matt garza cubsIn the lead-up to each of Matt Garza’s last three starts – a stretch that dates back to the beginning of this month – the story line has been, “will this be Matt Garza’s last start with the Cubs?” I never bought into it, not because I didn’t think there was a chance he’d be dealt before the All-Star break, but because it’s kind of an empty narrative. I mean, yeah, sure it could be his last start. But maybe it won’t. And then you just have to do the dance all over again in five days. To me, you can’t reach that level of focus on a singular start until, at least, after the All-Star break (and that’s coming from a guy who does Obsessive Watches).

Well, we’ve passed the All-Star break. Moreover, we’ve passed a stretch that saw Garza very nearly dealt to the Rangers on Friday, and then become the focus of rumor rumblings all weekend long. And lastly, we’re about to watch Garza make his first of just two theoretically available starts with the Cubs before the Trade Deadline.

In other words … it’s ok to do the heavy-focus-on-this-start-thing now.

Will Garza actually make tonight’s start against the Diamondbacks? Well, Dale Sveum tried to answer that question as affirmatively as he could yesterday.

“I’d say 100 percent he’s going to be pitching tomorrow,” Sveum said when asked about Garza starting tonight in Arizona, per So it’s a lock, right? No deal today!

Well …

“All I know is he’s pitching tomorrow, and I guess if we get a phone call and something changes, that’s the way it is,” Sveum said. “But it’s not something that consumes me, I don’t live my life that way.”

And that’s completely fair. It’s not as though the front office is keeping Sveum in the dark. They don’t know when the right deal for Garza is going to present itself. If it doesn’t come today, then Sveum – and Garza, God bless him – has to continue about his day as though he knows precisely who is going to start tonight. From Sveum’s perspective, having not heard anything else, it is 100 percent certain that Garza will start tonight for the Cubs. Until he doesn’t. If he doesn’t. We’ll see.

No contingency plans have been put into motion as of yet, said Sveum, which probably means that Chris Rusin has not been tapped to head out to Arizona. Instead, Rusin is scheduled to start tonight in Iowa. If a Garza deal comes too late in the day to get Rusin out to Arizona, the Cubs may have to bump Travis Wood up a day (which would be OK, given the All-Star break). But if you don’t see Rusin heading out to Arizona at any point today, the Cubs must not feel like a Garza trade is reasonably possible before tonight.

At which point, we’ll all watch Garza start, hold our breaths a little bit, and get ready to do another five days of dancing. With the Red Sox not hearing about Clay Buchholz’s meeting with Dr. James Andrews until later today, and with teams like the Indians, A’s and Pirates seemingly pushing more and more into the Garza talks by the day, maybe another five days to work on a deal isn’t the worst thing in the world.

UPDATE (12:10pm CT): As of right now, Ken Rosenthal doesn’t see any indication that Garza is not making this start tonight. No move by the Cubs yet to bring anyone up, and no obvious long reliever available to fill in. He could just be regurgitating the essence of what Dale Sveum was saying, but it’s another modest data point.

  • Ivy Walls

    You guys are like little kids who can’t wait for Christmas. These things have a process. The only real risk is if Garza gets hurt.

    BTW previous Garza trade: Cubs traded away Chris Archer who is now 24 and starting for TB, 5-3, 2.76 ERA and 1.17 WHIP, (14 starts) and Hak Ju Lee who is ranked in the Top 100 prospects now in AAA, Robinson Chineros (C) traded to TEX now in AAA, Sam Fuld still on TB though batting 200. Brandon Guyer who is AAA (ind League) but played in the show 18 games in 2011-12

    Cubs got Garza who has been what was thought, 21-18 ERA ranging between 3.92-3.17 (1.14-1.24 WHIP) in 60 starts, Rosscup (LHP 25, reliever; AA appearing in 31 games with 3 saves and 1.06 WHIP. The other player Fernando Perez (cut from IA 2011)

    SO getting something for Garza is critical

    Because Hendry traded away the store for 60 starts on a team going no where.

    So this is important

    • YourResidentJag

      Oh, please stop with the “we traded Garza for a haul” EXTREMELY TIRED argument.

    • Tommy

      Chris Archer is good, (can we trade him back for McNutt), but Lee, while a good defender, has issues with the bat and currently has a torn ACL, Guyer is at best a 4th/5th outfielder, Fuld=Tony Campana, and Chirinos is a backup catcher so that trade is nowhere near as bad as people make it out to be, especially considering that the Cubs got 3 years of control of Garza. Plus add in the fact that Rosscup is looking more and more like a great option for the bullpen as soon next year and it’s not as bad as it seems

      • ETS

        Didi Gregarious is good with the glove but has issues with the bat and he netted a top pitching prospect in all of baseball.

        • Tommy

          He netted Trevor Bauer, who while has good stuff, has MAJOR command issues along with goofy, unrepeatable mechanics.

          • mdavis

            and apparently a not so great attitude.

        • DarthHater

          I hear that Gregarious talks too much.

          • Tommy

            Plus his name is Didi, shouldn’t he be on Dexter’s Lab???

      • Mat B

        Yep, & Garza led the Cubs to the playoffs each of those 3 years while averaging 19 wins a season.

        • On The Farm

          So the Cubs only win a trade if the player they got gets them to the playoffs, nevermind that the players they sent haven’t done a whole lot yet?

    • BT

      So if Archer was no good, getting something back for Garza wouldn’t be important?

    • CubsFaninMS

      First off, we have a wahhmbulance headed to your address right now. We also have cheese available with this wine, although it does have a slight pungent odor.

      All jokes aside, if Tampa Bay gets one serviceable/above average Major Leaguer out of the Garza trade, did they really fleece? We had a #2/#3 pitcher for three seasons. If Chris Archer is successful with the Rays, good for him and good for the Rays. It’s a win/win for the Cubs and Rays. The success in that trade builds a future trading partner with both front offices. In reality, if all of our trades ended up fleecing the other team (i.e. how the Cardinals normally do it), other front officers are less likely to deal with them.

      Also another point to consider. Not only are we discussing Garza’s production so far as a Cub compared to the production of Archer, Lee, and friends, we should also compare the future production and team control of every prospect we get back from the upcoming trade with Garza. If you’ve had any interest in who those names are, you’ll see there’s a high likelihood that the net gain we’ve received from Garza will be very nice.

      Us fans get attached to our prospects and understandably so, but continuing to beat up the Garza/Archer trade is completely pointless IMO.

  • Jp3

    UPDATE: dang, I looked within seconds

  • jpeck

    Nobody is saying what I think happened, so I will open up for ridicule. Cubs ask for best offers to create urgency. Great. Except they don’t like offers. They use the medical excuse as their out. Now as every day that goes by, Garza’s trade value decreases. This basically the same pattern that Dempster trade followed. I love the new FO but they seem to do better trading their secondary pieces.

    • Tommy

      Can’t compare this to Dempster at all. Dempster pigeonholed the front office into just the Dodgers until at the last minute he said ok I’ll go to the Rangers. Dempster had 10 and 5 rights and used them to veto the trade to the Braves, which Garza can’t do

      • jpeck

        I’m not trying to say the Dempster thing was exactly the same. But they lost all momentum and advantage there too.

        My complaint last year was…(You dont make a deal without getting the OK from Demp.)

    • Jp3

      I see what you’re saying and I believe something similar in that they had a decent offer from the Rangers and were going to go ahead with it but Hated the medical reports because if this FO has shown anything they aren’t afraid to go after a player with a medical history. However I’d guess the next best offers weren’t overly spectacular in that there is no way we want to run him out again but at this point what options Dow we have? All we can hope for tonight is a pretty solid outing and no injury.

  • Jason Powers

    I love the battle seen here between emotional and statistical ways of seeing ball players.

    On one level, this Garza thing is like a boy band for girls. At 11-12, many girls love all these boy band acts and scream at any news about them. At 18-19-20-21, they turn to Joan Baez/Sheryl Crow/Morissette or whoever is the next I am woman hear me roar type. That’s caused by maturity; this however, is caused by the perception of what Garza is or will net for us, and all our evaluations of what this dude can DO for the team: prospects or pitch well for his next contract.

    Some hear rehash the past; others, too much on the future. I guess Brett’s comment about Dale showed the best approach – now. It’s fun to interject on this too. Just a thought.

  • rbreeze

    If Garza isn’t traded between now and his next start (this weekend), I would say Brett you better rest up for a long trade deadline marathon. I just don’t want the Cubs left holding the bag (Garza) at the last minute of the trade deadline and then having to settle for a weak package.

  • todd mccombs

    Something i have been thinking about is the 40 man roster and looking ahead to the Rule 5 draft – of all these guys we are getting how many can we protect going into next year.

    Who is on this roster that are part of the future, who needs to be traded. When they are traded who can you get. Not many people trading major league ready talent unless they are broken or blocked. So you have to think about 3 or 4 year prospects

    Do you lose a 23 year old Vitters or others because you don’t have room on the 40 when the Rule 5 draft comes along. Package the Lakes, Vitters and watkins type’s with veterans for better prospects. The Gm job for the cubs is tough right now. Next 10 days or so are really going to effect the future.

  • Kramden

    This myopic fixation on Garza makes me fear that opportunities extract maximum value from other Cub trade candidates are potentially being lost. I’d guess there isn’t a rule that says Garza must be traded before other opportunities are delved into, but it doesn’t seem like it.

  • Kramden

    TO extract

  • johnny chess Aka 2much2say

    With logic like that then King Felix is just a scrub

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