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matt garza cubsIf Friday was a pins-and-needles-follow-every-update-breathlessly kind of rumor day, then Saturday was a considerably more relaxed, excitement-temporarily-fading kind of day.

With the Cubs and Rangers nearly striking a deal involving Matt Garza and prospects on Friday before a “snag” related to medical reports held things up, the two sides continued to work on a deal yesterday. No deal came, and now we’re left to wonder whether you can fairly categorize the Rangers even as the frontrunner anymore.

This morning’s report from Jon Heyman suggests that, although the Rangers are still in the mix, it probably would no longer be fair to say that they’re much more likely to get Garza than any other suitor. Garza is scheduled to start tomorrow night for the Cubs in Arizona, and, although reports gave Garza no more than a 10 or 20% chance of making that start for the Cubs as of last week, it now looks like a strong possibility.

In that regard, you could view mid-day tomorrow as another kind of deadline in the protracted Garza rumor story line. The Cubs are clearly ready to move Garza, and would probably prefer to do so before he starts again. But if the rest of the non-Ranger suitors aren’t willing to come up with an offer that matches whatever level of talent the Cubs believed they were set to get from the Rangers, it might just behoove the Cubs to roll and dice with another Garza start, and see who blinks first. Indeed, it’s possible that other involved teams are content to wait and see how the market plays out over the next week before making a serious offer or increasing one they’ve already made.

The balancing act here is whether the Cubs project that the upside from where offers currently stand to where they could go in a week will significantly outweigh the slight additional risk in letting Garza make another start for the Cubs. At least we suspect, at this point, that his medicals look good.

UPDATE: Jim Bowden was on the radio this morning, and he offered a plausible explanation for not only how things broke down on Friday with the Rangers, but also how he reported that Neil Ramirez was the “centerpiece” of the trade, and was scratched-but-then-not-scratched. Recall, late afternoon on Friday, when a deal with the Rangers appeared imminent, Jim Bowden reported two things that caused a stir: first, he reported that Ramirez – a lesser prospect – was the “centerpiece” of the trade with the Rangers, and second, he reported that Ramirez had been scratched from his start on Friday night, thus indicating a deal was done. By the end of the night, Ramirez had not been scratched, and the package that emerged (Olt/Sardinas/Edwards/Ramirez) arguably had Ramirez as the least valuably piece. How could Bowden have biffed so badly? Well, as he explains/hypothesizes (this is not all according to sources, and he admits he’s doing some deducing), with Ramirez scheduled to start, it’s possible that the Cubs had some concerns about Ramirez’s shoulder, and wanted to see him start one more time. If so, that could explain the scratched-then-not-scratched report, as well as Bowden’s apparent confusion about Ramirez being the “centerpiece.” Under this narrative, it wasn’t that Ramirez was the “centerpiece,” it was more that he was the “lynchpin.” A healthy, good-looking Ramirez on Friday, Bowden speculates, and the deal gets done. He got roughed up in the start and probably didn’t look good in the process, and the Cubs wanted a replacement player. From there, no fit is found, and the talks die down. So, what do we think? Saving face? Legitimate? It’s certainly plausible, though we still don’t know for sure which prospect’s medicals caused the Cubs to pull back. There’s a lot of guesswork here.

UPDATE 2 (12:24pm CT): The update in which you know, for certain, that you’re obsessing. Jon Morosi reports – according to sources – that the Cubs would prefer to deal Garza before his start tomorrow, and they continue to talk with teams, including the A’s and Rangers. This has been your update. This is not a test.

UPDATE 3 (1:15pm CT): Dale Sveum apparently told the media (Bruce Levine) before today’s game that it looks like it’s 100% that Garza will make his next start for the Cubs tomorrow. I’m assuming that’s from his perspective, and I’m also assuming that could change in an instant if the right offer came through. So, in that regard, let’s just take it as a sign that Sveum has not been alerted of any new/advanced trade discussions as of this moment.

UPDATE 4 (4:22pm CT): Nick Cafardo, after tweeting that Clay Buchholz is going to see Dr. James Andrews about his troublesome shoulder, tweets that the Red Sox may have more interest in Matt Garza than we’ve previously been led to believe. Dun dun dun.

UPDATE 5 (4:29pm CT): Jon Morosi tweets that the Rangers have checked in on Ervin Santana as a plan B to Matt Garza, but the Royals aren’t selling right now (and might not sell at all, given the investment they made in this season. Leverage leak? Maybe. But it doesn’t really help the Rangers much. Heck, it probably helps the Cubs vis a vis every other team.

  • Afinch

    Lake’s 1st attempt at throwing a runner out from home in the majors was juuuuust a bit outside.

    • Jp3

      “Tried the corner and missed”

    • Die hard

      It’s good Cubs gave him a taste of MLB…. Should do that with others so can smooth over rough edges in minors

  • todd mccombs

    Lake may have over thrown the ball – but he had a ton on it – Lake has quite an arm

    • Jp3

      I will say hopefully Ricky Vaughn can harness that arm, maybe he needs some badass glasses?😊

    • Cub Fan in Hickory(Mike S)

      “We better teach this kid control before he kills somebody”

  • Boba Fett

    Get off his junk turn two

  • notcubbiewubbie

    earlier in the game did u see that hall of famer in left make that great catch???/ kasper the ghost last night comparing sorryahole to andre dawson??/ what a complete joke cub fans have become.

    • DarthHater

      And so, the prophecy was self-fulfilled…

    • AB

      i != c that /n
      i != hear that /n

    • Tommy

      Lay off of Sori, guy. He’s done nothing but perform this year and last.

      • notcubbiewubbie

        2 out of 7 years @18,000,000 per there is a few years of effort missing. you r probably the guy that said “godspeed aramis”

    • frank

      There’s no need for you to act like a “sorryahole” yourself.

      • Tommy

        You’re a funny guy, frank. No, no you’re not.

        • frank

          Not meant to be funny–or couldn’t you tell?

          • Tommy

            Glad we agree on that point.

            • frank

              So am I.

      • notcubbiewubbie

        ok dad thanks.

  • Henson

    Nice job covering the Bowden suggestion. I thought that was the worst piece of reporting concerned with the Garza rumors. It may seem esoteric but I find the explanation credible. However, Bowden should know better as a writer. Centerpiece and linchpin is more than semantics, they have completely different definitions. That being said, everyone should get a chance to be better. Given the fact that Ramirez was, indeed, the linchpin, I can take Bowden off the Ignore List.

  • HackAttack

    “My shoulder feels fine,” Ramirez said. “I’m ready to get back and throwing for the rest of the season.”

    Ramirez said that his struggles on Friday were more the result of rust and not being completely sharp with his pitches. His fastball was fine, he said, at 93-95 mph as it usually is.

    http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/texas-rangers/post/_/id/4902382/neil-ramirez-my-shoulder-is-fine

  • X the Cubs fan

    Theirs too many tweets to put them on one by one. A lot of very interesting stuff here.

  • turn two

    Sound like bucholz needs Tommy john, sucks because he I’d fun to watch.

    • Blublud

      Not true. He is having shoulder problems, not elbow. Also, his problem seems to be conditioning his shoulder back into game shape with no discomfort and not anything major.

      • Mush

        It’s more in his neck and upper back.

        • turn two

          Yeah totally read that wrong on bottom line

  • josh ruiter

    random thought. With all the posturing the FO does talking about Soriano’s immense value on and OFF the field as a teammate and mentor, why don’t they put that same thought/money support into Garza? I don’t know that I have ever seen a better team guy. 4 out of 5 days he is on the top step of the dugout giving the team everything he can as a fan. And he goes out and does his job and is all business day 5. He says the right things, works the right way, and loves to be a Cub. If the FO is truly high on this, and is going to have youngsters coming up soon, isn’t this the kind of guy you would love to have as a leader during that time? Plus with a year off, I am liking what I see out of him on the mound as a top tier #2 type guy. I would almost prefer to deal Shark and the incumbent better return that he would bring. thoughts?

    • MichiganGoat

      I don’t believe its the FO office as much as it is the media and other teammates that compliment Soriano’s off the field value. You also can’t compare Sori to Garza- The prior is still under contract and because of that contract (and age) won’t net a huge return in a trade and the latter is the best pitcher on the market. As for Garza’s off-field value I’ve never heard anything about him being an amazing mentor/leader, the narrative is normally about how hyper-active he is. I’m not saying that is a good or bad thing but I just don’t remember people talking about how much value he gives a team off the field.

    • Die hard

      Given Cubs lack of minor league pitching depth keeping Garza and Shark would be wiser

    • Die hard

      Agree your thoughts are random

  • Die hard

    If Garza so valuable teams would’ve been banging down Cubs door…. Reality is that Cubs may be stuck as with Soriano

    • baldtaxguy

      Cubs’ door has been banging for Garza – do you need the banging louder, more frequent, or with more teams?

      Keeping Soriano is terrible because he is blocking who for playing time?

      • Die hard

        Theos wizardry has created illusion of door banging for Garza

      • josh ruiter

        I agree baldtaxguy. Garza is hot as wildfire right now, Soriano is worth more to us than to opposing teams (unless his value as an add in to a trade gives us an additional A prospect instead of a B or C prospect. The problem hasn’t been interest and desire on the Garza front, it’s a lack of willingness to part with top tier prospects for him.

      • MichiganGoat

        Its best to just ignore these baiting comments he loves to post… he’s fishing for a response and you will just spend too much time facepalming as you continue to comment with him.

        • Die hard

          Don’t be so hard on yourself … We appreciate your round about way of getting to the point

  • josh ruiter

    Michigan Goat, I hear ya. I didn’t mean so much his mentorship skills as his “off field” dugout presence. Someone who loves the game as much as that is a very good influence to have on the youngsters. Play for fun, play for each other, play to win. My point was not that he is not the most valuable piece out there. My point was, with all the non-mound stuff, is it worth putting a better chip out there in Shark and keeping Garza around? or at least worth discussing?

    • MichiganGoat

      I hear you he does appear to enjoy the game and maybe that is helpful to a team BUT it could also become quite annoying to have him jumping around constantly during a season. The fact that its not talked about in neither a positive or negative way tells me its really not that big a deal, maybe when he gets closer to Soriano’s age it will become more of a story.

      • Die hard

        Today’s Trib reports the Cubs players feel this trade stuff frenzy is all a Joke… They may be right

      • josh ruiter

        I feel like it is discussed constantly as a positive, by our broadcast team, by Dale, etc. Not that those guys are the end all be all, but usually the broadcast guys can read teams/players pretty well, much better than a fan at least. It seems everyone loves Garza, I guess I’m just more on board with his track record and stuff, than Shark’s, especially in considering the return either could bring. I think Shark’s ceiling is a good 2, but Garza is showing us now that he is already there

        • MichiganGoat

          Yea broadcasters always praise him for his enthusiasm. As for comparing him to Shark you might be right but Shark is under team control and Garza wants more than the FO is willing to give so trading him the the only way to maximize his value.

          • Jp3

            I agree, the comp pick has almost 0 chance of having an impact more than several young pieces like a CJ Edwards, Jackson, hell even Olt would potentially add. There is no way he isn’t traded because its quality and quantity this FO goes for not the comp pick seeing its only one lottery ticket we’d be getting for Garza… That’s all assuming he would finish the year with us completely healthy, what if he has another flare up at the end of the season? Who in the hell would be willing to give him the contract he’s going to be looking for? Then we have a guy that’ll probably accept the qualifying offer trying to prove himself and we’re doing this all over again with a pitcher that’s now 30 and multiple arm injuries.

            • Jp3

              Btw I believe the trade noise is going to be through the roof today until he steps on the mound, this is stating an obvious fact. It’s going to be a wild ride today with the rumors banging on the door all day if assume seeing no way the FO wants him to make this start this evening but they’ll have no choice but to roll the dice and let him pitch if they don’t like the offers yet…

  • DougS

    I am hoping that the Garza trade talks heat up to the same level things were at on Friday. I have a gnawing feeling in the pit of my stomach when I think about Garza starting tonight. Sure, there is very little chance that he might come out of the game with an injury… sure, he has been on a great streak, but he could have “one of those bad outtings”…

    I just want to see a deal get done before the “mid-afternoon deadline” today… a deal that we can all get excited… a deal that will make us feel like we didn’t give Garza away for nothin’…

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