matt garza chinTo even the casual observer, Matt Garza’s outing last night was impressive. He was showing pre-injury velocity, good breaking stuff, and he was getting plenty of swings and misses. Good, good, right?

Did scouts see the same thing that we did? According CBS’s Danny Knobler, at least one scout did. That scout, who partly joked to Knobler that he’d take Garza “NOW,” said that the velocity looked good, the stuff looked good, the ability to throw all of his pitches looked good, and Garza wasn’t “babying” his breaking pitches. All very good signs.

Obviously it’s great to hear that scouts were impressed, and it would be great for the Cubs to have the option of shopping Garza to the highest bidder in July. But don’t let the buzz get to your head just yet.

Even if Garza is completely healthy, and even if teams have no fear that he will remain healthy throughout the rest of the season, there is still a reason to clutch your prospects tightly when dealing for Garza.

He’s merely a rental.

By the time the Cubs seriously shop Garza – if they do at all – there will be just two or two and a half months left in the season. Garza might give your team 10 to 12 starts over that stretch. How much is even the best pitcher worth for just a handful of starts? In the days of the prior CBA, a team could send off a top prospect or two for Garza, and resign itself to the fact that, even if it couldn’t re-sign Garza after the season, the team would still get a compensatory draft pick or two for its trouble.

Now, players traded midseason do not qualify for draft pick compensation. So, a team trading for Garza is getting nothing more than just those handful of starts and a shot at the playoffs.

That said, teams greatly value that shot at the playoffs. And a guy like Garza very much could be the difference between playing in October or sitting at home. Indeed, Garza may prove to be the single best trade chip available on the market for improving your 2013 team.

These competing concepts make the Garza value proposition difficult to articulate. Team A might be willing to part with no more than a top ten system prospect for him. Team B might be willing to part with a top 100 overall prospect.

It seems like, assuming health and effectiveness, the majority of interested trade partners are likely to fall into the latter category. And, if their recent trading history tells us anything, we can safely assume that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer aren’t going to pull the trigger on a Garza trade until they feel like they’ve maximized value (indeed, sometimes they hold out to a fault).

Hopefully this year it works.

… if they don’t sign him to an extension, that is.

  • BluBlud

    I can’t make up my mind on Garza. I don’t think i’d be upset if we traded him or signed him. If the haul is overwhelming, then trade him, but if all we are getting is a top 10 organization player, I say re up his contract. Hell, if he walks, the sandwich pick will probably turn into a top 10 organization player at some point anyway..

  • mjhurdle

    That is all well and good, but where is the report on what the scouts thought about Camp’s outing last night?
    How are his trade possibilities lining up?

  • ETS

    I think qualifying offer is our best route to take here, and if he looks healthy this time next year then extend him.

  • LouBrown

    I would agree with you Blu. Holding onto him for the year, you can make a QO, which would reduce his value as a FA signing. So you either get him to sign a friendlier extension, or you get a nice sandwich pick. It is interesting under this CBA, it makes less sense to be either a buyer or a seller.

  • http://Bleachernation Loyal100more

    Extend him quick… Before he goes on a tear. his trade value as a rental isn’t gonna bring us a return that out weighs having him in the rotation. Say 4yr 50M?

    • Hebner the Gravedigger

      Disagree. If Garza goes on a tear, then GM’s will be lining up to trade for him. There are GM’s that would love to obtain the hot hand to ride into the playoffs. If Garza shows flashes of that pitcher people thought could become an ace, then use the chip.

      • Boogens

        Agreed. Garza will be very motivated to perform at his highest level because this is his walk year. He could be the poster boy for riding the hot hand.

    • itzscott

      >> Extend him quick… <<


      Sign him now without a no-trade clause and THEN shop him immediately.

      • BluBlud

        Right, because that’s how you attract all the big time free agent to your team.

        • itzscott

          We’ve seen how going the free agent route works….

          The good ones are locked in…..

          Not many difference makers available going forward….

          Slim pickins….

          Scouting, Drafting & Development are the trend….

          The trend is your friend.

    • jay

      Considering his recent injury history has to have reduced his expected salary demands, at least in the short run, I would be very interested in extending him ASAP. A rotation of Smardj, Garza, Wood, and Jackson matches up pretty well with just about any other team. True, you’ve still got to fix that trainwreck of a bullpen but that can be done in one month. As the Giants have proven recently, you don’t need studs at every position—just not total scrubs—as long as the pitching’s there.

  • Cubbie Blues

    Someone will bite with a good offer on Garza. There will always be that one GM out there that will take the bait and that will *always* be true (until it isn’t, then, that statement will no longer be valid).

  • Fastball

    His options are insurance agent or car salesmen

  • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

    As much as Theo and Jed “hope” to be contenders by next year I think it is pretty obvious we are atleast 3 years out. 2 years being best case scenario. Its a coin flip on if a 4 year deal actually gets it done. If it does, does it have to come with a no trade? If that is the case it won’t get done. I see him getting traded because some team will have the itchy trigger finger and feel it is best to go for it.

    • EQ76

      ” I think it is pretty obvious we are at least 3 years out” – You do realize that with a decent bullpen we’d be a couple games over .500 right now.

      • Danny Ballgame

        “right now” being the key. Yes, the bullpen has been turrible, but we have some major holes that won’t be hidden the entire season.

        • EQ76

          true… my point really is that we could be around a .500 team now with a producing bullpen.. which means that a good trade or signing or 2 next year and this team could be in the hunt. Keep in mind, Castro hasn’t really gotten hot yet, Garza just returned, Baker is still out there.. this team could easily be closer to contending than 3 years or so.

  • JoeyCollins

    I’m still leaning towards extending him, but I would probably be happy either way. It’s hard to hope for one or the other when we have so little information. As we get closer to the trade deadline, and start hearing rumors about what teams are willing to give up in return, it should be easier to lean one way or the other. I’d also love to hear what Garza is thinking in terms of contract if we were to extend. Until we have more facts all i’m hoping for is Garzas continued success on the mound so the front office can better determine his true value.

  • Moises Canchola

    I def agree i dont mind if we trade or sign him. What i would mind is who we trade him for or how much money and years we sign him for. I dont want another Ryan Dempster mess up.

    • Rich H

      How is Dempster’s trade a mess up? I still do not get this. What because it was leaked or because he supposedly refused? The return we got for him may very well be our starting 3rd baseman and a possible 4/5 starter. I think that is solid return. Is it sexy? No but no one is going to give up huge prospects on a 36 year old rental that was pitching well above his norm. The deal with Atlanta did not happen for good reasons we just may never know exactly what they were.

  • Berselius

    Wouldn’t be surprised to see if the Cubs just keep him and give him a qualifying offer. They’d probably get something better back than what they would get for a rental. They could also threaten Garza with it, given how it hurts his FA chances, but maybe he wants a long term deal.

  • Patrick G

    Mets got Wheeler for 3 months of Beltran, if a team is desperate, they will part with good prospects

    • Brett

      Beltran came with draft pick compensation.

      • BluBlud

        Brett, this is the biggest part. Team are less likely to throw top prospects around with the new CBA rules on compensation. that’s why extended might be the better option.

        • noisesquared

          If a team looks at Garza as a long term piece, it makes sense to trade for him though. If you wait til the offseason, you’ll lose a 1st rounder if you win the bidding. Trade for him now, not only do you get help this season, that team also gets a head start in contract negotiations and no loss of a first rounder to sign him.

      • Patrick G

        Mer. I would love to have Cubs trade him for a haul to a contender and then just tell him well make him an offer in the offseason. A man can dream

  • oswego chris

    This may be overly simplistic, but here is why I would look to extend or at least do the qualifying offer…

    Are you going to get back a prospect, who when he is 28, is as good as…Matt Garza?…probably not…yes you get more years under control etc….but I just wouldn’t trade Feldman, Garza, and whoever else unless you get the deal you want…the Dempster deal last year was not the deal the Cubs’ wanted….and with pitching as scarce as it is I would be content to have Feldman and Garza as 2014 options over sub-par prospects

    Garza is only a few months older than Smard(spellcheck) I believe…

    • BluBlud

      Oswego, exactly. If you get blown away with a top prospect, yes, trade him. If not, try to extend/re-up, if not give him QO, and draft the guy you want next June. Trading for 1 guy who might or might not make, or who doesn’t have a high probability of making it makes no sense.

      • Norm

        But drafting a guy who is further away and LESS likely to make it, does make sense?

      • willis

        I also completely agree with this. He can be a good piece to the contending puzzle. Unless you get blown away, keep him and make him a team friendly extension offer or a QO, either way isn’t a huge risk and he can be the #2 or #3 in a very good rotation.

    • Cyranojoe

      Interesting, Garza is just a year and about a month older than Shark. That said, I’m pretty sure he’s got a ton more innings on that arm than Samardzija has got.

  • David

    Is it possible to get the best of both world’s: trade him for max value, then sign him in the off season? Any rules preventing this from happening?

    • jay

      Nothing preventing it, but if he goes to a contender and pitches the way they expect, they’ll either lock him up or he’ll hit the market and get top dollar or close to it. And if he tanks, we won’t want him back either.

      • David

        I think he likes the cubs/ Theo & what they are trying to do. It appears he would like to stay. I love his attitude, leadership & work ethic. Trading him and signing him in the off season would be the perfect scenario so I say we go for gold and go balls out.

    • oswego chris

      In theory this makes sense…people talk about it all of the time…trade him, get something and then sign him in the off-season…the problem is…it almost never happens…I can’t think of one off the top of my head…it just does not seem to work out…

      • DocPeterWimsey

        The closest that we’ve seen in recent years is Cliff Lee: but he was traded in the off-season by the Phils, and then re-signed by the Phils during the next off-season. (He was traded at the deadline, too, just for good measure.)

        • oswego chris

          good point Doc!…there you go, in a perfect world it’s a great strategy

  • mjhurdle

    I would prefer to trade him, but would not mind an extension.
    And while rational minds may not think that we would get enough back for Garza as a rental, just look at what Anahiem gave for a Grienke rental.
    There seems to always be a GM willing to pay a bit more than what most people think is smart.

  • PKJ

    With the lack of available talent on the free agent market, Garza looks like one of the best available. Sign him to an Anibal Sanchez-type deal. He’s as good if not better than Sanchez.

  • Zach

    The brewers got segura and a couple other guys for greinke. At that time greinke only pitched good at home

    • bbmoney

      Yeah, but Greinke > Garza by quite a bit.

      • mjhurdle

        i wouldn’t say that. Grienke has been in the game longer, but if you look at the stats, i think that you could actually argue that a healthy Garza is better than Grienke.
        Both are durable, high SOs, 3.5-3.9 ERA, 1.2 WHIP pitchers. Garza has been tested in the AL East, while Grienke played the majority of his career in the AL Central.
        Both are very good, but i don’t think there is a dramatic “better” option between the two. Depending on what stats you prefer, you could argue one over the other, but not by much.

        • Featherstone

          Greinke has the attention of the media because of his ridiculous numbers posted during his Cy Young season. Trophies shouldn’t mean anything, but they do.

          • Crazyhorse

            For the most part trophies dont mean anything is true except it usually means some type of accomplishment in the past. And if a player earns many trophies i guess that might mean a solid history of performance. Dont knock the trophy or the player that earns them .

        • bbmoney

          Well their FIP’s and x FIPs disagree with most of that. Greinke 8k / 9 Garza 7.6k / 9. Greinke 2.3 BB/9, Garza 3.1 BB/9. Which are both relatively small differences but puts the K/BB ratios at 3.5 vs 2.45. But most importantly for this comparison is that Greinke has never had a history of significant elbow issues, specifically not elbow issues that kept him from pitching for 10 months up until 2 months before the deadline at which he was traded.

          I say all of this as a big fan of Garza. But Greinke was more valuable, likely by quite a bit, than Garza is today.

          Also, keep in mind Segura was a pretty highly thought of prospect, but no one expected him to do really anything close to what he’s doing so far this year either.

        • Voice of Reason

          If both were on the market today Garza has more value and it has nothing to do with pitching.

          Greinke is due a ton and I mean a ton of money through 2018. Garza is a few agent at the end of the year.

          Unless the dodgers want to eat a lot of paper that makes Garza so much more appealing that its not funny.

          And, that high dollar amount limits where greinke can go as there are only a few teams that can take on his god awful contract.

    • Saving grace

      Greinke is viewed as a 1,some even look at him as an ace,i personally don’t
      Garza is viewed as a 2/3 or a 3 Thats how the Red Sox view him.
      Sox viewed Dempster as a 4
      Sometimes we have to think about how we overview our players.

      That doesn’t mean on some teams they would be higher by default.Last year Dempster ended up being our #1

      Garza would fit nicely into any rotation as a strong 3, or 2/3

  • Tyron

    I’d say sign him ,draft kris Bryant!!*

  • A_Mazz_Ing

    I personally would like to keep Garza. He loves it here and I think he’d take a discount. He’s still in his prime for our competitive window.


    And that’s without acquiring another starter…

    • Voice of Reason

      You honestly like that rotation?

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Well, it would be a good-to-very-good rotation, albeit not a great one. However, you win seasons by combining good-to-great hitting with great-to-good pitching, particularly great-to-good starting pitching. Give that rotation run-support and a non-BP bullpen, and that team would be competitive.

  • Voice of Reason

    I don’t want to be average.

    That rotation has major question marks and mediocrity written all over it.

    • Dynastyin2017

      Well, it’s like everything else about the Cubs. It has plenty of potential, but nothing guaranteed. Garza, Shark and Appel/Gray have the potential to be #2 starters. That is more than most major league teams have. Jackson eats inning (history says he should anyway). Wood..who knows?
      With an above average offense, that could be a playoff caliber staff.

      • Voice of Reason

        I don’t want Garza.
        Wood could be a solid three, but a handful of starts does not a solid career make.

        Shark has solid #3 written all over him. Ditto Jackson.

        You can’t speculate on college kids. Too many variables.

        • Norm

          Shark and Wood have same potential in your eyes?

          • Voice of Reason

            They don’t have the potential to be number one starters but shark has potential to be #2 and wood a #3.

            Ultimately I think shark ends up a 3 and wood a 4 or 5.

        • Dynastyin2017

          So what is your suggestion on building a pitching staff.

          Are we going to trade Garza for someone better than him. Too many variables.

          • Voice of Reason

            Keep doing what they’re doing. Let these kids pitch and see what you have.

            Then when you are ready to compete you trade for a starter who fits what you need like the royals did with shields.

            The cubs will have more money to spend than Kansas city so 3 years from now maybe the dodgers will want to cut salary and trade us Kershaw or maybe we get king Felix.

            You develop your kids and then fill the holes. Its the same way with position players.

            • YourResidentJag

              Except that other than supposed drafting of Appel/Gray, who really would the Cubs have in their farm system? Not sold on Vizcaino being a SP. So, you’ll wait longer for top SP to come to the Cubs? So, you’re projection of this team being competitive is 2016? 2017 and after Theo’s contract ends? What if an unexpected crappy team (like the Blue Jays) or another team like the Rockies or White Sox engage in a sell-off and its puts the Cubs further down in the 2014 draft position. With SP scarce, can the Cubs really afford to trade Garza or whomever else just for the sake of saying “Yep, we got young pieces. Fringe young pieces.”

  • Voice of Reason

    Garza needs to go for more young talent.

    Too many innings on that arm and its starting to show. Trade him before he is hurt again.

    Stick to the plan.

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    Since Ian Stewart has not been our answer at 3B how about a trade with the Orioles ? I have noticed that the O’s have recalled Danny Valencia from triple aaa to help their woeful DH stats. I would offer Soriano & pay most of his salary straight up for Valencia who would platoon with Valbuena and cut our 37 year old Ransom for the 28 year old Valencia to fill that wasted roster spot. Then we could play Sweeney / Hairston in LF moving forward.
    Also saw the O’s are looking for starting pitcher – maybe Feldman for prospect LHP Harder.

    • Danny Ballgame

      Get on the horn. If it is possible, I like the move

    • Voice of Reason

      The cubs want to move soriano and would have done so last year.

      Your trade offer is fine.

      The problem is soriano doesn’t want to leave and since that pin head he dry gave him a no trade contract we are stuck with him

      • Blublud

        Soriano is a 10-5 guy, and has been since 2007. Even without the no-trade clause, he would be able to block a deal.

        • Blublud

          Sorry. Has been since 2011

          • DarthHater

            Come on, Blu. He’s “Voice of Reason,” not “Voice of Facts.” 😉

    • Saving grace

      I’ve heard alot about the O’s being interested in Feldman

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    Sorry that LHP is 19 year old Josh Hader with O’s for Feldman. He is 13th ranked player in O’ system.

  • Saving grace

    I’m hearing Seattle being mentioned as a good fit for Soriano.

    I think he’d veto it thou ,they have worse weather than San Fran and he wouldn’t go there

  • Saving grace

    Theo came from Boston
    I think he views Garza as a 2/3 or solid 3 like the Red Sox do.
    It’s his people there now.
    I have a friend with the Sox and he fills me in occasionally on things that he can

    So i think they really want to deal Garza
    Texas seems the right fit Olt and some prospects seems to work for us too

    • Patrick G

      Olt has been tremendously bad this season. I don’t know, but I feel his stock has dropped a little

      • Saving grace

        Olt suffered a concussion in the Dominican league this winter and has been suffering from vision issues
        The feeling is the vision issues are related to the concussion
        So the bad start to this year is something other than his abilities

        If anything it may make him easier to aquire

  • Mike

    Can all of you stop assuming that

    1.) The cubs will end this season with a guaranteed Top 3 pick in the draft
    2.) The cubs will even draft Gray/Appel with that high pick. What if they pick Bryant?
    3.) Gray/Appel get picked by Cubs AND develop as quickly and phenomenally as you all expect

    All of these question marks are just one of the reason why I want us to extend Garza (along with slim pitching market and his effectiveness approaching a prime age window)

    There is a lot of upside and potential with Travis Wood. Being this young and off to a hot start, he could prove that he has the elite stuff he showed in his rookie year. If he finishes this year strong and continues the consistency into 2014 that would do wonders for the rotation. What the Cubs need is a bonafide ace (i know its hard to come by now and I know Price is scaring everyone) and this is what the rotation should look like


    • DarthHater

      Can you please stop assuming that everyone is assuming whatever views you happen to disagree with?

      • Mike

        In everybody’s rotation predictions they have Appel/Gray thrown in there. You can’t deny that we need to be realistic in the fact that the prospects may not work out or even exist in our system