matt garza cubsFor a combination of reasons, the prevailing wisdom these days is that, if the Chicago Cubs trade Matt Garza, it’ll be well in advance of the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. Garza’s value is enormous right now, and the Cubs were burned last year by an ill-time injury because they took the Garza shopping quest deep into late July. Well, that’s the narrative on trading Garza sooner rather than later, anyway.

But, as Keith Law told me and Sahadev on the BN Podcast this week, the Cubs are likely to have already decided on a price they would accept for Garza – a very high price – and will be content to sit back and wait on a team to meet that huge price. If true, the Cubs may well have to risk injury (or ineffectiveness, but I tend to think that Garza’s performance is such a known quantity at this point that only injury could truly derail his trade value) in order to get their required price. In other words, the Cubs might have to take thing much deeper into July than our hearts may prefer.

That possibility was further supported on today’s iteration of Buster Olney’s Baseball Tonight podcast, in which the eponymous Olney spoke with his colleague, Jayson Stark.

After noting that talent evaluators are telling Olney that Garza looks every bit as good as his numbers say he should look, Olney said that his sense is that the Cubs will move Garza soon. He believes the Cubs are motivated to move Garza as soon as possible so that they make sure to get some real value for him, rather than risking injury. Indeed, Olney said he would be “shocked” if Garza was still with the Cubs after the All-Star break.

But Stark quickly responded that he was hearing the opposite. Although the Cubs are ready and willing to move players at any time, in Garza’s case, Stark says the Cubs know they’ve got the best available pitcher. For that reason, “they’re willing to wait for their price” (echoing what Law said). And, according to the teams Stark has spoken to, that price is going to be significant – Stark described it as “the highest,” which he essentially described as the highest of all players – hitter or pitcher – available on the market. (I’d note only that it’s conceivable that if a – just as an example – premier non-rental player like Chase Headley came on the market, Garza would no longer have the highest asking price.)

That all said, Stark says that there is still some caution out there from inquiring teams, based on Garza’s recent injury history and his up-and-down career. Couple that with the Cubs’ asking price, and Stark thinks Garza is going to be on the market for a long while yet.

In saying so, Stark summed up what is so simultaneously wonderful and frustrating about this time of year. Olney and Stark are colleagues who work in the same area, and who each have excellent sources. They are hearing precisely opposite things about the timing of a Garza move.

What’s the truth? Well, I could say that only the Cubs know … but maybe they don’t even know. It seems logical to me that, yes, they’d like to move him as quickly as possible. But they’ll also move him only when a team meets their price. In that way, the conflicting inputs are both true, and the market will ultimately dictate how long Garza remains a Cub.

  • Kyle

    They really revel in this whole brinksmanship/waiting out the market thing. I’m going to be so darkly amused if Garza leaves holding his elbow in one of his half-dozen “last starts” this year.

    • Rich H

      Why do you want to be such a sadist?

      • Kyle

        In this case, it’d be masochist. And because that’s the only way to enjoy the Cubs sometimes.

    • davidalanu

      That’d be great. That way you could feel like you were smarter than Theo Epstein!!! Yea, Kyle!!!!

      • Kyle

        I already feel that way. I don’t need more things to go wrong to feel that way.

        • davidalanu

          excellent. fair enough!

        • The Next Theo Epstein

          In no way will this “Kyle” guy ever be smarter than anyone, let alone MLB executives with sterling track records. But whatever makes him happy, right? You people go too easy on him.

          Meanwhile, over at Pro Sports Daily, we keep him on a leash.

  • Die hard

    Buster Olney never cites sources.. Isn’t he merely blogging with a license to fabricate? Any of us could do just as well and with more sincerity

    • Rich H

      Olney has been right enough to be given a little bit more credibility that. But not much. There are certainly a lot of other baseball writers I trust more.

  • curt

    I’d have thought maybe just maybe the cubs would have learned from last year when garza got hurt and dempster played them, maybe they shouldn’t try and wring every last ounce of value out of garza , get a great deal yes but don’t get super greedy and wait to long and get nothing if something god forbid should happen to garza , but that’s why they cash the big checks , because its a very high risk wait n see game.

  • Die hard

    Castro to Dodgers for ? They would ante up big time and are desperate for IF help

  • EricR

    Trade him. Trade him now, trade him fast. It does us no good to delay this.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Both the Dodgers and Giants have made open offers to acquire Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco, reports’s Joe Frisaro.

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      We should see soon what Nolasco nets the Marlins. Hopefully they get a good package of prospects so we can ask for a heck of a lot more for Garza. I really don’t think whatever the Marlins get for Nolasco will be great, because I personally think Nolasco isn’t that good and really isn’t having that great of a year and isn’t pitching to hot right now. I mean he pitched decent last night but the guy is floating around a 101 ERA+

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      Dodgers offer for Nolasco: The eat all of Nolasco’s contract $5.7mil and a pitching prospect (my guess between a top 10-15 org. prospect). Maybe Yimi Garcia, Ross Stripling or chris withrow?

      • Cheese Chad

        And giants offering two prospects and less likely to eat the contract. Knowing what the giants prospects are would give a better indication of what the cubs are probably asking for Garza since they don’t care much about the contract.

        • Die hard

          Theodore to have tough talker at the table in Tidrow tho…

  • Die hard

    Why aren’t teams bidding for Garza like they are for Nolasco?.. Dodgers willing to pay remaining salary to boot!.. Is Garza or the Cubs impeding any bidding war? Isn’t Garza a better pitcher?

    • X the Cubs Fan

      Yeah he is but Nolasco’s cheap and how do you know they aren’t bidding for Garza too?

  • Die hard

    It’s not true until Buster Brown says its true, true?

  • Die hard

    Why isn’t any team asking about Cub position players? Is the level of talent that bad?

    • nkniacc13

      there are teams asking but outside of Navarro and Soriano they aren’t free agents after the season so the cubs have to be really moved to trade them

  • Rebuilding

    I’m sure teams have asked about Schierholtz, Barney and Navarro. And prob Valbuena and Hairston to some extent. Those moves just aren’t as sexy as moving Garza

  • Die hard

    Breaking news— Yanks Phelps DL