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matt garza cubsIt should come as no surprise, given the tenor of rumors over the past week (including many that placed near-certain odds on the Cubs dealing Matt Garza before his next start no Monday), that the Cubs are reportedly close to finalizing a deal involving the best pitcher on the market.

One of those earlier reports came from Buster Olney, who placed it at 80/20 that the Cubs would deal Garza not only before his next start, but by Friday. As in tomorrow.

And now Olney hears the Cubs might be making good on that timeline, asking teams for “best and final” offers. That comes from other team sources, who also believe Garza will be dealt before his scheduled start on Monday.

It’s a predictable, but laudable, approach by the Cubs’ front office in their efforts to maximize the return on Garza. While it might not be feasible to replicate in the prospect world, I wonder if the Cubs could even implement a proxy of the blind bidding system we’ve seen employed occasionally on the international free agent stage and frequently in the Japanese posting system – i.e., instead of taking the offers around and saying, “can you beat this? can you beat this?,” the Cubs simply say, “this is it: we’re accept the best offer we get today – make it a damn good one.” The theory behind the system is that it forces eager teams to bid against themselves, rather than merely having to top the erstwhile highest offer. If teams know that their “best and final” offer is going to be then taken around to other teams, they might still hold back on the offer, and the whole “best and final” thing is neutered.

Given the timing of the request for best and final offers, I have to believe the Cubs were indeed waiting for the Competitive Balance Lottery to pass to see if any of the interested teams would be able to supplement their offers with an extra draft pick. That doesn’t mean the Cubs will land a pick as a piece of the eventual deal, obviously, but the Cubs might as well see what’s out there in that regard.

Don’t assume that we’re going to hear a resolution on this ASAP, though. The call for best and final could be over the next few days, or it could have already been done, and the Cubs will want some time to mull it over. And it’s not like they have to accept one of the offers right now.

Apropos of … something? … nothing? … Olney followed up his “best and final” tweet with a couple points exclusively about the Rangers. Specifically, Olney noted that the Rangers are involved in these talks, and, if the Cubs are looking for pitching prospects, the Rangers can accommodate even without top young pitcher Martin Perez. Olney names C.J. Edwards and Luke Jackson as possibilities. Each is a quality arm still in the lower levels of the minors, and each is a fringe top 100 prospect (if you looked at the right list).

UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal suggests Olney’s tweets were apropos of something, saying “Sources: #Rangers “most motivated” on Garza, have had extensive talks with #Cubs.” He adds that a full story is coming. Dun dun dun …

UPDATE 2 (3:25pm CT): I should clarify something that a few of you discerning types have pointed out in the comments: it’s entirely possible (plausible, even?) that the Cubs already have an acceptable offer in hand from at least one team, and they’ve asked for best and final from everyone else, because they’re otherwise ready to pull the trigger. That gets away a bit from the blind bidding system (and its advantages), but seems more likely how these things play out.

UPDATE 3 (3:30pm CT): Jeff Passan says he hears that if Garza doesn’t go to the Rangers, the most likely other destinations are the Cardinals, the Red Sox, the Diamondbacks, and the Dodgers.

UPDATE 4 (3:37pm CT): Rosenthal’s piece (together with Jon Morosi) is up. It’s basically a more robust version of his tweet: the Cubs and Rangers have had extensive discussions, but other teams remain involved. The Rangers are the most “motivated” to get a deal done, but Rosenthal mentions the Dodgers, specifically, as another team involved. The Red Sox, Diamondbacks, Indians, and Cardinals have been involved, according to Rosenthal’s sources, but they haven’t wanted to meet the asking price for a rental.

UPDATE 5 (6:35pm CT): Gordon Edes reports that Clay Buchholz suffered a setback in his recovering from ongoing shoulder issues (bursitis) today. He was supposed to throw a bullpen session today, but it was scratched, and he’s due for reevaluation tomorrow. There has been some thinking that the Red Sox’s interest in picking up a pitcher was tempered by their confidence that Buchholz could return soon. If that’s no longer the case, will they become more eager to make a deal for, say, Garza? There is some logic there, but it all depends on Buchholz’s prognosis and the Red Sox’s willingness to roll the dice. They’re a good trading partner for the Cubs for a number of reasons (deep farm system, great upper-level arms, familiarity with the system).

UPDATE 6 (8:00pm CT): Rosenthal says one official in the Cubs/Rangers talks believes a deal is “getting closer,” and that prospects from various levels are involved (including “possibly” Mike Olt). In some ways, this doesn’t quite square with a “best and final” type scheme. Do the Rangers have the best offer, but it’s still not quite enough? Are the Cubs actively working with the Rangers to see if they’ll top the other “best” offer out there? I don’t pretend to have the answers here. We know only that the Cubs are extensively discussing a Garza deal, and the Rangers are clearly one of the primary suitors.

UPDATE 7 (8:28pm CT): Dave Kaplan spoke to a scouting friend who says the offers the Cubs are getting are “very solid,” and that a deal will likely be done this weekend. So, still kind of the same general message.

UPDATE 8 (8:37pm CT): Kaplan adds that the scout – presumably the same one – says the Cubs hold all of the cards, and Garza is the only high-level starter available out there. Kaplan also confirmed that final offers are rolling in from a handful of teams.

UPDATE 9 (9:05pm CT): The Rosenthal/Morosi piece has been updated slightly to include mention of Rangers pitching prospect C.J. Edwards as possibly part of the deal. These guys tend not to pull random A-ball pitchers out of their hat. In other words, if they’re naming Edwards as possibly being part of a deal, then he’s at least been discussed.

UPDATE 10 (9:18pm CT): Kaplan’s scout source is really pushing the Cubs’ strength, saying that the Rangers cannot afford to not acquire Garza. That seems to be overstating things a bit, but obviously they do have a clear need.

UPDATE 11 (9:54pm CT): Sahadev suggests on Twitter that the names we’re hearing from Texas – i.e. Olt, Edwards and Jackson are indeed in play, but the Cubs are hoping for more. Don’t assume that the Cubs *definitely* have an offer on the table for those three. It’s only safe to assume that those are names in play.

  • Rebuilding

    From another site: Someone on Twitter saying Junior Lake has been called up. Don’t know the sources so take it for what it’s worth

    • itzscott

      What site?

      • http://www.hookersorcake.com hookersorcake

        Red Sox Bucholtz looks like he might miss significant time with a lat/AC injury.

        • Afinch

          Just saw this too – hate to see such a talented guy on the shelf, but this may be very good news for the Cubs and a Garza trade. To me Boston has more than any team of what the Cubs need: young starting pitching. Maybe they take a late run at Garza?

    • Jp3

      That would be interesting and could be a precursor to something like a Garza Barney package?

      • On The Farm

        Or Valbuena, its hard telling since Valbuena and Barney can both play 2B, and Lake is now playing 3B.

        • Ricky

          Good point.

        • CubsFaninMS

          You have to admit, Muy Valbuena has played the part of a serviceable third baseman this season. He is not likely to be an MLB All-Star in his career but give him some credit. His offensive numbers would work better for a second baseman, though.

          • Jay

            Luis had looked OK at the plate—which anyone who knows me knows I don’t think much of him—so I have to give him his props. BUT, his OPS is rapidly trending downward and while it will likely finish the season at better than his career .660 (approx.) it’s heading back in that direction. So, while the question of who else is going to play 3B next year is certainly on the table (it was this year or else we never would have even bothered inviting Ian Stewart to camp) if someone wants Luis as part of a package and is going to give us something remotely valuable for said package, you’ve gotta make that deal.

    • Ricky

      I just read that as well on Twitter. Could mean that Soriano is moving? Who knows if this guy is even right.

    • King Jeff

      Daniel Rufenacht from DR. He’s a legit news source.

    • Ricky

      Do the Cubs currently have an opening on the 25 man? I can’t remember.

      • Rebuilding

        The Cubs currently have 25 men on the roster, so if true a corresponding move will need to be made

        • Ricky

          Thanks man, things are getting interesting!

        • Jp3

          Game is at 7:30 so we should get something by the 5 o’clock news maybe?!?!

        • auggie1955

          I was watching the Colorful Life of Hawk Harrelson on the MLB Network. When they were coming back from a commercial break they announced Bogosevic was being placed on the 15 day DL and Junior Lake was being called up.

  • North Side Irish

    Tommy Birch ‏@TommyBirch 11s
    Some #IowaCubs news: RHP Alberto Cabrera promoted from AA. C Luis Flores activated from paternity leave. C Chad Noble sent to AA. RHP

    Nice to see Cabrera get a promotion…

    • King Jeff

      Junior Lake coming to Cubs.

      • North Side Irish

        Daniel Rufenacht ‏@druf1 24m
        Chicago #Cubs will call up 3B Junior Lake from Triple-A.
        Retweeted by Cubs Prospects

        • Jp3

          Did we have a roster spot available? If not, and lake is on his way someone has to go before the game right?

          • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

            Barney maybe?

          • Austin5596

            Bogusevic to DL

        • Serious Cubs Fan

          I hope Lake starts everyday if he gets called up

      • Rebuilding

        I would be very surprised if they call up Lake and don’t give him regular at-bats. Whether that is at a set position or as a super utility guy getting 4-5 starts a week remains to be seen. I would prefer they just leave him at 1 position for now so he can settle in

    • Jp3

      Somebody has to be coming up right? AAA has a few additions so you’d think someone is coming up right?

      • augiepb

        I might be misremembering…but didn’t they say they say they were going to carry an extra pitcher up through the break and make a move after that?

        • Rebuilding

          We are currently carrying 6 OFers which is pretty unusual. Also, don’t forget Bogusevic was injured during the Cardinals series

          • Ricky

            Bogusevic to DL. There’s the move.

  • augiepb

    It sounds like things are starting to take shape…Alberto Cabrera to AAA and rumors of Lake to the Cubs…

    • augiepb

      or what they said!!

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      I’d rather not see Lake in the bigs yet. I’d rather see him get those 500 at-bats AAA. Only bring him up if he start every day. I don’t see him starting everyday. He needs get his reps in. Its encouraging he’s hitting the ball pretty well but its the PCL

      • Jp3

        Maybe he will be starting everyday?😜 Could be a big trade in the works with a spot opening up for him.

        • Serious Cubs Fan

          Hopefully there is a trade in the works because he should play everyday. Lake needs at bats to keep developing. Can”t let a guy like him ride the bench and stall his development.

        • Ricky

          IF Lake is being promoted, someone from the big club’s gotta go. So someone is going somewhere.

      • Jed Jam Band

        Well, this just throws a monkey wrench into everything, if true. I mean, either someone is going somewhere or Bogusevic is heading to DL and….I don’t know, that would probably mean Watkins would be coming up to start in CF, so….trade could be coming…I don’t really know what to think. This is fun.

  • Steve

    I have no inside sources, but I will predict he goes to Texas, not going out on a limb there. I think we give them garza for Olt, Feliz, and Edwards. Not gonna make many happy around here, but I really don’t think we will get a great return, and this is likely the best we get. Olt seems to be turning it around this year, Feliz has been hurt, but I think he’s close to healthy, Edwards is a kid to add to the system with what looks like a bright future.

    I think Olt will be starting 3b before the years out. Feliz will be looked at as a starter, but can slide back to closer if he can’t start, if healthy the guy has dominate stuff. If he can stick as a starter, the guy could be a top of the rotation type, if he can’t, we know he can be a dominate closer. I think Edwards could develop into a very good starter, to pair with those we have in the system now.Again we all was hoping for more, but we shouldn’t get our hopes too high in that regard.

    I’m curious what else we will get in trades for Gregg, Russell, Nate, Soriano, Villanueva Barney, maybe Dejesus as well. I believe we might as well move Shark too, cause he will bring a good package as well, and I’ve never been as sold on him as others have been. Arizona would give up a package built around Skaggs in that deal, maybe they throw Delgado, or Eaton and something else.

  • North Side Irish

    Tommy Birch ‏@TommyBirch 3m
    Also: RHP Esmailin Caridad has been released. #Cubs #IowaCubs #PCL

    Too bad…had high hopes for him a few years ago.

  • Timmy

    BREAKING NEWS: Matt Garza traded for Josh Hamilton

    • Jp3

      I thought he was traded for marmol

  • Boba Fett

    Timmy the clown

  • Ricky

    David Kaplan: Cubs recalling Junior Lake. Brian Bogusevic heading to the DL. I expect Lake to see time against left handers. Lake is hitting .295 in AAA.

  • Crockett

    Bogusevic to DL.

    Ugh – not what I was hoping.

    • Jp3

      Well everyone should watch the game tonight and be on the lookout for the bro hugging… That’s when we’ll know it’s a done deal. I also have a feeling the FO won’t want to drag this out any longer because they won’t want Garza to have to answer 100 post game questions on what he’s heard and whatnot.

      • Josh

        Game is tomorrow

      • Jed Jam Band

        What game? They don’t play until tomorrow.

        • Jp3

          Crap! I was thinking today was Friday! Damn I’m going crazy.

          • Jed Jam Band

            The Cubs’ll do that to ya.

    • Jed Jam Band

      I think we all wanted to see something more exciting. I mean, Lake coming up could have meant any number of things. Still, this was what seemed most likely.

  • dash

    Tough break for Bogusevic. I’m looking forward to seeing what Lake can do, though! Hopefully he’ll find his way into the lineup more than Ransom has…

    • Jed Jam Band

      He plays more positions than Ransom does and plays them credibly, so he’ll almost certainly find his way into the lineup more often.

  • LoneStarCub

    Damn, I am going to the Iowa Cubs vs. RR Express game tonight and was really hoping to see Lake play. Will I still be able too or is he already headed to meet up with the team?

  • Rebuilding

    Not sure how I feel about Lake coming up. I really hope they don’t jerk him around and send him back down in a couple of weeks. Calling up Vitters and Jackson too soon has completely destroyed whatever value they had

    • Jed Jam Band

      Well, if assman is correct about the Barney buzz, then he may very well be here to stay.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Disagree that Vitters was too soon. He had little trouble with Triple A in 2012 and a September call up was pretty much expected. He did struggle in September, but a lot of prospects struggle in their first taste of the majors. It’s fairly normal.

      I don’t think his value is gone, either. It isn’t high while he is injured and rehabbing, but he is still a guy who posted an OPS of .869 in Triple A as one of the youngest guys in that league. That hardly makes him without value.

      • Jed Jam Band

        Definitely have to agree on that. I’m not high on Vitters, but he’s still young and was a first round pick. He’s definitely got value to someone, if not the Cubs.

      • Crockett

        100% agree as well. While 2013 has been a crap and mostly lost season for him so far…he’s still young enough to make the progress he needs to make to be part tobe part of a major league team.

    • Crockett

      Can he play CF? I guess we’ll find out tomorrow? Colorado has maybe the biggest CF in baseball too. Oh and I’ll be there Friday and Sunday. Boom.

      • Jed Jam Band

        We know he can play the corner outfield spots, and since he played at SS for most of his minor league career, probably not a stretch for him to play CF.

      • Seth

        Well shit I’ll be there Saturday. Hope to see Lake in action at some point.

        • AB

          yea, I’m heading there Friday and Saturday.

          I’m suprised Moscoso or Raley/Rusin didn’t get called up in case something happened.

      • WNebCub

        I’ll be there as well Saturday and Sunday! with BN shirt on…wanna say hi?

        if you’re on twitter hit me up @offaironpoint

        • Crockett

          Would love to meet other BN’ers!

          • WNebCub

            Let’s at least get together for the “high five” photo! i’ll be there Saturday and Sunday. Probably early both days out in LF with my son hopefully catching some BP homers.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          If you guys do, you’ve gotta get a picture!

  • Mason Asher

    With the anticipation, I am dying inside. I trust the FO to make the right move no matter what we think of it.

  • Die hard

    Teams demand Garza physical and pitch one more for Cubs some say

    • Jp3

      Definitely 100% on both, maybe even 2 more starts…

      • Jp3

        Maybe on 2 days rest between each start to make sure his arm is sound

        • DarthHater

          Or perhaps one start with 200 pitches.

          • Jp3

            Better make it 2×200 just to be safe…and they eat soriano’s contract but we keep him for the rest of the season.

    • DarthHater

      Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to take this opportunity to announce the launching of my new social media service, diehard.com. Its purpose will be to provide a forum for shit that’s too stupid even for Twitter.

      • ssckelley

        I am so mad and jelly over this!

        This might get me to start complaining about the FO again.

      • cubmig

        You should name the site TSS (“Talking Stupid Shit”).

    • King Jeff

      I was sure that the Cubs already got Borbon as the downpayment for Garza from the Rangers. Now you’re saying that other teams are involved? It’s almost like you have no idea what you are talking about and just throw stuff out there to get a response.

      • Jp3

        Shot of Burbon! Forgot Die Hard said that, why is there even a bidding war since we already got the down payment???

      • DarthHater

        No, no. Trade of Garza to another team will cause the Rangers to bring a massive breach-of-contract suit against the Cubs, including a TRO that will prevent the Cubs from conducting any roster transactions until the suit is resolved.

        • Hansman1982

          With the IRS scandal they will was to help a red state so they’ll expedite the lien process on the Jumbotron and Bryant as well. Ryan will go all Dick Tidrow on Theo and soon the Rangers will be the new owners of the Cubs.

          • DarthHater

            They will then move the team to the Dominican Republic, where it will become the flagship franchise of the new Latin American Baseball League that will put MLB out of business.

            • Jp3

              All this won’t matter in the equation if the players we get from the other teams have sufficient Belly-fire to offset all money’s lost in said lawsuits and IRS infractions

            • Hansman1982

              And then Tunney will get the deed to Wrigley field, the hotel, triangle building and the Mc Ds

              • DarthHater

                And McDs everywhere will start selling Ann Sather cinnamon rolls. Woohoo!

      • caryatid62

        I thought Garza had already been dealt to the A’s for two PTBNLers…

        • DarthHater

          That was in the odd-numbered day universe. Today we are inhabiting the even-numbered-day universe.

  • Wyldjimme

    Junior lake just called up

  • Boba Fett

    Source die hard?

    • gocatsgo2003

      File this one under “pointless exercise.”

      • Cubbie Blues

        Eh, probably one of the voices in his head b

  • http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/653cc0c5f0eded621ab13b4f631de7da.png Cizzle

    What are the rules regarding retro-active DL’s during the all-star break? Do they get to go back all the way to Sunday? If so, it was smart to leave Lake in Iowa and get him the extra couple days of at bats & instruction, plus Bogie will be able to come off the DL prior to the deadline when 2/3 of the starting outfield is dealt.

    • ssckelley

      I would think they could go back to the last game he played.

  • Matt

    Saw Junior Lake in 2009 in Peoria, never thought he’d improve enough to make the majors. Some of the best tools I’ve ever seen, including a ridiculous throwing arm, but man was he raw and had some major makeup problems and was just plain bad at baseball. Impressive how far he’s come in just a few seasons.

    I think if everything breaks right he could be a nice platoon piece/bench player for us long term. I’d guess .270/.310/.420 unless he keeps on improving his plate discipline as the level increases (seems unlikely but he’s done it so far so…)

  • chad

    I’m not going to get to all caught up in this final bid thing. as didn’t the Cubs do this last season with Dempster? and we all saw how that turned out.

    • Bwa

      Ya but Villanueva and Hendricks have been pretty darn good for us so far.

  • DarthHater

    Hoping the return from the Rangers includes Rougned Odor. Just because.

    • Coop

      That is an awesome name, without question.

  • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

    Two bidders really: LA and Texas. LA has money, a few prospects, Texas has plenty of prospects, but wont part with their best pitching or position ones.

    LA has a bad contract with Ethier.
    Texas with Kinsler.

    LA has 2B Ellis at 36, Punto at 35 at 3B/2B, and Juan Uribe at 33, Skip Schumaker 32/33 all going to FA.
    Texas has both Corner OFs going to FA. Nelson to suspension too (most likely).

    LA: Garza, Barney or Valbuena
    Texas: Garza, Schierholtz or Soriano + cash

    LA Prospects: OF Joc Pederson, RHP Ross Stripling, SS Corey Seager, RHP Jose Dominguez
    Texas: RHP Luke Jackson, SS Rougned Odor, RHP Neil Ramirez, and of course,3B Mike Olt

    Guess will see who wins.

  • Fred Sanford

    Did someone report the pitching problem that just hit Boston like a Wrigley brick?

    • Abe Froman

      Yes, it seems that Buccholz’s blown bullpen session and cloudy health may prob Boston to make a stronger offer. Anyone?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yeah – tweeted about that, and meant to add that as an update.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Pure speculation, but I wonder if the Sox will peddle Iglesias on some sucker who: A) doesn’t get BABiP, and, B) over-values fielding, and then bring up Boegarts. (Of course, I’ve been hankering to see him in MLB for a year now, so this might be wishful thinking corrupting my circuitry!)

  • Afinch

    Brett – I just have to say how much I LOVE your site! One year ago I tore my Achilles and was having surgery – the whole time leading up to it I remember checking here constantly on the Dempster trade saga – took my mind off the impending awfulness of surgery and rehab that was to follow. I have no idea why I remember this but I was sitting in a hospital awaiting an MRI to confirm the bad news when I saw the Dempster to Atlanta craziness break out. just goes to show that even during crappy times its hard not to check you awesome site for Cubs breaking news!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks for that, Afinch. Means a lot to me, and I’m glad you have enjoyed.

  • Kevin

    I can see the headlines after the Cubs finally win the World Series “Pierce Johnson solid as Roughened Odor contributes”

  • Afinch

    From Rosenthal:

    @Ken_Rosenthal: One official in #Rangers-#Cubs talks believes Garza deal getting closer. Prospects from various levels in play. Olt “possibly” involved.

  • deej34

    Camp to the Dbacks… oh well. No trade value when we had him.

  • Abe Froman

    Im-fudging-possible to say, but this may be the last domino to fall if the Cubs trade Garza by tomorrow night.

    • Abe Froman

      In respond to Buccholz failed session.

  • Mark S

    Let’s all be honest here…If the Cubs were one Garza type starter left from possibly winning the World Series…who wouldn’t want to get him? Even if it costs a top prospect.

  • Adam

    I think any three of Luke Jackson, Neil Ramirez, CJ Edwards, and Mike Olt for Garza plus another marginal piece, would be a huge return

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      If the Cubs got Olt/Jackson/Edwards for Garza and a minor prospect or complementary piece, yeah, that’s a great, great deal.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        If you buy into Olt. There is a ton of risk in that package due largely to questions about his ability to make enough consistent contact. That deal would make me a lot more nervous than I’d like to be after a Garza trade.

        • http://It'searly Mike F

          People seldom mention Olt will be 25 next month. It would be different if he had a consistent Minors record of success. But he has been diminishing and tear problem/vision or not, I agree Luke he is not a great fit for the Cubs. The problem with the 8 starters is really contact, approach and clutch hitting. I like Rizzo a lot, and Castro despite Levine’s comment is talented. But we need to be realistic. While I remain in Sveum’s corner, its getting very difficult. With the complete offensive failure on the roster of young talented players, the last thing the Cubs need in my view is a prospect who is older and really resting his value on implied status. Take a look back at the 2011 prospects in baseball, seems Jackson was 33 and we see how that has worked for us.

          I think you hit it, Olt is a real risk to completely fail.

          • Drew7

            I understand the age concern, but the guy is only in his 3rd full professional season – its not like he’s been toiling in the minors for the better part of a decade.

  • todd mccombs

    on csn they are reporting that the cubs price has been met – asked for best offers before deal is done – sounds very close

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      On TV? Who is saying it?

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