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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 Cubs.com. 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.

  • Believe in 2015

    I just want it to be over. Lets make a deal!!!

  • Austin8466

    Can’t tell if this is dumb or gutsy. Maybe both?

  • hansman1982

    Or:

    The Cubs are nearing completion on a deal that’ll send Garza to the D-Backs for Bradely, Skaggs and Corbin. BOOM

    • YourResidentJag

      Or: 100% sure he starts tonight, 50% sure he gets injured. ;)

    • Danny Ballgame

      Lets just do that

  • Jp3

    I think both… I think the Cubs front office has preached he’s 100% healthy so long they can’t blink and not start him in fear he might get injured. If he gets injured though….sheesh

  • On The Farm

    -“Matt Garza and his agent have been informed that he will be moved and will not make his next start.”
    -“Matt Garza 100% certain to make start tonight”

    Must be a play on reverse psychology. Not only is our FO full of lawyers, but they also have a strong grasp of human psychology, nice.

    • SalukiHawk

      Well, these weren’t quotes from our front office, they were quotes from journalists. Secondly, I think you combined two comments and made a quote out of them. Journalists were reporting that Garza’s agent was told he would be traded, but it was journalists who were speculating he wouldn’t make his next start. I remember no such quote from the FO. Also, the FO did not make the latter quote…it was made by Dale Sveum, and if you read the quote (it has been taken out of context), Sveum basically says, if he’s here, guaranteed he’ll start…if he’s not, he won’t. The gist of the comment was not that Sveum was guaranteeing he wouldn’t be starting. It was rather to say, hey, we are not going to bump him or take him out of the rotation based on trade speculation.

      Finally, these quotes were days apart, and obviously, a lot has happened since last Friday when I think everyone thought this deal was going to happen.

      So, there you have it. The FO is by no means talking out of both sides of its mouth.

      • On The Farm

        Woah buddy cool the jets a bit. I was just having some fun. Reports come out that the Cubs say Garza will be traded before his next start, its starting to look like that’s not happening. So, by saying he will make his next start 100% this means he will be traded its all a rouse to keep us off balance.

        • Jp3

          “40% of the time, it works every time”

  • http://Jplgxk AlwaysNextYear

    Well in 5 days maybe the Phillies decide to be sellers and Lee enters the market as Peavy is now back from the DL and seems to be a more attractive pitcher with the extra year. Could be risky to wait much longer but could also be smart if a teams starter gets hurt

    • hansman1982

      “Peavy is now back from the DL and seems to be a more attractive pitcher with the extra year.”

      Peavy should not be viewed as more attractive by anyone. The first portion of this sentence tells you why. That phrase has been uttered more often than not. Teams are going to be hesitant to pick him up before the July 31 deadline.

      Not only do they get the opportunity to pay for a most-likely injured pitcher in 2014, but there is also a player option for 2015.

      • On The Farm

        Exactly since 2007 he has gone over 200 innings once (last year) also worth noting during that 2008-2011 stretch, he has never thrown more than 111.2 innings. Not exactly the most exciting thing for a contender to see.

      • Serious Cubs Fan

        If teams are scared to trade for Garza bc of injury risk, then they must hold their breath everytime Peavy goes out and pitches. Peavy is a walking injury risk. Don’t get me wrong, Peavy is a good pitcher but you can only expect 20-23 starts a year from the guy.

      • Spencer

        Says the guy who tried for months to trade him.

        • hansman1982

          Haha, ended up moving him. For the most part, my trades have worked out pretty well this year, except Hamels.

          • Spencer

            Meh, Hamels hasn’t been out of this world this year. Sucks Bundy got hurt; I dunno if he would be worth a keeper slot or not.

            • hansman1982

              Non-TJ, he was going to be unless Sano got super-promoted to the bigs.

      • Mick

        Peavy was on the DL for a broken rib and comes with an extra year of control so the acquiring team will potentially also receive a compensatory pick for him after the 2014 season. Also, Peavy was pitching lights out before he broke his rib. So, I’d say in just about every possible way Peavy is more attractive to everyone.

        • BT

          He’s owed roughly 20 million dollars between the end of this year and next year (quick math, might be off). Not every team is willing to take that on, especially for a guy that is not exactly an iron man. So there are probably quite a few teams that would prefer the rental over the long term commitment.

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

    Gosh… I already know I’m going to bite all my fingernails off tonight watching Garza pitch while praying for three things:

    1) He doesn’t get hurt.

    2) He pitches well and increases his value to other teams.

    3) The Cubs win!

    I may have to move on to my toenails if things get dicey! ;)

    • hansman1982

      The only thing that could change Garza’s trade value tonight is if he get’s injured. PIthcing a perfect game won’t move the needle anymore than him not recording an out will.

      • ssckelley

        Yeah, no matter what they can still get Olt for him.

        :D

      • When the Music’s Over

        Yes, his start tonight likely has no upside, but immense downside. Sucks, but the Cubs have to run him out there if he’s still on the team.

        • Scotti

          The “What he does in one (or two, or three) outings won’t matter” line is just hogwash. Of course the way a guy is currently pitching affects what he will bring back in return. Dempster was a hot commodity because he was hot. Garza is a hot commodity because he is hot. Remove the hotness and you remove some of the GMs’ desires to trade for him. The line is just that–a line. Just like the line that said he’ll pitch for the Cubs 100%.

          And certainly the no hitter/no outs business (above) is pure hyperbole. Guys who throw no hitters are on top of their games and that’s what you want from a rental. You don’t want a guy who can’t get an out in the first. If this was a guy with three more years under control then what his last start looked like matters less. This is a rental. What he’s doing now matters immensely.

          • When the Music’s Over

            It does and it doesn’t. Every GM is going to tell the Cubs that they are trading for the Matt Garza of the last 5 years, not one based on recent good performance. However, it matters in that if he is pitching like crap, the same GMs will claim he is worth X% on the dollar.

            Either way, the Cubs front office has set a value on him, so unless he gets injured (the aforementioned extreme downside) or pitches like garbage, what the Cubs eventually get for him will not be impacted if he throws well tonight (the aforementioned likely no upside).

            • Scotti

              It doesn’t matter what price the seller puts on the apple. Its the price that the market puts on the apple. Are there enough hungry buyers for the amount of apples on the market? Maybe the seller gets his price but not if he is priced too high. It’s the market that sets that price. The seller is just a small part of the market.

              This apple needs to go out and shine every start for the team to get the price it is asking for. Will a given GM say they’re paying for what Garza has done over 5 years? Sure. But, in reality, he doesn’t give a rat’s ass what Garza did before this year. He knows what Garza is doing now and that’s what he wants. If Garza sucked this year we wouldn’t have anyone wanting to pay the Cubs for what he’s done in the past.

              Garza is a rental. What he is doing, and how he is doing it, is all that matters. If he sucks tonight that subtracts from his trade value. If he shines tonight that adds to his trade value. If Garza had years of control left then his performance would matter less. He doesn’t. He has 10-15 starts left.

      • ClevelandCubsFan

        I disagree. Slightly. Really? A perfect game? Do you know how much easier it is to sell a bad deal to your fans if you can say, “We’re getting a guy who’s hotter than any pitcher in baseball and just threw a perfect game!” It’s like magic blinders. I think taking a no-no into the 9th–or better–does help his trade value every so slightly. And an actual no-no or a perfect game means more fans coming out to watch his next 10-15 starts, which = $. If another front office has any skillz at all, they will turn a no-no into revenue for the club’s playoff push. But I agree this is a small amount of change. It might be a tipping point type of value add on a deal that’s already been discussed–or maybe some extra bonus pool cash :)

        • Eternal pessemist

          Not sure what the statistics show, but it seems like every perfect game or no hitter is followed by a lousy game. I really don’t think it helps his trade value. It might ig he still had control years left.

      • Spriggs

        Careful now, this is the Cubs. He could have something like an emotional melt down of some kind and make a complete fool out of himself. A number of bad things could happen without him getting hurt that would have a negative impact on his trade value. And let’s say he loses command and control and gets relentlessly hammered for 3 innings. I believe that would also have a negative affect. Remember, it’s the Cubs.

    • ssckelley

      Or he does get hurt, signs a incentive loaded extension with the Cubs, and wins the Cy Young in 2015.

      I can dream!

  • BD

    Sounds like they were expanding the deal with Texas, so maybe they’ll expand a deal with Arizona to include one of those young pitchers. That’s what I have been hoping for, anyway.

  • mudge

    Garza’s demeanor through this process is admirable. I’ll be sorry to see him go.

    • JOE

      Agreed

  • ssckelley

    I was busy all weekend and missed a lot of the chatter surrounding the botched deal with the Rangers. But the list of names I saw the Cubs getting back in return for Garza got me giddy.

  • ETS

    We get Garza for at least one more day! I, for one, am pretty happy! Go Garza Go!

  • Believe in 2015

    If you ever want a good laugh just look at the White Sox top 20 prospects. I am so happy the Cubs are rebuilding the right way and stocking up their farm system.

    • ssckelley

      you were being kind calling them “prospects”

  • Crockett

    Really hoped Garza would’ve been dealt before this. I’m mentally ready to move into August. This deadline is going to take a year off my life.

    • ssckelley

      and get people fired from their jobs.

      /hits refresh again

      • Jp3

        Wow… Exactly what I’m doing right now… Except the getting fired part. For the time being in not since the boss is out today.

  • JM

    I love this time of year. Some day we’ll be on the receiving end of these trades

  • ISU Birds

    Is this one of those deals where the Cubs know they are lying about him being “100% healthy” and are just trying to maintain eye contact and ballsily (is that a word) keep pitching him saying “see! See! he’s fine!” and are actually terrified the whole time, but can’t back down now?

    • Jp3

      Yes

    • On The Farm

      If he isn’t 100% then he is just downright filithy. I know some of his starts have come against weaker teams, but he has been pretty damn good not at 100%

    • Grant

      I think he’s 100%. If he wasn’t, it would be in his medicals, and likely nix a deal.

  • Spencer

    I wonder how likely it is if the Cubs are unable to find a suitor that is willing to meet their high demands for Garza that they just go back to the table with him and work out an extension at a higher number than they originally wanted to pay him.

    • Jp3

      That’s a great point because the comp pick is the worst option of the 3 in my opinion of extension, comp pick or prospects in a trade.

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      I think the cubs will be able to good package of prospects for Garza, but we won’t land an “elite” top prospect for him.

      • Nate

        They just had a pretty great package with two top 100 guys and two solid young guys coming back. The package will be good

    • willis

      We can all wish. I’d love for that to happen.

  • WI Jeff

    Well, from the information and misinformation- A family friend is employed with the Texas Rangers, he was in with the decision makers regarding this year and last years trades before Garza was hurt. Firs off, he said the Cubs did well scouting Texas Minors… Very complimentary for the names the Cubs wanted from the given list. Also, It was Mike Olt and this years CF- Leonys Martin as a package for Garza during last years trade deadline. The real sticking point is with Texas this year, they never want to include top prospects. Cubs demanding/requesting #2 prospect SS Luis Sardinas. Texas continues to balk. I am glad we have a ballsy front office that hold out for “real” return. Let’s see who blinks first or who moves on. I love hitting refresh on all the stories…. reading 300 plus posts Friday through Sunday

    • Tommy

      Obviously rumors are rampant right now, but the reported deal that was in place before medicals were exchanged was Garza + 1 other Cub (most likely Russell) for Olt, Sardinas, Ramirez, and Edwards so it appears that they were willing to give up Sardinas. Personally, if that was the actual deal, I’d pull the trigger on that even if there were injury issues on one of the players the Cubs were getting return. But then again, information has to be taken with a grain of salt right now

      • ssckelley

        I was thinking the same thing, they have dealt for damaged goods before what is stopping them this time?

        • Tommy

          Ramirez’s agent said he is fine so the assumption is that the question mark is with Edwards (although he has been dominant lately so that is even hard to believe). If it was Edwards, he is so young to begin with so a lost season wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.

          • Crockett

            An agent saying his player is “fine” is very, very different than an acquiring team who is hypersensitive to medical reports saying a player is “fine”.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              Yeah, agents could out-do Michael Palin in the Ex-Parrot routine….

        • hansman1982

          Because they finally have something they are trading with some serious value.

          • ssckelley

            Yes but we are still getting Olt!!!!

            • hansman1982

              SQUEEEEEEEAL!!!!!!!

        • On The Farm

          Maybe they just want other clubs out there to see the kind of names being thrown around in the Texas deal so other teams know they need to up the ante.

          • Tommy

            Ya that makes sense, Olt, Sardinas, and Edwards are all probably top 5 in the Rangers system, which is in the top third of baseball, so that package would be an absolute haul of a return

            • On The Farm

              So if it is such a huge haul I would like you to please explain why they turned it down

              • Tommy

                Because there was an injury to one of the players is what was reported. I don’t have any inside info here so I can’t tell you who/what/why but I’m just saying that on paper that is a fantastic package and if the Cubs come close to that from another team I’ll be happy

                • On The Farm

                  As you pointed out it was a huge haul from a top 10 farm system, and that if it was Edwards he is still on the young side so him losing a season wouldn’t be a lost cause. This FO has had no problem taking a guy coming of TJ. So going off what everyone has said that Theo not pulling a trigger until he gets the right move, I could see him looking at a player in a deal and saying “yeah that’s some questionable medicals, we can’t do that, but we are still willing to work with you” and all of the sudden the market know’s what Texas is willing to put on the table.

                  I feel like anytime you are getting a 3B with great power and a good glove, a very good SS prospect, a K-machine pitcher, and a 4th guy. One player holding up the deal just doesn’t seem like it fits the situation.

                  • Tommy

                    Not much else to say other than “I concur”

                    • On The Farm

                      Okay, I guess I wasn’t sure with your first reply if we were just on different pages. I would like to say though that when I saw the above players mentioned going to Chicago I was pretty happy, checked my phone 5 hours later and found out the deal was dead. I just feel like something is going on, not sure if it is used car saleman of the Cubs or just them being smart yet.

                    • Tommy

                      Na we were on the same page here, I was just saying your thought made sense but I still would have liked them to pull the trigger if that was indeed to deal

  • Stevie B

    I’d love to see 8 innings of 2-3 hit ball with 10 k’s.
    Garza is a pro, and I’m betting he has a great showing tonight.

  • willis

    Well, I’m happy to see him one more time. I thought the Cardinals game was it, but looks like he’ll be out there tonight. I know it’s a dicey situation but I hope he can focus and have a nice outing as this will most certainly be his last in a Cubs uniform, which blows.

  • Rebuilding

    I was gone all weekend with no internet at all. It was nice, but the minute my bars got above 2 I come to BN and find…..no trade? Very hard to believe that Neil Ramirez is what held up the deal, I liked it without Ramirez.

    • Scotti

      Someone on their side had medicals that the Cubs didn’t like (Olt might have had a concussion).

    • Bwa

      Don’t forget russel was also in the deal. He has a ton of value for a reliever and could easily grab someone like Edwards IMO. That means you aren’t getting all the much for garza if Ramirez is hurt

  • Dale Jr

    Assman where are u

    • hansman1982

      Help us Assman-Kenobi, you are our only hope.

      • DarthHater

        I’ve been waiting for you, Assman. We meet again, at last. The circle is now complete. When I left you, I was but the learner; now *I* am the master.

        • hansman1982

          If you strike him down, The Assman will become more powerful than you could ever imagine.

          • Eternal pessemist

            …and expell some super-toxic gas.

  • Peter

    He will make the final two starts in july, don’t see him being moved until the 0 hour, just pray he does not get injured or lit up in his final two starts

  • afinch

    And with ultimate power, he’ll turn from Assman into Asslord.

    • afinch

      Supposed to be a reply. You get the point though.

  • curt

    their playing with fire every start garza makes if you play with it long you will get burned , exhibit A 2012, glad it’s them playing this high risk ,high reward game of chicken.

  • MDel

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see this drag out until the deadline. The Cubs asking price is high. As much as the Cubs want to move him, as Brett’s previous articles said, they can’t force other teams to make a deal.

    As one example, I think the Pirates are interested, but would want use the Cubs as a one stop shop to fill their P and RF needs for the return package the Cubs are asking for. However, they prefer Pence for RF. Will he be available? They don’t want to finalize anything with the Cubs until they know what SF will do because they are prioritizing Pence.

    The only way I see something happening quickly is if Boston doesn’t get good news on Buchholz today.

    I’m hoping the Pirates step up, because (1) I would love a package around Glasnow and (2) I wouldn’t mind seeing Garza be successful with Pittsburgh.

  • Dustin S

    Hopefully sometime in the next few hours we get another “swapping medical reports” leak. Considering it was many hours of agent notification and medical report review Friday, I would think we’d need to hear something more firm within the next 2-3 hours to avoid tonight’s start. But maybe they’ll go ahead and bump him if things get that close.

    • Jp3

      I hope your right, I love bleacher nation but I need to know when
      I put down my phone a huge story isn’t about to break

      • On The Farm

        As Brett said, I can’t wait to stop taking my phone in the bathroom every time I have to pee. Because trade deadline

  • Crockett

    Does anyone else feel like this deadline…all around baseball…is much quieter than previous years? That could be me having a vague memory, but it just seems like nothing is happening at all.

    • On The Farm

      I feel like Garza, and maybe a select few others are all that are mentioned. The only real talk about guys is more just speculation that Player X would have a lot of value in a trade based on control and effectiveness (Russell and Perkins). Granted maybe since Nolsaco and Feldman moving earlier makes it seem like its quiter, but I feel like the other top SP on the market, Bud Norris, isn’t getting as much attention for serious trade talks.

    • FFP

      The silence might just be the result of negotiating partners both having leak-tight FO’s. If so, it is kinda refreshing–if maddening.

      Or it might be that everyone is just going to let tonight play out before proposing anything.

      • FFP

        Sorry, you said “all around baseball”, Crockett–I didn’t even register that. I guess I’ve got my Garza-goggles on.

    • Pat

      I think a lot of it has to do with the expanded playoff format. Making the playoffs now gives a team (all things being equal) a ten percent chance of winning it all as opposed to 12.5 percent under the previous setup. While that seems like a small change, it reduces the overall odds by twenty percent.

      Add to that the odds of making the playoffs in the first place has risen from just under 27 percent to 33 percent. I think more teams are thinking that having pieces in place to make the playoffs multiple years has become a better bet than trying to increase the odds in a given year at the expense of the future..

      • Eternal pessemist

        I think you are on to something.

  • aCubsFan

    I don’t understand all the hand-ringing from fans. The FO is doing what’s best for the Cubs and making sure Garza knows what’s going on. Also, you can’t blame the FO for being cautious with Texas. To me it’s disturbing that last year Texas sent the Cubs an injured player and now they are trying to do it again.

    Also, many gave the FO grief over the Marmol for Haren non trade over the winter. Well Haren has had a terrible this season. The Nationals think his hip and back problems the Cubs saw in his medicals has messed up is mechanics and ultimately landed him on the DL.

  • Jp3

    I can’t wait til we hear that Rusin is on his way to Arizona… C’mon I’m tired of being glued to my phone

  • Crockett

    I’m going golfing at 2 (MDT). Shutting my phone off. I need a break.

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