They’ve been the favorite for some time, and if Ken Rosenthal’s sources are to be believed, the Rangers are going to get their man.
Rosenthal reports this morning – according to two officials with knowledge of the negotiations – that the Rangers are “close” to acquiring Matt Garza from the Cubs. Nothing is final here, so let’s be certain to continue proceeding cautiously here. Indeed, Bruce Levine just spoke with Garza on his flight to Denver, where the Cubs are playing the Rockies this weekend. Garza said he’d not heard anything from the Cubs, and obviously hasn’t yet been traded.
That the sides have obviously reached an advanced stage of negotiations makes you wonder if the Rangers and Cubs have had the basic parameters of a deal in place for a little while, but have been negotiating at the periphery for some time (hence the call for best and final offers yesterday).
The names we keep hearing are third base prospect Mike Olt, and pitching prospects Luke Jackson and C.J. Edwards. Does that mean the Cubs will get all three for Garza? Nope. Does it mean that any of those three will be involved? Not necessarily. Does it mean they were already in the deal and the Cubs wanted more? Not necessarily. But I have to believe their names keep popping up from a variety of sources for a reason. (And those three players together for Garza is a plausible, albeit strong, return. Rosenthal mentions only Olt and Edwards, for whatever that’s worth. Those two, only, would also be a plausible return.)
Peter Gammons reminds folks this morning that young Rangers pitcher Martin Perez is out of the deal, but also believes a deal is close. Obviously things are getting hot, but you already knew that.
UPDATE: Jon Heyman adds pitching prospect Neil Ramirez’s name to the mix as one who had been discussed, according to a source. Heyman also mentions Roman Mendez, but doesn’t explicitly connect him to the talks.
UPDATE 2 (8:50am CT): I missed Patrick Mooney’s new report earlier, but a source told him late last night that the Rangers were still not crazy about the steep asking price, and were in the advanced stages of moving on to a Plan B. That sounds like a bit of negotiating to me, but you never know. The question now is whether Rosenthal’s info came after Mooney’s.
UPDATE 3 (9:20am CT): Tim Brown from Yahoo – who always seems to swoop in during rumor season with solid info – says the Cubs and Rangers haven’t reached the point of exchanging medial information, so a deal isn’t quite that close.
UPDATE 4 (9:30am CT): MLB.com writer T.R. Sullivan, who covers the Rangers, has a source who says there is “no deal yet,” but that the sides have been working hard on getting this done. Sullivan makes sure to caveat that although something “could” get done, it isn’t done yet. For what it’s worth, Sullivan’s initial report on trade talks between the Cubs and Rangers mentioned a smattering of prospects that were not particularly captivating.
UPDATE 5 (9:43am CT): In a separate update (which actually preceded the prior one), Sullivan says that the names being discussed are Olt, Edwards, and Ramirez … and that the Rangers have put Luke Jackson off-limits. Makes you wonder if the current negotiation is about getting Jackson back on the table in place of Ramirez. After 2011, Ramirez was a fairly well-regarded pitching prospect, but a rough go at AAA in 2012 knocked his stock down a bit. He’s had to settle for pitching (well) at AA this year as a 24-year-old. The stuff is well-regarded, but there are control issues. If it’s the case that the Cubs prefer Jackson, I could understand why.
UPDATE 6 (9:43am CT): This is from the same Sullivan piece, but I wanted to give it separate billing here so it didn’t get lost: Sullivan says the Rangers are hoping to get a deal done in time to have Garza start tomorrow night against the Orioles.