Occasionally, a rumor or series of rumors about a player takes on such a life – a long, unreliable life, usually – that the desire to know the latest rubs up against a burgeoning sense of annoyance that “we’re still talking about this?” It happened with Brian Roberts. It happened with Jake Peavy. It would have happened with Theo Epstein if we hadn’t been so damn excited about it. It’s close to happening with Matt Garza. Thus, I’m faced with a choice: continue to cover (obsessively) the latest, or cut bait until something hard and substantial happens.

With apologies to some, when confronted with that choice, I’ll almost always choose the former. Yes, I have editorial control, but I have always felt like this place existed to bring readers everything relevant to the Cubs’ world, with a heavy emphasis on interesting rumors. For me, sitting on trade rumors, even where the player at issue has been discussed ad nauseum, is not the best path.

(It seems there have been a lot of these meta preambles lately. Maybe I’ll soon have to have a meta preamble for my meta preambles.)

So, with that all in mind, if you’re Garza’d out, ignore all that follows. If, like me, you can’t help yourself and want to know every little bit that’s out there to know, read on. And you can follow BN on Twitter, and “like” it on Facebook for even more. Just sayin’.

  • If you could summarize the information that came out yesterday about the Cubs and Matt Garza, it would look something like what we’ve been saying for weeks: the Cubs are asking for a huge return if they’re going to trade Garza, because they don’t have to trade Garza. A number of teams remain involved (Tigers, Blue Jays, Yankees, Red Sox, Marlins, and maybe Rangers), and that’s where the previous belief that a trade would happen finds its roots. But, as the Cubs advance in talks with those teams, the gap between what the Cubs want and what other teams are willing to give up has apparently revealed itself larger than previously thought.
  • Dave Kaplan believes a deal is still possible, and maybe even probable. “Two sources tell me that [the] price on Garza is tremendously high and interested parties are seeing how high someone is willing to go,” Kaplan said. “Cubs could get more back in a deal than they gave up last winter to acquire him from Tampa Bay.” If the interested teams are waiting, that suggests they’ve made offers, but less than what it would take for the Cubs to make a move. They might be willing to increase their offers if pushed by one of the other teams in the discussions, but someone’s got to light the first match.
  • Blue Jays beat writer Gregor Chisolm confirms what I said yesterday about Toronto being “out” on Matt Garza – namely, that calling them “out” goes a bit too far. “In theory, Garza is exactly what the Blue Jays need at the front end of their rotation …. But the Cubs are asking for a high ransom in return for the potential ace. The bar was set very high by the A’s with their recent trade of Gio Gonzalez to the Nationals in return for four very good prospects, and Chicago is seeking similar high-end talent. The club reportedly is very interested in Anthony Gose and Jake Marisnick, but Chicago would undoubtedly also want to acquire some of Toronto’s top young pitchers. If the Cubs’ asking price drops, then the Blue Jays could once again be considered a suitable trade candidate, but as of right now, it appears another organization would be willing to part with more young talent in exchange for Garza’s remaining two years of service time.” In sum, the Blue Jays don’t want to meet the Cubs’ current, initial, extremely high asking price.
  • But Bruce Levine says plainly that the Cubs and Blue Jays are still discussing Garza. “Foxsports.com reported Sunday that Toronto will not trade prospects for Garza. However they still are involved in talks, according to a major league source.” Always remember: if one of two organizations in a negotiation stands to benefit from an anonymously-sourced report (for example, a report that says the Cubs’ demands are insanely high and the Blue Jays are not going to meet them), it’s a fair bet that the source is a part of that organization. That’s not to say that the Jays might not truthfully find the Cubs’ demands extreme. But it certainly helps depress the market for Garza if they tell everyone who will listen that they aren’t going to give up “top prospects” for him.
  • The Tigers remain interested in Garza, and top pitching prospect Jacob Turner remains theoretically available. Multiple reports indicate the same.
  • FanGraphs analyzes Matt Garza’s trade value, when considering his expected salary, two years of control, and expected performance in the next two years. The conclusion is that Garza is worth just one prospect in the top 50 in baseball (but not higher than the top 11), or a couple prospects near the back-end of the top 100. Obviously this is far, far short of what the Cubs are (rightly) asking for Garza, and is predicated on a methodology of valuing prospects that has not been widely adopted. (That is to say, using the prospect valuation methodology used here, almost every trade of prospects since time immemorial has been a loser – that, of course, is not how a market works. Even if you calculate the value of a loaf of bread at $1, if you can’t find it available for purchase anywhere for less than $3, the bread is worth $3. Maybe you’re a fool for paying that price, but that’s the price.)
  • More evidence that the Cubs asked for catcher/1B Jesus Montero and one of pitcher Manny Banuelos and pitcher Dellin Betances in exchange for Garza. The Yankees are presently not interested at that price. If the Cubs could get Montero and several other less prospects, I’d advocate it. But, short of that, it’s hard to see a fair match unless the Yankees are willing to include two of those three players.
  • Deer

    I agree on trading Garza for Montero and a lesser prospect. Montero looks to be a great hitter for years to come.

    • Tommy

      I’ve gotta think if the Cubs got Montero they’d just be picking him up to trade him.

  • Shawn

    Do you think once Fielder signs wherever he is going to that the proverbial floodgates will open and there will be a flurry of activity involving the Cubs? By outward appearances they still have a lot of work to do before the season and with Spring Training closing in on a month away it would seem like things should be moving faster

  • ISU Birds

    I can’t even read these Garza trade rumors anymore…. Somebody do something!!

  • EQ76

    could be a lot of smoke with no fire on this whole thing..  maybe someone will get desperate enough to give us our asking price..

  • http://cubbiekingdom.wordpress.com hansman1982

    Kaplan has been the King Captain Obvious the past few weeks – first with the Rebuilding announcement and now with the news that the Cubs are wanting a lot for Garza and teams are waiting to see how high someone goes…

  • BD

    Yankees should do Montero, Betances, and a couple Low-A lottery tickets for Garza.

    How would that package stack up against what the A’s received for Gio?

    • King Jeff

      If the Cubs got Montero and Betances it would easily be better than the package the A’s got for Gonzalez.  Montero is a top 5 prospect and Betances ranks somewhere in the top 50, depending on where you look.

      • EQ76

        I wonder if we could add Marmol to the deal to the Yanks?  if that could sway them towards giving up both players.

        • Pat

          Unless we pay Marmol’s salary, he doesn’t add any value to the deal. On the Yankess he’s a setup guy, and it’s almost impossible to be worth more than he’s getting paid as anything but a closer.

  • matt

    hey ISU birds… fellow alumni here!! woof woof!

    • Deer

      It’s actually “chirp chirp”.

      • Dougy D

        Are you Salukis, or Cyclones? I am not really sure what a Saluki is, feel free to enlighten me.

        • matt

          Redbirds!! saluki is some sort of dog.. thats SIU

          • Dougy D

            My bad. Hawks just beat Minnesota in basketball, GO HAWKS!

  • King Jeff

    How many posts on Garza here in the last 12 months?  It has to be a crazy number, since we were talking about him almost as much last January when the Cubs were trying to trade for him.  The Cubs seem to be doing a good job of keeping things under wraps, the DeJesus signing and the Marshall trade both kind of came out of nowhere.  I don’t really see him getting traded at this point, and maybe signing him to an extension and letting him start the season with the Cubs will improve his value.

  • Cedlandrum

    Dammit I am tired of the Garza stuff, but I just can’t help reading this stuff. It is the biggest story for the club. Well done Brett.

  • CubsfaninKY

    I love the Garza rumors, I think if the cubs got Montero, Betances, and a couple Low-A lottery tickets for Garza it would be a great win for the cubs. I like the idea someone threw out about Marmol and to even sweeten the deal for yanks say we take AJ Burnett and his salary off their hands as well.

  • die hard

    losing Garza means giving up on a mainstay for years to come and a mentor to younger pitchers in a few years….Cubs have nobody to fit this bill..another shortsighted move to trade him even assuming one of the prospects in return becomes a star which is wishful thinking….

    • Kevin

      Well if we trade Garza, signing Wood would become important to mentoring the young pitchers. So losing Garza wouldn’t be that big of a deal in regards to mentoring. Garza is only a mainstay for 2 years right now while the Cubs probably won’t be competitive so that is nothing to worry about either.

      • die hard

        keeping Garza for years to come means more than 2 years and Wood is gone after one more year

  • rcleven

    With the Cubs wanting the big haul for Garza (waiting for the shoe to drop) what else are the smaller deals the Cubs looking at? There has to be other dealings being considered.Will Z be moved? Does Dempster have any value? Is Baker the utility player the Cubs need? What will it take to.get Rizzo from SD if Garza is still with the team when the Cubs break camp? Lot to discuss. Need the distraction from the Garza roomers. Have at it.

  • die hard

    only way giving up Garza makes sense would be a trade of Garza, Soriano, Dempster and Z to a team in exchange for any three minor leaguers (so commish would approve trade) provided team picks up 75% of salaries of Sori, Dempster and Z….frees up money for future moves would be primary reason for this move…

    • jr5

      As happy as I am to see a reasonable post from you, Dempster/Z are done after this year anyway, so their contracts aren’t really affecting the Cubs future, beyond this offseason.

      • die hard

        but its a lot of money and a team wanting to make a run this year could do worse than adding those arms to rotation

      • rcleven

        prospects in return?

    • scorecardpaul

      Die hard, are you trying to disguise your ignorance now, by leaving out the facts?

      Please do the math for me, and then let me know if this thought was anything more than garbage.

      You should actually think about what you are saying before  you type it.


      • die hard

        if you disagree with this thread, thats your right…..if you don’t like the reasoning, we are sure that you have a better approach..lets hear it

        • scorecardpaul

          DH you stll haven’t put the numbers out there.  Not worth a rebuttal until the buttal even knows what he is being rebuutalled on

          • scorecardpaul

            ok I’ll do your homework…

            off the top of my head(could be wrong)   you are asking a team that is able to compete next year to have payroll flexibility to add almost 46 million dollars to 2012 payroll, not to mention the remaining 36 million sorryanus is owed in upcomming years???

            This is not only idiotic, it’s not possible

            Even you would have to admit that

          • die hard

            gotcha…havin fun aint ya?…thats ok…not the first time someones been punked by you Im sure…..best punkers are the biggest punks….make sure you counted the number of shots, 5 or 6 before you make your move…youve made my day

            • scorecardpaul

              Die Hard,

              I used to think your post were funny.  I looked forward to reading them!!  now it makes me feel sad.  kind of like a bunch of kids making fun of another kid, and the next day watching him get on the “short bus”

            • die hard

              being disappointed is part of growing up….you’ll get over it

              • scorecardpaul

                The problem is, I still don’t think you understand just how stupid your post was, and is. pause for aminute, and think about it, or quit wasting my time

              • TWC

                Clearly, you’ve never been disappointed.

  • ty

    We can bet that our new pitching coach feels ready, able, and willing to get Marmol back in synch–how soon we forget how effective and dominating he was two years ago. Mechanics will bite your butt and this kid was a catcher in Rookie League who could not hit . Walked out to the mound and because he showed velocity allowed to move forward without accomplishing technique. Cubs have a pretty good history of converting position players. Lets see what happens in Spring Training with him.

  • d.

    As much as I hope the team can get a great return for Garza, I’m worried that the teams aren’t going to cave. Why would they give up a Gio type package for a pitcher with only 2 years of contract left? I think teams have shown they’ll pony up big time for 4 years but to expect the same return for 2 years just doesn’t seem realistic. it’s disappointing because having Garza on a punchless team is of no use. Mentoring the other pitchers? Well, maybe. These teams saw the Cubs deal Marshall away & know Theo wants to kick start the farm system. Bah. I wish I was as optimistic about the possible return.

  • d.

    Per MLBTR, doesn’t sound like the Tigers are willing to part with Turner. Ugh.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      MLBTR is great. I love it. I use it. I’m a huge fan.

      But you’ve got, got, got to read the actual source material before coming to a conclusion. Sometimes MLBTR editorializes another article and goes too far. In this case, Dombrowski basically said the Tigers “aren’t looking to trade Turner,” (well duh) and are fine with their rotation as it is (well of course he says that). The stuff about not calling teams about other pitchers is so very easy to maneuver (we didn’t call, we emailed), it just doesn’t mean anything. Dombrowski didn’t say anything.

  • bluekoolaidaholic

    I am really tired of hearing The Garza Tapes over and over again.
    However; having said that, there is another story that is far worse.
    I practically puke when I see another production of Scott Boras’s The Greedy Prince.
    So bring on the Garza stuff, I’d rather be tired than puke.
    Oh, and by the way, I’d love it if Garza went to the Yanks for all their goodies.

  • Dustin S

    Tigers saying they haven’t called on Garza and didn’t offer Turner per MLBTR.

    That said, I’m expecting a Garza trade to be done before the Cubs Convention on the 13th.

  • Cubsin

    At some point, the Cubs need to either trade Garza for the best prospects package available or sign him to a contract extension (something like 5/$80, including his last two arb years). The Cubs won’t win anything in 2012, and are unlikely to win anything in 2013. I don’t think they can accept the risk of losing him in two years to free agency.

    • rcleven

      Why do they need to extend? Garza will probably be gone by the trade deadline. Let the team who get’s him negotiate or not. Locking him up just complicates moving him later. If he’s not gone at trade deadline plenty of time to extend. He’s under contract for two more years.

  • http://- OHBearCub

    I like the Montero deal with the Yankee’s. I would be willing to take less prospects in return for them taking Soriano with the Cubs eating a bunch of his contract. A bunch… Kinda like Soriano is a throw in. We will talk one less high profile prospect and have Garza on the next flight to New York. I like Montero seen him play several times and he is a stud. The NL Central would be shaking if we put him in at catcher or 1b. I personally like him at catcher and think he would be a major upgrade from Geo. I personally am not as concerned about getting quantity of players in a deal as I am quality. I don’t consider Garza an ACE pitcher he is a 2 or a 3. He doesn’t go to one of the powerhouse teams and become the number 1 guy. He simply isn’t that good. He would be a 2 or 3 with the Yankee’s. Send Garza and Soriano to the Yankees for Montero and a real good prospect not one of their pitchers because Cashman ain’t stupid. Give Cashman whatever money he wants to take Soriano. Two major problems solved. Soriano gone, Major Talent arrives at Wrigley. Some will say we should have gotten pitching. Well the prospect would have to be a pitcher with tons of upside. There are all kinds of pitchers left to be signed on the Free Agent List…. Theo can build a pitching staff easy enough. Two year deals for a lot of those guys and his recent draftee’s and new signing’s will be ready to show up. I would draft strong college pitching vs. highschool pitching.

  • Ur Dad

    die hard

    I hope that you are psychic and that some team will take Soriano, Garza , Dempster and Z in return for top prospects AND pay 75% of their Hendry bloated bad contracts. Somehow I think that you were having a Cub fan wet dream instead of a psychic revelation.

    My crystal ball says that we will be stuck with Soriano until he can collect Social Security unless they just give him away and eat his entire contract. The pitchers have definite value but all of the teams have them over a barrel because of the bad contracts and will be reluctant to give up anything of value, with the possible exception of Garza.

    • die hard

      exactly….what one of BN’s other citizens overlooked was my qualification to the suggestion which was namely “only way giving up Garza makes sense “….if some think that is ludicrous then maybe getting rid of Garza is likewise…point is, giving him up needs to be at great financial advantage to Cubs….

      • scorecardpaul

        The Cubs will do fine,  They are a large market team.  The need for a great financial advantage may not be as large as you, or I may think

        • scorecardpaul

          sorry for being a “post killer”, guess I’m just not having a very good day

          • Ur Dad

            Actually you may be having a good day., it is all a matter of perspective……..just like all of these rumors.

  • rbreeze

    Listening to the Theo interview on WGN as I write this.  Nothing new.  I don’t think garza is going anywhere soon.  Maybe in July some desparate team will come knocking with the right deal.  He says marmol is the closer.  Marmol had some issues with mechanics because of his unorthodox ways.  He’ll be disappointed if they can’t get Kerry Wood resigned.  I’m sure Brett will elaborate more later.

  • Hack Wilson

    Apparently we really gave up too many players for Garza, especially since we did not contend and now we can’t get back the value we gave up.

  • gary

    We did give up way too much for Garza. Hendry was trying to save his job and was just worried about the present. I like Garza. He is very good but we were not one player away from contending.

  • http://www.obstructedview.net/ mb21

    Brett, I’ve been doing those trade value calculations for several years now and you’d be surprised how accurate they are. Overall, they’re spot on. The occasional trade a team gives up more or less, but on average, just like the value of the win, teams give up exactly what they’re expected to get in return. I thought about no longer doing the trade value pieces precisely because of that. Teams are so smart these days that they have the value of players nailed down perfectly. Both the Latos and Gonzalez trades sent an equal amount each way. It’s kind of remarkable that it’s that simple to calculate the trade value, but it is.

    Garza’s trade value is roughly $20 million. I’ve calculated it a number of different ways and always end up at the same value. What this means is that if Garza or some equal player with equal years of service left that $20 million in value would be what the team gets in return. What this doesn’t mean is that $20 million in value will go one way in one trade. Could be $40 million. Could be $10 million. That’s where the market comes into play, but I think you’re dismissing it simply because you find it hard to believe. I was in that same boat 5 years ago. I haven’t been in it for 4 years because it is accurate. Teams are just too smart these days. They don’t give up Jacob Turner’s for Matt Garza’s. 10 years that happened and maybe even with regularity, but teams realized Jacob Turner is worth way more than Matt Garza because he’s cheap and good.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I don’t know that I’m totally dismissing the methodology, and I’m not surprised to learn it has predictive value. I’d love to look at this kind of review of the Latos and Gonzalez trades if you’ve got links handy. I’m always learning (or, at least, trying).

      What I doubt, however, is the suggestion that the predictive value of a top 50 prospect is equal to the predictive value of two years of Garza. I know that the FanGraphs article discusses this point, and attempts to account for it, but what I see missing is a more robust recognition of the value of “certainty,” and the incremental value of adding Garza to a team like the Yankees. To me – and forgive my inartful way of describing it – $20 million in predictive value from a guy like Garza is more valuable to the Yankees than $20 million in predictive value from Dellin Betances. The “market” fleshes this out insofar as no team would trade Matt Garza, as he’s currently constituted, for Betances, how he’s currently constituted. Either all teams everywhere undervalue prospects, or there is something missing. Using this analysis, would I be correct in concluding that the Cubs ripped off the Reds like crazy whoa?

      I’m totally in learning mode on these valuation concepts (and you’re quite right – it “feels” a bit too reductive to me (some things cannot be reduced to a number – nuance is everywhere)), and I am not married to any position. I look forward to continue to appreciate and understand this method (particularly from the prospect side, as I’m pretty sold on the established player side (with the possible exception of WAR being the foundation)).

      At the end, my gut tells me that if the Cubs offer Garza for Turner straight up today, the Tigers would sprint to accept (Dombrowski’s easily explained away comments today notwithstanding). I could be totally and completely wrong.

      (By the way, folks, you aren’t going to find a better place in the Cublogoverse for this kind of uber-sabr analysis than Obstructed View.)

  • KCubsfan

    Teams dont always use these calculation for these things. Are they useful tools yes are they a deciding factor no. There are a ton of other thing that go into making decisions for trades you can’t put into that. If you do the same calculation for the Marshall trade how does that come out? Ther is risk with any prospect which you can’t calculate.

  • DaveB23

    Ace…er Brett (sorry, traveled back in time to the BN of 2 years ago):

    I understand the argument that the Cubs do not HAVE to trade Garza, and thus if they don’t get their high asking price, they will keep him.

    However, I’m surprised that everybody is acting as if we don’t trade him this offseason, we won’t trade him at all. I think Theoyer are demanding such an extremely high price because they know that if we don’t get it, we will likely get it (or possibly more) at the trade deadline. I’m sure they are confident that Garza will come into the season and pick up right where he left off, and will look even more desirable at the trade deadline.

    Don’t you think that some team in the pennant race will be desperate enough for a proven Ace to put them over the top that they will give up ANYTHING to give him, potentially even more than what Theoyer are asking for now?

  • Doug Dascenzo

    If the Cubs could get Montero and a handful of prospects, would Montero be projected as a long-term solution at catcher? I’ve heard he’s a weak defensive catcher and for the long-term he would be better off at 1B/DH. That being said, if we did acquire him, would the Cubs still go after Anthony Rizzo?

  • http://www.obstructedview.net/ mb21

    I don’t have any links, Brett, but I’ll put together the work later this evening and email it to you. Look for it around 8-9 pm central.

    With regards to incremental value, there have been two schools of thought on that. One school argues that certain wins above 85 or so have more value, but they’ve been unable to prove it. Instead, what’s been shown is that the Yankees and Red Sox pay the same amount per win that the Pirates and Royals do. Teams are just too smart these days.

    Yes, the Cubs ripped the Reds off and it was a big reason why I was a huge fan of the trade. Those trades still happen, but they almost never include elite prospects like Turner or Montero. These days those guys are prized commodities. It’s been argued in recent weeks that teams are overvaluing their prospects, but I don’t see any support in that.

  • http://www.obstructedview.net/ mb21

    Brett, just left a comment on the contact page. Thought it would send you an email. Shoot me an email if you want to discuss the information and I’ll get back with you regarding the Gonzalez trade.