matt garza cubs

Reading so much of what’s out there this time of year on a day-to-day basis, I get a general sense for sentiment shifts, for which I don’t necessarily point to the dozen articles or tweets or one-liners or podcasts that give me that sense. That kind of granularity isn’t necessarily what you’re looking for, but I do think you like to get my sense on these things. With that in mind, let me say that I am perceiving a push-back against last week’s dramatic uptick in the perceived value of Matt Garza. These shifts are fascinating and subtle, but I get the feeling now that the market – by which I mean the media market – was saturated with too much of “wow, Garza is the best piece on the market and is pitching well, so he’s going to command a huge return,” and the pendulum is swinging aggressively in the other direction. He’s just a rental. He’s not an ace. He has injury issues. Maybe the Cubs are better off getting the draft pick.

The pendulum, as it does, has swung too far from center. While Garza was never going to command multiple top 50 pieces or even multiple top 100 pieces (I stand by my evaluation of his trade value here), I think folks are underestimating the importance and value of marginal wins to prospective playoff teams. As a rental, Garza stands to net his new team *maybe* a win or two. That’s if everything works out well in the second half for him. That sure doesn’t sound like much, and, if you’re the Cubs, the difference between 70 and 71 wins sure doesn’t mean much. But if you’re, say, the Indians? And a win or two could mean the difference between the playoffs and no playoffs? Between a surge in attendance and continued decline? Between an energized fan base and a listless shuffle? I don’t need sabermetrics to quantify the extra value of those marginal wins, but you can find that research out there, including this FanGraphs piece. Suffice it to say, the data backs up the instinct: the value in adding a win or two in the second half if you’re a team on the cusp of playoff contention is enormous.

The Cubs know this. And they know how much value Garza has, even if he’s just a rental who isn’t an ace. On with the latest …

  • That there above is actually kind of the subject of Buster Olney’s blog preamble today, where he says front offices are confronting “Zack Wheeler Syndrome,” which is a reference to the Giants’ trade for Carlos Beltran in 2011 as a rental. They sent away top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler, which was considered a huge overpay at the time. Teams are afraid of doing that today with, for example, a Matt Garza trade, because the Cubs are shooting for their own version of a Wheeler deal. If the Cubs actually expect to get a Wheeler, however, they’ll have to hope for a desperate team at the Deadline like the Giants were. In fact, the Beltran deal offers a nice comparison because, although the trade pre-dated the new CBA, the Giants were not permitted (by contract) to offer Beltran arbitration, thus making him ineligible for draft pick compensation. Recall, if the Cubs trade Garza, his new team cannot get draft pick compensation if he leaves in free agency. That was true in the Beltran deal, too (though that was unusual at the time), and the Mets still got their Wheeler.
  • Patrick Mooney reports that, despite the 50/50 extension talk, Garza is privately bracing and preparing for a trade.
  • From Andy Martino: “According to major league sources, Boston ranks its trade deadline needs in this order: Bullpen help, stopgap players for the left side of its infield, and starting pitching.” Martino goes on to add that the sources say the Red Sox aren’t desperate enough to pay the high price associated with Garza in a seller’s market. To me, that feels like the Boston front office trying to downplay their obvious need for a starting pitcher in the hopes of preserving a little negotiating room. Setting aside the fact that the Cubs would be able to assist their needs on all fronts, Garza remains the big piece. The Red Sox are a logical fit based not only on need, but also on the Cubs’ front office’s familiarity with the Red Sox’s system – that tends to make putting a trade together just a touch easier. Boston’s system is loaded, and even if they made their top 50 types off-limits (no, Xander Bogaerts will not be available), I think they could still put together a very compelling package.
  • Jim Bowden offered a handful of “blockbusters” that he’d like to see, so we’re not talking about actual rumors here. These are just his thoughts on interesting trades, with equal value going in either direction. In one, he’s got Garza and Kevin Gregg going to the Tigers for Rick Porcello, outfield prospect Avisail Garcia, and pitching prospect Jake Thompson. Because this is not an actual rumor (and because I’m not sure how keen the Tigers would be on swapping out Porcello for Garza in their rotation if there were prospect costs on the margins), I’m not going to drill down too much on the individuals involved. Instead, I’ll just comment on the value. Porcello is an intriguing big league arm (one whom I hope the Cubs pursue in trade in the offseason) who is already making $5.1 million and has two more arbitration years ahead of him. Great peripherals, though, and he’s just 24. The other two are generally thought to be top ten prospects in a thin-ish Tigers system, so it’s about what you’d expect/hope to see in a Garza deal. If it takes Gregg to get the Cubs the right return for Garza, I’m fine with that. Do I love this particular deal? Nah. But, as I said, it’s not a rumor, it’s just a picture of value. And this sounds about right.
  • Padres GM Josh Byrnes admitted that his front office was being “super aggressive” on Matt Garza until the Padres’ recent terrible swoon. That sucks, because it’s a hell of a good farm system to work with.
  • ISU Birds

    What ever happened to Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters?

    • Brett

      They’re hurt.

      • ISU Birds


        • Chef

          And, not good.

  • EricR

    Well as exciting as it is to think a trade will happen soon, something tells me it will go right down to the wire like last year.

  • North Side Irish

    Bruce Miles ‏@BruceMiles2112 5m
    #Cubs (40-48) have a plus-1 run differential. Through 88 games last year, they were 36-52 with a minus-57 run differential

    More fun with numbers…

    • Aaron

      They should be about a .500 team right now, if you buy into the Bill James run differential formula. This would still put us about 11 games back in the Central, or so. Crappy time to be in the NL Central, I guess…

      • cjdubbya

        Agreed, esp. since that’d currently put you two back in the NL West.

      • DarthHater

        Pythagoras sucked at baseball. 😛

  • Tim

    Take care of all the Red Sox needs! Garza, Gregg, valbuena!

  • Smackafilieyo

    What happens if the cubs are at or a game under .500 plus with 5 games of the wildcard 2 by the trade deadline? Garza still on the trading block?

    • Aaron


    • Kyle

      Yes. I think he’ll be traded by then partially to avoid the risk of such a scenario.

    • Austin8466

      I think you’d still have to trade Garza to maintain the rebuilding plan, and make some aggressive offseason moves with all of the money we’ll have available. Then you shoot for the stars in 2014.

    • Peter

      Does not matter because that will never happen.

    • BluBlud


  • North Side Irish

    Jon Heyman ‏@JonHeymanCBS 2m
    #cubs close to record deal with No. 2 overall pick Kris Bryant, 3B from U of San Diego.

    • ssckelley

      What does “record deal” mean?

      • North Side Irish

        “Bryant is expected to receive the biggest bonus under the new system that began last year”…

        • ssckelley

          That sucks!

          I mean, yay!

          • Kyle

            I kind of like it. It proves that we took the best talent and didn’t try to just cut a deal.

            • mdavis

              what’s been the top bonus so far? Appel’s? I remeber Correa going well under slot.

              • North Side Irish

                Appel got $6.3M…Buxton got $6M last year…

                • THEOlogical

                  Buxton’s my boy, lives right down the road. So far money hasn’t changed him a bit. Did go out and get him a very nice jacked up truck though!

  • Tobias

    take it for what it’s worth, but Jon Morsi is tweeting that the Cubs are “close to a record deal” with Kris Bryant.

    • Tobias

      I mean Jon Heyman

  • Austin8466

    Techinically $6.4 million would be record breaking, and still $300k under slot.

  • Cubfanbob

    Really annoyed reading comments from other team’s fans ripping Garza for not being worth much and a #3 or #4 starter at best. I love this guy and if other organizations dont see his awesomeness then f them. If he does get traded I hope he lands with a team that ends up crushing the likes of these teams with fans bad mouthing his worth….looking at you Boston and L.A. Dodgers.

    Other wise extend the dude. I cant think of any other active Cub I would want with me in an alley fight.

    • willis

      Shark…he’d be good in a fight. But other than him, yeah Garza would be a good battle partner.

      I’d love to think an extension is realistic, but it’s just not. Which is really too bad. Going to be a shame to watch this guy leave.

    • ChrisN324

      I think either Garza or Shark would be great to team up with in a fight, but Garza takes the cake on this one. He’d probably come up with a shaving cream pie to the face after handing out a stomping.

      As unlikely as it may be, if he is traded I’d love to see Garza come back and sign. The energy that guy brings to the team would make watching the Cubs all the more exciting once the Cubs start winning big.

    • Cleanup Poster

      Can we pick players from the minors? If so I’m taking Soler, dude is huge.

      • willis

        Good point. I’d say yes, all hands on deck. I wonder if Voges can throw down? He’d be another good one.

      • mudge

        money on Travis Wood.

      • Cubfanbob

        I got Vogelbomb then if were dipping into the minors

        • willis

          EJax kiind of looks like a mean cuss, I wonder if he can get down? He’s a decent sized dude. We should set up a 20 man Cubs Royal Rumble. Old School WWF style.

      • Cyranojoe

        Yeah, I’d go with Garza. Nobody wants to fight *two* crazy guys in an alley.

    • Mick

      Anyway we could re-sign Glenallen Hill, Kyle Farnsworth, or Antonio Alfonseca for that alley fight? Maybe that’s what this team is missing, someone to put the fear of God into our opponents when they think about throwing at one of our players.

      • willis

        Only if Hill is the roids Hill.

        That Farnsworth BEATDOWN of Paul Wilson is probably one of the greatest moments of Cubs baseball in my lifetime (35 years).

        Sut going after that dude from the Padres after Dawson got dinged in the face was great too.

        • waittilthisyear

          too bad tony campana is gone, his scrappiness would bode well in a fight. that being said, ill take rock shoulders and a pint of jack

        • Bilbo161

          The Hawk, when he came to his senses after Show hit him in the face and had to be held back by just about everyone. Never saw a player that enraged. Never saw a better player either.

    • Fearbobafett

      I take most of those comments as Garza is going to come to our team and be a #3 becuase we have studs we like at 1/2, so why give up much for him.
      Let’s be honest if the shoe were reversed we would be saying the same thing. If we were looking for Garza’s twin we would be saying he is going to slot in at #3, lets not give up the farm.
      Let’s also not forget that most Cubs fans were split on if we gave up too much for Garza in the first place.

  • Steve123

    Drew Smyly may not be available but if it was Garza and Gregg for Smyly straight up, I would do it.

  • willis

    The Bryant news is promising. Get that dude inked and playing some baseball.

    Garza scheduled to pitch next this weekend vs. Cardinals. Whatever happens, I’m hoping he’s still with the Cubs to make that start, and dominate those guys.

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    Owens LHP, and Cecchini 3B from Bosox for Garza, Gregg, Russell.

    • Rebuilding

      You can forget about Cecchini. They value him way too much. Wish it weren’t the case

    • Crockett

      Why would you waste Garza on a 3B prospect?

      Cubs have Baez, Lake, and are about to sign Bryant.

      Many other more pressing needs.

      • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

        Assets are assets and Cecchini could play 2B or the OF if needed.

        • On The Farm

          But they view him as the 3B of the future and the assets we really want are pitching so if we can land a guy like Webster, Workman, or even Barnes our FO would prefer it.

    • On The Farm

      Owens, Swihart, and Bentz/Webster for Garza, Russell, and Valbuena

  • Deez

    Cubs will not be “competitive” before 2015. If they are next year, it’ll be an abberation more so than expected. Why keep Garza when you know we are not going to be in playoff contention? Unless your getting a 4yr/$60M deal w/ a 5yr option, Roll him.

    • willis

      Because very good pitchers who are awesome team guys don’t just appear. And there is no pitching in our system right now that can replicate what Garza brings anytime soon if ever.

      You have to start somewhere. You keep selling your best assets every year it only keeps taking steps back. The thought of a Shark, Garza, Wood top three, like we have now, with a couple more bats-that’s competing right there. He’d be a great piece to build around if they can come to an agreement. He’s an amazing talent. Keeping him on a fair deal would be the best outcome. Too bad it’s not happening.

      • Deez

        You should preface that with “healthy.” Garza has only started 30 games once with us. If we were 1 bullpen Pitcher & 1 bat away, I could see us keeping him. The only way to get those pitching pieces is to trade for them.

  • CubFan Paul

    Pursuing Porcello will get us right back where we started with Garza: dwindling team control with no chance of a team friendly extension because free agency is right around the corner.

    No thanks.

  • Brandon

    So, and I’m not being a smart-ass, if you replace your #5 starter who has an ERA over 5 and replace him with Garza that will only get you 2 more wins? So if the ’84 Cubs wouldn’t have traded for Sutcliffe they would have still won the division? Sorry just trying to understand how Garza is only worth 2 wins.

    • wvcubsfan

      Not really sure, but here’s my guess. If you pick up a 4 WAR player (pulled out of rear for round numbers) then for half of the year you would be good for 2 wins over the average replacement player, which for the case of this scenario we will say is a starting pitcher with a 5+ ERA.

      What that doesn’t take into account is how much better he makes the team in games he doesn’t start. That’s one thing that happened with Sutcliffe as well. He was so good and went deep into games so it saved the pen who could be more useful in games not started by The Red Baron.

    • Jimmy James

      Garza will only go every five days…….porcello wasn’t going to lose every start so how many more would garza net you, two sounds bout right

  • figgelbert

    I can’t see the Sox trading for Garza.
    Bucholtz is scheduled for a rehab start Sun and then one more and he will join the rotation.
    They have Lester,a very good tj return Lackey,Dempster and Dubraunt who is a solid 5
    They also have Aceves in Pawtucket for spot starts.
    I think Gregg is a good fit for Boston thou.

  • Cubfanbob

    I will be curious to see what happens if Bucholtz has a set back or gets shelled once up in the pro’s.

    • figgelbert

      Bucholtz was one of the best pitchers in the AL and all star bound before he went on the dl.
      I believe it was back issues.
      If healthy he’s having one of his best years so far.

  • figgelbert

    Olney said today the Sox don’t need another situational pitcher like Russel.
    They need a guy who can pitch an inning or two.
    Also Steven Drew is coming off the dl and will slot into short moving Iggy over to third.So they have a decent left side if both stay healthy.
    They just brought workman up to see if he can handle being an arm out of the bullpen.

  • Die hard

    Are the Cubs sure none of the 22 involves them?

  • Die hard

    Garza will sign extension with Cubs cause there is pressure to win if to a contender MB declared ” I don’t want to go to a contenda”

    • DarthHater

      You know, before you move on to fabricating crapola about Garza, we’re still all breathlessly waiting for evidence to support your statement that Samardzija is as much of a head case as Zambrano.

  • TonyP

    Here is one thing about WAR that I don’t understand. Rick Sutcliffe went 16-1, ERA+ of 144, WHIP of 1.078 and a SO/BB of 3.97 with a 3.9 WAR in 1984 for the Cubs. He pitched absolutely lights out. There is no way I believe some AAA or AAAA level replacement player would have pitched well enough that Sutcliffe was worth only 4 additional wins. What am I missing?

    • Reality Check

      that WAR is highly overrated.

      and Garza should of been traded or extended in the FO 1st yr; back in 2011. now if we don’t get 2 MLB ready pitching prospects; the FO blew this one big time waiting.(no not from last year; from 2011 when a team could of had Garza under control for 2 yrs)

      • X the Cubs fan

        You can’t blame them for a freak accident like that, because honestly shit happens.

  • Jorbert Solmora

    Wouldn’t complain one bit if the return were Cody Buckel, Jorge Alfaro, Luke Jackson, and another top 20 like Brinson and Payano.