Matt Garza looked solid against the St. Louis Cardinals tonight, and, naturally, there were many scouts on hand to see the show. They may be running out of time to convince their bosses to deal for Garza, though, if Buster Olney is to be credited.
This evening, Olney reported that the Cubs are “making progress” in trade talks with two teams, and a deal is “likely” over the coming All-Star break. Although trades cannot be announced over the break, they can certainly be brokered and reported.
Ken Rosenthal was also heavy on the Garza information tonight, being that Fox was broadcasting Garza’s start. Rosenthal generally appears to concur with Olney that a deal is likely to come before Garza’s next start, adding that, although the extension talks were legitimate, a trade is what’s very likely to happen at this point. Rosenthal mentions the possible suitors: Rangers, Dodgers, Nationals, Red Sox, and “possibly a few others, as well.” Rosenthal doesn’t think the Cardinals will seriously pursue Garza because of the prospect cost.
Alarmingly, Rosenthal suggested that the Cubs are now willing to accept a lesser prospect package if their trading partner takes on more of the $4.5ish million salary Garza is owed for the rest of the year.
Before you freak out, let’s consider some possibilities. It’s possible that this is flatly false. Bad information. It happens.
It’s also possible that it’s completely true, and the Cubs remain in such surprising financial straits that saving a few million on Garza is imperative.
I tend to think the truth is more nuanced, as it usually is. Even if the Cubs are happy to eat some of Garza’s salary to improve the prospect package they receive, you can’t force your trading partner to take cash from you in order to give up a better group of players. The Rangers have plenty of money, for example. Saying, “Hey, Texas, we’ll eat $3 million in salary if you include Martin Perez” is probably going to get the Cubs nowhere.
If that’s true – and it is – then of course the teams are going to negotiate about the money. And if a partner is going to hold the line on the better packages, then of course the Cubs are going to want that team to take on all of Garza’s remaining contract. You hope the Cubs can find the best prospect package out there for a trade, regardless of money, but we don’t know what offers are being made.
I do believe that the front office will not settle for a clearly inferior package simply because it saves money. I also believe that the front office is smart enough to know that the money part of things does matter.