With this morning’s Garza Watch post already loaded with comments and updates, I thought it might be useful to start a new post (especially considering the new information).
Today, Bruce Levine spoke to Matt Garza, who confirmed that he’s expecting to be traded. In a piece that you should definitely read, Levine quotes Garza: “They told my agent [earlier in the week] that they were going to move me. They said as much as they like me they need to add inventory for the future. I want to stay but that doesn’t seem possible now.”
Presumably, this came in part out of one-last-try negotiations on an extension. It would be understandable if Garza would prefer to test the market (he’s primed to get paaaaid), and understandable if the Cubs weren’t willing to commit full free agent market price at this time. Good on the Cubs for keeping Garza abreast of their plans. These are all people, you know.
Levine suggests that the Rangers, Indians, Blue Jays and Dodgers are or have been involved, with the Cubs seeking third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall in a deal from the Indians (with the Cubs sending back an infielder, potentially), and the Dodgers unwilling to part with their top two pitching prospects (presumably Zach Lee and Chris Reed or Julio Urias). All teams have been told to make their best and final offer.
We’ll see what ends up happening, but it sounds like a deal will happen before Garza’s scheduled start on Monday. It’s just a matter of finding the right trading partner to blink first.
UPDATE: Reports out of Boston – this one comes from Alex Speier – continue to say that the Red Sox feel comfortable with their starting pitching situation because Clay Buchholz will be back eventually, the other four in the rotation are doing all right, and there is a great deal of pitching depth at the upper levels of the minors. Posturing? Maybe. But Levine didn’t list the Red Sox, and they haven’t seemed like the strongest suitor at any point.
UPDATE 2 (11:43am CT): From Gerry Fraley out of Dallas, the Rangers’ offer is likely Mike Olt plus one of a group of young infield prospects (Fraley speculates Luis Sardinas, Leury Garcia, or Rougned Odor) plus a pitching prospect (Fraley mentions Neil Ramirez and C.J. Edwards). I’m just shooting from the hip here, but if the Cubs could get Olt, Edwards, and one of Odor or Sardinas … that’s looking like a mighty fine package to me.
UPDATE 3 (1:00pm CT): George Ofman chimes in to remind folks that this is not a done deal with the Rangers, and, yes, the Cubs are still working with other potential teams.
UPDATE 4 (1:02pm CT): A big one. Joe Davidson of the Sacramento Bee (who references Garza’s Freso connection, in case you’re wondering why someone in Sacramento would be reporting on this) says that a Cubs/Rangers deal is “99 percent done,” with the medicals now being evaluated. Davidson says there are six players involved, but that doesn’t mean it’s Garza for five players. It could be just about any combination. The medical step with Garza, who has had that stress reaction in his elbow, reportedly related to a screw that was placed there as a kid, isn’t totally perfunctory. In other words, the deal could be “99 percent done” and still kinda-sorta not be a “done deal,” if that makes sense. Not solely because of the medicals, mind you, but that’s a factor.
UPDATE 5 (1:13pm CT): Although he doesn’t yet know the other names involved, Davidson appears quite confident that Garza is going to Texas. Isn’t it funny how the last year has jaded us? Pre-Dempster Saga, we would all also be convinced that Garza to the Rangers was definitely happening, because obviously it’s happening. But now? You’re all probably feeling the way I do: yeah, seems likely he’ll go to the Rangers, and, yeah, seems likely it’ll be today or tomorrow. But nothing would surprise me anymore.
UPDATE 6 (1:38pm CT): Man, the ‘net is a wildfire of speculation about other Cubs’ names potentially being involved in this deal. It’s certainly possible that other Cubs will be in, but no big names have been reported anywhere. In other words, I’d be very, very surprised if Alfonso Soriano was suddenly in this deal (especially considering his no-trade rights) and we didn’t hear a peep about it. A lower-profile, or non-obvious trade target type? Sure. It’s possible.
UPDATE 7 (3:18pm CT): Jesse Rodgers says that we can expect to hear something on a Garza trade today or tomorrow (though he added a “?,” so there’s probably some speculation there).
UPDATE 8 (3:35pm CT): An ESPN report out of Dallas has Jim Bowden saying that Neil Ramirez has “emerged as the center piece” of a Garza deal. That would be pretty surprising given that the other names reportedly discussed – Mike Olt, C.J. Edwards, etc. – are generally thought to be better prospects. Might Ramirez be in the deal? Sure. Might he be an important piece? Sure. The “center piece”? Implying that the other pieces are far inferior? That would be a surprise.
UPDATE 9 (3:55pm CT): Garza is still with the Cubs in Colorado, doing his normal warm-ups, per Patrick Mooney.
UPDATE 10 (4:03pm CT): Gordon Wittenmyer has a Cubs source who says a mystery NL team could pop up and “intercept” Garza from the Rangers. If there was one thing this process was missing, it was a mystery team … (Pirates? Diamondbacks? Cardinals? Dodgers? They were the most frequently mentioned NL teams.)
UPDATE 11 (4:43pm CT): Jim Bowden tweets something that will probably be unpopular, but backs up UPDATE 8: “The Rangers – Cubs…Matt Garza deal will get done and Neil Ramirez will be center piece according to source.” If the deal truly ends up being Garza for Ramirez and then a lesser prospect or two, I would be surprised. I’ve said all along that I expected a return less than the Greinke deal last year, though – something more in the realm of a top 100 and then a couple top 15 organizational types – so you’re encouraged to keep expectations reasonable, however this plays out.
UPDATE 12 (4:46pm CT): BP’s Jason Parks expresses – in his unique, colorful way – disbelief about Ramirez being the “centerpiece” of a Garza deal: “Neil Ramirez might be in the Garza deal, but if he’s the centerpiece of the deal (which I doubt), the Cubs are getting [um, a bad deal].”
UPDATE 13 (4:53pm CT): Bowden reports that Ramirez has been scratched from his scheduled start tonight, which could be nothing, could be an injury, or could be holding him out in advance of a trade. We’ll dig into that one a bit.
UPDATE 14 (4:58pm CT): Hooray for conflicting reports (at least temporarily) – T.R. Sullivan says Ramirez is still in line to start tonight. Maybe he just hasn’t heard yet, or maybe Bowden jumped the gun.
UPDATE 15 (5:02pm CT): Bowden retracts and does a little mea culpa: “I am now being told that Neil Ramirez wasn’t scratched.Was given wrong information. My fault for not following up with 2nd source #apologies” Not that you needed another reminder after the last year, but: take the information, all of it, with a grain of salt. It’s interesting, it’s useful, it’s fun. But we live in an era where things happen quickly and mistakes are made. Try to stay calm throughout the process, and just enjoy.
UPDATE 16 (5:17pm CT): A report from Jeff Wilson (Star-Telegram) suggests (but does not state explicitly outright) that the deal on the table is Garza and an unidentified Cubs player for Olt, Ramirez, Edwards, and Luis Sardinas. If true, I’d expect the other Cubs piece to be something fairly good, as Sardinas is a legit prospect (good enough that you could argue he’s the best prospect in the deal … hard to say who the “centerpiece” is). That six player deal would comport with the original Joe Davidson report (UPDATE 4).
UPDATE 17 (6:14pm CT): Tim Brown tweets that the “final stage” of the deal has been reached, with the exchange of medical information having taken place. Joe Davidson’s original report included that bit, so it’s fair to guess that evaluating – and then discussing within the context of the trade – those medicals has taken some time. Neil Ramirez is still pitching (at last check), so, if he’s in the deal, we haven’t yet reached the stage of bro hugs.