran pitcher who could step in and give 200 innings. Seems to be a step backwards to give up his arm and go for prospects who are unproven. Hes shown he could carry a rotation. Lastly, the adage a bird in the hand is worth more than 2 in the bush leagues would seem to apply here.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Not if the bird you’ve got in hand isn’t enough to feed your family anyway.

  • http://bleachernation Stephen

    In all these dicussions about Garza and rebuilding, going young etc.. it dawned on me that the only true long term connection I have with a current ( technically a FA) player is Kerry Wood. To me, that’s a big part of the Cubs , and overall baseball experience. Im 43 and I connected with Harry Cary, Steve Stone, Ryno, Mark Grace etc. Mark Prior’s demise really hit me hard. (Thanks Brad Hawpe and Marcus Giles)
    Don’t misinterpret this, I am a true blue die hard Cub fan. Heck, my personalized car tags change every year to say CUBSN98, CUBSN02 CUBSN10 etc
    My confusing point….i’m just truly anxious to find out who my next Mark Grace, Greg Maddux, and Shawn Dunston’s will be.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      In the end, we’re cheering for laundry (or so the saying goes).

      • scorecardpaul

        Good morning Brett, you must be quite Cheery today.  must have gotten a good nights sleep eh?

        not to sound like a troll, but I always thought Mark Grace would have been an ideal piece to a great team, but an overpaid no home run hitting clog at 1st b for the Cubs.  I am quite aware of how many feel about him, but I always wanted a better 1b for the money we paid him.  He always stuck in my gut as a typical overpaid fan friendly seat filler??? Now Dunston, on the other hand,  he was my kinda guy. His only mistake was he couldn’t control his enthusiasm, and I like to see guys give it their all.

        • bluekoolaidaholic

          I would hasten to point out that Mark Grace is wearing the ring,
          So is Bob Brenly.
          Yep, just a couple of bums.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Ha. Cheery, cheering. Yes, gleeful or something like that…

        • jr5

          Grace didn’t hit homers, but look at his numbers. He was almost a 50 WAR player over his career. By WAR he was almost twice as good as Tino Martinez, for example, just to cherry pick a player who played over the same stretch of time that the media/analysts at large debated honestly when he came up for the Hall of Fame; meanwhile, they dismissed Grace without so much as a second thought.

        • Tommy

          Mark Grace was a .300 lifetime batter that won 4 gold gloves. He was consistently in the top 10 in the NL in OBP, as well as hits.

          I think I could live without an additional 10-20 HR’s a year with that resume.

          • jr5

            Exactly. Not to harp on the Martinez comp, but Tino had 339 homers to Grace’s 173. So that’s nice. But Grace had 500 more hits, a career OBP 40 points higher, a higher OPS, and 150 more doubles. And a higher career OPS+, for whatever that’s worth to you. His 1000+ walks meant he reached base 3500 times in his career. Only 642 strikeouts. Just silly offensive numbers. Had he played in a more lefty-friendly park his entire career (like, say, Tino Martinez) his numbers would have been even more attractive.

          • Dougy D

            Grace should have one more Gold Gloves as well. The powers that be thought that Will Clark and JT Snow were God at first base and handed them over to him instead (SF conspiracy, maybe?). I always enjoyed Dunston as well, but without Grace at first, he might have been putting up the number of errors that Castro has in his first couple of years (maybe a stretch, but Grace saved a crap ton of bad throws from Dunston).

            I am not trying to get defensive about the Grace comment, but I think that most teams of that era would have been happy to have him as their first basemen.

            I honestly would not be disappointed if the Cubs held onto Garza. As previously mentioned, I think he could be the anchor to the rotation. However, I certainly wouldn’t mind possibly getting a guy like Jesus Montero and some pitching. I am sure that might not be possible, but a fella can dream right?

            • http://bleachernation ferris

              grace is very underated…a guy who played in the steroids era,who was never mentioned in any rumors for obvious reasons who played in the same era as one of the best ppure hitters in the game in tony gwynn yet had more hits in the 90’s than anyone…(anyone) for a full decade look it up its unreal to not be feared for his power yet have that many walks also a ton of doubles along with the gold gloves he did win and the other times he was in the top three like you said recieving from guys like dunston an a diff 3b every other yr..grace should be in the hall of fame almost 2500 hits while sitting in the minors two or three yrs to long because we had bull durham in the way…seriously…..he should be in…not first ballet but he should be in.

        • ferrets_bueller

          I’ve never seen statistics put to the argument, but have heard this argument- Doubles are more valuable to a rally than home runs are.  Home runs are rally enders, while doubles prevent rallies from being ended.

          Now, i don’t know if thats true- but it does make a little bit of sense at face value.  And who hit the most doubles for a decade? Mark Grace.

          • DocWimsey

            The numbers show that this conventional wisdom is wrong in one simple way: a far lower percentage of doubles score than HR.  That means nobody behind stranded doubles is scoring, either.  If the same thing happens after an HR, then it’s still one more run.

            There is one big difference: a pitcher is much more apt to be yanked after a home run than after a double.  Most “rallies” are due to bad pitching (a tired starter or a bad middle reliever), not due to “clutch” hitting.  Change the pitcher, and if the hung breaking balls and/or bad location stop, then the hitting (usually) stops.  But even if you leave the tired pitcher in the game, then the guy hitting the late double still has a high probability of being stranded.

            So, Sandberg, Dawson & Sosa might have driven more mediocre pitching out of games than Gracie did: but those acts also should have generated a few more runs.

            • ferrets_bueller

              The other factor, besides leaving the same pitcher in the game, is the fact that they have to play attention to the runner, and pitch out of the stretch.  Its going to be harder to pitch with a guy on second after a double than it would be with no one on after a homer.

        • DocWimsey

          Grace was misused as a batter: he should have been a #2 or even #1 guy because of his awesome OBP.  However, because he played 1B and because he was labelled “clutch” (he wasn’t: he was just a good hitter), he batted in the middle of the order.  In many of those seasons, he scored more runs than the fast leadoff guy with no OBP.

          Dunston was enthusiastic, but his problem was a total lack of a batting eye.  That wasn’t from being puppy-dog enthusiastic: he simply couldn’t identify where a pitch was going to cross home plate when it was 10′ out of the pitchers hand (which Gracey could do).

          • jr5

            Actually, in Baseball Between the Numbers, the Baseball Prospectus book, Grace graded out as the best clutch hitter from 1972-2005.

    • CubFanBob

      Agreed, one aspect of being a true Cubs fan is how we fall in love and grow with certain Cub players over the decades. Each year brings a new group of potential Cubs to claim as our own.

      • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

        i agree bob…i think if were gonna rebuild, it would be alot easier if we got a guy to love durring this otherwise depressing time….cubs fans love players with heart, and above all we love the long ball. we need a guy like andre dawson, someone who hits enough dingers to ease the pain of the rebuilding process.

    • bluekoolaidaholic

      Me too Stephan, me too!

    • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

      or andre dawson and jody davis

  • Tommy

    Read an article out of Miami that said they are still looking for a DH. Still hoping that maybe we throw them Garza and dump Soriano’s salary on them for some prospects. Only problem with that is how horrendous their farm system appears to be from everything I’ve read.

    I do see Miami as a possibility only because of the way they’re throwing money around this year. I can see them taking Soriano’s ridiculous contract just to get Garza, and still think getting rid of Sori’s $54M would be just as good as getting 2 or 3 good prospects. That money would undoubtedly go toward international free agents, and the move would also free up a roster spot.

    • NyN

      The only other problem there is that Miami cannot use the DH in the NL

    • Dukie11

      Not a Soriano guy, but you have very few opportunities to get high qualities prospects for players. Garza represents one of those few opportunities, you get as much high quality talent as possible. Soriano’s salary is secondary, we have cash to spend at this point. I would rather see us fill up on as many young talented guys as possible and worry about Soriano later.

  • Tommy

    oh, busted. Don’t I feel stupid. I swear I just read that in a Miami article and it didn’t even register that they’re in the NL.

    Sorry for that.

  • sam

    Dump Sariano salary? Why the cubs gonna give a rebate on ticket prices? And Which bandaide is lil theo gonna replace him with? Yes i understand he makes alot of money! and I also understand that whoever replaces him . The cubs will still will play the position lots of money- maybe not the person . So who plays left for all your rebuilder worshipers .

    • Dougy D

      I would rather see Johnson in LF than Soriano. I think that if we can dump Soriano (and his horrific fielding and poor hitting) off on someone, and still have Byrd, he could play left and give Jackson a shot in CF. Most guys look better in LF to me than Soriano. I look at him as a liability that is not worth having out there. Think about it, the guy makes 18 or 19 million next year, but you still have to send out a reasonable fielder in his place in the later innings since he can’t catch the ball.

  • sam

    Rickets/Crickets the only sound you hear in the bleacher come AUG_july-June and maybe as early as MAY and lil theo with his carrot – stringing all you rebuilders with smokes and mirrors. Every team has transaction – so far the cubs have done nothing special

    • ferrets_bueller

      Oh look, a new troll!  Hi, troll.  Looks like your capslock got stuck there for a little bit.

      • sam

        TRoll – cause you follow the carrot— ha ha

      • Kansas Cubs Fan

        Hes not a new troll, he comes around every once in a awhile. And he says basically the same thing every time. It always has Ricketts crickets, lil theo, and saying that hes not going to pay the ticket prices. Its pretty annoying.


  • ty

    Just completed my morning walk around Fitch Field as my winter home is nearby. Nobody here today but will be busy again tomorrow. No coaches will be here for awhile but trainers and strength co-ordinator has been here all winter. Campy was here before Xmas going through same routines that helped Tyler Colvin gain weight and strength 2 years ago. every year early birds are Zambrano as he enjoys hitting for a couple weeks before the coaches arrive and shut him down. He lives two houses from me and we love to hear his lambo as it has this real high pitched whine as he takes off. Other players live around us as it is so close to Fitch–every resident a cub fan. We have 3 extra bedrooms for spring training if you guys need a place–oops-wife is reading this! Don*t mean to bore you guys but plan to move to Phoenix for the ultimate baseball fix–70 degrees today.

  • rcleven

    I’m beginning to believe Byrd will be gone before Garza.

  • Jay

    The irrational clinging to tradition and the past is directly responsible for the century of mediocrity. I applaud Theo for having the guts to start over and do things right, even if some ignorant Cub fans don’t like it. This is how championship teams are built. Well I’m assuming it is since its worked before. Pretty sure Theo knows more than any of us about winning. How many championships have we won by staying loyal to the players that fans like? In case you forgot, the answer is zero.

  • Ryan

    I think Byrd will get traded but not before Garza unless the Cubs are blown out of the water with a deal that I can’t see happening for Byrd.

    • rcleven

      I don’t see moving Byrd for the great return the Cubs will receive but
      (1) salary relief (Money saved could be used to sign Wood.)
      (2) To open up spot on 40 man roster

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        I tend to agree. Byrd could net a B prospect, but no more.

        • Pat

          I was thinking maybe C+. Isn’t Jackson a B or B+? I don’t see getting a comparable player for Byrd. His excess value should be around 3.5 million, so whatever that’s worth is about what to expect.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            Depends on whose scale we’re looking at, but, yeah, generally speaking, Jackson is thought of as a B+. I guess I see the difference between a B and a B+ as pretty great. A “B” in my mind is a low-level, high upside (but high risk of miss) type prospect, or a low ceiling, low risk type. Maybe I’m being too cavalier with my labels.

            • Dumpman

              I wouldn’t be surprised if Sickels has Jackson as an A-.

            • Bric

              Well, you do live in Ohio. Forget it, bro, King James is gone.

  • Ryan

    Interesting that the Yankees are doing the same thing with the Cubs that they did with the Twins and Santana in offering 1 of their top 3 prospects and other parts but won’t part with 2 or all 3 which according to MLBTR the Cubs would want

  • http://None Blinda

    I could see the Cubs pulling off a 3 way trade with the Padres and Tigers-Blue Jays with Garza going to Tigers-Blue Jays, Marmol going to Padres, and Rizzo and high level prospects to Cubs. Thought?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      A three-way trade involving the Padres, I believe, has been an option for a while now – with Rizzo being the obvious piece coming back to the Cubs. The rest of the pieces, aside from Garza, are flexible (lots and lots of players have been discussed among a number of teams).

    • Andrew

      not to nitpick but what you described isnt a threeway trade, that’s just two independent trades. a threeway trade would be something like garza goes to bluejays/tigers/whoever, they then give X and Y to cubs, and Z to padres, then padres give Rizzo to cubs. As you can see X Y and Z would all probably be negotiable variables while Rizzo would be the constant.

      • http://None Blinda

        There would obviously be more people involved because the Pads would get some players from the other team because Marmol would not be enough for rizzo

        • Andrew

          fair enough, I honestly didn’t know what San Diego is looking for in exchange for Rizzo. It seems that they dont want to be involved in multi team trades for some reason so the idea seems unlikely, but who knows maybe we could flip some prospects to dislodge rizzo. the guy could be the next votto if only because hes got an odd last name.

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