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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.

  • Idaho Razorback

    I just found this link with home video of Javier Baez’s monster homerun. You can’t really see it but you can tell it was a huge shot due to the fan reaction.

    http://network.yardbarker.com/author/article_external/10930733?headline=fortnightly_facepalm_6312_draft_soler_baez_garza_dempster&linksrc=mb_right_col&mailing_id=1634&sport_name=mlb

  • King Jeff

    I remember when the Yankees wouldn’t trade those two for Felix Hernandez, now they couldn’t trade them for Livan Hernandez.

    • Njriv

      Zing!

    • Joshua Edwards

      I see what you did there.

  • CubFan Paul

    “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”

    what about the Red Sox farm? they have more injuries & pitching ineffectiveness than the Yanks and need a reliable arm right about now ..but then again, i don’t know if the Sox could afford Garza next year arbitration wise or extension since they’re cutting back on payroll a bit

  • CubsFanBob

    What if the Yankees took on a lot of Sori’s contract along with Garza ?

    Are Dellin Betances (24) and Manny Banuelos (21) fixable or now exposed ?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Betances looks like a back of the rotation / bullpen guy to me.  Banuelos, I think, could still turn things around.  I would not want him to the feature of a package that comes back to the Cubs, but I’d like to have him in the package.  There is still plenty of upside there, especially as he would be moving into the National League.

    • terencemann

      I’d agree with Banuelos being still worth pursuing but you have to get more if he’s the pitcher you’re getting. Garza’s not helping his trade value, but I agree that you don’t just stop with a pitching prospect who’s trade value is also sinking like a rock.

      Maybe just ask them for like 6 prospects and see what influence Hendry has over there?

      • Njriv

        Garza pitched really well on Saturday, I think he pitched poorly in his two previous outings because he was putting too much pressure on himself due to the lack of offense,

      • King Jeff

        I’m pretty sure that Garza was pretty lights out last time up. He’s had a few rough starts, but nothing to hurt his trade value. I’ve been reading all over the place that his value has actually gone up since the season started.

        • hansman1982

          Agree, Verlander’s trade value hasn’t gone down just because he has shat the bed 3 starts in a row…

  • Patrick

    I don’t see Garza going to Boston without Middlebrooks being involved, which will most likely not happen. Unless Vitters is involved then maybe, but then Boston needs to fork over some more prospects. What about Nova and prospects from the Yankees. He’s still young and has shown he can pitch in the AL East, sure he could handle the NL, if the Yankees are willing to part with him.

    • MichCubFan

      I don’t think Middlebrooks seems like a guy our front office would like. He does not walk….I would get as many teams as possible in on the bidding for Garza and Dempster and see what we can get.

    • Noah

      Nova’s too low upside. He is what he is: a middle to back of the rotation starter. If you’re trading Garza, get someone with higher upside over ANOTHER 4 or 5 type.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Middlebrooks is very much part of this year’s plans for the Sox.  They probably are looking to trade Youk.  If the Cubs send Garza to the Sox, then think in terms of a 3-team deal where Youk goes to that 3rd team and prospects go from that team to the Cubs.

      • MichiganGoat

        Agreed I think it will take a third team for Garza to go to either the Yankees or Red Suxs

  • hcs

    What about Garza for, say, Brett Marshall (RHP) Gary Sanchez (C) and Corban Joseph (2B)? Would that be considered asking for the moon? They are all putting up pretty decent numbers, and Joseph was recently promoted to AAA and seems to be adjusting pretty well.

  • Danny B

    I think the Blue Jays will have the best players to offer. And they need pitching more than anything. Also, did anyone else hear rumors of Atlanta being the best fit for Dempster? I could see that happening, although I wouldn’t expect to be blown away by the return.

    • Cub Style

      I’m a fan of Gilmartin. He’s got a pretty high floor to be a #3 or maybe a #2.

  • Dustin S

    Historically it seems like the Yankees have a higher percentage of top prospects that they ask the moon for, package in a trade for a proven star, and then those guys bust. So I do think the Yankees top prospects tend to get overrated for whatever reason, my guess being the extra media coverage compared to most teams. Garza being in demand is a double-edged sword. But I have to admit this season has been so bad that I’d have to lean towards dealing him. which makes the demand a good thing.

    If they are as far off as they look, they are better off focusing on the 22-24 age guys like mentioned in the article. It all kind comes down on predicting when they will turn it around…will that window start to open in 1-2 years (keep Garza) or 4-5 years (trade him)? That’s the $75 million dollar question.

  • http://calebshreves.blogspot.com Caleb

    Remember: we want “more Matt Garza’s, not less.”

    So we trade Matt Garza for 2 Matt Garzas.

    Why do they always make this trade stuff so difficult?

    • hansman1982

      Exactly, trade Starlin Castro for 2 Starlin Castri, Brett Jackson for 3 Brett Jacksonians and Anthony Rizzo for the entire Rays farm system.

      Easy.

      • Professional_High_A

        Glad to see that you used the correct pluralizations of the different players. +5

  • AD

    Justin Nicolino and Travis d’Arnaud would be a great haul from the Blue Jays!

  • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

    Why do I have the feeling we will end up getting shafted on this one? The teams we would like to make trades with rarely make bad trades. The ones that will get in a bidding war don’t have the horses to blow our socks off. I remember arguing with someone on here that the Yankees could offer heads and shoulders above anything the Tigers could. Now, I can’t help but think I don’t want anything either could offer. We need to use Garza to bring back pitching to our farm. Man I wish the Orioles and Blue Jays got hot at the right time, and started a bidding war.

  • TakingWrigleyToSãoPaulo

    HSC, like your post. Given the Yanks are a bit desperate to win they may be willing to give up a bigger haul albeit players at the lower levels. They have some top talent at Advanced and Lower A that could work out well. In my mind, the Cubs are a ways away and I would rather take the greatest impact players long term regardless of arrival time.

  • EB

    This is pure speculation on my part. If the orioles were to stay in the hunt (that’s a big if, I know) could they pontentially go after Dempster (obviously, they dont have enough pitching prospects for Garza) possibly landing us Schoop or Delmonico? Or would that be asking too much out of Dempster? Their starting pitching has not been real good this year

    • Cubs Dude

      I think that would make perfect sense. The Orioles haven’t been relevant forever, so why not make a splash with a player like Demp. The real question is would Demp waive his no trade clause to go the the Orioles? Even though they have played well, I still think the perception is that they won’t be in the playoffs, that division is ridiculous and they have a lot of injuries.. If they are really interested in Garza then the Cubs would have to get Bundy back, which wouldn’t happen.

  • Dumpgobbler

    Phillip Hughes, Manny Banuelos, Mason Williams and Brett Marshall for Garza and Shawn Camp would be a good deal on both sides. Phillip Hughes steps in for Garza right away. We get that high end lefty our system desperately needs. Mason Williams is a better szczur, and Marshall is a guy that has really good minor league numbers so far.

  • Joshua Edwards

    I love that Team Epstein gets a chance to play the Yanks and Red Sox against each other in negotiations, after having spent so much time in the trenches of those battles.
    It’s just beautiful.

  • Crockett

    Banuelos is not a high end LHP any more! He’s still young, yes, but has never shown any semblance of control at any level and still doesn’t have even an average third pitch. He’s a pen arm with a tiny chance of still making it as a starter.

    If you deal Garza to the Yankees and the deal doesn’t START with Sanchez and Mason Williams, you’ve done something wrong.

    • Dumpgobbler

      Most consider him a very good prospect still. Hes 21 at AAA for god sakes. He has three pitches that are at least average. I disagree very much that hes a pen arm. He definately needs more command of his curveball, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have one yet. Hes taken a small step back, but its understandable because hes a 21 year old at AAA. Hes clearly the best arm in the Yankees system. Not to mention I doubt the Yankees are too open to dealing Sanchez.

      • Crockett

        He’s the best arm in the Yankees’ system…woohoo! Meaningless. He does NOT have an average third pitch right now and he has not dominated any level he’s been at. I’ve seen him pitch 5 times in person. Never impressive.

        Even though he’s been young for levels, he hasn’t produced anything great. He’s also short and stocky which isn’t a typical body for a starter.

        He’s 21, and as Luke has mentioned, he still has plenty of time to figure it out, but if he’s one of the centerpieces of the deal, you’ve done poorly in a trade. If he’s a secondary piece and you’re getting him at his current value, then fine…throw him in with Sanchez and Williams.

        • Dumpgobbler

          I’ve read several scouting reports that claim that his Curveball is solid if commanded. Dont take this personally, but I’ll take a scouts word over yours.

          He has been absolutely solid at every level so far. Pitchers aren’t generally small, but it doesn’t bother me that much. I dont buy into the whole “If your small your arm is likely to become injured” theory. It hasn’t been proven.

          If its Banuelos and 2 scrubs, youve done poorly. If its Williams, Banuelos, Hughes and Marshall, you’ve done fine. Its just short of what the Padres got for Latos, which is right where Garza’s value should be.

          • Crockett

            You can take whomever’s word over mine that you like. His curve isn’t viable if only because he’s got little control of it. I realize it’s a small sample so far, but he has not cleaned up any of the issues from 2011 and, in fact, some of them look worse.

            All the published scouts basically said that he needs to get back to his 2010 control/command to continue being considered a good, rotation arm. He has not done that and has actually gone farther backwards.

            • Dumpgobbler

              It is a small sample size. very small. Agree to Disagree?

              • Chuck

                Great curve but can’t control it.remember rich hill,don’t need that again.

  • Dave

    Historically doesn’t the team that trading the proven pitcher seem to end up on the short end of the stick as most prospects don’t pan out.
    If they can’t come to terms with Garza then I don’t excpect the Cubs to be very active in free agency for the top end talent.

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  • Jeremy

    Bring on the bidding war please!

  • KC

    I smell a bidding war for Garza between Yankees, Red Sox, and Blue Jays. I’m wondering if we could snag Wil Middlebrooks out of this deal. Garza, Vitters, Soto for Middlebrooks, Saltalamacchia, Doubront? Could we maybe snag Elsbury out of this deal?

  • Lou

    Again, I want the Mets to stay hot. Like their prospects much more than anything tradable from the Yanks or Red Sox.

    • Jon

      They wont trade Wheeler or Harvey

      • Lou

        Well, the Red Sox won’t trade Middlebrooks and IMO the Yanks won’t trade Baneulos–most likely would keep him, so where does that leave us exactly? The problem I’ve always had with a Garza trade is the difference in value with where the Cubs see him vs the rest of the MLB teams

    • Patrick G

      I think if the Mets stay in contention, they would be more interested in Dempster and even possibly Marmol. There farm system is pretty weak and would doubt they’d give top prospects for Garza. The bullpen there is in need of a reliable closer. Not saying Marmol is reliable at all but might be an option for them. Heres to hoping Marmol can get shipped.

      • Lou

        Really, farm system weak? I’d say middle of the pack and higher than the Yankees and much higher than the Tigers. And stronger in pitching depth than the Red Sox.

  • R.E.S

    The one thing Middlebrooks doing well might do is make Cecchini available. But it looks like about all of Boston’s pitching is a gamble. I would be surprised if there was a trade to be had there.

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