Matt Garza says he’s trying hard to ignore trade rumors and/or extension talks with the Cubs, and not think too far past the next five days. But the rumors will keep coming.
CBS’s Jon Heyman offered a particularly pointed Matt Garza rumor this weekend after hearing from sources that the New York Yankees are (1) in the market for a starting pitcher, and (2) very interested in Matt Garza.
Yankees people like the fact Garza is battle-tested in the American League East after acquiring too many pitchers from the National League who haven’t been able to make a seamless transition to the A.L. The Yankees seem to have little interest in Brewers stars Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum or the other top Cubs starter Ryan Dempster, as they have concerns about Greinke in New York and Marcum and Dempster in the A.L. Even though Marcum pitched pretty well for the Blue Jays, the Yankees are concerned about his low radar readings in the A.L.
The Yankees, Heyman says, haven’t been deterred by Garza’s down start to the 2012 season (he hasn’t been “bad,” but he certainly hasn’t been as effective as he was in 2011), because they see him as the most likely to help them.
Heyman notes that the Red Sox might also have interest in Garza, which could set up a bit of a fight for his services, if the Cubs decide to shop him aggressively. To that end, Heyman says he believes the Cubs would still prefer to extend Garza, but so far, haven’t had much luck. I tend to agree that, on the right deal, the Cubs would be better suited extending Garza than trading him. But “the right deal” for the Cubs might be one that Garza would never even consider accepting (5 years, $75 million, without a no-trade clause? I think the Cubs do that deal, but I’m not sure Garza does).
So, until we hear more about the extension talks – which Paul Sullivan has suggested may be nonexistent – it’s going to be open season on Garza trade rumors. And for now, the Yankees are very interested.
The biggest issue in making a swap fit with the Yankees, however, is a relative lack of near-MLB-ready, impact pitching talent. Two of the Yankees’ best high-level pitching prospects, Dellin Betances (24) and Manny Banuelos (21), are struggling at AAA after being ranked in the top 100 prospects in all of baseball before the season (Betances much more than Banuelos).
And that, of course, underscores the fickle nature of prospects: just two months ago, getting a package of Betances and Banuelos plus another young, high upside type would have seemed quite the haul for Garza. Now? No thanks.
The Yankees aren’t without attractive prospects, mind you, but many of the most interesting are – like the Cubs’ top prospects not named Rizzo or Jackson – quite young, and far from making an impact on the big league level. Based on the ages of guys like Starlin Castro, Jeff Samardzija, Anthony Rizzo, and Brett Jackson, I can’t help but feel the Cubs would be most interested in picking up prospects in the 22 to 24 year-old range. That is not the Yankees’ specialty right now.