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matt garza cubsWith 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.

  • Jody

    This could also be a ploy to get the Rangers to up their offer.

  • johnny chess

    Who needs a 3rd baseman? Boston

  • Alex

    Any word on Jorge Alfaro, Texas’ top catching prospect, being included? I’d far rather see someone like him included then reaching for some of these low level, high upside pitching prospects were hearing about being main components. None of there pitchers particularly excite me. I still think Perez will end up in the pen with his inconsistency.

    • Mr. B. Patient

      You do know that Alfaro is a ‘low level, high upside guy’, right? With a broken hand, no less.

      Not that i wouldn’t mind Alfaro, but his risk is just as high as the pitchers.

    • YourResidentJag

      I’ve posted this before here. Buyer beware. http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/five-prospects-to-avoid/

  • CEO

    Ooo how I’d love to be a fly on the wall in theo and Jed’s office while they are trying to make these deals happen!!

    • ChrisN324

      I’d love to be in their shoes and be able to negotiate with other ball clubs. It’s gotta be a real power trip going on with these negotiations. Especially when you’ve got the upper hand and run away with a steal. (which I hope the FO can do)
      Closest I’ve come to that was walking into a used-car dealership and negotiating a price with a couple of hacks that tried to bust me with an absurdly high price (even too high to be an inflated negotiable starting point). After a bit of back and forth, with them sticking to their high guns, I pulled out a check for my final offer. They immediately dropped the price and I saved a couple grand in the process. Best part is I got it for way under what I had hoped I’d have to pay in the first place. Drove away from that one with a huge smile!….until gas prices blew up in Chicago. :(

  • itzscott

    Just to prepare and get a head start….

    Once Garza is traded, who’s in the next Cub trade that we’ll all obsess about?

    • nkniacc13

      Lets see what comes back im guessing cubs move atleast 1 OF and maybe 2 pitchers still

      • Chad

        I’m guessing Russell.

        • itzscott

          Nah…. I’m guessing Soriano, how much of his salary the Cubs will pick up and who that translates into as a better prospect.

          I think that one will make everyone’s head spin.

    • Mr. B. Patient

      My guess is the next Obsessive trade watch will be Soriano.
      My guess is the next Obsessive trade watch that does happen will be Soriano.

    • Hansman1982

      Russell, Gregg, Soriano, Barney, Valbuena

  • cjdubbya

    This has to be approaching one of the Dempster threads from last year, I’m guessing, in terms of the # of comments. Could this hit 1000?

    • ChrisN324

      I think if you add up the other post from earlier then we’re in the ballpark for 1000. This one alone could get there. This suspense for when the deal will be done is killing me though!

  • X The Cubs Fan

    Mystery NL team!!!!

    • EQ76

      I’ve been wondering when the mystery team would show up!!

  • X The Cubs Fan

    Could we maybe get Olt for Russell straight up?

  • aCubsFan

    Wittenmeyer says it is not the Cards.

    • mdavis

      Diamondbacks? They still have some nice pieces, they could put together a nice package.

      • Mrcub1958

        Agree. Thought they made sense all along. With that system what are you waiting for?

        • mdavis

          built around Davidson, Holmberg, and a 10-20 arm? I’d like that.

          • YourResidentJag

            Me too.

    • northsiders6

      Mariners

  • aCubsFan

    Holy crap it is the Phillies

    • YourResidentJag

      Get us Biddle.

  • rbreeze

    Braves or D’Backs?

    • itzscott

      Giants…. because when the bats fail, pitching always keeps you in the game.

  • aCubsFan

    Morosi just tweeted Garza, Soriano and Sheierholtz to Phillies.

    • Wick

      That was a fake twitter account. No way does that happen.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Fake, presumably.

    • Eric

      fake account. NEVER believe twitter unless you have the guy saved and are 100% sure it is the REAL reporter.

      • aCubsFan

        My bad it was a fake post.

    • Hansman1982

      Morosi has had problems in the past with imposters.

  • bret epic

    Remember when trades used to happen without 3 million sources all saying different things? Pepperidge Farm remembers.

  • dash

    Vitters has just been reactivated from DL. A pre-trade move?

  • BRANT BROWN

    Can we just trade Garza back to the Rays for Archer and Lee and pretend like this thing never happened. Brett give Theo a call thanks brother

    • Tim

      I COMPLETELY agree with you. I wish that was a possibility. All we need back is the SS and Archer back they can keep the other two, and they already moved Chirnos

  • Wick

    Is it for a second plausible that a deal including Olt may be just what he needs? I know personally I would hate playing in an organization where no matter how well I did, I was never going to be in the big game. With Beltre there it just isnt happening unless perhaps a position change was in order. If Olt came to the Cubs and was given a fresh start with some assuredness that he would be receiving most of the starts at 3rd, I think the could find some comfort in that and be able to return to his old self or at least get on the path to it. No way am I saying that he needs to be the centerpiece of the deal at all, but I truly think having him as an add-in would possibly be very beneficial to the Cubs.

    • Mr. B. Patient

      The only three reasons to trade for Olt.

      1-you think his vision problems are behind him
      2-you see something you think you can fix
      3-hope to get lucky with, like you say, a change of scenery

  • Tennessee Cub

    Why is Ransom in tonight over Valbuena?

    • Hansman1982

      LHP

  • Adam

    If the best we can muster from all this is Neil Ramirez, then we shouldn’t even bother trading him. If sellers are constantly bending over in the trade market, then eventually people will refuse to sell because they get no return. It takes a team saying no screw you we’ll just keep him.

    I’d rather take my chances with a QO and 1st round draft pick comp.

    • Dustin S

      Agree 100%. I know we probably have overvalued his return at times, but I’d take a QO comp pick over Ramirez (or probably even Olt) as the centerpiece easily. This all has made me that much more anxious for us to get in the position where we can trade our .200 BA and 5.00 ERA in AAA “hot prospect” guys for aces like Texas wants to do.

    • Mr. P

      I agree, we aren’t the Marlins and this isn’t a salary dump. If we can’t get what we want, just hang on to him and give him a QO. If nothing else, couldn’t we just use a QO as a threat to Garza to try and extend him after the trade deadline? I’m sure he doesn’t want to be the next guy to be bitten by the QO curse. (see Kyle Lohse, Michael Bourn). I’m oversimplifying it, but at least you show other teams that you aren’t going to just bend over backwards to help them with their playoff push.

    • Kevin

      Agree 100%

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

    Dodgers seem the logic choice.
    [img]http://images3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20091124203223/memoryalpha/en/images/1/16/Spock_%28alternate_reality%29.jpg[/img]

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      You think Dodgers would be willing to part with Julio Urias or Zach Lee for Garza?

      • Jed Jam Band

        They’ve previously been very adamant that they wouldn’t give up Lee, but maybe. I mean, after trading De La Rosa, Webster, and Eovaldi….Lee is really the only high-minors pitching prospect they have left, so it would be a bit of a surprise. But, if they offered Lee, they could take this thing away from the Rangers very easily.

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

        Probably not. No one seems to want their top 5 prospects to land a Garza.

        If i were FO, which I am not, OF Joc Pederson, RHP Ross Stripling and RHP Jose Dominguez kid would be involved -http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/d/dominjo01.shtml – with maybe Josh Vitters or Brett Jackson going back also.

        But that’s me.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Do you guys think Olt, Edwards, and Ramirez is a good package for Garza. I’m not sold

    • YourResidentJag

      It’s ok I suppose. The big piece to me in this deal would be Edwards.

      • Serious Cubs Fan

        Well if Ramirez is the center piece then I don’t know how else to say it but its a disappointing return. I wasn’t expecting Profar or any prospect close to his level but I was think we’d get a package of Olt, Edwards, and Sardinas or Odor (which those too are a big step up over Ramirez.

        • YourResidentJag

          Ramirez won’t be the centerpiece. Theo wouldn’t do that.

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

            I really hope not. It would be incredibly dissapointing.

  • Tennessee Cub

    See “The Decision” on WGN tonight for the real garza trade news. Spoiler……the Miami Heat have traded for Matt garza….lol

  • John

    MLB trade rumors saying a deal is close and Neil Ramirez is the Featured piece. If the Cubs trade Garza for a package of Neil Ramirez as the main piece then im going to be hugely disappointed and just down right sick to my stomach.

    • YourResidentJag

      Yeah pretty much. Build up and that would be major let down. And besting over Theo by Jon Daniels.

    • DB

      That came from Jim Bowden. I would ignore him.

    • Wick

      Bowden tweeted this, and I think he is way off. He’s not a reliable source. I am positive our FO has this under control. Have faith!

      • Ricky

        Bowden is the worst.

        • Mr. B. Patient

          Don’t tell him that.

      • YourResidentJag

        Good. Whew. Kinda like Nightenale on saying the Cubs could get Profar.

    • caryatid62

      I’m seeing this a lot, and this is not to pick on the original poster, but–

      People are (a) freaking out about a deal that hasn’t happened yet, and (b) acting like they knew who Neil Ramirez was before this morning.

      When it comes to trades for prospects, you either trust the FO’s judgment or you don’t, because in terms of data and information, they know A LOT more than any fan does about all the players involved. I trust that the Cubs will get the best possible deal for Matt Garza, or at least one they believe is the best at the time. Their process is sound. There’s really no reason for uninformed complaining about ANY deal involving minor leaguers.

  • William

    If we’re going to get hosed, I sure hope we bring Garza back in the off season. Then again, these sources are often wrong and shouldn’t be taken seriously, especially ESPN.

  • Andrew

    Just saw a tweet that said Neil Ramirez was scratched from his minor league start. Any truth to this?

    • mdavis

      i could see him being a part of the package. like an olt, edwards, ramirez or olt, jackson ramirez. but def not the centerpiece.

    • Wick

      Also a tweet saying that he wasn’t… again Bowden is running a muck so I would be cautious of what he says having any actual truth. Seems he’s just fishing and hoping something sticks..

      • HackAttack

        RT @JeffWilson_FWST: Neil Ramirez hasn’t been scratched from tonight’s start for Double A Frisco. #Rangers

        • Ricky

          Bowden strikes again!

        • Andrew

          Yeah Bowden just tweeted he was wrong

    • John

      I read someones comment on MLB trade rumors saying the same thing. Also read that Ramirez is not the centerpiece and the package will Include Ramirez, Olt, Edwards, and Sardinas. Im just praying that the 2nd sentence has truth to it.

      • mdavis

        still would have liked jackson, but if the FO isnt that high on them, then i guess you need to roll with that.

    • Wick

      Disregard… Multiple tweets saying he was scratched… I think its about to come to a head folks…

      • Wick

        Disregard the disregard.. haha…. Bowden just got showed up on Twitter again…

        @Vispoli: @JimBowdenESPNxm Neil Ramirez is currently walking toward the bullpen for his pre-game warmups in Corpus Christi

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Jason Parks said Theo may get Sodomized for getting Ramirez back. I’d literally boo at the press conference if it were true. No way around it. Piss poor return. Olt I understand take a buy low guy, and Edwards I really like, but Ramirez as the main other piece is just bad. They better have saw something in him, because the guy is 24 still in AAA and still hasn’t figured it out and he’s out of options next year so its not like we can stash him in Iowa

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      If the deal is Olt, Edwards, Ramirez, AND Sardinas or Odor then its pretty solid deal. But if its just Olt, Edwards, Ramirez then thats pretty disappointing. IMO

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        No. Olt/Edwards/Ramirez is about what we always should have expected.

        • DarthHater

          Oh, Brett. There you go again – assuming that “we” are rational thinkers, rather than entitled, self-important whiners. When will you learn to stick to the facts?

  • Assman22

    Ramirez is not centerpiece in any deal with Texas…don’t buy that guys…

    • Wick

      The REAL assman… thanks man!

    • http://twitter.com/Brad_S_Brewer Brad Brewer

      Could it be!? The real Assman22 is back and great as ever!? Giving us hope and the insider scoop! Hurray!

    • jh03

      Yeah, I assumed as much. Jim Bowden is an idiot. I never take anything he says seriously.

    • Jp3

      All we’ve heard is the price tag sit coming down and that deal would completely blow that theory up.

    • Vulcan

      Thanks Assman!

  • William

    The Cubs are never boring, that’s for sure.

    • Kevin

      At least off the field

  • Cast

    @JimBowdenESPNxm: 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

    • Dudeski

      God Bowden freaking sucks at his job. The same schmuck that said Demp was going to LA 5 minutes before it was announced he was going to the Rangers

    • Jp3

      Bowden is a fu….inaccurate….

  • Adam

    I’ve got to imagine at this point the F.O. is stock piling prospects in order to make a trade for a big pitcher down the line. Maybe acquiring Sardinas makes he or Alcantara a possible trade chip for an arm.

    Regardless, these past two deadlines have shown that young pitchers with upside, are valued higher than most other pieces in baseball (even more so than current MLB pitchers with ALCS MVP hardware)

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