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.