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Setting aside the surprising 10-7 run in the last 17 games, there are a number of reasons to believe that this year’s Chicago Cubs are not going to compete for a playoff spot this season.

Assuming that’s true, one of the most important story lines that will play out over the next few months is which players the Cubs choose to shop, and which players the Cubs choose to retain for the near – or long-term – future. And the player most important to that story line is probably Matt Garza, both because he is the Cubs’ most valuable trade chip, but also because his presence, when paired with a few additions in the offseason, could lead to a competitive Cubs team as soon as 2013.

For a while now we’ve heard that the Cubs plan to extend or trade Matt Garza by the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, mostly via Bruce Levine. But Gordon Wittenmyer says he’s heard that isn’t so. Indeed, the Cubs might elect to roll the dice on keeping Garza for 2013 if it looks like the team might be pretty good. From the Sun-Times:

Contrary to speculation that the Cubs plan to trade Garza at the deadline if they don’t re-sign him to a multiyear extension, team insiders say they’ve set no such timetables. Considering that he’s under club control through next season with another year of arbitration eligibility, Cubs brass has ample time to measure his value against the market and the progress of the rest of the organization.

This seems certain: If the Cubs sign Garza to an extension, they plan to build with him ….

But if Samardzija (4-1, 3.03 ERA) proves he’s the starting pitcher he has appeared to be through six starts, then the Cubs have two front-line starters.

With any depth around that, a competitive window starts to open.

‘‘That can take you to the promised land in itself [if] you get three guys doing that on a consistent basis,’’ [Reds pitcher Bronson] Arroyo[, who knows Epstein well from his time in Boston,] said.

That’s a strong school of thought running through the front office, say sources.

In other words, some in the Cubs’ organization believe, if Jeff Samardzija demonstrates that he’s legit (and probably if guys like Anthony Rizzo and Brett Jackson emerge later in the year as contributors, and Bryan LaHair shows he can play in left field (and his bat doesn’t regress)), the team should go into the Winter as heavy buyers. In that situation, trading Garza now would be a mistake.

This disconnect underscores just what a difficult midseason lies ahead for the Cubs’ front office. Garza could net a haul of prospects, but if you move him, what if the rest of the team would have been ready to break through in 2013? If you keep him, what if he simply will not sign an extension this Winter? What if you take the “go for it” approach in 2013, but critical pieces in such a strategy – like Cole Hamels, for example – won’t sign with you?

I remain perfectly open to either approach. If the Cubs opt to deal off parts with ferocity at the deadline, I can absolutely support that approach, so long as the returns look attractive. If the Cubs, instead, opt to lock up Matt Garza long-term, I can support that, too, so long as the deal is reasonable.

The thing to remember: Garza’s value will never be higher than it will be in July, assuming he stays healthy and keeps pitching like he has been. Teams will know what they want at that time, and they’ll be getting Garza – in his prime – not only for the stretch run, but also for next season. If the Cubs elect to keep him, they *better* lock him up long term, and/or load up on quality players this Winter. Otherwise, Garza’s value from here on out – be it on the field for the Cubs, or in trade – will be squandered.

  • Incredibad

    Here’s hopin!

  • Gutshot

    Hamels. Josh Hamilton, LaHair in LF, Brett Jackson. Rizzo, trade for Chase Headley. World Series contenders and they have ample $ to do it if they decided to.

    • ferrets_bueller

      As far as a go-for-it plan, this isn’t horrible.  Much better than Pujols/Fielder/Darvish/bell/reyes/etc….

      I wouldn’t mind signing Hamilton, or Hamels, or both.  And I’ve made my positive feelings towards Headley known before (Gold Glove, hits like M. Young outside of SD…)

      Although, LaHair in LF is quite doubtful.  Ill be shocked if we dont sell high on him, and rightfully so.

      I’d say

      1B Rizzo

      2B platoon

      3B Headley

      SS Castro

      LF Hamilton

      CF Jackson

      RF dejesus/platoon/other

      Hamels/Garza/Shark

      ….would not be a horrible plan for going for it.

  • MSU

    ^^^ this guy doesn’t get it.

    • Richard Nose

      hahahaha

  • Cubs Dude

    It’s a risk to bring him back without an extension, but I am not convinced they can get the haul of top prospects that they feel worthy of Garza. With Garza getting expensive and wanting a massive extension I don’t seem him commanding a Gio Gonzalez type return (who was under more team control). So they may have to just hold on to him and hope he realizes that he’s not Justin Verlander, so they can extend him this offseason with a fair deal.

  • http://chicagosmma.com/ Matt

    I still think he will be traded at the deadline if they get the type of deal they want. They have so many pieces to deal that can really re-fortify the farm system.

  • CubFan Paul

    An extension for Garza’s 1.5yrs of arbitration and few more years (..John Danks 5yr/$65, $13M AAV) would be ideally at most be $15M annual average value. If he wants more Theo&Co will trade him and Garza will leave a guaranteed $55Million on the table (not including his 2012 & 2013 arbitration salaries) if he turns down 5yr/$75M

    • rcleven

      I don’t think the money is the problem with the extension. Garza asking for the full no trade is what I believe the is the main stumbling block.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        That is my understanding as well.

        • FrankAndBeans

          which, while handicapping us in the future, is good because it tells you that he enjoys being in chicago and is committed to helping the franchise directly.

          • MikeL

            “while handicapping us in the future”

            Which is exactly why you don’t give him the extension, and why the Cubs probably will not.

  • Dan

    Meh, Cubs will end up trading Garza. This Cubs team won’t be competing. There are too many holes atm. We can’t expect Rizzo and Jackson to come up from the minors and rake. It’s going to take time and one of them may end up being a flop. The Cubs are still one of the worse teams in baseball record wise and until that changes, like playing .500 ball, then maybe we should talk about extensions.

    • hansman1982

      In the Cubs last 10 they are 6-4. If they can keep that up that equals 91 wins from this point forward.

      If you go back to 12 games they are 7-5 good for 90 wins.

      Obviously, they are not a 90 win team but 3-4-5 wins below .500 come the end of the year, absolutely. You figure that Soriano will either start producing a .250/.320/.400 line and 4-5 homers a month or he will be replaced by Jackson who can do that. Stewart should start producing, Soto will start producing. The pitching staff will return to earth along with LaHair which will probably cancel out those three upticks but this team is not as bad as the ney-sayers have been ney-saying.

  • Gutshot

    Why would you trade Garza? The goal is to win Championships, not to do a continual rebuild, especially for a large market team. My guess is they want to see if a few of the surprises are real and if Rizzo and Jackson can be successful playing MLB. If so, then they are only 2 or 3 pieces from contending and should definitely go for it. If LaHair falters or Samardzilla doesn’t follow through, then they should be in selling mode. .

    • Cubs Dude

      So if he wants 6 yrs. and a 120 million and a no trade clause you keep him around? ummm..

      • cubs1967

        NO……..but it he had been signed over the winter BEFORE matt cain got an insane 22M/110 deal………but team theo cannot make up their mind if they should contend next year(isn’t that why theo got 3M per year……to win…to try) OR wait till 2015 to be a .500 team…….’cuz you know cubs fans have only been waiting 103 yrs……..what’s a few more.

        • Drew7

          Yeah, I mean, its not like there was a ton of roster-turnover or anything, and who needs to see how these new guys will perform? What’s wrong with Theo? (facepalm)

          Im sure that’s what the hang-up is – The thought of shooting for .500 in 2015 is probably pulling at him, tempting him…

          • cubs1967

            umm…….cubs are in last place dude………..tell me again what team theo has done for ya??

            • hansman1982

              YA!………………………. FIRE THEO!!!…………………………. HE IS A WORTHLESS, …………………L………..AZY BUM!
              ………………………. ..–. .–…—..-.-.-…—…-.

            • MaxM1908

              I hate Theo! We’re not in first place yet, therefore he sucks! He’s taken a crappy team and has them playing slightly better than crappy! That’s not good enough for us impatient Cubs fans! If we’re not winning every game, then obviously it’s because Theo doesn’t know what he’s doing. Get my pitchfork! Get the tar and feathers! Rabble rabble rabble.

              • ty

                Maxie–glad to have theo here–but some reality. Boston is really intercoursed up. Terrible long term contracts–discipline problems of some standing and Theo was there steering that submarine a few months ago.

        • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

          I’m not 103 years old, so I know I haven’t been waiting that long.

          • cubs1967

            ur right……..anyone left from 1908 is dead.

            • Fishin Phil

              Wrong, puppets live forever.

    • MikeL

      Uhhhhhhmmmm…..you trade him because it might give you 3-5 outstanding prospects in return. 3-5 very good players is better than one….last time I checked.

      • CubsFanBob

        There is never a guarantee even the best prospect will succeed at the major level. It’s a gamble either way.

        • MikeL

          Personally, I’d take the prospect gamble. If you don’t trade Garza when you know you aren’t a contender (and the Cubs are not, and will not be this year). If we keep Garza, great! Just remember, it will take a lot longer to build the team within simply by drafting players. Actually, any player you go after is a gamble. The guy you sign as a free agent might regress dramatically. The guy you draft might be a bust. The prospect you trade for may never develop. No player is ever a sure thing. I know one might say that is why you don’t trade Garza….but like I said…..the rebuilding process will end up being much longer and again, no free agent we go after will be a sure thing. The idea that going after a player simply because you don’t want to gamble will get you fired as a GM.

      • cubs1967

        sure you do……….like the indians did for cc sabathia………who’s much better than garza. you remember those prospects right………..matt laporta and ??……..

        prospects=suspect till otherwise proven.

        • rcleven

          Totality different situation. Cleveland could not afford CC. Backs were up against a wall. They lost all control of CC. If they traded him the the year before would have had more time to find a better deal.

          Sounds a lot like what we will be facing next year and what we face with Demp now.

  • HuskerCub

    Even if they believe they can compete in 2013 and need Garza to do it, I would push hard for an extension prior to the tradeline. If that does not work out, trade him and go after Hamels. Doing nothing by the tradeline would be squandering an opportunity to improve the club in the long term.

  • Njriv

    I really don’t like the idea of trading Garza, you need more than one ace material pitchers these days. I think people are going to overboard with this rebuilding thing, you cant really on just trading everyone for prospects because you just never know, you are trading a sure thing to take a gamble on a few other players. They would have to be major league ready and even then there is no guarantee they would be good at the major league level.

    • HuskerCub

      Totally agree, but then you need to extend him by the trade deadline.

    • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

      Sure thing? What’s the sure thing? That Garza is going to continue being this good for the next few years while the Cubs try and pieces?

  • Edwin

    I think it depends on how confident the Cubs are in Garza’s ability to keep pitching like he’s been pitching. If he can keep pitching like a top tier pitcher, I think the Cubs should keep him. Garza is a proven commodity, and if he can keep pitching as well as he has been, it’ll be too hard to get equal value back in trade. Unless a team panics and way overpays, I’d rather the Cubs extend Garza.

  • rcleven

    “The thing to remember: Garza’s value will never be higher than it will be in July, assuming he stays healthy and keeps pitching like he has been. Teams will know what they want at that time, and they’ll be getting Garza – in his prime – not only for the stretch run, but also for next season. If the Cubs elect to keep him, they *better* lock him up long term, and/or load up on quality players this Winter. Otherwise, Garza’s value from here on out – be it on the field for the Cubs, or in trade – will be squandered.”

    The Cubs are so thin in so many aspects of the team right now. You can not continue to win games with only two hitters producing. Garza being in demand at the trade deadline is an opportunity to strengthen the whole system.
    Garza is an exceptional pitcher who will be good any where he goes. This is not the time where we are only a player or two away from contending.
    Theo stick to your plan and build a offense that can constantly score 4 to 5 runs a game and we will have a winner.

  • Blitzenjohn

    I’ve said this before… I’d love to pry Drew Smyly and Andy Dirks from the Tigers, and the Tigers would love to get Garza. Something to think about…

    • djriz

      Can’t see the Tigers giving up Smyly at this point (plus, isn’t the soft toss lefty a Cubs system strenght?)

      • rcleven

        Ditto.

        • cubs1967

          andy dirks…….?? seriously…….

          • Blitzenjohn

            Andy Dirks, 60 AB, 2 BB, 4 K’s, 3 HR’s, 11 RBI’s, 12 Runs in 18 games.

            .383 BA .413 OBP .683 SLG 1.096 OPS
  • Ivy Walls

    Prospect game has changed with the new labor agreement. Trading future FA’s for current high level prospects that were high draft choices is not good return on capital, actually the more things play out the more Beane’s Moneyball comes into play. Cubs tried dealing Garza for 2 or 3 top ten organizational prospects it didn’t work, while trading solid players who have service time or willing to sign extensions netted a solid prospect in return.

    I see Cubs Brass rolling the dice on Dempster and if he ends up being a top FA they either sign him at a home town discount or receive a supplemental draft choice. With Garza they go to arbitration and during those negotiations either sign for an extension or then roll the dice on his FA status.

    BTW, I think the next two starts on Volstad will tell us whether they move him to the bullpen and recall Travis Wood which is what I thought the rotation was going to be before ST. Volstad has stuff but his game management and inability to get out of innings harms his status as a starter. But as a reliever he could concentrate on two or three of his best stuff pitches, force ground balls and be successful much like Marshall was.

    Finally, Cubs are 10-7 because starting pitching; the month of May they have had 6 quality starts, 1 mediocre and one bad, the ERA is 2.18 and BAA is .176, over the last 17 games 11 quality starts where they have won 10.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I’m not yet sure we know which way the CBA is going to cut. For every argument that involves us saying prospects are now more valuable, there’s an argument that star players in their prime are even harder to acquire (since, perhaps, fewer and fewer will reach free agency before they get a long extension).

      I think we just don’t know yet.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        We’re about to find out, though.  The draft and signing deadline will both be out of the way before the July 31 trade deadline.  The trade market could alter radically depending on what plays out on the amateur front.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Yup. I feel like we’re going to be in for a surprise or two in the Draft, in terms of the way teams handle the new limitations.

          • Brady

            Personally I think it is a mix of both. (Prospects being valuble but FA in their prime being harder to get). I think trading away a star for prospects will probably cost a lot more talented prospects or great quantity now because if you have a weak farm, you arent going to be able to get enough talent to win. You will have to aquire that talent somehow and if star FA start signing more extensions rather then testing the market, I see teams wanting prospects that way they can do the same. On the flip side, say a team is struggling to develop their farm, they may look to trade their star player away in hopes of beefing it up. I see more trades happening than FA signings coming and personally I like players that stick with one franchise for most if not all their career.

  • http://bleachernation.com lou brock lives

    Dempster is the trade bait. Theo should not wait for him to revert back to his normal numbers. His value will not get any higher than it is right now. Offer him to a team(s) with starting pitching issues – ask for a top 5 prospect at 3B, OF, C, or LH starter at a lower level.
    Bring back Randy Wells or put Travis Wood in his spot.
    Worry about Garza at the trade deadline or at the end of the year. I do not like his fielding or his lack of any ability at the plate. He belongs in the American League.

    • Drew7

      “I do not like his fielding or his lack of any ability at the plate. He belongs in the American League.”

      Not trying to be a jerk, but who cares? Sure, every NL team would love 5 Greg Maddux’s fielding off the mound or 5 Micah Owings’ at the plate, but we should be concerned with how well pitchers pitch.

  • Drew7

    Most of the time in life, if you want something good, you have to give something good in return.

    Like I’ve stated previously, trades that arent salary dumps are all about finding a player at his peak (selling high), thus maximizing the return. The tricky part is finding where that peak is and how long it will last.

    History shows us that, on average, a pitcher will have his peak WAR seasons at age 27-29,(from the guy Brett had share his research on this site over the winter) and begin a steady decline. So by the time this club will realistically contend, Garza is probably not the same pitcher. I think, in order to get much closer to being able to consistantly compete in the next few years, trading Garza is the right thing to do.

    The last thing I’d like to add is that rebuilding and contending don’t necessarily have to be mutual-exclusive; a trade to the Tigers involving Smyly, for instance, wouldnt be like trading for a couple guys that are all 2 or 3 years away. I am far from a prospect guru though, so I could be looking at it the wrong way.

    • calicubsfan007

      What if the Tigers offered only Turner? Would you accept the deal then?

      • Drew7

        No. Like I said, I am far from a prospect guru, but Smyly seems like a guy ready to go and LH to boot. Even so, I didn’t say anything about a 1 for 1 trade, but if you can pull off, say, Smyly and the 3rd base prospect, it would be hard not to jump on it.

        • calicubsfan007

          So if the Tigers offered Smyly and Castellanos maybe? I can’t imagine the Tigers keeping Cast because he won’t be able to break through because Cabrera playing there and Cab. isn’t that old yet. That is one of the deals I would go for.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Miggy leaves 3rd for 1st or DH when Castellanos is ready. (Prince takes the other at that point.)

            • calicubsfan007

              Good point, I didn’t think of that. Damn, no Castellanos…

            • Can’t think of cool name

              Victor Martinez at DH or 1B also once he comes back.

  • calicubsfan007

    A week ago, I would have definetly said to trade Garza. Now that the Cubs are starting to get hot, my stance has changed. I am now leaning towards giving Garza the extension and pursuing Hamels very hard in free agency. 90 percent of the guys that Theo either acquired or gambled on this offseason are working out, which leads me to believe that the Cubs might be able to win 70-80 games, provided that these guys continue to work out well for the team. I bet Theo is glad to not be a part of the Red Sox organization now.

    • cubs1967

      90% of the guys team theo acquired are working out??

      like stewart hitting under .200
      volstad over 6 ERA
      dejesus hitting .250 and on pace for ZERO homers and 20 RBI
      t wood is in the minors………not sure how that is helping the ML club
      saffelt is sitting in iowa too
      only maholm has panned out……

      dolis-russell-smardz-lahair-garza- were all JH players…….

      you must of meant 90% of the players NOT working out…….so what changed in a week?….

      dude-get off the team theo kool-aid.

      • calicubsfan007

        For me, they are working out. I had really really low expectations for the Cubs and the acquisitions this year. I am not really a kool aid person (it’s too sweet (=) and I hate lacking individuality. Shark was a gamble, LaHair was a gamble, Wood did well when he pitched for Garza. I said gambles too, not just acquisitions. DeJesus was meant to be a defensive upgrade and a veteran presence, which he has done. The only reason Saffelt is in the minors is because of Hendry creating a huge logjam in the outfield.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        DeJesus’ OBP is 0.370, which is 7th best among MLB lead off hitters and good for the 7th most runs scored. (The low RBI reflect the awful OBP of the Cubs’ 8 & 9 hitters.).

        Stewart has actually hit the ball well: his BABiP simply is as out-of-line as LaHair’s, but in the opposite direction.

        So, cross those two off of your list. (And stop using Topps Card Stats: they mean about as much as phlogiston….)

        • cubs1967

          ummm…..zero homers and 20 rbi does not make a ML starting OF…….

          and stewart hit .151 last year………so .194 means…..he sucks. a trend.
          stewart’s Babip is always low…….’cuz he sucks.

          • MaxM1908

            Rabble Rabble Rabble!

          • DocPeterWimsey

            RBI are a team stat, not an individual stat.  NL leadoff men get the fewest opportunities for this team stat (and DeJesus among the fewest such opportunities among NL leadoff men), so it means next to nothing.  Nobody worth anything in baseball judges players by their RBI anymore.

            OBP, on the other hand, means everything for an NL leadoff man: and DeJesus is doing quite well, there.  (His slugging actually is quite average: yes, he has no HR, but he has a bunch of doubles and a couple of triples; so, the HR will come with time.)

            BABiP is a “luck” stat more than anything else: yes, fast guys and guys who really hit the ball hard tend to have slightly higher BABiP’s, but the variance is huge anyway.

            Seriously, Hendry is gone: stop evaluating players the way that he did!

          • Shawon O’Meter

            So what is the correlation between raging lunatics and their excessive usage of elipses?

            • cubs1967

              explain it to me………could ya………..i’m not understanding……

              explain a cyber bully?……….dude!

              knock it off.

        • rcleven

          Dam Doc you chased me to dictionary for “phlogiston”. My head hurts for a lazy Friday afternoon.

      • Drew7

        Wow…

        1) Volstad (still a top 30 FIP in the NL) and Stewart (for the 15th time, getting zero luck and hitting over .300 the last couple weeks) are performing much better than the atiquated measurables you so often look to.

        2) Dejesus getting on base at a .371 clip (RBI’s, really?)

        3) Two prospects in the minors? Oh boy, thats terrible…why have depth at AAA????

        4) Don’t forget about Rizzo…let me guess, 90% chance he’s a 4A player, right?

        Even the biggest Hendry supporters would tell you this team is heading in the right direction

        • calicubsfan007

          Thank you. That’s what I’m saying. Anybody could look like they suck if you look at a certain stat. None of these veteran acquistions are meant to be superstars, they are supposed to keep the Cubs competitve, allow the prospects to develop, and to do their individual parts.

        • Jeremy

          I don’t know why we even respond to the kid. He’s obviously trolling or a moron.

          • cubs1967

            kid?………..really…….here’s a news flash for ya; old school stats:

            90 % of the new players have worked out and guess what……..cubs are in last and on pace to lose more than last year……….how’s that for stats!

            • MaxM1908

              Those aren’t really stats. You make an assertion that lacks a more detailed analysis. The Cubs are .419 against some of the toughest competition in the National league. The Cubs April and May schedule is brutal and rated among the highest in strength and schedule in MLB. To extrapolate from that schedule that this team is somehow going to lose more than last year ignores the fact that they’ve performed much better against stiffer competition than last year’s team. Wait an see how the record changes when we start playing Houston, Pit, SD, and the like.

            • Cubs Dude

              So what really exactly are you saying cubs67? Myself, and Every serious Cubs fans I have talked to is VERY excited about the path of the new club, and LOVE the way they are playing. Sure the record isn’t great, but they are moving in the right direction. And they are way more fun to watch than last year even if the record doesn’t show yet. What exactly was the new front office suppose to do this first year while cleaning up the Hendry’s mess? Sign Pujols? Sign Fielder? That would have been genius……

          • cubs1967

            what’s rizzo’s ml avg?

            .156……..so we don’t know what he’ll be in the majors now do we??

            do you want a list of all the AAA players that bomb out at the majors?

            and he wasn’t free; cashner was part of that trade

            • Cubs Dude

              TROLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL.

            • AB

              thankfully you’re aren’t in charge of the Cubs, and hopefully no one in their right mind would put you in charge of much of anything at all.

            • ty

              Yesterday on mlb radio two analysts were dropping dirt bombs on Rizzo . Essentially saying Jed fell in like with kid . I watched him practice and play all spring and did not see any big deficits. He does have a habit of fielding balls to his side often. Mlb said he had failed miserably in bigs–how many bats did he have to come to this conclusion?

            • Cooper R

              Even though your username is “cubs1967″ you’re doing a terrible job disguising yourself as a Cubs fan. Quit trollin this site and go do something else.

      • Brady

        I think something short circuited in your brain. Ignoring all the facts that the fine gentlemen above me put out, I’d like to say that of JH players, Samarjza probably wouldnt have gotten a starting position under JH and sure would have been good out of the pen but not nearly as useful as he is in the starter role. Also just because a player has 0 HR’s so far doesn’t mean they aren’t going to hit any all year. Last week I could have said “Puhols is on track to hit 0 HR’s this year, WHAT A BUM!” but that would have just been stupid. In addition to that Dejesus is a lead off hitter. His job is not to hit HR’s or even get RBI’s. Those are just nice padding stats. His job as a lead off hitter is to get on base and see as many pitches as he can and he has done a decent job of that so far (Great as far as getting on base but I’d like to see him see a few more pitches per AB). Overall I think the moves Theo is making isnt just about the personell but the attitude and the way the cubs play the game and I think he is doing a stellar job. I can easily see us competeing next year or the year after. It will take hard work and some luck but we have true talent on this team and they are starting to play like an actual ball club. Lastly, Nobody fucks with Da Jesus!

        • hansman1982

          DeJesus is in the top 20 in all of baseball in terms of pitches per at bat – he is doing a fine job. A couple more per at bat would put him, probably, in the top 5 all time.

          • cubs1967

            0 homers and 4 RBI……….yep;that’s an all-star. anyone got some extra ballots?

            so we pick 1 stat and yep………..theo’s a genius.

            here’s 1 stat………cubs in last place. how them apples working for ya?

            • Brady

              Hate to burst your bubble but your stat is wrong. The cubs are not in last place. Get your facts straight and we are not focusing on one stat. We are focusing on the most important stat of a leadoff hitter (which, would you look at that Da Jesus is!). Now go back under your bridge.

          • Brady

            I agree he is doing a fine job, my opinion is probably based from not getting to see too many games and the games I have seen I just got the feeling like he wasnt up at the plate for long but I like the man. Solid on defense and gets on base. Also with Campana behind him able to bunt and then Castro after that I think it is making pitchers give Campana better pitches to swing at. If they throw everything low in the zone he will probably just drop a bunt. So far if they throw it up in the zone Campana seems to turn on it and put it someplace. I didnt mean to be too negative on him.

      • Stinky Pete

        Yeah, I’m nitpicking, but can you really call LaHair a Hendry guy? He didn’t get a chance to play until Hendry was gone. Theo was the guy who said “LaHair is going to play at the Major League Level.”

    • JoeCub

      So make long-term decisions based on a 2 week hot streak (relatively peaking)??? Mehhh

      • ty

        Theo agrees with you JoeCub.

  • Edwin

    Could the fact that the Cubs have very little starting pitching in their farm system affect whether to extend Garza or not? The Cubs don’t really have many top end pitching prospects. In 2014, when the Cubs should start seriously competeing, Garza could still end up being one of the top pitchers on the team, even if he starts to decline. Good pitching is hard to find, and there is no gaurantee that the prospects the Cubs get back will pan out.

    • calicubsfan007

      It really is a double edge sword. Either way, there is a certain amount of risk. The Cubs gamble on really two things: 1. How the prospects the Cubs could get in return might develop or not and 2. If Garza can maintain the high level that he is playing. It comes down to what Theo and Jed would rather risk.

  • Jeremy

    I don’t like this at all. I think you need to keep him with an extension or trade him at the deadline. It doesn’t make sense to me to lose him after 2013 and get nothing in return even if we do contend. I want a young team that can contend on a yearly basis not once every few years.

    • calicubsfan007

      I agree with you 100%. The Cubs need to make up their minds on whether they want him or not and if they do want him, they need to lock him up. Personally, I think he’s playing like an ace and we should treat him as such (whether that means getting a return fit for an ace or giving him the extension).

  • Ron

    Spell check IS the linchpin. If he stays good, the cubs are a starting pitcher away from the playoffs in 13. Remember the bullpen will get better by addition via subtraction. The Giants proved a couple years ago anything can happen with good pitching. Extend him.

  • Dumpgobbler

    I don’t really buy into us keeping Garza. I doubt Theo/Hoyer has changed their stance because of the emergence of Shark or a hot couple weeks. I still think they are just waiting for the right deal before the ship him off.

    • calicubsfan007

      You might be right. Theo has been known to hype a player to beyond superstar status right before he pulls the trigger. Both options of the trade and the extension doesn’t surprise me.

  • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

    With the way things are going forward, it will be harder to trade for 3-5 top talents in the future. Teams will have a harder time stockpiling top talent with the rise in player salaries. I think this would be as good a time as any to see what is out there. Not to say jumping all over anything that is just thrown out there, but if we get 4 top prospects, there should be no questions. I have a very hard time believing Theo diminishes Garza’s trade value by holding on to him just to see if we compete. He will either extend him or trade him. I don’t think anyone outside of this guy sees any grey area. It is harder to get extra picks when you lose a player with the new CBA. They won’t just lose Garza.

  • Ron

    Brett/Luke are all of Wells, Volstads and T Wood’s option years gone after this year? And Coleman. If so I only see one being around next year.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I’ll have to look up the options on each of them; I don’t remember how many they all have off hand.

      All of them would be pretty good trade candidates.  Their ceilings are not tremendously high, but any of them could start for a lot of teams right now.  I don’t think the Cubs would have much trouble trading one them for a somewhat higher ceiling but younger / less ready pitcher, particularly to teams who happen to need a decent starter in a hurry.  Just don’t expect any Top 100 prospects for them.

    • hansman1982

      If all three of them had 1 option year left then Volstad would be the only one with an option remaining.

  • cubmig

    I’m glad Theo&Co have the job of deciding what the best course of action for the team is. I’ve read every post you guys have listed and all I got to say is that —if Theo reads any of this stuff—he’s pulling his hair out. You guys are tough. You know baseball. I like the point MikeL makes; namely that: “Actually, any player you go after is a gamble.” and Drew7’s take on a Garza trade as a good move (given the future look at what may be). However— I disagree on trading Garza. I don’t have stats to back up positions like the rest of you here do, but I just think keeping Garza would be a good stabilizing force for a club in a revamping mode. It’s a very pedestrian opinion I know, but I recall saying on here that Samardzija had shown he was the most improved pitcher and deserved a spot on the rotation. It was a minority view at the time, but it worked out to be right. So…..keep Garza by offering a “reasonable” contract. If he”s adamant about a no-trade clause and it’s not something that the front office thinks is good, then—and only then—trade him.

    • Dumpgobbler

      Trading Garza is the best option IMHO. We’re not a couple FA pieces from a NL crown. Re-amp he farm, aquire a few pieces to come up with Jackson and Rizzo, and suddenly you have something brewing. Dont let the awesome pitching fool you. We’re still a 75 win or so club.
      Another thing to consider is the fact we only have a year and a half of control of Garza. Well, extend him! Well, yea, but if he wants, which is highly spectated, a no trade clause, then things become difficult. This administration doesn’t hand ot NTC’s like candy, like the previous administration. I really do feel like the best course of action is to deal Garza.

  • Cubs5050

    Do you think that they will try putting LaHair in left ever once and a while soon, to see his skill set out there

    • Andrew

      I think they have a pretty good idea of his skill set in left already. He’s played there before. As recently as 2010 half his time at AAA was in LF and he did play a handful of games there in 2011. I’d say he’ll stay at first until Rizzo is up, but he’ll start having some pre-game reps in left as the time gets closer.

      • ty

        I saw LaHair play left field in a 4 game series in Vegas. Positions well, good arm and hits cut off man, keeps ball in front of him, and holds on to anything he gets too. Slow but hustles for his size. He does not make foolish mistakes out there! We will need Campano or Rook to hustle over for balls over his head. Not to worry if Rizzo can hold down first!

        • Brady

          If we expect to get good range out of Campana he needs to start getting a better jump on the ball. With his speed it should give him an extra 40-50 feet in range which will help a ton.

    • MaxM1908

      I’m still skeptical about how the LF will work. Soriano is still a big question mark there. We have him under contract for the next two years, so unless they can move or release him, I’m curious how they’ll make the LaHair to LF move work.

      • Brady

        Easy decision if you ask me. Soriano to the bench. Occassionally come in vs lefty pitchers when Lahair needs a day off. That would also save his legs so when/if he PH he can still make it to first base.

  • Patrick

    Cubs need to keep Garza if Samardzjia keeps pitching like this. That is a great 1-2 and add a big free agent pitcher, they can be dominating. If LaHair can switch to OF and keep biting like this and Rizzo is what he’s talked up to be, the Cubs can very well b a contender next year. A lot of IFs but so far so good.

    • Brady

      A lot of if’s but the fact that its mostly about maintaining and not as it was before the season (what if they play good at all), I personally think we can be a playoff worthy team next year and then a competeing playoff team the next.

  • Jarrod C

    Wait, the Cubs are interested (and have a shot) at Hamels? Since when?

    • MaxM1908

      Nothing substantial yet. All we know is that Hamels will be a free agent and made comments to a reporter that he wouldn’t mind coming to the Cubs because he believed Theo and Jed were steering the team in the right direction. From that, many Cubs fans have been counting their chickens that this will be a big off-season move for the Cubs. The Phils could always extend him and he could always opt for another team. Many think the Dodgers will make a play for him and that he’ll be interested because he grew up in SoCal.

  • Cerambam

    Lines of communication are open between Matt Garza and the Cubs, Jon Heyman of CSBSports.com reports. The Cubs will try to extend Garza, who’s under team control through 2013. Heyman suggests a five-year, $80MM deal could work for both sides.

    -MLBTR

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I’d sign that deal today if it came without a no-trade clause.

      • ty

        Company seal and celebrate!

      • rcleven

        Heyman is making the offer. Like to hear what the Cubs are offering.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          I know he is. I was just saying it’s a no-brainer yes for the Cubs.

  • Jeremy

    I like that deal, maybe a team option for a sixth year as well.

  • cubsfaninKY

    I look at the cubs the same way most ppl on here looks at them and I hope they dont spend a lot in the off season. Dont get me wrong going for it all and signing Hamilton and Hamels would be fun and would give the Cubs a chance for a couple of years but then what? We have been there and done that. Here’s what I would do: try and get a great haul for Garza (someone went through on one of the boards and broke down team by team and he did an amazing job on prospects and great returns. Its on the msg boards check it out) If the cubs can not get a deal worthy of that (and i dont think they can) give the man his no trade clause (sign him 5 yr 80 mil) and in the offseason sign Brandon Mcarthy or Anibal Sanchez. Also try Lahair in left whats the worst that happens? He’s cheap and has power. Trade or sign a good reliever. Hey even bring back Dempster on a team friendly deal and sign Kelly Johnson for 2nd. Look at this lineup and tell me it could not compete: Dejesus,Castro,Rizzo,Lahair,Johnson,Stewert,Castillo/Soto,Jackson. Pitchers being:Garza,Anibal/Mcarthy,Shark,Maholm,Dempster. I like it and its cheap with no long term risk.

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