matt garza chinPeter Gammons doesn’t always provide a lot of context for his reports these days, but you can’t deny that he’s got his sources. And I guess one of them was spilling beans on the San Diego Padres’ desire to pick up a starting pitcher. Specifically, Matt Garza.

Gammons reports that, according to a GM source, there is something going on between the Padres and Cubs involving Garza, Padres’ outfield prospect Reymond Fuentes, and two other unnamed prospects. Gammons doesn’t go any further than that, and you have to do a little dot-connecting to even get that far. Are these preliminary talks? Another GM speculating? Is this something that’s actually on the table? Are those other two prospects any good?

I suspect that, if there are specific prospect names being floated, the talks are a shade beyond preliminary. That said, it’s still June. As we know, during trade season, front office executives talk to dozens of other front office executives about hundreds of possible trades. The vast majority fizzle before they even become a realistic possibility. Just be careful about getting too caught up in every single rumor.

This one, however, does have some superficial appeal. The Padres are in the market for a starting pitcher, according to a recent Jon Heyman report. And, given their budgetary constraints, they’d likely be looking to pick up an inexpensive option or one that comes from a team that can send cash (like the Cubs). A good chunk of the Cubs’ front office came over from the Padres (GM Jed Hoyer, VP of Scouting and Player Development Jason McLeod, and Scouting Director Jaron Madison), so they certainly know the system well, and probably have pet favorites they’d like to import.

As for Fuentes, specifically, he’s a former Red Sox first round pick who was – you guessed it – traded to the Padres in the Adrian Gonzalez deal (with Anthony Rizzo). An outfielder, Fuentes mostly played center field until this year, when he’s been shifted primarily to right field. In right field, his bat doesn’t play nearly as well, because he’s a speedy guy without a lot of pop. He’s repeating AA this year as a 22-year-old and killing it there (.332/.419/.472), but really struggled in his first go around at the level (.218/.301/.302 with 133 Ks in 541 PAs – ouch). Because of that down 2012 season, he’d fallen off of most folks top 10/top 20 Padres prospect lists coming into this season. That makes him a nice buy low candidate (if, for example, the Cubs front office knows something about that 2012 season or adjustments he’s made this year), but it doesn’t make him a particularly attractive centerpiece in a Garza deal – especially in late June when the market hasn’t fully developed yet.

If the Cubs dealt Garza (and cash) to the Padres for Fuentes and two prospects, well, I couldn’t really call that a win or a loss until I knew the identities of the other two prospects. Did Gammons list Fuentes because he was the biggest name in the deal? Or is that the only name he was told/only name he recognized immediately, and the other prospects are arguably better? If it’s the former, well, it’s hard to see the deal making sense for the Cubs. Which is to say I’m guessing the explanation hews more closely to that second possibility.

Fuentes, for his part, looks like a quality outfield prospect. And, despite the Cubs’ outfield talent lower in the system, they could probably use a young outfielder who is theoretically ready to step in as a starter in 2014. It remains to be seen whether Fuentes even is that kind of guy, but I imagine that would be the thinking.

We’ll see if more smoke comes out of this Garza/Padres stuff, or if Gammons was merely reporting one of many preliminary Garza-related rumors that are probably swirling right now.

  • Adam

    I could handle Feldman for Fuentes.

    I want some SP in return however for Garza.

    • willis

      Yep, amen to that.

    • Rebuilding

      Well, we know that Epstein and Hoyer absolutely love guys they’ve drafted and traded for in the past. They also seem to think arm injuries are an inefficiency. so if its Casey Kelly included then I think you have to do it. When it comes to the Padres org I think you’ve got to trust the FO

      • Rich H

        Yeah they know them better than any other system this side of Boston. That does not mean I will not be really apprehensive till I see the return.

    • Tony

      Well said. As Brett said, we’d need to see what else that package for Garza would include, but a SP prospect is a must.

  • willis

    Don’t like this idea.

    Pitching-don’t have much

    OF-have some.

    So trade arguably the best arm for an OF and two others…no thanks Gammons.

  • North Side Irish

    I like the idea of Fuentes as a buy low candidate, but that isn’t exactly what I was hoping for as the headliner of a Garza deal. He’s an intriguing prospect, but I am hoping for pitching.

  • Coop

    Padres have several pitchers that have recently gone under the knife… prime Cubs targets…

    • Kygavin

      Cory Luebke is a personal favorite of mine. Not a prospect but still a TJ guy set to come back later this year

    • willis

      Jesus please no more TJ recovery projects. It’s worked at a…well 0% rate thus far.

    • North Side Irish

      What about Rymer Liriano…he’s an OFer, but he did have elbow surgery…he’d be more like the Vizcaino trade last season.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Reymond Fuentes for garza? Definitely would need those 2 other prospects to be good prospects. Not blown away by Fuentes. Definitely a good prospect but I agree feldman and maybe dejesus for him. Not garza, need more

  • Ben (BG2383)

    I would probably rather the Cubs make him a qualifying offer than take the Padres offer assuming Fuentes is centerpiece, but I am not paid to know these things :)

  • nkniacc13

    Brett do you think that the Cubs could be both buyers and sellers at the deadline? Did these two teams ever agree to the Compenstation for Hoyer and others?

    • Andy

      Compensation is done for the front office. Red Sox got Chris Carpenter for Theo, and the Padres got cash for Hoyer/ McLeod.

      And the only way they “buy” at the deadline is if they get a prospect who is ML ready. In theory, the Dempster to Braves for Delgado deal that never happened would have been buying and selling because Delgado would have been in the rotation for the rest of the season. Unless they make a move similar to that, no way they buy more than prospects.

  • cms0101

    Fuentes as the throw-in prospect would be acceptable, with the other unnamed prospects as the headliners. Not sure who those headliners would need to be, but they’d have to be good names. It seems like there’s some smoke here, but not a ton of fire. Now maybe teams can start the bidding up from Fuentes and prospects. Having Gammons float it for purposes of information release to the other 29 teams wouldn’t be above the FO, I don’t believe.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    How about Freid and for Reymond Fuentes for Garza? That would get my attention but that would be a hefty price for garza

  • steve123

    How about Dejesus and Garza for Fuentes, Donn Roach, and Max Fried? We can send all the $ to pay for Dejesus and Garza along. This may be something they would consider, because Venable has sucked this year.

    • John

      Padres aren’t that stupid to include Max Fried. Austin Hedges, Matthew Wisler, and Fuentes are probably the best the cubs will be able to do. Just no way the Padres will include a top 5 left handed pitcher in all of the minors for a rental.

      • Dustin S

        Wisler would be one of the names that would fall in the McLeod/Hoyer guy category. Fuentes/Wisler/+1 decent prospect might be real close.

  • Rebuilding

    I think you guys are being a little hard on Fuentes. He really struggled last year but was barely 21 in AA. He’s been sensational this year and is still one of the youngest players in the league. If reports of his defense are true then I think he is a really nice piece for half a year of a pitcher that just missed a big chunk of time with an arm injury. If a couple of high upside arms are included I’m really intrigued

    • steve123

      I am only interested if one of those arms is one of the padres top 10 (Kelly, Erlin, Fried, Wisler)

    • nkniacc13

      the issue isn’t that we wouldn’t want him the issue is when you trade Garza who is your biggest chip and you have a need for pitching in the system then an OF can’t really be the center piece of a deal.

  • cjdubbya

    I was thinking the same as Serious Cubs Fan – how ’bout Max Fried? Because that’d be a nice get.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Reymond Fuentes is play corner OF this year. He’s hitting for avg and OBP is good but you’d like to see more power from a corner OFer.

    • TWC

      Pretty sure that Ace noted that in the fifth paragraph, above.

  • AD

    I also saw that James Russell is a potential target for the Braves. Is he worth a prospect in the 5-10 range or more like the 10-20 range?

    • nkniacc13

      With the years on control he still has your going to see a deal like the marshal deal for the Cubs to entertain a serious offer

    • John

      I would say anywhere from the 8 to 20 range. You would think that the cubs could get somewhere in comparison as the Sean Marshall deal ( Maybe not quite as good ).

      • AD

        Looking at the Braves’ System, I really like Cody Martin (#10) and Joe Terdoslavich (#14).

    • Michael

      Please for the love of god I hope we don’t trade with the Brave’s. Nothing good ever comes out of a trade with Atlanta.

  • Ced landrum

    I can’t believe that Fried would be an option.

    • Brett

      I don’t believe he would be on the table, either.

    • nkniacc13

      well he isn’t a Hoyer/McLeon draftee which I think Gammons said when mentioning the 2 unnamed possible prospects

  • Adam

    Considering Garza’s comp is Anibal Sanchez, and the Tigers gave up Jacob Turner, Rob Brantly and Brian Flynn, for Sanchez and Infante, there is no way that Garza is fetching Fuentes as a headliner.

  • sclem21

    I work in the Texas League and Fuentes is a lot of fun to watch, serious burner. Have to wonder if Casey Kelly is among the others involved since he is a former Red Sox prospect as well…plus he fits the ‘buy-low on injured/coming back from injury pitchers with upside’ mold that we seem to target.

    Fuentes struggled in ’12 but would have been an All-Star…but a hamstring injury is keeping him out. Sort of a red flag for a speed guy, but I don’t hear that it’s supposed to be very serious…

    • sclem21

      would have been an all-star in 2013** that should say

    • Brett

      Thanks for the eyes-on, sclem.

  • Rcleven

    If there any deal with the Pads it would have to start with Grandal. None of their pitching prospects are too exciting. Fuentes seems like a lot like the outfielders we all ready have in the system.
    Don’t see a good match unless it is talent on the MLB team.

  • @murdiddlyurdler

    I’d like to see the cubs in on the big catching prospect the pads have in the minors, can’t remember his name though. I believe he was a first rounder last season. pay garzas salary and that seems like a pretty fair trade with the player gammons suggested.

    • John

      Austin Hedges

  • Shane

    Matt Garza and Brett Jackson for Reymond Fuentes (OF), Matt Wisler (SP), Kevin Quackenbush (RP), and Tayron Guerrero (SP)

  • Dustin S

    Gammon’s twitter did say the 2 other were Hoyer/McLeod prospects, which would narrow it down. Not that the options would be really limited to those, unless talks were a lot further along than we think. But something to ponder when trying to guess the names. Garza is damaged goods somewhat, so we may not get as much as Sanchez, but it would be disappointing if Fuentes is the centerpiece. So I’ll hold judgement until we find out more.

  • Rebuilding

    Nice write-up, Brett. The only thing I don’t necessarily agree with is the timing. I think given his expiring contract Garza’s peak value is now and also more teams probably think they’re in it then will in a month. For instance, the Padres are probably playing above their head right now and might consider going after him. Like we saw last year – I really don’t see the benefit of waiting if there is a deal you like

  • nkniacc13

    Another thing that maybe in play in most any deal the Cubs make is the 40 man roster and how soon they would have to be put on

  • sclem21

    Also being that Fuentes is in year 2 in the Texas League and doing quite well, it wouldn’t be a stretch to think a post ASG (which his tmro) promotion was on the horizon meaning he’s knocking on the door to MLB-ready.

    This could signal a few things:
    1. Team not confident B-Jax can step in for Dejesus post-trade
    2. A willingness to move Dejesus (duh)
    3. This is more of a stretch, but a willingness to move someone like Almora/Soler if someone like Price is in the crosshairs this off-season

    Fuentes is a proto-type leadoff hitter, so that should make some people around here pretty happy.

  • David

    Can we get Cashner back as part of the deal???

    • Rebuilding

      Funny you should mention Cashner. I watched him pitch yesterday and he looked great. Good for him – nothing wrong with a win-win trade

  • Boomindanny

    i have huge issues with this if gammon’s report is true. the idea of going after prospects just because they drafted them in boston or whatever strikes me as a bit arrogant and short sighted. obviously it has worked with rizzo, but purging our already bad team for players of fuentes’ caliber doesn’t tickle my fancy. having said that, i don’t really trust peter gammons and expect to see a better deal in the works prior to the deadline.

    • TWC

      “the idea of going after prospects just because they drafted them in boston or whatever strikes me as a bit arrogant and short sighted.”

      Yeah, you could look at that as arrogant and shortsighted. Or you could acknowledge that the Cubs’ FO has an intimate familiarity with prospects in both the SD and BOS systems and they they’re probably in a pretty good position to judge whether or not a MiLBer is worth space in the Cubs’ system.

      Just depends on the “huge issues” you identify in the narrative you write.

      • Boomindanny

        that was a bit snarky, but i agree with your point. perhaps my saying ‘huge issues’ was a bit dramatic.

        • DarthHater


  • Boomindanny

    gammons’ *

    • Rebuilding

      I don’t necessarily disagree with you, but it cuts both ways. If you really think these guys have a special ability to find talent then we should probably want them to try and acquire all of the talent they liked before if possible

      • Boomindanny

        that’s a good point. i just hope they cast a wide net; considering the success they have all had at such young ages, you can’t blame them for thinking that they are the best, but as the ‘moneyball’ era showed us, tendencies and trends change in a hurry. i do trust their judgement, though, and am looking forward to seeing what happens.

  • Brett D.

    I think the Cubs need a better return than what Gammons suggested Garza (assuming Fuentes is the centerpiece). If they can’t get a top 3-5 organizatial prospect then they should just hold on to Garza and give him the “qualifying offer”. My guess is that, if healthy, he will decline it in hopes to get a multi-year contract and thus the Cubs will net a comp pick for Garza in the 2014 draft. This would allow Theo and Co. to hand pick their prospect in next years draft. If Garza decided to accept the qualifying offer then they have a decent pitcher for 2014 and another tradeable asset at the deadline.
    The downside risk would be that Garza gets hurt after the deadline making it difficult for the Cubs to offer the “qualifiying offer” which should be upwards of $14 million next year. This would be a risk I’d be willing to take if they don’t get fair value at the deadline.

    • Crockett

      I still think there is more value in known prospects who have a minor league history. That being said, I think outfield should be the LAST focus. If the Cubs could get Hedges from San Diego…amazing and awesome. I am really intrigued to see how this deadline plays out and hope it doesn’t have the amazing disappointments last years did (Garza injury, Dempster being whiny, etc) that was miraculously buoyed by the fleece job of Atlanta in the Maholm deal.

      • Rich H

        OK who are planning on playing in CF in August? Sweeny, DeJesus, Scheirholtz, and Sorriano could all be traded (Possible but not likely). Almost ready OF’ers is a necessity if they are going to move as many contracts as possible this trade season. The in house options we have at the moment are lacking at best.

        • willis

          Jerome Walton.

          In all seriousness, I doubt all of those dudes get traded, if so, probably Lake and Bogosedhcnsjtfzz and Sappelt. Yummy huh?

          • Rich H

            All I am saying is we have Outfield depth at the major league level but nothing that can step in lower.

            Remember last year we moved a bunch of middle of the road pieces and got good results from them (Baker ring any bells?). So to say that these guys won’t trade or can’t trade anyone is not looking at what they have accomplished so far.

            • Crockett

              If you sell off all those guys, you do have guys who can step in and play…they just aren’t MLB-quality starters. Which shouldn’t matter. Your goal at that point is the #2 pick.

              You’ll also have cleared a LOT of 40 man spots. McDonald, Sappelt, and Bogusevic all get the call.

            • Hansman1982

              I also highly doubt they trade DeJesus and Schierholtz unless they get some serious near MLB ready OF talent. Otherwise they’ll have to replace too many bodies.

          • Headscratchin

            Jerome Walton. Now there is a memory of potential not panning out. He and Dwight Smith back to back great potential players.

            I found an interesting post about Jerome. Read what the kids he has coached say about him in the comments. Kind of cool reading.


        • Tobias

          I don’t see Sweeney being moved and might be an outfielder that sticks around.

    • nkniacc13

      which is why the cubs have a bit of leverage in demanding a certain level of prospect for Garza

    • JayPaul

      Something else to consider when speaking of the QO, not only is this a supplemental 1st round pick. But it also comes with a huge slot allotment. That financial leeway in drafting players next year should be considered in any trade proposed for Garza.

  • Dumpgobbler

    Highly doubt Fuentes is the main get here. Obviously the prize would be Fried, but hes probably not an option. Probably Fuentes, Kelly and a third piece.

  • Mike Taylor (no relation)

    I’d ask for:
    [#12] Joe Ross RHSP (A), Tyson’s Ross’s younger brother
    [#18] Burch Smith RHSP (AAA)
    [#20] Matthew Andriese RHSP (AA)