matt garza cubsMatt Garza continues to dominate in spite of constant rumors and questions that can’t make his job any easier. Last night, he threw seven easy innings, giving up just one earned run on a solo homer (on a good pitch). He allowed five hits, no walks, and struck out six. That’s just about as good as it gets … again. His season numbers are fantastic, despite that nine-run blowout at the hands of the Reds, and his last five starts have been lights out: 0.97 ERA over 37 innings, just 24 hits and 8 walks, and 34 strikeouts.

  • Garza, himself, appeared to legitimize yesterday’s extension rumors, by speaking to the lingering possibility of an extension after the game. “[An extension] is always on the table,” Garza said, per Cubs.com. “I voiced my opinion about how I love it here. My family loves it here. It’s always something you think about. I don’t know which route they’re going to go …. [The possibility of an extension is] as real as a trade. Trades are just rumors like everything else. An extension talk, I’m part of, I know for a fact where it’s at. It’s always a possibility, man, 50-50. At the end of the day, it comes down to my decision if I want an extension, and a trade, it’s obviously [the Cubs’] decision. I like being a Cub, I want to get this team to October and win it here. Like I’ve said before, it’d be one [heck] of a party.”
  • How sincere is that? Well, only Garza and the Cubs know. I don’t think Garza is saying that there’s literally a 50% chance that he’s extended. I think he’s saying it remains a possibility – if the Cubs meet his price – just like being traded remains a possibility. I’m sure that’s right. But I’m also sure that, unless he acquiesces to a deal that the Cubs believe gives them as much surplus value as a trade would, he’ll be dealt soon. That’s not a knock on Garza or the Cubs – it’s just the way it has to be right now, for the best of the Cubs and for the best of Garza.
  • (Cynical take: Garza is smart, and knows that being traded will make him more valuable on the free agent market (because then he cannot be subject to draft pick compensation). He knows that helping the Cubs get their asking price for him will help him be traded, so he’s playing his part in building the leverage. Otherwise, maybe he fears the Cubs don’t trade him, and instead make him a qualifying offer after the season.)
  • Among the teams represented by scouts at last night’s Garza start, according to multiple reports: Rangers, Indians, Dodgers, Pirates, Blue Jays, Padres, Red Sox, and Giants.
  • Bob Nightengale notes that the Dodgers (together with the Indians) are “heavily” scouting Matt Garza, suggesting that the acquisition of Ricky Nolasco will not take them out of the market for Garza. Jon Morosi also says that he hears the Dodgers remain interested. Like I said when Nolasco was dealt, the Cubs could not have made out much better in that deal, which (1) took Nolasco off of the market, but (2) did not remove a buyer from the Garza market. Scott Feldman to the Orioles, who could probably still use a front-of-the-rotation starter, probably had the same effect.
  • Interestingly, Morosi believes the Rangers make the most sense for Garza, which affords me the opportunity to emphasize something I’ve tried to keep at the fore of your mind: even if the Cubs want to trade Garza right now, recognizing that his value is as high as it’s going to get, they can’t control other teams. Let’s imagine that the Rangers are willing to offer the best package for Garza – far better than other teams. However, let’s imagine that the Rangers first want to wait to make sure that Cliff Lee isn’t going to become available later in July (this isn’t entirely hypothetical, as Danny Knobler reports the Rangers might be doing just that). If you’re the Cubs, what do you do? Accept a lesser package now? Or do you wait, risk an injury or ineffectiveness, because you know that you might get a substantially better package later in the month?
  • The thing that everyone says in these situations: hey, why not trade Garza for prospects, and then sign him to a big deal in the offseason! Win, win, right!?!? Well, if it worked out that way, sure. But it just never, never does. The reasons are many, but usually it’s the product of competition once a guy gets to the open market. Sure, the Cubs could outbid everyone else for Garza, but he’s going to get some seriously large offers in free agency (assuming he keeps pitching well). And maybe there are hard feelings. Maybe there are reasons behind the scenes. We don’t know. But what we do know is the old trade-him-and-then-sign-him-later thing virtually never happens. It’s just the way it is. We’ll cross that bridge in the offseason, I guess.
  • BluBlud

    I don’t know Brett. I think the trade and sign himlater thing is very possible. Garza, IMO, really does love it in Chicago, as evident by what he told Jackson when he signed. I would even go as far as saying that Garza and the Cubs may have already talked about. It did happen one other time, that I can remember, though it wasn’t the very next offseason. But Cliff Lee did resign with the Phillies after they shipped him away for prospects. it is possible, and one could argue in this case, with garza and his family loving Chicago the way they do, probable.

    • Mak

      People said the same thing re:Dempster. Even where it makes perfect sense, so many things have to happen, it rarely does.

      • sdcoddi

        the difference is that garza could be a building block, whereas dempster, while good, was only a 2-3 year SP and not a longterm part of the future.

    • Joe

      There is a reason that the Cubs have been shopping Garza for 2 years now. It is not because he would bring back the best haul. Think Sammy Sosa’s boombox.

    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      If it was “very possible” why can’t anybody list when it has happened? Its not a reality. For one I think the players union really frowns on a move like that because its a little underhanded: “Hey Matt we are going to trade you and get an awesome prospect AND then we are going to resign you for this sound like a plan” and two if they Cubs wanted him badly enough to outbid everyone on a open market then why wouldn’t they do it right now.

    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      There was also a year gap between the Phils trading Lee and Lee signing. It wasn’t simply sending him as a rental and then signing him in the off season. Lee was moved alot between the Indians and his signing with the Phils. Plus I remember something about his sick child needed what the hospitals in Philadelphia could provide and that the Yankees had offered more.

  • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

    Your cynical take is spot on I think and its not a negative on Garza. He is marketing himself to everybody (including the Cubs) and these comments are professional and very purposefully. Great write on all this again.

  • deej34

    can anyone think of an instance of a player being traded mid-season then resigning with the original team the next year? I know it was brought up with Dempster last year, but the situation seem completely different. Demp’s competitive window was much shorter given his comparative age. Obviously I would love it the Cubs could flip Matt for prospects then bring him back as veteran leadership for the next 4-6 years. Garza, Shark, Wood, Jackson is a pretty solid start to a rotation.

    • JulioZuleta

      I was going to say Cliff Lee, but he was traded by the Phillies before the 2009 season, and then resigned with them before the 2010 season. Not quite the same

  • mdavis

    To me the Rangers and Red Sox still match up the best for the cubs. Just a quick glance at the Indians’ system, it doesn’t impress me. We aren’t getting Lindor, so would it be Chisenhall and Bauer? Neither has been impressive this year. The Rangers i think a package around Jackson and Ramirez would be intriguiging, and depedning on how far Olt has fallen, I’d take him too. maybe that’s too much, but I don’t think a terrible starting point.

    • EricR

      Have you looked at the Dodgers system? You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a highly-touted pitching prospect in their farm. We could potentially score the most upside there.

      • mdavis

        ok good call, didn’t really take a gander at them either

  • When the Music’s Over

    If dealing with the Rangers, I really hope Mike Olt isn’t one of the main pieces of the deal. The Cubs are already deep at 3B, and his K rate concerns me a bunch (not to mention he’s getting close to being oldish for AAA).

    • Falselife

      Mike Olt is a guy with some horrible luck. People are pointing out that he has had trouble this year, and he has, but they are leaving out a critical fact. The dude got hit in the head and was having vision issues for much of the start of the season, due to potential concussion side effects. To make matters worse, he was pulled from his last game after getting hit by a Philip Humber pitch to the head. Maybe the Astros new approach is taking out the oppositions prospects at the lower levels where the media doesn’t notice. Until he fully recovers, both physically and psychologically, he is a high risk commodity. That said, I would love to devalue him and take a flyer, but not as a centerpiece of a deal.

  • EricR

    Matt seems like a west coast guy. I believe if he hits free agency, that’s where he’ll end up.

    • Rebuilding

      Garza was born in Selma, CA and went to school in Fresno. He is a West Coast guy. I think he will end up with either the Giants or the Dodgers either this year or next

      • EricR

        Ah, well that makes sense then. Thanks for the info!

      • EQ76

        too much stock in the whole “he grew up there” thing.. shoot, I grew up in Cali but wouldn’t be dying to sign there just because it’s “home”. So many guys don’t care about playing at home as much as we think. Each person may be different in how they view it, but we can’t assume they all want to go home to play. For all we know, he genuinely wants to stay in Chicago.

        • Rebuilding

          Yep, could be true. I grew up there and love Chicago. I do think I saw something though where Garza mentioned the West Coast. Can’t find it now

        • On The Farm

          No, but if the Yankees are offering the same amount of money as the Dodgers, and both teams are capable of competing for the playoffs, the tie-breaker of playing in California where you grew up could be a tie breaker.

          • bbmoney

            Or their high taxes could make him realize a similar deal in Texas is actually worth more….. You never know what guys want

      • YourResidentJag

        Or the Angels.

  • jh03

    Do you think that if the Cubs resign Garza, it will increase their activity in the FA pool in the offseason? Maybe push the notion of being competitive up a year?

    Let me elaborate a bit.. right now, I’d guess the Cubs flirt with .500 next year, ultimately falling below by a few games… but do you think that a Garza extension would maybe force the issue and at least have them competing for a playoff spot? Not necessarily winning a playoff spot, though. Maybe finishing near the 84-86 win mark?

    • EricR

      I want to believe that the FO has set their sites on competitiveness for the 2014 season. So hopefully even if we trade Garza, we’re still capable of being a .500 team with signings and farm promotions.

    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      The question is WHO would we sign next offseason?

      • jh03

        I didn’t really want to get into individual players.. because that can get messy and annoying lol. All we know is that this FO has done a great job finding talent in the FA market, so I’m going to assume they hit on, at least, 80% of the guys they sign in the offseason? Sound fair? lol. Will they go after big enough guys (at that 80% clip) to make the Cubs a winning team?

      • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

        here is the upcoming FA list from Cots


        its kind of a weak class and Choo is the most intriguing

        • jh03

          I would bet that the Cubs are in on Choo… He’s an OBP machine.

          • On The Farm

            I am not sure if it possible to carry enough OFers to have platoons for DDJ, Scheirholtz, and Choo. They all hit righties well, but we would have no OFers who can hit lefties. If I recall correctly Choos OBP RvsL splits are pretty plain he would need a platoon.

        • Cubswin

          I think Ellsbury would be an interesting pick up for us. Hes only still only 28 and has shown this year that when he’s healthy he can put up good numbers. His speed would be great to have and the connection with Theo could help. Yes he’s going to require some money but I don’t think anything ridiculous where we couldn’t at least be interested

      • EricR

        I think we take a flier on Halladay or Santana. Both should be on the cheap since they’re coming off of season-ending injuries. I also see us being in on Ellsbury. What do you think?

  • North Side Irish

    Chris Cotillo ‏@ChrisCotillo 1m
    #Cubs release Shawn Camp

    Not surprising…

  • HackAttack

    The Giants, Padres, and Blue Jays are fading fast. Can they even be looked at as options here anymore?

    • Rebuilding

      I think the Padres are definitely out. The Blue Jays and Giants have a lot invested in this year so they may hold out hope longer

  • North Side Irish

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cubs at least checked in with Garza during free agency, they at least had conversations with Dempster’s agent last offseason. There is no guarantee Garza makes to free agency though…sort of depends on where the Cubs trade him.

    If they send him to the Dodgers, Giants, Red Sox, or Rangers, I think he ends up signing an extension there. If they send him to Cleveland, Pittsburgh, or Baltimore, then I think he at least tests the waters.

  • Jono

    Are draft slots of any consideration in whether they want to trade Garza or keep him? I would think NOT, but prospects seem to have been gaining a lot of value over the past few years. So you not only consider the direct return of prospects in the trade, but also the improved prospects they’d get from having a worse record (which brings up the argument of what Garza’s WAR will be for the second half of the season). Again, my immediate thought is that this would NOT be a consideration, but I seem to be one of the lesser knowledgeable commenters here. Obviously going from #4 to #3 in the 2013 draft would have been a huge deal, right?

  • AntsPu

    First time commenter, longtime reader (of this site). Brett, just wanted to say this is, by far, the most informative Cubs site I have came across. Continue the great work good sir!

    As for Garza, I personally am in favor of signing to him and extension, Howeva (as The Man says), if they could trade him for some top prospects, and then sign him back in the off-season, that would be the bee’s knees

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks for the kind words.

  • jt

    Let me remind of the Theo/Lackey deal.
    FO puts a bunch of money on the table that is guaranteed. Garza, like Nomar before him, could gamble and lose that large sum of family security if he rejects the deal.
    In case of specific injury he still gets the money but must toil for a year (time lost to TJ surgery) for league min. Garza gets his big bucks security. The team gets its multi-year investment return.
    That is to say, Theo has done this before and it seems to be working for the RS this season.

    • On The Farm

      I was thinking that the other night too when I was watching Lackey on Sunday Night baseball vs the Angels. Lackey was pretty awful for a while in Boston, but the TJ clause really saved how big of a disaster that contract could have been.

  • willis

    Trading Garza and then re-signing him isn’t happening. It never happens as Brett said. Ever. So, if he’s traded he’s gone. End of story.

    And there isn’t much out there to get so trading him takes another couple steps backwards for this team. I wish there was a strong middle ground they could agree on and just lock this up. That ship seems to have sailed away so now we wait to see what the cubs get back.

  • 5412

    Hi Brett,

    Somewhere earlier today I caught a blurb that Baker is warming up in the wings. Coincidence???

    With the Visciano guy rehabbing, plus Baker, Samardzija, Wood and Jackson, it would be nice to have a great starting staff. Now if we get some real lights out bullpen and hitters.



  • AD

    Theres almost a zero percent chance of this happening, but I think Garza/Soriano or Garza/Schierholtz would be a great fit for the Pirates.

  • North Side Irish

    Robert Murray ‏@RobertMurrayMLB 8s
    The #Indians are in talks about Yovani Gallardo and Matt Garza, per CBS Sports.

  • NathanDonald13

    Would the Indians be willing to include Jason Kipnis in a Garza Deal?

    • bbmoney


      • YourResidentJag

        Nor Lindor, I believe.

  • http://bleachenation Sacko

    50/50 OK, the 50 for trading him has to be a huge return, not getting that kind of return we might as well sign him ourselves. That simple? I don’t think teams are going to give up that much unless we do sign him then trade. We will still want a lot in return, so the worst is we keep him anyway. That’s fine with me I hope he does stay. A young great pitcher that pitches in the playoffs for us in 2 years.

  • YourResidentJag

    Well, if Dave Cameron’s tweet is anything, Garza is just average as a SP or slightly above….so it’s good were not extending him, right?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Cameron’s no troll and knows his stuff. But, on this one, I think he’s overstating a touch. He should have left it at “Garza is not a top-of-the-rotation guy.”

      • YourResidentJag

        No argument there. It does seem to me to be over the top in saying that Cleveland has no reason to trade for Garza because he’s not a TOR.

        • Rebuilding

          The funny thing is that out of all of our potential trading partners for Garza, Cleveland is the one you can say that Garza would definitely be their best pitcher. Masterson is having a good year, but I would still take Garza

          • YourResidentJag

            Yeah, that’s where people thought his comments about Garza were wrong and they responded back that same as you did.

    • Rebuilding

      Cameron is generally very good, but he really seems to have a thing with the Cubs (Jim Bowden disease). Or maybe I’m a homer

      • Jono

        I think that every referee and umpire, from every sport, hates chicago and all chicago sports teams. I’m definitely not a homer 😉

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        I find Cameron to frequently be quite complimentary of the Cubs.

  • Michael

    Maybe Garza Russell for Bauer, salazar, and Chisenhall? I also don’t know if I like Bauer because he fell out if love with diamondbacks and hasn’t pitched well for the Indians

  • Michael

    Also Indians could be interested in Soriano as they are currently using Jason Giambi

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