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The rest of the baseball world was doing a bit over the last couple days, too – it wasn’t just the Cubs (though they certainly figure prominently) …

  • The suddenly very big Lukewarm Stove topic for the foreseeable future will be the Cubs’ crowded rotation, and its implications for a Matt Garza trade. I’ll have a bit more on the rotation later this morning, a couple pundits weighed in last night on Garza’s future with the Cubs, and neither sees much of one. Dave Kaplan, of his own volition, responded to a tweet by a CSN colleague about the possibility of the Cubs now extending Garza with a “no chance.” He didn’t really amplify much beyond that, only to say that he can see Garza being traded, but not extended. George Ofman similarly said the free agent pitcher signings mean that the Cubs are “simply steps closer to eventually trading Matt Garza.” When the subject of an extension was brought up, George said it wouldn’t just surprise him, it would “shock” him. So, for whatever reason, a couple insider-y types think there is absolutely no chance Garza is extended by the Cubs.
  • I’ll have many, many more thoughts on Garza as the weeks go by – and I’ve previously written at length about the very difficult decision facing the Cubs – but gut still tells me that he’s virtually impossible to trade for any meaningful value until he shows he’s healthy, at the earliest, in Spring Training. And, truth be told, teams are really loathe to make Spring Training trades. They are disruptive, and require a “perfect fit” type situation, particularly where they involve big-time players who would immediately be inserted into the rotation. The last image teams have of Garza is him holding his arm, and walking off the mound. He says he’s healthy, the Cubs say he’s healthy, and I have no reason to doubt them. But if I’m another GM, faced with the prospect of losing a top young player or two for just one year of Garza? I want a hell of a lot more evidence of health than the Cubs’ opinion or even a medical report. I want to see the guy throw. A lot. I think the crowded rotation certainly makes the Cubs’ willingness to trade Garza an increased proposition – I’m just saying that it has no impact whatsoever on other teams’ willingness to buy at a price the Cubs are willing to sell (other than the fact that it took a couple arms off the market). If the Cubs don’t trade Garza before the season opens, by the way, the receiving team cannot get a draft pick after 2013 if Garza walks. So there is a bit of a deadline on this thing. Otherwise, the Cubs keep Garza, hope he pitches well in the first half, and try to swing the best possible deal at the deadline (or try to get an extension together or receive a draft pick when he walks after the season). Just a bunch of lousy options, as far as I’m concerned. Oh what I’d give for a healthy Garza signed to a reasonable extension through 2016 …
  • It happened a couple days ago now, but the Mariners swapped Jason Vargas for Kendrys Morales from the Angels. The deal probably ends the Angels’ quest to deal an outfielder, but probably amplifies the Mariners’ interest in picking up another quality bat. Morales isn’t it for them, and they’re going to want to add an outfielder. That could mean they step up their pursuit of Michael Bourn, or it could mean they have a stronger interest in someone like David DeJesus. (Alfonso Soriano has already nixed the West Coast, save for the Dodgers.)
  • Speaking of other teams’ outfield needs, the Phillies are now playing the other side of the leverage coin – just days after reports came out that they were hot and heavy on Cody Ross and maybe even Vernon Wells, now GM Ruben Amaro is out saying that the prices on free agent outfielders are “north of where we want to be.” Well, I mean, I’m just saying … I know where you can get a quality outfielder for just $5 million per year for the next two years (if you deal a nice prospect, that is).
  • Speaking of Soriano as a trade candidate: with the rotation becoming average to above-average, and the bullpen starting to look good, are you still on board with dumping Soriano (and Carlos Marmol) for some salary savings and prospects? The offense is already going to be rough in 2013, and, without Soriano, it could be terrifying. Buuuuut, I’m still on board. I still see the rotation moves as being largely about 2014, and I think that, in the right deal, the Cubs could move Soriano without dramatically weakening the overall picture for 2013. It’s still worth pulling the trigger on the right deal.
  • Casey McGehee was already pretty much dismissed as a possible right-handed infield bat (the Cubs still need one), but now he’s very dismissed: he’s headed to Japan.
  • One of the lefty bullpen options is off the board, as Tom Gorzelanny signed a two-year, $6 million deal with the Brewers (where he might end up starting).
  • http://www.justinjabs.com/blog/ justinjabs

    Tom Haudicourt said Brewers plan to use Gorzo in relief.

    As for not extending Garza … dang. That disappoints me.

  • Ben

    I feel like extending Garza is the only way to get equal value now. If he starts one game in the regular season, his value plummets, due to the new CBA. And if a team wants to see him make 3-5 starts in ST, then that doesn’t leave the Cubs much time to make a deal. The Cubs should dangle a 3 year extension at a high AAV (16-17) and see if Garza can turn it down.

  • ETS

    I don’t understand signing Jackson just to trade Garza. If Garza can bring a boat of prospects, maybe. But, if anything, I think yesterday’s moves mean Thed Hoystein thinks we could be competitive in 2014 and the FA pitching available for 2014 is pretty thin.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Thin, but with some possibilities. If Toronto can’t extend Josh Johnson, that’s one good option. If Lincecum turns it around, or the Cubs think they can turn him around, that’s another.

      It isn’t a deep crop, but I can see plausible scenarios in which the Cubs deal Garza during 2013 and still have a better, playoff caliber rotation in 2014.

    • cub2014

      I think they will sign garza and i hope they are trying to do
      that right now. I would think they flip guys like Baker,
      Villanueva,Feldman. They want to be in position to
      go after Price (or of that caliber before start of 2014).
      Rotation 2014: Price,Garza,Samardizja,Jackson,Vizcaino?

      They wont need anyone from the organization for starting
      pitching, that would be the best starting rotation they have had in years.

      • Joepoe123

        Jackson signed on a 4 year deal so in 2014 I’m guessing he will still be on the cubs AND starting over Jackson and Vizcaino

        • David

          What?

          • Joepoe123

            Sorry I thought you had wood up there instead of jackson

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    I’m on board with dealing Marmol and Soriano, but I now think the Cubs need to get at least one quality bat no lower than the high minors in those deals. Jackson, Vitters, and Watkins are the best hitters the Cubs have in the upper minors who could likely help by 2014. That’s not a bad trio, but the offense is going to need more help than that.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      One of those 24/25-year old corner outfielder types who’s squeezed out of a spot would be nice.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        That’s be a good start.

  • Soler Power

    When defeat was assured I was fine with trading Soriano for pieces that would help in the future. Now I’ve seen the light at the end of the tunnel though. Unless we get some major league ready top talent for him, I’d rather keep him and see what we can do in 2014 and to some extent even 2013.

    Also, what’s with all the former Cubs in Japan? It’s like the AAAA Cubs retirement home.

  • fromthemitten

    The Cubs might be able to get a better return on Garza by holding onto him, hoping he stays healthy, and getting a first rounder after he declines their qualifying offer.

  • Grant

    I’m not sure it makes a lot of sense to let Garza walk. If we’re going to be competitive in 2014, we’re going to need a pitcher of his caliber leading the rotation, and Shark’s about the only other guy who has a chance of being that good, and still has to prove he can be that good for a full season. There’s no way to replace Garza via free agency, and to replace him by trade will be too costly in prospects.

  • BD

    Personally- the rotation upgrades don’t change my mind about Soriano. I don’t think he should be dumped, simply because he’s not blocking anybody. But if somebody can give us a long-term asset for him, that would be great.

  • Blublud

    I wouldn’t trade Soriano now unless we were blown away with an offer. We need him very much. If we can sign 2 of the available free agent OF, then I may be more willing.

  • 2much2say

    Pay that man his money.
    Garza is going to stay with the Cubs. They are building not rebuilding at this point.
    Yes there is a price for anyone but you keep the good and purge the bad. Soriano is a keeper, he is playing to his contract so why give him away. They need a Bourn type and a Swisher bat.

  • CubFanBob

    My thoughts; Other teams presently are not giving up equal value for Soriano or Marmol, and theo/jed, unlike past Cub front offices, are not going to give away something for nothing. At this point I would almost prefer we ride them both into the season to see how the first three months play out. Sure it may backfire decreasing their trade value but it’s clear neither are drawing equal worth on the trade market. A good scenario has both increasing their value as other teams have injuries or need added pieces at the trade deadline. Or even better someone how the Cub’s play .500+ ball flirting with the wild card with both still on board.

    Kaplan and Ofman work for wgn radio. Being closer to the heart beat of the Cub’s F.O. leaves me to believe they would have the inside tracks of hints and allegations. I just dont see Garza getting us back enough minor league talent verses what a gritty healthy Garza could provide for four more years if extended.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Key word there is healthy. If the Cubs sign him to a four year extension, and he doesn’t stay healthy for four years, they aren’t getting value out of him. Safer play may well be to trade Garza once he shows he healthy, take the best return they can get, and let someone else worry about his arm falling of.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        And that comment right – perfectly reasonable in every way – is precisely why this is such a crummy situation for the Cubs. Every other team is thinking the exact same thing – they are afraid that the elbow injury is indicative of a bigger, longer-term problem. You don’t get much value in trade when there’s that kind of risk on the table.

        Which, again, is why I just wish he could show he was healthy and then sign a reasonable extension. But I couldn’t blame him for holding out and trying to really cash in next year, given the way this offseason went for pitchers.

        • cub2014

          it was my understanding that garza’s injury wasnt that severe
          and he could of come back last year but the cubs were so bad
          there was no point in risking it?

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            Your understanding of the official message is accurate. If you’re the GM of another team, do you just accept that? Or do you want more?

        • baldtaxguy

          This point must have already been made elsewhere, but in reading Brett’s posting and his comments here, maybe there is a link to Garza’s health, or the risk of a problem re-emerging, and the fact that there is currently a 7 pitcher starting staff currently. Maybe Garza and Baker are considered 6th and 7th in the rotation when consdering risk from injury, or risk from recovery.

      • fortyonenorth

        …take the best return they can get, and let someone else worry about his arm falling off

        Then again, with prospects, you have to worry about arms falling off and whether or not they can even make it to the show.

  • Noah

    Here’s my question with Garza: what sort of extension should he get? I’m not really positive I’m comfortable giving him a 5 year, $80 million extension, and he really might use Anibal Sanchez as his goal posts. Garza’s 1 year older than Sanchez and will be hitting free agency one year later. And while he was a consistent 200 inning per year guy up until this past year… you can always get concerned the wheels are falling off.

    Let me just put it this way… there’s no way I sign Garza to an Anibal Sanchez type deal today. That could change in the course of the season. If I can get him for the Edwin Jackson deal, I definitely do it. But I sincerely doubt Garza would agree to that.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      And will he insist on a no trade clause?

      • brickhouse

        I read he insisted on the no trade last year which is why they stopped talking extension. Too bad he got hurt since the rumor was he was part of a big trade with Texas for Olt and more.

  • http://BleacherNation Mugsy

    Since we survived the Apocalypse, how about some great Cub memories. Here’s one of thousands… Just found my first scorecard from a game between the Cubs and the Pirates from 1960 when I was 3. My dad kept score. Great Pirate players on that team.

  • Alou Stew

    Keep all of the pitchers! Can never have enough quality arms. What’s the saying? “Just when you think you have enough pitching, go out and get more.”? I love the current depth, but only WITH Garza. With him, the Cubs are somewhat formidable, without him the Cubs’ rotation is average at best. I understand that the Cubs aren’t “going for it” this year and the focus is building for the future, but Garz can be part of the future. He’s young, affordable, good and for some reason loves playing for the Cubs. Keep all of the pitchers!

  • OlderStyle

    Trade Soriano and Marmol for some decent if not spectacular prospects. Our offense will only go from bad to terrible. Soriano’s value is at an all-time high to trade, so is Marmol. The bullpen has been buttressed, so losing Carlos won’t be that big of a loss. Don’t dump just to relieve salary but get some quality minor leaguer lottery tix while you still can.
    This team is not going anywhere next two years, by then Soriano will be done-get the value now.
    Garza will definitely be traded. He probably wants an NTC, so no-go. Why else would the FO load up with so many pitchers? 2 swing-men, a Tommy John rebounder and a good but not great innings-eater in Jackson will not get us very far but help take up slack once Garza is gone. Meh, I’m colored satisfied but not impressed. Still waiting for Christmas in the form of star-power being signed, maybe next year.

  • Rizzo 44

    I really feel the Cubs should keep Soriano. I only say trade him in a package with Garza to get some from say the Braves or Rangers. I think a deal with the Rangers could still be done. Garza, Dan Vogelbac, and Marmaol(5M) for Mike Olt and Cody Buckel. I aslo feel like the Cubs should try and trade DeJesus to Seattle for LHP Jordan Shipers or a pitcher around that type of prospect. Cubs then sign Bourn to play CF on a 4 year deal 65M if he would take a deal that short. Also Cubs make a play for Nick Swisher to play RF 5 years 70M. I know people are going to say thats a lot of money, but it’s money well spent.
    Lineup:
    CF Bourn
    SS Castro
    1B Rizzo
    RF Swisher
    3B Olt
    LF Sappelt/BJax/Nate
    C Castillo
    2B Barney

    • BluBlud

      I really feel like the Cubs are the front runners to land Olt. The Rangers are trying to sign pitching, but are coming in on the low end or underbidding because they know they can always come back for Garza in the spring. However, if the Cubs land Olt, he will definitely go through what Rizzo went through last year and we won’t see him until Late June or july.

      I would definitely sign bourn to a 4yr/$65m deal, but I wouldn’t touch Swisher on a 5 yr/$70m dollar deal with a hundred foot pole. I like Swisher and would take him, but those numbers would be to steep. I definitely wouldn’t do it with Scott Hairston, Cody Ross and Delmon Young still available. Plus, for what they are probably going to cost, Hairston and Young would probably provide more value.

      • cub2014

        why olt? he’s hit .282 in the minors and .152 with texas. he is
        24 years old. i would rather have josh vitters .283 in the minors
        and .125 in chicago and he is 22. Interestingly vitters has hit
        over .300 at every level in his second year at that level except
        for his 1st year in proball. That being said vitters looked really
        bad, BUT AGAIN WHY OLT, HE HAS DONE NOTHING YET

        • BluBlud

          Cause Olt can play the position considerably better from the defensive side. Plus Olt provides considerably more power. I not against the Idea of Vitters either. But if we can aquire Olt, and Vitter can adjust to a corner outfield spot, thats better for us.

          • cub2014

            again vitters is not the answer, probably neither is Ian
            Stewart (he is only 27). But that is what olt could be or
            probably is. Stewart numbers minors .292, big leagues
            .232 with OBP .318 we know he is a great fielder, when
            he has over 400 AB he has hit 20 plus homers. Why consider
            a proven commodity for an absolute unknown. (Garza for Olt?)
            Cubs have better 3B prospectsstatistically in the minors than
            what olt has done.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Olt had 40 PAs with Texas, so his MLB numbers mean nothing. Olt’s minor league numbers completely trounce Vitters: .282/.391/.521 vs. .283/.327/.455. The OBP is critical: Olt walks in 15% of his miLB PAs where as Vitters walks less than 5% of the time. In theory, Vitters’ slugging might improve with age and catch Olt’s (although note the big difference!); however, batting eye is a basic tool and it is very rare for players to see marked improvement by the time they reach Vitters’ age.

          (You may now write that you can think of lots of players who improved their batting eyes. No, you can’t: there’s Sosa and that’s about it; most guys walk at the same rate throughout the miLB and MLB careers.)

          (You may now write that Vitters got a lot better in AAA last year. No, he really didn’t. Yes, his walk rate was at 6.7%, but we expect that sort of deviation simply by chance every 11 years or so, and we also know that he was deliberately taking first pitches a lot.)

          As for the Cubs being the leaders in acquiring Olt, I do not see any reason to think that there is a race for them to be leading. Yes, the Rangers supposedly were willing to offer him for Dickey: but Garza’s value is a bit less than Dickey’s given Garza’s injury and the high levels at which Dickey has pitched the last 2+ seasons. (I’m skeptical that it will last, but that’s me.) Garza + Sori != Dickey: quantity does not replace quality.

          The Rangers can move Olt to 1B or LF (depending on whether they move Kinsler to 1B or CF). They do not need to hit a panic button just to do SOMETHING!

          • cub2014

            I wouldnt call those numbers trounced. But again Olt has
            proven nothing, and as I just said Vitters looked really bad.
            Heck Ian Stewarts minor league numbers were similiar or
            better than Olts.

            • cub2014

              but trade olt for garza no way, they would have to throw in a top
              pitching prospect.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              One what planet does a 0.921 OPS not trounce a 0.782 OPS? That is dozens of more runs created in a season.

              And what hasn’t Olt proven? He’s a hot prospect who has dominated every level at which he’s played. (And don’t embarrass yourself by referring to 40 MLB PAs.)

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                Hang on a minute. Why are you using Vitters’ career numbers? He broke his wrist in (I think) 2010, and I’m sure you are well aware that wrist injuries have lingering effect that sap power (Lee, Stewart, etc.). If you want to compare apples to apples here, then compare Vitters in 2012 to Olt in 2012, but keep in mind that Vitters was (a) younger and (b) playing against tougher competition.

                Olt is the better prospect and I’ve love to have him in the farm system, but i don’t think the gap between the two is nearly as large as is being presented.

                • Rizzo 44

                  Agreed 100%

                • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

                  Luke, I don’t think a single prospect guru agrees with that.
                  Olt will be in the top 15-20, Vitters nowhere to be seen unless the list goes well past 100.

                  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                    I’d be surprised if Olt makes the Top 20. Top 50, easily.

                    And on defense, I completely agree the gap is large and all in Olt’s favor. I was only talking at the plate.

                    And I don’t see my comments regarding offensive numbers as controversial. Vitters was younger, was in Triple A, and until this season had dealt with lingering wrist problems. The fairest comparison is between their 2012 numbers, and Vitters does deserve some credit for age and level. Olt is the better prospect, but the gap is not as large as it looks if you only look at Vitters’ career numbers.

                    I’d be happy to debate any one of those points with any prospect guru.

                    I am not saying that Vitters is just slightly behind Olt or anything of that nature. Olt is the better prospect. Period. No debate. No discussion necessary. But Vitters is not bad, and he is closer to Olt than a comparison of career numbers makes it look.

                • JR

                  I think the biggest problem is that Vitters is horrible defensively at 3rd. It seems very unlikely that he can hang there in the majors. And if he’s a corner outfielder his value really sucks.

                • DocPeterWimsey

                  Ah, I’d forgotten Vitter’s wrist issue. That might make up the difference in power. So, let’s say that Vitters would have slugged in 2010 and 2011 the way he did in 2012 had he not had the wrist injury. Let’s also assume that he gets a full season in 2010 and that his BA is the same as in 2011. And let’s assume that he walked at the same rate in his healthy 2010 as he did that year (which was high for him, albeit not significantly so).

                  We now project 0.288/0.334/0.480 for “alternate Vitters.” That OPS (0.814) looks a lot better than what we got: but well below Olt’s OPS. The big difference that cannot be overcome is the huge difference in OBP that Olt gets from his superior (and, really, a very plus) batting eye.

            • hansman1982

              70 points of OBP is a HUGE deal.

              If Campana were to increase his OBP by 70 points he would be a sure-fire starter (and borderline AS) in the bigs.

        • Drew7

          Vitters is 23 – almost exactly 1 year younger than Olt, who was drafted out of college.

          Also – as Doc points out, their respective batting-averages serve almost no purpose in comparing the two as hitters.

          • cub2014

            again my point is olt is no sure thing. garza is what he is. and again vitters (no thank you) looked horrible.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              There is not such thing as a “sure thing,” so that is argument is a strawman or an argument against every trading for prospects. Olt is, however, a very probable thing, and the most “probable” thing of the young 3Bmen out there.

              Olt is sufficiently probable that I’m not sure that Garza gets him.

              • Chris

                I can’t argue whether Olt is ready or not, but I would have to disagree with you on whether Garza is enough to get him. If proven healthy, I think a starting pitcher of his caliber is worth more than just a single prospect. Regardless, I think it’s in the Cubs interest to get Garza healthy, make an attempt to resign him to a 3-4 year extension, and trade him for the best possible package if they can’t extend him. If Olt is part of that package, great. But I don’t think it makes sense to try and zero in on just Olt. This team has enough holes to go around. Build the prospect pool up and be ready to bring them up when they’re ready or turn them around and trade them for the right players, when they come available.

              • Rizzo 44

                We need power. We have a lotof pitching now so we need power and Olt gives us power. He could start right now at 3B for the Cubs and be ready for 2014. Thats just my take on it. If Vitters can play LF then I’m all for that as well. The Cubs lack power if they trade Soriano, so they have to find it some where. Olt would be a great place to start. BJax will provide power he just has to cut down on the K’s. I’m not giving up on Vitters or BJax at this point.

                • Chris

                  I wouldn’t go crazy and say we have a lot of pitching. Of the guys signed, Jackson is really the only guy that has a track record of being good. Feldman, Baker, and even Villanueva are wild cards. Trading Garza makes sense if they can’t or won’t sign him to an extension. But we can’t even speculate whether the Rangers even want him or not until he shows he’s healthy. And then after that, limiting where he’s traded to just limits the potential package they get. I just think trying to call out which prospects from other teams they should trade for is a little premature. Garza proving to be healthy is the first step in any trade discussion.

            • Drew7

              Your point isn’t flawed, it’s the data you’re using to try to prove it.

              To your point, though – if Garza is healthy, and extending him seems less risky, I agree with you: I’d hope to get a bit more than just Olt.

      • Rizzo 44

        Front load the deal with Swisher year 1 $18M year 2 $18M year 3 $16M year 4 $10M year 5 $8M. Then if gy year 4 and 5 you need to trade him to make room for other players you can at that price. He can play RF, LF, and 1B and DH win we need to do that.

        • Rizzo 44

          when

    • Voice of reason

      The last three hitters can’t hit a lick and olt is a big question mark to hop right into the bigs and you have him hitting fifth! Oh brother…. Back to the drawing board!

  • Dustin

    For all you Liriano fans wanting him to come to the Cubs, the Pirates have agreed to sign free agent left-hander Francisco Liriano to a two-year, $14MM contract

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Wait, was there more than one such person?

      • Stinky Pete

        I know a friend of mine complained yesterday that signing Jackson ruined the Cubs chances of signing Liriano. Maybe he is the “one”.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Yes, but that is only 1. We need at least three. (Just two would be “both.”)

    • Featherstone

      Liriano’s contract really makes Villaneuva’s contract look that much better by comparison .

    • MichiganGoat

      This makes the CV signing look even more impressive.

  • BigPappa

    Unless we can get a very high quality prospect at a position we are thin at, I say keep Soriano at this point. Upgade center field and trade DeJesus instead. By the time Soriano’s contract is up, hopefully we have other outfielders waiting in the wings.
    There’s no doubt that Garza’s value is not very high right now. He is going to have to prove he is healthy and effective and will most likely stay that way. I think the best play is to see how he does. If he does well and the right deal comes along, pull the trigger. Otherwise, extend him. If he doesn’t do well or gets re-injured, there’s not much we can do with him and everyone will be glad the extra depth was added this offseason.

    • cub2014

      the cubs might look for a stop gap in centerfield for this year. though
      i doubt it. If they are in a playoff chase they might try and get one
      at the trade deadline. they desperately need a leadoff hitter (i think they
      might give campana a chance out of spring training). If Almora progresses
      quickly this year he might be ready by 2014 probably not though.

      So all that being said Curtis Granderson will be a free agent after 2013
      what type of years would he be looking at?

      • Drew7

        They aren’t “desperate” to add a leadoff hitter, unless they trade DeJesus. Even if that happens, I think this FO is smart enough to know there are many, many options *far* superior to Campana.

  • ActionJackson

    I wouldn’t mind extending Garza but honestly trading Garza or Shark might be the best way to get solid young positional talent and be more competitive quicker by filling are holes. Its nice having a pitcher like Garza and Shark but if your team can’t put up runs on the board it doesn’t really matter how good a pitcher they are. Now don’t get me wrong…….I REALLY like Garza and Shark but if trading one of them or both of them can land you an Olt, Perez or Buckel. Or Gyorko, Kelly, Maybin. Possible package including Justin Upton or Stanton. Or other options i say you do it becasue you are able to improve the team in other positions by dealing from your depth and strength. Now I don’t just want to give them away but if you are able to get something that is able to improve the team in other areas then i think that is the best strategy as long as you can keep the rotation solid by doing so. Its hard now a days to find that young stud offensive player in FA because they are all getting 6-8 year extensions when they are 26 – 27 years old. The FA market is mostly made up of 30 plus year olds and its hard giving someone 15mm-25mm a year for 6 years when they are on the wrong side of 30. It hinders the team in the future through not being able to trade a 34 years old on the decline who has a $18mm a year contract for 4 more years or not being able to sign the rare 27 year old FA stud because it is going to take 8 years and $20mm a year but your roster is filled with a few 34-37 year old declining vetrerans still owed $200mm over the next few years and there is not room to add a large contract.

    Now if there was some way you can add young talent through trade without giving up Garza or Shark then I AM ALL FOR IT!!!!

  • Don

    Why all this talk about trading Garza? Sign him to an extension. Who are the Cubs going to find in the market that is better than Garza? Lock him up for a 4 year extension as he will help cubs win world series in 2014 -2015.

  • Rhino70

    My opinions…

    If the Cubs get a decent offer for either Soriano or Marmol before the season starts, they should make the deal(s). If nothing decent comes up before then, wait until the trading deadline. If they’re performing, they will draw interest from the playoff contenders.

    As for Garza, they should wait for the trade deadline to make a decision. If he shows he’s healthy, a playoff contender will overpay for him at that point. If he’s not completely healthy by the trading deadline, the Cubs will have until the end of the season to decide whether they let him walk or offer him a short-term contract, perhaps 1 yr w/option(s), to improve his health.

    As for trading Samardzija, I hope they only consider it under a particular set of circumstances. First, they get absolutely blown away with offer(s) for him. Second, Garza is 100% healthy and willing to sign a 4-5 year extension. Third, Arodys Vizcaino shows he is 100% healthy and ready to step into the rotation this year. The first could happen at any time, but the second and third won’t be known until around the trading deadline.

    Ideally, I’d like to see Garza moved at the deadline, and the rotation centered around Samardzija and Vizcaino going forward.

  • http://bleachernation Ferris

    These are some deals we could do(not unrealistic)

    If we pay 7mm of marmols deal to det. for porcello

    sign jp howell 3 yr 10mm

    junior lake to oak. for crisp

    dejesus to sea. for ptbnl

    sori and 26mm to one of phil/tx/nyy/tb

    sign cody ross 2yr 15mm.

    lineup
    cf-crisp
    2b-watkins/barney
    ss-castro
    1b-rizzo
    lf-ross
    3b-stewart
    rf-shurholtz/sappelt
    c-castillo/navaro

    rotation-garza,shark,jackson,porcello,5th-baker/fieldman/wood/villenueva….

    • cub2014

      crisp last 4 years and trending down .265 avg .332 obp 45 rbi 35 sb.
      (and those numbers were in the AL) obp is pretty good i guess it depends
      on his contract because why tie up money unless you are really going
      to upgrade the position.

      • http://bleachernation Ferris

        crisp is owed 7mm for one yr,if the kids in aaa are ready in 14 its perfect fit.

  • Randy

    What is with people saying trade Garza and prospects for Olt? Have you not noticed that a top prospect for a established pitcher is not trade value. Garza for Olt straight up is not even a good trade. Olt is no guarantee to be a huge star. If you look at his MLB numbers this year, they are comparable to what Vitters numbers, but everyone is ready to give up on Vitters. The Cubs should get Olt and some other top prospects just for Garza especially once he shows he is healthy. I say keep him and extend him because he will be one of the better free agent pitchers available next off-season.

    • Chris

      I think it’s logical to try and extend Garza, now that they’ve tipped their hand and started to spend money on a rotation. This makes them losing Sanchez back to Detroit that much more painful. But I think they are smart to lock into a certain dollar range when it comes to signing pitchers to longer deals. $12-13 milliion a year for Jackson seems pretty reasonable. Greinke got a helluva lot more money, and I don’t think he’s as measurably better than Jackson. He’s better, but not almost twice as good. And by the time Jackson’s deal expires, hopefully some of the younger prospects are pushing through to the majors to take over rotation spots. The problem with signing Garza to an extension is how much money does he want. If he’s asking for Greinke dollars, I have to say see ya later Matt. Offering him a 4 year, $15 mil average salary seems like a fair offer. Sanchez-type dollars. If he won’t take that, then they are smart to move him for prospects.

    • BluBlud

      I agree Randy. People are acting like Olt is the next coming of Jesus or something. He a good player, that I want the cubs to aquire, but it’s not going to take the farm to get him. If Garza is traded for Olt straight, i would take only because I will know then Garza wasn’t going to be around next year anyway, so it something. But it definitely woundn’t cost us more then Garza.

      • BluBlud

        damn, I need an edit button.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Olt will hit much better than Jesus Alou did.

      • Chris

        I say forget Olt for now. Garza must demonstrate that he’s healthy. Then the Cubs must be certain he won’t sign an extension at terms acceptable to the club. Once those things are checked off, the Cubs must get tthe best offer then can for him. It would be great to pick up an heir apparent for 3rd base, but trying to zero in on one particular player is silly. And I absolutely agree that Olt is not a sure thing. The Cubs have enough younger players in the system that play the position, so picking up one more 3rd base prospect is not enough. Just get the best package you can for him, and if it includes Olt, great. They can’t allow him to walk away via free agency, only getting a sandwich draft pick for him in 2014. That would be a bad blunder.

  • Chris

    I think they’ll make one more end run at Garza for an extension and then be prepared to move him. Given the new-found pitching depth, any big trade they make would have to include a major-league ready 3rd baseman. Despite comments made, Marmol is probably out the door, as this regime sets a premium on guys who can consistently throw strikes and stay ahead of hitters. I’m on the fence with Soriano. If you can get the previously mentioned 3rd baseman for him, you have to move him. But he provides offensive production that the Cubs just don’t have with the rest of the lineup. He serves a purpose and his money is already spent. Turn him into a long term, major league ready prospect, or let him play his contract out. Seems to me like Feldman and Baker are also guys that will be moved in trades at the deadline, provided they are actually performing and have value. Villanueva will be a swing guy. Vizcaino might be ready to start at the deadline. And the lesser minor league arms, and Travis Wood, can round out the back of the rotation, should some of these guys get moved. But Jackson and Shark appear to be the mainstays now, and next year’s free agent crop will help them fill out the rotation, if trades don’t. Just with the Jackson move, I’m much more optimistic about 2014 and beyond. They’ll still suck in 2013, but I think they’ve telegraphed their plans to speed up the rebuild process next year by going after Sanchez and Jackson.

  • Tommy

    I wonder if Kaplan is speculating or if he has a source that makes him think the Cubs are all but set to deal Garza at this point. If you believe what Theo said in the past about needing starting pitching 9-10 deep,

    I don’t see why they’d be anxious to get rid of him now, unless he’s still adamant about the no-trade clause. I’ve got to think that Garza is worth much more to us than he would be in trade right now, for all the reasons Brett listed in the article.

    My personal feelings are that we should keep him if we can resign him without a no-trade clause. It is funny how we think about that now, 3 years ago, that wasn’t even something that would have even crossed my mind.

  • JR

    Interesting Stuff.. The thing I would really love to know about Garza is does his injuries the last couple years in his elbow show a weakness that will ultimately lead to a bigger injury, like TJS? What other MLB players have had similar injuries and what happened to them several yrs down the road? I think these are the questions the Cubs and other teams are asking right now. Anyone have any info on this? I can’t find jack on it..

  • jesus zuniga

    Trade graza for mike ott n alexa ugando?
    Pull the trigger….

  • JR

    Brett, what about putting a deal together for Garza, but give the other team some protection? LIke if he goes down with a serious injury in the season the Cubs send back a prospect or 2? There are so many questions about Garza that I think something like this will protect the other team a little bit, but maximize a Garza package.

  • Randy

    Hey lets spend so much time on minor league numbers because they mean so much. I mean look at what Lahair did and he became an all-star right!!! So lets trade Garza straight up for Olt because he is going to be a star even though he has around a 33% strike out rate. How did that work out for Jackson in the Majors?

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Actually, yeah, miLB numbers do mean a lot. And, yeah, a lot of people warned that LaHair’s AAA numbers as a 28 year old meant something completely different from Rizzo’s similar numbers as a 21 year old.

      Olt’s K rate (25%, not 33%) is a source for some concern, but his walk rate and high slugging will (probably!) still make him valuable.

  • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor (no relation)

    The starting pitching logjam is incentive enough for clubs to deal us some offense. I think Eric Young from the Rockies would be a good pickup (even though they want to deal Dexter Fowler). If we trade DeJesus to Seattle, then, we platoon Schierholtz and Sappelt in RF, Young leading-off in CF, and sign Scott Hairston in LF after we trade Soriano. I’d try and pry Shane Peterson away from the A’s for Barney + Marmol/Stewart. That way, Young can play 2B when Jackson or whoever is ready in the OF in the second half of 2013/beginning 2014.

    CF Young (S)
    RF Schierholtz (L) / Sappelt
    SS Castro
    1B Rizzo (L)
    LF Hairston
    3B Stewart (L) / Valbuena (L)
    C Castillo / Navarro
    2B Barney

    2014:
    2B Young (S)
    3B Baez
    1B Rizzo (L)
    RF Soler / Hairston
    LF Peterson (L)
    SS Castro
    CF Jackson (L) / Sappelt
    C Saltalamacchia (S) —> FA in 2014 / Castillo

    IF Valbuena (L)
    BN Lake/Vitters

    SP Price (L) —>blockbuster deal w/Tampa
    SP Samardzija
    SP Baker
    SP Jackson
    SP Vizcaino/Negrin/Wood(L)/Bowden/Reed

    RP Howell (L) —> if we sign him this year
    RP Lim
    RP Castillo/Dolis
    RP McNutt
    RP Rosario/Rondon
    SU Russell (L)
    CL Fujikawa

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Young does not have the slugging or OBP to be a regular player and at 27, he’s not going to get any better. (He’ll get worse without Coors to inflate his numbers, if that’s possible!) He certainly is not qualified to bat leadoff for an MLB team.

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