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Closing out the week with some Cubs rumor goodness…

  • A survey of GMs concluded that Matt Garza – not Cole Hamels or Zack Greinke – is the most valuable pitcher theoretically on the trade market this year. Although most GMs acknowledged that Garza is the third best pitcher of the three, his extra year of control, and the possibility of netting draft pick compensation for him after next season should he leave in free agency, are the primary reasons he has more trade value. That’s obviously great news for the Cubs, and another reason to believe they’re not going to be able to resist cashing in on a trade this month. The Cubs are said to want three top pieces for Garza (which is what you ask for when you’d accept two top pieces and a couple medium pieces).
  • Jon Heyman adds in that piece that the Cubs and Garza haven’t talked about a contract extension “in months,” which, based on some things I’ve heard behind the scenes, I believe to be true. I sort of wish that wasn’t true – I like Garza, and I can see scenarios where keeping him are good for the Cubs long-term – but I can understand why it may have developed that way. Seeing those huge offseason and early season extensions, Garza undoubtedly started by asking for the moon (as he should have). But, given his trade value and the Cubs’ plans, that may have been enough to shut things down from the Cubs’ perspective.
  • Also, as BN’er Steve noted in the comments (and many folks noted on Twitter), there were as many as eight scouts at Garza’s start last night, specifically there to see him (bummer). At least he struck a lot of guys out, and he didn’t look awful when he wasn’t giving up homers (which has actually been the story of his season). Jon Morosi says that, among the teams scouting Garza last night were the Blue Jays, Indians, Reds, Red Sox, Diamondbacks, and Cardinals. Morosi adds that the Tigers are interested in Garza, which we’ve known for some time, and the Cubs have been spotted scouting the Tigers’ AA affiliate (home to, for example, third base prospect Nick Castellanos). The Rangers were not in attendance, and Danny Knobler says they aren’t interested in Garza.
  • Somewhat relatedly, the Blue Jays are still more likely to buy than sell this year, but only want pieces who can help them next year (like Garza). But, according to Ken Rosenthal, they’re not going to overpay on a “go for it” trade (maybe like Garza). The Blue Jays continue to be one of the most attractive trade partners from the Cubs’ perspective, though, given their deep and talented farm system – it’s one of the top three in baseball.
  • Rosenthal adds that the Cardinals probably aren’t going to try and acquire a top-line starter like Zack Greinke (or, presumably, a Garza), and instead will try to trade for a mid-rotation type (does that include someone like Ryan Dempster? he’s sure pitching more like a top-line guy this year).
  • MLBTR’s Ben Nicholson-Smith chatted this week, and … (1) Right now, he gives Cole Hamels just a 25% chance of being traded; (2) Ryan Dempster is the most likely Cub to be dealt (yeah); (3) Paul Maholm could draw interest on the trade market as a possible back-of-the-rotation type; (4) Alfonso Soriano is a possible fit for the Dodgers; (5) a top 100 prospect for Shawn Camp is out of the question, but a “B” prospect is possible (that would be awesome); (6) there are no indications that the Dodgers are close to trade for someone like Bryan LaHair; and (7) Geovany Soto has no trade value right now, given how poorly he’s hitting and the fact that he’s a non-tender candidate at the end of the year.
  • ESPNChicago’s Doug Padilla also chatted: (1) Paul Maholm has trade value, and the Cubs wouldn’t mind trading him; (2) Travis Wood probably has a lot of trade value, but the Cubs are content to keep him (they should); (3) Chris Volstad will probably head back to Iowa soon, and will return if/when Garza/Dempster are traded; (4) the Cubs will move LaHair if someone pays a “steep” price (he adds that the Dodgers make sense, but they’d have to pay “dearly”); (5) Dempster is likely to be the Cubs’ first trade this month; (6) Padilla doesn’t think Alfonso Soriano will be traded; and (7) David DeJesus has trade value, and the Cubs will listen.
  • A couple reminders as we go through July: (1) if you’re obsessive about this stuff, you’ll want to follow BN on Twitter and “like” it on Facebook, as you’ll get a bit more info (and more quickly) there; and (2) check out the complete review of all of the Cubs’ tradable pieces if you haven’t already.

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