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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.

  • Timmy

    there must be an olt-ternative, the guy is already washed up in their farm system. can we get beltre?

    • CubsFaninMS

      Yeah, there’s a Roughned Odor trailing Olt. Feliz offer us a better prospect, Texas.

      • Brad Brewer

        Yes! My Profar-ence would be Alfaro… Lets give Texas an Oltimatum…

        • CubsFaninMS

          Yes, hopefully the Rangers will Buckel and up the ante. Olt is a Grimm outcome for us Cub fans. Alright, running it into the ground here, sorry.

  • Timmy

    i would profar an olt-ternative to the trades currently discussed.

    • DarthHater

      Quit Bogaerting the puns, dude. The Red Sox have Ranaudo options and soon will let their prospects out of the Barnes.

      • Timmy

        timmy rides again!

        • DarthHater

          If the Cubs are really Trahan not to end up with a bunch of Skaggs, then they should do business with Arizona. By next week, we could all be Eaton steak and rolling in Gould.

          This isn’t even much of a challenge, man.

  • North Side Irish

    Cj Edwards ‏@CEdwardsSBS 50m
    I haven’t heard anything so whatever happen happens

  • Dijon

    Mike Olt 0-3 3 K’s against Iowa tonight….not the best game against the team you’re potentially going to be traded to

    • ssckelley

      Baez struck out 4 times tonight.

      • hansman1982

        This is my shocked face…

        • ssckelley

          Another shock……he walked tonight as well!

          • hansman1982

            wow, ya, 1 BB in 5 PA? Lighting the world on fire!

      • Serious Cubs Fan

        Baez is 20 yrs old in a pitchers league and the kid just got called up. Olt is 25yr old having a terrible year in a hitter friendly league. Yes its an over reaction by some people, but if you look at the overall body of work this it doesn’t look good. I think Olt can be possibly be a major leaguer, but not a stud. 25yr old who is struggling to make adjustments is a little alarming. his K% is pretty darn bad

        • frank

          I agree–as someone on here said, Brett Jackson 2.0 (sorry I can’t remember who said it).

        • http://It'searly Mike F

          I won’t cut my wrists if they get him, but he’s older, I don’t like his mechanics, I don’t like the trending and don’t buy the spin. Its OK to pee pee on Baez, but I think he’s young and thus far proving a pretty damn nice prospect. I don’t see why when you’re talking like a big arm like Garza, we have to accept Texas superiority in production of prospects without questioning. I’m ok as a throw in, but not the centerpiece people are determined to making. He is a real project and may be defective. I’d far better have two real upside prospects than including Olt And if you see Assman’s post it is wider deal.

      • Mr. B. Patient

        So now Baez has as many 4 strike out games as he has 4 home run games.

        • hansman1982

          Ehh, I want to say he has had a couple other ones.

          • Cubbie Blues

            I would only assume.

          • hansman1982

            Nope, at least not this season, although this is his 5th time with 3 or more.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

            I think so, but I’d have to go look. High strike out rates right now in Double A from Baez don’t bother me too much, though. He’s not been up long, and he made adjustments pretty well in Daytona. Nothing wrong with being patient on him right now.

            • Eternal Pessimist

              Hopefully as we are patient with him he will be patient at the plate…but we have some time until 2015.

            • When the Music’s Over

              Some modest growing pains are probably not a bad thing for someone with Baez’s personality (not suggesting he has a bad one, just a strong one). I think a little humility goes a long way in his world. Especially in terms of lighting a fire under his ass, and maintaining an even approach.

            • hansman1982

              If those last 120ish PA in Daytona hadn’t shown good BB and K rates, I’d be much more worried, now I’m hoping he can make a similar adjustment in AA.

          • Mr. B. Patient

            I don’t think this year. But don’t worry, he’ll be traded soon. I saw someone said last night that he was being traded this off season.

  • X the Cubs Fan

    Would you guys be happy with a Luke Jackson, C.J. Edwards, Wilmer Font, Neil Ramirez return? All pretty young pitchers, the first two can develop into pretty good starters and the other two could be important parts of our bullpen. I think this deal would be a great step forward for the rebuild.

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

      I would be ecstatic with that return.

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

      I would. Texas fans would be slightly upset for the total.

      I kinda want Neftali Feliz. We seem to have TJ affinity so, why not. (He’s throwing in AZ)
      Texas will balk though at that piece.

      • Serious Cubs Fan

        I would rather have Neftali Feliz over Olt any day. Reason being, we need pitching in the system. Feliz has an electric arm. I know he’s had TJ surgery but if you look at his body frame its Height: 6′ 3″, Weight: 225 lb. That should help for durability. If durability concern sprout back up then put him back in the bullpen where he was an allstar closer a few years ago. Both Olt and Feliz are 25, still fairly young. Only difference is one is quite a bit more proven and has major league experience already

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

          Amen. Wonder why he was never on the table in these talks?

  • Timmy

    BREAKING NEWS: this post is about to hit 500 responses

    • ssckelley

      #500 needs to be good

    • Mason Asher

      You should be the new KTVU anchor. That’s how much your Breaking News makes sense.

      • Timmy

        i know right, i should totally be on tv. thank you.

  • Rooster

    Cubs to bring up Junior Lake from Iowa on Friday!!!

  • Cubbie Blues

    Most recent right up I have seen on Profar.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/2013-trade-value-30-26/#26

  • Ivy Walls

    If this comes down to the reports Olt(3B) and two pitchers Edwards and Jackson, Olt and Jackson are/were in most organizational Top Ten lists, and Edwards seems to be a real jumper with a K 122 and 34 BB in 92 IP in A ball and someone who would probably be promoted to A+ he seems to be a real deal maker

    Jackson appears to be another good prospect, No 1 Draft choice in 2010, 93K’s 41 BB’s, 88 IP

    while Olt is the Top 20 in all MiLB

    • Cubbie Blues

      Actually, Olt has been ranked by most prognosticators to be in the 50 range most recently.

      • Ivy Walls

        that was because of his vision issue, which might have diminished his trade value short term and if it is duct problems as published than it is remedied.

        He is a power bat at 3B, a good glove and young. He could move Valbuena to 2B and allow the Cubs to trade Barney or simply move Barney/Valbuena to a platoon-utility role or trade Valbuena.

        The other pitchers would immediately add to the Cubs Top 20 replacing Lake (?) and B Jax and or Vitters

  • Ivy Walls

    D-backs sign reliever Camp, release Hinske

    The D-backs made a move to increase their bullpen depth on Thursday, signing right-hander Shawn Camp and assigning him to Triple-A Reno. Camp was released by the Cubs on July 7 after being designated… http://t.co/Ad7WmKpGC0

  • http://bleachernation.com ramy16

    I hope Theo and Jed stick to their guns and ask for perez or Feliz!!

    • Ivy Walls

      that is not how you make a deal.

  • http://bleachernation.com ramy16

    Otherwise tell Daniels to kick rock’s

  • AD

    Patrick Mooney ‏@CSNMooney 3m
    What post-deadline means for Rizzo/Castro w/source saying Rangers are working on a Plan B that doesn’t involve Garza:

  • Isaac

    A little Starlin Castro perspective….He turned 23 in March

    Ozzie Smith at age 23 was still in the minor leagues.

    Ozzie Smith committed 25, 20, and 24 errors his first three years in the bigs, and he was three years older than Starlin has been playing his first three (27, 29, 27).

    Ozzie Smith has a career BA of .262, Starlin Castro is at .287, age 23.

    Ozzie Smith has a career OPS of .666, Starlin is .738, at age 23.

    Ozzie Smith had one year in his career with 182 hits, Starlin had two years of more than 182 by the time he was 22.

    Ozzie Smith had 28 career HR’s, Castro has 33.

    Ozzie Smith didn’t make his first AS game until he was nearly 27 (he made 15), Starlin had two at 22 years and 3 months.

    Point being, everyone is being WAY too critical of Starlin (oh, and Ozzie may be the most overrated player in history).

    • True blue

      Very nice. I agree.

      • Eternal Pessimist

        Other than Castro’s current downward trend, which is very concerning, I agree (or at least hope)

    • Jimmy James

      But but but he could do a backflip

    • Timmy

      i agree with this completely, if the management just tried to hire a few players to anchor the middle he’d see more pitches and be back up to snuff. he’s being sabotaged by theo so they can trade him for more minor league gambles.

  • figgelbert

    The Cubs have asked for Jose Alfaro
    top catching prospect in Rangers org.
    Also a top 75 mlb prospect

  • figgelbert

    my bad
    Jorge Alfaro

  • DarthHater

    I’m generally okay with the approach of selling off veterans for prospects, but only if at least some of the prospects you acquire have a higher ceiling than the veteran you are giving up. It seems like we’re talking about trading Garza for a package of guys who each will have an outside shot at some day being not as good as Garza.

    • hansman1982

      Clearly, the Cubs aren’t going to be able to extend Garza, If you could trade in Garza for a couple guys who probably will be just a touch worse than him, you do it. This way you have 2 chances to not be wrong.

      • DarthHater

        If you know it’s that clear, then yes. But reports fairly recently were not so clear that an extension was impossible.

        • hansman1982

          The reports were that the Cubs re-engaged Garza. Either they were too far apart or they are willing to gamble that they could get him in FA for only a few dollars more.

  • Mike Taylor (no relation)

    Mooney says Rangers have to use Plan B, Cubs aren’t budging on price for Garza. Possibly, we require an MLB-ready arm included.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Maybe Mooney say Ranger’s “plan B”: Could “Plan B” be miguel alfredo gonzalez? Bud Norris?

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

    Final post, and fitting if we get the prospects we want: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyYhFsXdZVk

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    If the Ranger’s “plan B” is Yovani Gallardo, then good luck to them. Down Velocity, terrible yr, moving to the AL = recipe for failure

  • Tom

    I have a question? Wasn’t the first baseman Davis of Baltimore from Texas Rangers? Maybe Olt just needs a change of scenery. What was Davis ranked as a prospect? Thank you.

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      Chris Davis wasn’t 25 yrs old

      • chirogerg

        Top 100 but not top 50

      • Serious Cubs Fan

        My apologizes. Davis was actually 24 but davis hitting well above .300 in the minors. Olt’s BA is much lower

  • turn two

    According to mooney and based on a sporting news article the rangers are hot on plan b which sounds like bud Norris and they are about to jump at it. If rangers bow out we lose a ton of leverage and our toptrade partner.

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      Sounds a bluff and rangers leverage grab attempt. Norris advanced stats aren’t great. He’s not an impact player

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

      Leverage? They asked for last and best offers. If Mooney’s report is true the Cubs probably got a last second offer from another team(Boston or Cleveland), and they went back to Texas and said unless you up your offer were gonna have to go with x, y, and z… Leverage isn’t an issue at this point.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I’m not convinced Texas ever is or was the top trade partner. The most logical and (for some, anyway) the best fitting one? Sure. The one with the most press-sources in the front office? Possibly.

      Best? Not convinced. I still don’t think Texas and Chicago match up well. Boston or Cleveland make more sense to me.

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

        Agree 100% Luke.

        • X the Cubs fan

          Good, because I want Bauer more than anyone in the entire Rangers system including Profar (not sure if he still qualifies).

  • turn two

    either way its a leverage play

  • Timmy

    BREAKING NEWS: Matthew R. Garza Traded for Billy D. Williams

    • DarthHater

      NEWS UPDATE: Timmy B. Douchenozzle

    • spearman

      Star Wars or Ghostbusters?

      • Timmy

        ghostbusters

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

        Tough choice, both good movies. I would go with Star Wars since I haven’t seen it in a few years. I watched Ghostbusters last week :)

  • Oswego chris

    Good luck with Bud Norris…Texas needs Garza…lots of injuries and inconsistencies in their rotation…

  • https://www.facebook.com/AnotherSpaceSong Bret Epic

    Hopefully something gets worked out this weekend. I’m confident that we’ll end up receiving a package we’re happy with.

  • Bilbo161

    If Texas is out maybe someone else has caved and offered the TOR we are looking for? Or Boston offers us their hot 3rd base prospect. Cecchini? Probably mauled that spelling.

  • G2Ellis

    Almost at the 600th comment

  • Coop

    Sounds like a real leverage play by Rangers with the “Bud Norris Plan B” reports…

    • Dudeski

      Kind of a poor Plan B IMO. Norris is good and is under control for a couple more years but he isn’t going to be that big of a difference maker

    • Jed Jam Band

      Ha. Man, if there’s anything I know about Theo and Jed it’s that you don’t try to power-play them.

    • Chad

      And I’m sure the cubs just laugh and say “yeah, ok. Good one”.

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